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Dreamtime Stories - the Rainbow Serpent

Here is a recount of the Aboriginal dreamtime creation myth involving the Rainbow Serpent:

In the Dreamtime all earth lay sleeping. Nothing moved. Nothing grew. One day the Rainbow Serpent awoke from her slumber and came out from under the ground.

She travelled far and wide and eventually grew tired and curled up and slept. She left marks of her sleeping body and her winding tracks. Then she returned to the place where she had first appeared, and called to the frogs, “Come out!”

The frogs came out slow because their bellies were heavy with water, which they had stored in their sleep. The Rainbow serpent tickled their stomachs and when the frogs laughed, water ran all over the earth to fill the tracks of the Rainbow serpents’ wanderings. This is how lakes and rivers were formed.

With water, grass and trees sprang up. Also all animals awoke and followed the rainbow serpent across the land. They were happy on earth and each lived and gathered food with his own tribe. Some animals live in rocks, others on the plains and others in trees and in the air.

The Rainbow Serpent made laws that they all were to obey, but some became quarrelsome and made trouble. The Rainbow Serpent said,” Those who keep my laws will be rewarded; I shall give them human form. Those who break my laws will be punished and turned to stone, never to walk the earth again.

The lawbreakers became stone and turned to mountains and hills, but those who kept the laws were turned into human form. The Rainbow Serpent gave each of them their own totem of the animal, bird or reptile from whence they came. The tribes knew themselves by their totems. Kangaroo, emu, carpet snake, and many, many more. So no one would starve, the Rainbow Serpent ruled that no man should eat of his totem, but only of other totems. This way there was food for everyone.

The tribes lived together on the land given to them by the Rainbow Serpent or Mother of Life and knew the land would always be theirs, and no one should ever take it from them.

Suggested activities:
1.After studying different creation myths from all around the world, compare and contrast them to the story of the Rainbow Serpent.
Example: In the beginning of the bible all was dark, just as in this story. Also, in the bible the snake is considered the devil, and is a villain.

2.Could you consider this myth truth? Or is it just a myth? Try to think of it from an Aboriginal standpoint.



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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 26, 2001 10:35 AM.

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