Aboriginal Spirituality, the Dreamtime, & Creation Spirituality

The beauty that is the Dreamtime is everywhere. The question is: do we have the eyes to see it and the ears to hear it and the hearts to take it in? In many ways, the Dreamtime corresponds to Jesus’s teaching that “the kingdom/queendom of God is within and among you.”

Gumaroy Newman, Eric Arthur Tamwoy and Norm Barsah offer a perspective and story of the Dreamtime for the Andrews Australian Museum Dreaming Stories project. Video by fintonm et al.

Connections exist between our biblical heritage, mysticism and the Dreamtime. We have learned that there is no word for time in the Australian Aboriginal language. Everything is always now. This is exactly how Meister Eckhart talks. “God,” says he “is always in the beginning, making things new!” And he adds, “If you can return to the beginning, you will always be new, always be young, always be in touch with God.”

This is why our scriptures begin with ‘In the beginning . . . ’ –both Genesis one and John’s Gospel begin that way. The Hebrew Bible and three Gospels begin with a creation story. And, as I have demonstrated in my book, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, the Cosmic Christ is celebrated in the first chapters of each of the Synoptic Gospels, just as he is in the first chapter of John’s Gospel.

Eckhart talks of living in the Eternal now. What we find in the Australian Aboriginal understanding of time is a one hundred percent pure mystical consciousness. We white people will never get it until we sink into our own mystical experience. That explains the clash between white and indigenous cultures.

Susan Betts, of the Australian Aboriginal Wirangu nation, links the creation story of the Seven Sisters songline to Indigenous creation stories around the world: we are all related. ABC Australia.

We have to listen with our hearts, not just our heads, as Eckhart says, “God is creating the entire universe, fully and totally, in this present now.”  “This is the Dreamtime,” Eddie Kneebone says, “now.”  Eddie would undoubtedly feel that Meister Eckhart is an Australian Aboriginal too!

All the stories of original creation are Dreamtime. It is all now. This view is, of course, scientifically correct. All 13.8 billion years of history are behind us. They don’t exist anymore. The original fireball is gone. The supernova explosion that gave birth to the elements of our body is gone. But it is present in today’s sun and sunshine, in today’s photosynthesis, in our bodies and minds. And in the sky where it travels millions of years to our eyes.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, “Aboriginal Spirituality and the Dreamtime,” in Matthew Fox: Essential Writings on Creation Spirituality,” Charles Burack, ed., (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2022), pp. 238f.  

See also: Matthew Fox, “Creation Spirituality and the Dreamtime,” in Catherine Hammond, ed., Creation Spirituality and the Dreamtime (Newton, NSW: Millennium Books, 1991), pp. 3, 12. 

See also Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ

also Matthew Fox, Passion For Creation: The Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart, pp. 110-113.

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

Banner Image: “Dreamtime/Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park” Image by Kara Brugman on Flickr.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you see a link between Jesus’s teaching that the Kingdom/Queendom of God is with and among you and the Australian Aboriginal teachings of the Dreamtime?  What follows from that?

Recommended Reading

Matthew Fox: Essential Writings on Creation Spirituality
Selected with an Introduction by Charles Burack

To encapsulate the life and work of Matthew Fox would be a daunting task for any save his colleague Dr. Charles Burack, who had the full cooperation of his subject. Fox has devoted 50 years to developing and teaching the tradition of Creation Spirituality and in doing so has reinvented forms of education and worship.  His more than 40 books, translated into 78 languages, are inclusive of today’s science and world spiritual traditions and have awakened millions to the much neglected earth-based mystical tradition of the West. Essential Writings begins by exploring the influences on Fox’s life and spirituality, then presents selections from all Fox’s major works in 10 sections.
“The critical insights, the creative connections, the centrality of Matthew Fox’s writings and teaching are second to none for the radical renewal of Christianity.” ~~ Richard Rohr, OFM.

Creation Spirituality and the Dreamtime

Collection of essays on the relation of spirituality, the Dreaming and (Christian) theology; essays by Matthew Fox, Joanna Macy, Veronica Brady, Elizabeth Cain, Eddie Kneebone annotated separately.
Out of print; Available through Amazon and Alibris.

