Aboriginal people expressing spirituality
Spirituality is expressed by ceremony, rituals or paintings. It can change and has absorbed elements of other beliefs.
Wishing you knew more about Aboriginal culture? Search no more.
Get key foundational knowledge about Aboriginal culture in a fun and engaging way.
This is no ordinary resource: It includes a fictional story, quizzes, crosswords and even a treasure hunt.
Stop feeling bad about not knowing. Make it fun to know better.
Aboriginal ways to express spirituality
Aboriginal people express and identify with their spirituality in different ways. These include ceremony (corroborees), rituals, totems, paintings, storytelling, community gathering, dance, songs, dreamings and designs.
[Aboriginal] spirituality is preoccupied with the relationship of the earth, nature and people in the sense that the earth is accepted as a member of our family, blood of our blood, bone of our bone.— Mudrooroo, Aboriginal writer 
Examples of a ritual
One example of how Aboriginal people express spirituality is a ritual they do before they walk across country. To express respect for the country's spirits they perform a welcome ritual whose exact nature varies from nation to nation.
- In some NSW nations Aboriginal people put ochre on the forehead, top of the palms and chest. This signalled that they were open to receive information .
- Other NSW Aboriginal people pick up a pebble or earth, throw it into the air and say "I am John, I'm in your country, please welcome me."
- The Nyoongar in the Perth region rubbed soil into their armpits so that it would take on their smell. The soil was then released back to the land. This told the ancestral spirits about the person asking for the protection while travelling on the land .
- Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory placed a rock under their armpit and threw it into the river to let the water spirit know they were around .
A ceremony for Australia Day
Take part in an Aboriginal opening ceremony for Australia Day and watch young girls and boys performing contemporary and traditional dance moves.
Gallery:An Aboriginal ceremony for Australia Day
Riyawarray: Common Ground is a film that honours and celebrates Yolngu (Aboriginal) customary law and culture. Yolngu people's right to live their lives as free people without the inappropriate impositions of the Federal Government's emergency response the intervention.
This powerful snapshot documentary on Yolngu rites, rights and rituals as expressed through the recent Yirritja Ngarra Ceremony, was filmed in August 2008 at Milingimbi, Arnhemland, about 450 kms east of Darwin.