Among the Aboriginals of Australia in the Dieri country the sky is understood to be a vast plain inhabited by wild tribes that are the prototype of the Aboriginals themselves.  When a drought threatens the people on earth they call upon their supernatural relatives in the sky to make rain happen to save the peoples on earth. 

Aboriginal rock painting of Wandjina (cloud or rain spirits) at Mount Elizabeth, in Victoria, southeastern Australia. Photo by Robyn Jay on Flickr.

The Southeastern tribes of Australia believe in supernatural Sky Beings called “All-Fathers” or “Sky Beings.”  The Father of them all is Nurrundere who made all things on the earth, bestowed weapons of war and hunting onto the humans and also instituted all rites and ceremonies.  The sky is his homeland.

One connects with the sky god through ceremony as for example if the tribe kills a wallaby and the wallaby is cooked, the hunters chant as the fire, kindled by women, raises smoke to the sky.  As the smoke ascends the hunters rush in and lift their weapons and branches towards heaven.

A second tribe, the Wiimbaio, believe the Nurelli made the trees, animals and land and after giving laws to the humans, he went up to the sky and is now one of the constellations.

The Bunjil Geoglyph is a stone sculpture in the shape of a wedged-tail eagle honoring the indigenous Creator Spirit, Bunjil, and the Wathaurong Aboriginal people. The sculpture, with a wingspan of 100 meters, was constructed by Australian artist Andrew Rogers using 1500 tons of rock. Drone footage by peterviragphoto

Other tribes call the Supreme Being who once lived on the earth as a Great Man but eventually ascended to the sky “Our Father” or “Father of All of Us.”  The son of God is Binbeal, the rainbow, who teaches the Kulin people the arts of life and social institutions and who ascended to the sky land from where he oversees the tribe.

Interestingly, among the Aboriginals, there is a special encounter with the “Father” whose voice resembles that of the distant thunder during puberty rites of boys becoming men.  When a person dies, this Supreme Being meets and cares for his spirit.  Thus the spirit, like smoke from the fire, ascends into the heavens and returns to the ancestors there.  The ancestors are the stars.  These stories of celestial supreme beings antecede any presence of western missionaries among the ancient tribes of Australia. 

Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine, pp. 4f.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: Milky Way star map by Bill Yidumduma Harney, Senior Wardaman Elder. Bill Yidumduma Harney, CC BY

Queries for Contemplation

What instructs you among these ancient teachings of Father Sky among the ancient tribes of Australia?  Notice the connection between ceremonies and drawing in the power of Father Sky.  And between death and our return to Father Sky.

Recommended Reading

The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine

To awaken what Fox calls “the sacred masculine,” he unearths ten metaphors, or archetypes, ranging from the Green Man, an ancient pagan symbol of our fundamental relationship with nature,  to the Spiritual Warrior….These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.
“Every man on this planet should read this book — not to mention every woman who wants to understand the struggles, often unconscious, that shape the men they know.” — Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God

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8 thoughts on “Aboriginals of Australia <br>on Father Sky”

  1. Avatar

    There are two things inparticular within today’s DM, that beckon further reflection. The first instruction from these Aboriginal teachings that speaks to me, is the spiritual importance of kindling the fire, that spark of the divine presence and essence within our humanity… which we do through ritual and ceremony. The second was the symbol of the rainbow… which speaks to me of covenant relationship with Spirit, whom does as the Kulin people say, teach us the arts of life… which is about being and living in right relationship with the all and the everything of creation, in all aspects, in co-creative partnership with. We are not alone in our pursuit of being and living in this spiritual reality, for our sacred ancestors are always with us assisting us in our learning to discern, listen, and respond to the voice of Spirit, whom prompts, leads, guides, comforts, consoles…. caringly and wisely counseling each one of us all, in our sacred journey. We truly are a Star Nation people.

  2. Avatar

    Under John Calvin’s harsh anti-life diktat the Reformation took a very dark turn. Calvin’s rejection was not only of Father Sky; it was also a raging hate [fear?] of the feminine. “Any single woman discovered to be pregnant was summarily drowned…Anyone caught with a rosary or an image of the Virgin was hauled before a court of elders. Fourteen women were accused of consorting with the devil and bringing the plague on Geneva. All of them were convicted and burned at the stake.” Leonard Shlain, The Alphabet Versus the Goddess.

    It seems like a historical pattern repeat that during our COVID pandemic/plague the issue of abortion has surfaced as a hot button legal issue in the USA.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Gwen, Not only have I read Shlain’s THE ALPHBET VERSUS THE GODDESS, but I also led a month-long class on it–a very interesting book, but often very speculative. I am right there with you in terms Calvin’s treatment of women, and abortion is the “hot button legal issue” right now, but thank God women are at least are not being drowned or burned now. Women need to have the right to decide what happens to their own bodies

      1. Avatar

        Thank you Richard.
        I would certainly have signed up for your course on Shlain’s book. I am sure the discussion was rewarding and enriching for all participants. Shlain acknowledged that aspects of his thesis were speculative and invited readers to “initiate a conversation about the issues I have raised and inspire others to examine the thesis further.”

        And yes, women seeking an abortion are not being summarily slaughtered now, but there has been an unprecedented attempt in one state to unleash unregulated vigilante citizen justice on the women and anyone who supports them in procuring an abortion. Canadian writer Margaret Atwood has been awarded for bringing global attention to such a possibility.

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