I chose this heading pic because it has to be said that if you stand too close to the serpent, you are bound to get burnt. So what has the serpent have to do with Religion, or even Lore?
That question always amazes me and it can be simply explained to many in pointing out that there were four people in the Garden of Eden, the place where it all began in many religions. There was Adam and Eve or Man and Woman by another name, these two characters or their progeny are the two entities that most religions are singularly focused on. There was God or he who was/is the ‘superhuman’ figure or the creator (generally of some human form) and who is generally considered to be largely unreachable unless through an intermediary ie a church or prophet (or sons of God) etc and then … there was the Serpent.
I live with a religious bloke and I love him dearly, but I am not of a religious bent. In my life-long research into the religions of the world, theology and philosophy, all of which have been an interest of mine for my entire life, I have come to appreciate the differences between Lore and Religion.
I am a layperson in these studies. I tampered with formal studies on the subject of Religion and found that they were very formal and not at all spiritual and they did not answer the many questions and curiosities, which led my thoughts into the avenues and studies I found fascinating. I must add that I have yet to find a religion that answers my religious needs, or satisfies my curiosities and spiritual needs and is not corrupted or downright corrupt.
I don’t beat a common drum. People however do continue to try and “save” me from myself an exercise I find wholly useless.
While exploring for answers for the curiosities of my mind I did find however that I was more attracted to lore, than I was to religion. There are differences, which few even realize. Lore is a way of life, a way of living and is traditionally passed along by word of mouth and by a measure of rationale. Religion is a belief in a super-human or super-entity, a personal God where religious practices or beliefs are common to a group. You can by the way, follow a Lore and believe in a God or vis-a’-vis, though when being a follower of a Religion you accept the need for an intermediary.
The Traditional Australian Aboriginal groups or tribes, mobs by another name did not follow any religion; it was only after colonization 200 odd yrs ago that they were even exposed to the religions based on the need for a mediator, which had been with man from its social infancy for some 5,000 yrs or more. Or put another way, once there was a social currency be it money or trade, Religion was born and to this day remains based in accumulated wealth in exchange for mediation and the promise of grace.
Instead, the traditional Aboriginal Australian lived by an ancient Lore that had a history, one that had been born and delivered and developed over some 50,000 years. 50,000 years is a LONG TIME for any culture to survive. It is the oldest surviving culture in the world today.
They didn’t worship the Serpent or indeed any idols or tenets of sectorial creeds, they merely learnt how to live with the knowledge gifted them by the Spirit that was intrinsically part of the world around them. The Australian Aborigine had a highly developed spiritual base, which was connected to their country into which they were born and to their lives and experience. They did not war over country or religion, to do so would have abused their very spiritual and social base. That in itself is one of the most commendable aspect of their Lore unlike the practices around the rest of the so called “civilized” world.
They did not worship the spectre of wealth and influence, nor strive to accumulate possessions over and above those around them. They had a highly developed Lore of sharing and prosperity for everyone metred under strict codes. Unlike the Churches and Religions of the “civilized” world they did not accumulate wealth or property at the cost of their people, lives, liberty and freedom. Religious persecution was a mystery to them and alien to their lives until colonization.
I must admit that even when it comes to the strict interpretation in the meaning of the words… Lore seems more practical and less formally indoctrinated by its very nature and essence. It is certainly less commercially based and generally better fills the criterion of a ‘spiritual life’ better than does Religion.
I do not advocate that their Lore and their society was without its problems, it too suffered from the abused based around gender and ego but the basics in Lore by which they conducted their lives was one to be admired I have found, above many and most others.
Many years ago I began to study and research the Lore prevalent across Australia, you could say that I grew up with it and with an intrinsic awareness of what ‘belonging to country’ meant. Aboriginal Lore was that which had survived and thrived once in a culture, which was the oldest surviving culture in the world and I discovered that it was one of the most beautiful of Lores, one steeped in poetry and story. An oral history that was absolutely fascinating to my questing mind. Since this discovery of Lore, and continuing even today I am still fascinated by what is a Lore told by some of the most poetic of legends and histories.
To understand Australian traditional Lore you need also to have an appreciation of the traditional culture and it is this appreciation, which led to the writing of The Dreaming Series of books.
Without this understanding, the oral stories and histories seem fantastical and even whimsical. In writing the fictional tales told in these books I wanted to bring to my readers and to the new children of this land Australia, to this country, a perception of what was an ancient and picturesque history. This history has been recounted in stories told within the bounds of Lore and life, in what I consider to often be an ancient and beautifully prose. Stories and morals passed down in a entertaining way within a long oral history, around campfires since the beginnings of modern man.
I invite you to travel along this same path of interpretation and discovery. I invite you to explore these tales born within a study of traditional culture told within the binds of love and lore.
There are four books in The Dreaming Series and each is a tale in its own right, each book will stand alone as a story but the four books will complete the journey for you, leading you into a world which few truly understand and appreciate. It will enrich your experience of ancient Australia and invite you to discover more. I invite you to meet and slowly discover more about the Serpents of a truly ancient Lore of my country Australia.
This article is a repost. See the Authors Archives
To read more travel tales, or explore the world of the Australian Aboriginal Shaman told in a fictional tale and to discover other works on traveling around Aus. visit my web at http://janhawkins.com.au and check out the discounts available for my readers and friends on ‘Where to find Jans Books’.
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- Ghosts, Shades and Creatures of the Underworld (janhawkinsau.wordpress.com)
- How aboriginal Australians coped with the last ice age (sciencedaily.com)
- The Lore of the Dreamtime (janhawkinsau.wordpress.com)