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Myth / Aboriginal Australian Myths

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The Dreaming
The traditional stories of the Aboriginal peoples of Australia.

The time before the Europeans come to Australia, though some particular myths have told the story about a white man that came to their land, bringing either great things or great harm. While the myths as a whole tend to be rather diverse, there are some common elements among the various Aboriginal myths.

Each group has different myths, so they will vary depending on which region said group is from.

A collection can be found here and another here.

Writers who are thinking of incorporating these myths into their works should be aware that some Aboriginal people feel that a form of "cultural copyright" exists on their traditional stories, and may object to them being used by someone from outside their tribe or culture. Always talk to Elders (the leaders of Aboriginal communities); most are willing to help you sort out kinks in your stories.



  • Animal Motifs: A lot. A notable one would be the "Rainbow Serpent"
  • Blow You Away: The Crow in Kulin Nation myths is in charge of the winds. With this, he accidentally blew away the creator, Bunjil and his family into the sky.
  • Creating Life Is Awesome: The sun goddess Yhi's motivation until she started hearing complaints from her creations.
  • Creation Myth: Like most oral traditions, it has one — actually loads. Known as "Dreaming". There is also the story of Baiame, who created the world.
  • Determinator: Wilkuda, a young boy who tracked down a kangaroo for many days before finally killing it with his dog.
  • Divine Birds: Several cultures hold that the kookaburra's laugh makes the sun rise (there's an entire book about it too) and in Southeast cultures it is believed that the sun is an emu's egg. Emus are also associated with the sky gods such as Altjira, which has emu legs. Meanwhile, the black duck is the sacred animal of the Yuin.
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  • End of an Age: In the Lake Eyre myths, the deserts of Central Australia used to be a much more fertile place. This myth has basis in fact. When humans first arrived in Australia, it was wetter and heavily vegetated. A combination of climate change at the end of the Ice Age and fire farming led to Australia's desertification.
  • The Ferryman: The Larrpan of Yolngu culture.
  • Gender Bender: Ungud, a snake god who is associated with the fertility of a tribe's shaman
  • Light Is Not Good: Bila, the sun goddess of the Adnyamathanha. She's a cannibal that roasts her victims over a fire; that's where sunlight comes from.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: In Queensland the sun goddess is said to have many arms, representing her searing sunbeams. Other versions of this tale claim its her pubic hair instead.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The Yara-ma-yha-who, who didn't drain blood for sustenance, but to keep its victims weak. Instead, it ate the person, and regurgitated them after some time, leaving them slightly redder than before. This process is repeated until the victim becomes a Yara-ma-yha-who themselves. Also, they were diurnal.
  • The Power of the Sun: The sun is Always Female in Aboriginal Australian myths, and the sun goddesses tend to have important roles in their myths.
  • Trickster Archetype: Bamapana, the trickster god from tales of the Yolngu people.
  • Women's Mysteries: Some of the myths and rituals may only be known to women, or only to men. Others may be known to everyone in the tribe, but only ever allowed to be recited by one gender.


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