Tools and Practices of The Australian Featherfoot Lore

Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 7.12.19 amThe Featherfoot, or Kadaitcha Man of Australian Aboriginal Lore used many tools and weapons in the practice of their Lore. These men and women were named the Featherfoot by anthropologists because of the use of their specialized shoes. These shoes were intricately and ritually made primarily of feathers and it is said that these shoes allowed the Kadaitcha Man to move across the ground without leaving a trail. These Men of high degree and specialized knowledge were highly regarded and respected throughout tribal Australia. However the sectorial religions feared their influence during the colonization of Australia in the colonial century and denigrated their place in society in an effort to minimize their power and control over the people of the tribes across Aus.

The sectorial religions, which arrived into Australian Society in the 1800’s did this in an effort to impose their own sectorial controls over the people, all Australians, and hopefully destroy the controls practice and born in tribal Aus. since the very beginning of time. A time that predated religious practices imported from another world by many tens of thousands of years.

The Kadaitcha were the Lore men and women of their society. They ensured the balance of their world and would act to maintain that balance, dealing with Lore breakers in matters of a Tribal Lore, which ruled their society and their Country. Even today they are respected and feared for their strengths and deeds, though they are much fewer in number now than they have ever been since the Dreamtime.

eyeAs with all societies, the Kadaticha or Featherfoot men were men of varying skills and strengths. Their Lore was one that required a continuance of practice and degrees of initiation. They rarely acted on their own and it was common to have a partner in practice as found under the tenets of their Lore. They followed strict protocols, which governed them and the practice of their Lore and although it is not recognized they rarely acted on their own.

The most commonly recognized practice is known as ‘pointing the bone’, which could condemn a person to death or sickness. However the intervention of another Kadaitcha man or woman might remove the ‘curse’.  This was and is the most feared practice of the Kadaitcha Man who could appear to act as both judge and jury in matters of the Lore but it most certainly is not the only ritual punishment that could be imposed as will be seen in the upcoming series ‘The Spirit Children’.

In reality the Kadaitcha observed strict rules and protocols under their Lore. For example, the pointing of the bone required a long and intricate preparation beforehand, often involving the Kadaitcha man and his companion. Things were not done out of hand and without due consideration and respect for traditional and ritual practice under their Lore.

In the stores of The Dreaming Series, which deals with the traditional Lore of Australia in fictional tales, I have tried to bring to the reader and understanding of this ancient Lore. Beginning with book 1, the reader is introduced the day to day practice of the Lore and as you progress through the four stories of the series, you learn gradually to appreciate the nuances of this ancient Lore. Each book is a separate story but the series has one contingent, which is a gradually unfolding tale that is Tom’s story. Tom is a young boy, becoming a man within his Lore and his journey is told throughout the series, culminating in book 4, which is his story of a journey into the Lore of the Kadaitcha. You can find information on the stories and books on The Dreaming Series page.

While the Aus. traditional Aboriginal people did not have kings, queens and emperor’s and the like they did have a profound respect for spirituality and a profound link with their Country. They were and even today identify with Country, theirs, the place of their birth. It is a long held tradition of the land, one that even today finds a place in the heart of many Australians regardless of skin tone or colour. It is born of the land and is essentially the spirit of the land.

It is rarely appreciated that the old structure of their society was egalitarian and while it often suffered as others with gender inequalities, it also allowed the emergence of females beyond the constraints of their culture. Within their stories told around the campfire often, which in part teach the practices of the Lore and their foundation of their culture, you can find the female playing a primary role. Such as with the Unthippa women of central Australia who not only bought the initiation right of circumcision and subincision to the men, but also bought the gift of fire and other legacies. The Illaparinja, or women of the Kadaitcha were a Lore unto themselves and highly respected though much more secretive than their men folk as with much of what is women’s Lore.

What is fascinating about the Lore of the old tribal Australian structure is despite the reality that there are in excess of 250 language groups, these spread across a vast continent and archipelago, they did have what was a common Lore in large, along with common practices which it is believed travelled along the song lines and trade routes of ancient Australia for tens of thousands of years.

Many comparisons can be found across this broad demographic in the Lore of the mobs of tribal Australia, despite their differences in languages and the often, subtle variation in the practice of their Lore. The Kadaitcha, Illaparinja, Karadji ect. were known by many other names across the continent and when using the word Kadaitcha or Karadji and other names in the stories told in the Dreaming Series, I have done so to identify a group under the Lore more so than titles which vary. Kadaitcha, or Featherfoot used many tools and weapons in the practice of their Lore and most fascinating to me were those available on display in the museums across Aus. today. A visit to the Sydney Museum Indigenous galleries will surprise you in the many tools and weapons used by the old Australian Aboriginal culture. The most valued was the churinga, which his often a shield or board of high spiritual significance, endowed by the Dreamtime spirits, but which could also be a tool or weapon or even an item of clothing.

The didgeridoo is of course the most globally recognizable tool or instrument of the Australian Aboriginal, however the whip, torches carefully and delicately structured, and fine hunting and fishing tools often come as a surprise. Few realize that the whip was originally an aboriginal weapon that went on to develop as the Australian stock whip. Even to this day a small whip, concealed and carried by some Aboriginal men is still a remnant of tribal Lore and is a personal item greatly feared by their women for its spiritual significance.

Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 8.34.10 amThe best of Aussie stock whips was, and still is made of kangaroo hide carefully prepared and intricately plaited. It has now been adapted and is widely used in the control of cattle, but the whip in many forms has always been a weapon of many Aboriginal men, particularly the Kadaitcha men who would use the whip in ceremony.

My own research into the tools and practices of tribal Australia has unveiled many surprises and it is my hope that one day these things will be known and appreciated by all Aussies, as they should be as our national tribal heritage.

CoversIf you would like to begin your journey in discovering what you can about the Ancient Lore of Australia I would like to offer you Book 1, Shadow Dreaming for $1 which you can download from Smashwords in many different digital book formats. Just use the discount code of YH84R, which is a special offer unique to this Blog. This offer will only be active until the end of June 2014. You can find discounts also on my web page HERE for print copies.

I hope you enjoy the journey. Please pop over to the dedicated Facebook page for the Dreaming Series and join me on my journey into a truly ancient world.

Happy reading!

2 thoughts on “Tools and Practices of The Australian Featherfoot Lore

    • To equate the question into a ‘Westernise’ query it would present as “Medical or Doctor, which term is correct?”

      Both is the answer.

      Kadaitcha is a collective term, referencing a set of skills and qualifications, hence you will hear the term Kadaitcha Man. Karadji is a singular qualification as is Doctor. There are over 250 Aus’ Aboriginal Language groups and each will have a variation of these terms and others, however there are common meanings across the tribal groups and Kadaitcha crosses many of these language groups though the spelling will vary. None of the old tribes used a written language though there was a method of messaging common using symbols and pictographic etc that allowed communication and trade across extremely long distances so the correct spelling in hugely varied. In my references I tend to use the Australian colonial English. e.g…. Nullarbor, Nullabor, Nullabour … which is correct? The original reference is Nullabor.. strictly this is spelt wrong as the strict English/Latin would Nullarbor. In England, in translating and publishing the journal reference they thought they would correct what they saw as a spelling mistake. The real name used for tens of thousands of years by the tribes was Ondirri Plain which is descriptive of the region in the common tribal language.

      It is a complex question, but a good one. But you should always remember that prior to colonisation there was no such thing as the written language in Australia and most of the convicts and administrators could neither spell nor write in the tradition of the time.

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