Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


The Dreamtime is the central, unifying theme in Aboriginal culture. Australian Aborigines are thought to have the oldest continuously maintained cultural history on Earth (50,000 years or more); the Dreamtime explains the origins and culture of the land and of its people.

Most Aboriginal people believe that all life as we know it today (human, animal, or plant) is part of a vast and complex single network of relationships which can be traced directly back to the great spirit ancestors of the Dreamtime.

In the Aboriginal world view, every event leaves record in the land. Everything in the natural world is a result of the actions of the metaphysical beings whose actions created the world. The meaning and significance of particular places and creatures is wedded to their origin in the Dreamtime, and certain places have a particular potency, which the Aboriginies call its dreaming. In this dreaming lies the sacredness of the earth.

The Dreamtime is the era before the Earth was created, and a time when everything was spirit and not physical. The Dreamtime still exists and can be accessed for spiritual purposes. Through the Dreamtime, it is possible to commune with spirits and decipher the meanings of omens and the causes of illness and other misfortune.

In one version (there are many, many Aboriginal cultures) Altjira was the god of the Dreamtime; he created the Earth and then retired as the Dreamtime vanished.

Alternative: Alchera (Aranda), Mura-mura (Dieri), Tjukurrpa

See also: Aboriginal mythology