The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance

In what may be considered the most comprehensive outline of the Christian paradigm shift of our Age, Matthew Fox eloquently foreshadows the manner in which the spirit of Christ resurrects in terms of the return to an earth-based mysticism, the expression of creativity, mystical sexuality, the respect due the young, the rebirth of effective forms of worship—all of these mirroring the ongoing blessings of Mother Earth and the recovery of Eros, the feminine aspect of the Divine.
“The eighth wonder of the world…convincing proof that our Western religious tradition does indeed have the depth of imagination to reinvent its faith.” — Brian Swimme, author of The Universe Story and Journey of the Universe.

Passion for Creation: The Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart

Matthew Fox’s comprehensive translation of Meister Eckhart’s sermons is a meeting of true prophets across centuries, resulting in a spirituality for the new millennium. The holiness of creation, the divine life in each person and the divine power of our creativity, our call to do justice and practice compassion–these are among Eckhart’s themes, brilliantly interpreted and explained for today’s reader.
“The most important book on mysticism in 500 years.”  — Madonna Kolbenschlag, author of Kissing Sleeping Beauty Goodbye.  

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11 thoughts on “Aboriginal Spirituality, the Dreamtime, & Creation Spirituality”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, Today you ask us in our, “Queries for Contemplation”: “Do you see a link between Jesus’s teaching that the Kingdom/Queendom of God is with and among you and the Australian Aboriginal teachings of the Dreamtime?” You answer this yourself when you say, “In many ways, the Dreamtime corresponds to Jesus’s teaching that ‘the kingdom/queendom of God is within and among you.’” You also say that, “there is no word for time in the Australian Aboriginal language. Everything is always now.” And we know, Eckhart talks of living in “the Eternal now,” and so did Paul Tillich. Ram Dass and Eckhart Tolle. My wife and I have a sign on the wall across us in our bedroom that says, “Be Here Now.”
    “What follows from that?” The Kingdom/Queendom of God is already here, Now, and we are in it, but for us it is a mixed bag as what William Blake called, “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.” When you are suffering you are forced to be in the now, however, it is in those times, which we are benefitted by NOT being in the here and now, but rather in our memories and mental wanderings…

  2. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    The words that speak to me, within today’s DM are, “To understand mystical consciousness, we must sink into our OWN mystical experience… being present to seeing and hearing with our hearts… through this we become the bridge… Oneing the As Above with the So Below.”

    We are encouraged to be not afraid, but rather to surrender in trust… open in heart to our own mystical experiences… and the conscious awakening that unfolds, evolves and emerges from this. Sinking into this mystical and spiritual reality we discover the Queendom, the Kingdom… the sacred marriage, union and communion of all that at first appeared to be so incomprehensible, paradoxal, and contradictorially divisive, as seperate. The mystic, through learning to be present to the all and the everything,
    in the here and now, experiences this illusion of seperateness… dissolving into wholeness.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Ellen, and thank you for your support and I too am grateful for Matthew’s teachings…

  3. Avatar

    Beautiful Aboriginal Mystical Spirituality of the Dreamtime to help us be open to and realize the ongoing Loving Sacred Creative Process of the Oneness Present Moment within and around us, Mother Earth, and All Creation~Universe~Cosmos….

  4. Avatar

    Since I was a child I’ve understood the myth of time. I say it doesn’t exist. But I think our vocabulary—tenses, so hard to master in European languages, but ambiguous in many Eastern languages, would have to be drastically revised for our new generations to understand this.
    “I AM”
    (Not “I was” or ” I will be.”)

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Olive, You say: “Since I was a child I’ve understood the myth of time. I say it doesn’t exist.” And so I say the past doesn’t exist either, because it is only in your mind, it no longer exists, and for me its been about 66 years plus the years I couldn’t remember—my first three years of life. When I go back to a place in my memory where I want to be, sometime one can feel the same feelings, smell a smell, and not so often, feel a touch. Nostalgia can be like a drug we take to feel good and to escape, while others, sadly, have waking nightmares—but this is not wrong, because it is how we “evolved” Why? At this point a lot of people will tell you they know, but they don’t know—they couldn’t possibly know!

  5. Avatar

    When I visited my cousin in Sydney, Australia in the summer of 2019 (before the pandemic), we attended NAIDOC, an annual event of Aboriginal culture. While in Australia, we visited a national park in NSW and saw petroglyphs and cave paintings. The cosmology of the indigenous peoples of Australia is sophisticated, intrinsic to all aspects of the culture and daily life. There are many indigenous languages in Australia and beliefs, but the cosmology is a common thread in the world view. I hope that you explore this in more depth in future meditations.

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