The Ngarakbal Githabal peoples are part of the once vast ‘Yoocum Yoocum’ Moiety….. These ancient peoples are the East Coast ‘Custodians’ of the Feathered Serpent Traditions [or, Bird Tribe Lore] which is intrinsically linked to The Seven Sister ‘Skin’ Lore of the Rainbow Serpent…..the most ancient religion on the planet
The Yoocum Yoocum are the large ‘Cultural Block’ of one of the most densely populated regions of the Australian Continent before invasion by the Crown… and, despite the aggressive invasion of the East Coast, the ancestral lore survived….it’s a wonderful thing that it did, for these people hold ancient lore that is the last piece of the puzzle to unifying many of the ancient global mysteries.
The Ngarakbal Githabal peoples are descendants of the “Carpet-snake clans” of Australia…..Their Carpet-snake [water-snake] Lore traditions and culture come from the ‘Alcheringa’ – the distant ancient ‘Dreamtime’ past….These traditions once traversed the island continent….the origin of the Rainbow Serpent Lore
The Rainbow Serpent is a most important Ancestral Being within the Yoocum Yoocum and associated aligned moieties across Australia…It governs every facet of their ‘Skin’ Marriage Lore’s of Creation and Fertility – the spiral of Birth, Death and Rebirth….Their Central Spirituality governing the ‘Cycles of all Life’…The Rainbow Serpent is intrinsically interwoven with the ‘Skin’ Marriage Lore of the Seven Sisters – Arguably the oldest Religion on the Planet…
…’…Our Rainbow Serpent Dreaming is the oldest continuous documented religious theme in the world…over 60,000 years of Women’s Lore…’…..Lorraine Mafi Williams- Widgabal – Bundjalung proper
The Lore’s begin with landscape creator journeys from the coast of the Wollumbin Caldera – the most easterly point of the ancient Australian continent – and the Lores come from the ‘Alcheringa’….This word – ‘Alcheringa’, and the Rainbow Serpent Lore, and the Seven Sisters, feature in the regional dialects of other ancestral estates across the continent….but, these traditions are not in every Aboriginal culture….Some have been replaced due to ancient invasions and wars of the distant past – They have different beliefs – creators, ancestors and cultural values – the same as different religions have spread around the planet throughout time….
The Alcheringa [Lore] once travelled right across Australia…It has been recorded as part of ‘skin’ marriage lore in several ancestral regions, including the eastern cultural blocks of the Wakka Wakka, the Gubbi Gubbi, the central New South Wales Komilaroi, and also the Urabunna and Arunta peoples in the red centre of the continent…There are also regions of the west coast moieties in the Pilbara – but the Alcheringa is certainly not limited to just these…as with all ancestral Lore, within each specific ancestral estate and with each ones specific language, the sacred sites to commemorate the ancestors creation journey are maintained and utilised by the ‘custodial’ clans…joining the creation ‘songs’ together, much like pearls on a necklace, makes the ‘songline’….and many of these ‘songlines’ are governed by celestial bodies – the transits of stars.
The east coast in Ngarakbal Githabal country is the beginning of the Alcheringa – marked by a ‘djurebil’ [sacred site] that is located high in the rainforest mountains, in the aquifer watershed of the two east coast volcano’s…This djurebil [sacred site] was created by the Carpet Snake Clan ancestors….the Carpet-snake clans are the oldest clan on the continent…the ancient ones….
The Alcheringa creation ‘songline’ travels from ancient geological sites now submerged beneath the waves of the eastern Pacific Ocean – from the distant past when the sea water was locked in ice and the land extended out much farther than it does today ….but the djurebil remains…and weaves to the west – as serpents do…it is the pathway of the Rainbow Serpent ancestor, making the water paths within the geological features as it travels….
Rainforest ridges, Mountains in their own right, once named ‘little’ and ‘big’ Buggram [Bootheram] are divided by a deep gorge that the Rainbow Serpent gouged on its journey…after creating Little and Big Bootheram it travels up – higher than Wollumbin [Mount Warning] – higher than Julgumboong [Mount Lindsay]…it creates a great Plateau “Dhungura-ngarian”, which the white man named Lamington Plateau and traveling on to Mount Worendo, where it creates a series of waterfall cascades that plunge down through the rainforest…it is there, high in the remote rugged Macpherson Ranges, of the Caldera’s rim that the highest waterfall is created…and it’s djuriebil name is ‘Alcheringa’….and it is the name of that waterfall still….
The Ancestral totemic ‘beings’ not only created the geological features and aquifer systems of the continent, but also carried and distributed objects which were the sources of ritual and tribal Lore as well as the sources of all forms of life, including the people themselves….
In the Bootheram of the ‘Alcheringa’ there exists a comparatively small number of individuals who were half human and half animal or half plant…The Ngarakbal Githabal say that these ancestors didn’t ‘come here’ but that they were ‘made here’…that they are the original Carpet-snake Clan’s…The Bootheram records them as being created by ‘God’- Babbarra is one Ngarakbal Githabal word for describing God …Duramulan is another…….
Bootheram teaches that these half-human creatures were endowed with far greater powers than any living men or women now possess. They could walk about either on the earth or beneath it and could fly through the air….They were the children of ‘God’ and had inherited a portion of the qualities of their creator…they were themselves as ‘demi-gods’…and these ‘demi-gods’ are the ancestors of the existing totemic clans ….’Family’…Ancestors… Nimbinje as the Ngarakbal Githabal call them – or the “Hairy fellas”…the original clans – Carpet-snake totemic clans – they went all over the country, creating the djurebil…making them with sacred ceremonies, songs and dances for the people to enact throughout time….
