In my study of the Oruncha Spirit Men I have come to appreciate that they are a powerful force to be reckoned with. There are two concepts of who or what the Oruncha Men were (or are). They are a tribal men, who lived apart from their tribe at times and practice their lore, not unlike the Kadaitcha men.
The Kadaitcha and/or Featherfoot are also men of power and authority, men who enforced the Lore of the Spirit world in their deeds and who are feared by the tribes and mobs of traditional tribal Australia. Even to this day they are feared by many of Aboriginal descent.
These three groups of men, the Kadaitcha, the Featherfoot and the Oruncha men attend to the tenets of the Lore-givers, or the Spirit Creatures and Creator beings of the Dreamtime. The role of the Kadaitcha or the Featherfoot is to uphold the Lore in the real world. It is however the Oruncha Spiritmen who inhabit, or are solely identified as the inhabitants of the sacred caverns. A place which the Kadaitcha and Featherfoot merely visit when occasion requires it.
The Oruncha are believed to be men more spiritual than physical. The Kadaitcha were the more physical representatives who lived in the open, out under the glare of the sun rather than in the shadows of the caverns. It are the Oruncha Spirit men, who are also Lore keepers, who live in the caverns and shadows who have most fascinated me and who I have focussed on in the upcoming ‘Spirit Children Series’. I first mention them fleetingly in my novels of ‘The Dreaming Series’ though the Kadaitcha men are the focus of that series.
The Oruncha Spirit Men of the caverns have been an elusive mob to find. Information about them has largely been lost and you can find only flashes of their history and deeds, which can turn up often unexpectedly. These things are strongly linked to the Serpents of Australian Aboriginal Lore, which we tend to identify as The Rainbow Serpent, but which were much more complex and diverse in their existence than we are led to understand today.
Common to the legends and stories I have heard and studied from many sources, and which I continue to study with a delighted fascination, is their elusive nature. These Oruncha Spiritmen inhabit the caverns of the underground and they can initiate the Shaman of Aboriginal Lore being that they are considered the strongest of the Lore-keepers.
I have found that there are three ways of becoming a Shaman and each requires the guidance of mentors and Lore men. The first is to be born to a bloodline and be initiated into the mystics of the Lore by Elders and fathers in stages, worthy of the recipient. It was in this way that many of the strongest families of the Lore passed down the sacred objects, dance steps and songs and spiritual gifts. The strength of their powers were buried in these initiations, though in time the power of sacred objects and the knowledge in the dance and song were returned to the earth as there was deemed no longer any worthy initiates able to take the knowledge and power of this ancient Lore unto themselves.
The remnant ‘churinga’ or sacred objects of these powerful men can be found scattered through museums in Australia, their true power no longer inhabitant within the object on display. It is believed that by 1930 many of these powerful men, or men of high degree no longer lived amongst us, their strength lost to a world grown more material and banal.
The second way to becoming a Shaman was to be seen as a child to have the unique attributes common to the Lore men and to be recognized, trained and gifted by the Elders in matters of the Lore. The third is to be taken by the Oruncha Spirit Men during ceremony and to be gifted in various ways, with the powers and gifts of the Lore. This was done during initiation ceremonies and is considered the most powerful of the ways to becoming a Shaman. Young initiates were left near the sacred caves and caverns in the hope that the Oruncha Spirit men might choose them worthy of their spiritual gifts.
The Oruncha men are the Lore-keepers also and they, themselves, are a mystic breed or race about which it is hard to find information today as information on their lore is held sacred, if it even continues to exist.
I have a belief that there are threads of commonality throughout religions and lores found throughout the world. If we are to accept that our basic threads of faith, belief, religion or lore are born of our very existence then we need to believe that they have a basic and common source. What history has made of these things in different societies down through time is open to interpretation. But what these beliefs are, or the foundation for these beliefs were, should have a common source.
In my research I attempt to step back beyond the development of civilizations some 5,000 years ago when there was the introduction of commerce and its marriage with religion and look at the possible foundation of mankind’s social development and back into our spiritual development.
Australian Aboriginal Lore is unique in that it has had very little influence from the rest of the world and it is readily acknowledged that it dates back to the dawn of man and his very first migrations some 50,000 years ago. It alone has developed singularly across a continent in time, a civilization or collective and interactive racial group, spread across the vast areas of the Australian continent. These groups were collectively isolated from the rest of mankind just like a society settled in or just outside of the garden of Eden, similar to that found in the annuls of Christianity and yet they have common threads in culture and the practice of their Lore across vast regions. This interestingly leads you quite naturally to what the base interpretation might have been of what was the ‘original sin’ of mankind for the world (just as an aside thought).
Trade with Asia undoubtably occurred as trade routes and song-lines existed across the vast continent but as the Tribal Aborigine valued little of the material world, they instead would gather what others valued and use this in trade for mostly practical items they might find useful. They instead had a very spiritual presence and belief and valued spiritual things over the physical world. They saw themselves as part of the spiritual world, not the physical and balance in all things in their world was essential to their wellbeing and this was of a community and individual concern. This was something that the Whitefella and Yellafella didn’t understand or appreciate at all in the era of trade and colonization.
In attempting to unravel the tenets of the Lore of the Oruncha Spirit men I have stepped back into the foundation of other beliefs as their Lore is sacred and secret and much has been lost through the ignorance of other more dominant civilizations who submerged and subverted the Aboriginal Tribes in our most recent history. This step in research has taken me back into the Indian legends, the Celtic and Druidic tales and the Norse histories along with Asian deities and others, here I sorted for threads of commonality.
In my research I was looking for Lore men (and women), law-givers and entities who were the foundation of knowledge and what I found was really fascinating. It led me into another world, another possibility and a new understanding in legendary history or pre-history. It led me to write The Spirit Children collection of tales as an interpretation of what I found, the stories of which I hope to release in 2014.
The first chapter of the first of the stories, The Lands Edge can be previewed at Wordpad.com. Originally titled ‘Song of the Serpent’ it has undergone a title change due to reader input and I would enjoy your comments as well. I hope you will step with me as we discover these new histories together and peel back the annuls of time and legend, revealing a new world, one hidden in plain sight. I very much enjoy bringing to your thoughts the concept and practicalities applied to the contemporary world, of a truly ancient and rich Lore, wrapped within the pages of fiction and adventure.
For further reading on Australian Tribal Aboriginal Lore see under the tab above: Australia an Ancient Land and join me in my journey of discovery of the ancient Lore.