The creation ancestors, in the act of ‘creating’, would leave deposits in the ground or in some natural feature such as a rock or a water pool, which transformed the site into a djurebil…and, high on the escarpment between the two volcano lands is one such carn of boulders, which was ‘made’ by the Rainbow Serpent…and, it is in this same area that the ‘Eelemarni Marriage Lore’ is deified…joining Ngarakbal to Githabal……All Bootheram Lores link together
So, what is Bootheram?
Bootheram is the Ngarakbal Githabal dialect name for the Dreamtime LORE…or LAW of all creation…Its Spiritual, complex and parallels numerous scientific disciplines
Northern hemisphere peoples (recently) developed numerical & alphabetical values to explain time and creation of this galaxy, this solar system and this planet…Bootheram explains the same thing…
Bootheram uses plants and animals and creation Heroes and Heroines metaphorically to denote each timeframe, for each creation sequence [epoch] and ‘holds’ it orally…through ceremonial songs, dances and sacred ritual at djurebil sites
Bootheram uses the landscape and the sky as the reference points of this creation lore….a living library…written into the land and mirrored in the sky, for all to see….indelible native science held in oral format…..And it is the Lore that Bootheram must NEVER be changed…
The sum total of the Bootheram of the Ngarakbal Githabal Feathered Serpent Traditions tells the complete history of the creation of the ‘universe’ beginning with 8 culture hero’s….It is obviously metaphoric and [naturally] linked to Bird Tribe Lore…..so, let’s look at one of the metaphoric Ancestral Creator Birds…..
Bootheram has many layers of meaning…and one such layer depicts (dreaming) timeframes…Oral lore for chronological markers of ‘Bird Tribe’ Mythology events….or, Totem as a Timeline……For example….One of the Landscape creation ancestors is the Turkey – ‘Woggun’ means Bush Turkey in Ngarakbal Githabal …and Woggun the Creation Ancestor Turkeys name is ‘Wollumbin’….
‘National Landscape ©’ icon Mount Warning – Wollumbin – is a World Heritage listed Erosion Caldera – what we see today is the remnant volcanic plugs of a once vast Shield Volcano…the central plug of the caldera is, for the Ngarakbal Githabal , shaped like a Bush Turkey….Male Bush Turkeys build mounds….Shield Volcanoes are Mounds….it’s a metaphor…..’Bird Tribe’ creation Lore…..there are many more profound layers to it, but it’s not relevant to a cyber format
So…..In 1977 as part of the National Parks and Wildlife Aboriginal Site Survey of NSW, Ngarakbal Githabal ‘custodial knowledge holder’ Mrs Millie Boyd recorded the significance of Mt Warning with Howard Creamer, Anthropologist …Mrs Boyd had learnt this Feathered Serpent Lore from her Mother Charlotte Williams [nee Brown] …..Aunty Millie related the Bootheram [unchanged] of the Totemic Ancestral Birds gathering to ‘learn the lingo’ [Language]…..Then all flying from Mount Brown [which is located in the Richmond Range of Northern NSW]……….All the Birds fly from Mount Brown to claim, settle and name the ancestral tribal Totem sites in the ancient Yoocum Yoocum Landscape…….
“Turkey Flew to Mount Warning…’….Mrs Millie Boyd
Ok…so what’s the Metaphor of Feathered Serpents?
“….The birds are the Feathered Serpents, the descendants of the Goanna beings; and we are the descendants of the Bird Tribes who also come from this Bootheram… The Birds gave us our lore, land and language…. We are the Bird Tribes….”…..….Marlene Boyd – Ngarakbal Githabal – grand-daughter of Charlotte Williams…
When the Bootheram was being recorded western science hadn’t discovered that birds evolved out of dinosaurs….this has only come to light in the last decade….But the Ngarakbal Githabal descendants knew….they have always know…they ARE the Bird Tribe…..
Here is one of their Bootheram Lore’s from the Lamington Plateau of the Macpherson Ranges, which the Ngarakbal Githabal call “Dhungura-ngarian”…it was broadcast on radio in 1968 and published the same year….the ‘custodian’ relating this Bootheram was Mr James Morgan – who was another 1967 civil rights campaign “Hero of the people”….Like all the Bootheram, it sounds like a nice little story about animals…but it has profound layers….There are djurebil sites all around the ranges that were created by the ancestral Carpet -snake Clans to mark this important Bootheram…for this is the story of the first Corroboree ring….the very first one…it is a sacred story, and it must NEVER be changed
……..”In the time which is Bootharrum or the dreamtime there lived a pelican who played on a plateau.
The name of the plateau was Dhungura-ngarian, which means “where the Pelican Played”. The corroboree ring of the pelican was on the plateau of Dhungura-ngarian……”……
…”In the Bootharrum all the birds were the same colour but one day they decided that it would be much better if they were not all the same, so they painted themselves in different colours. From that time they have kept the colours they painted themselves on the plateau of Dhugura-ngarian…”..
“…The Crow painted himself black….The paint that he used was made from burnt bark of the Bloodwood tree”….
….”The parrots adorned themselves with bright paints of many colours. And all the birds chose the colours they liked best. Then the birds gathered together for a corroboree on the plateau of Dhungura-ngarian….”….
….”One day, Old Man Pelican, who was very fat, was walking away from the corroboree ring when he heard someone laughing.
“He turned around to see who was laughing and saw that it was the crow…”…
“…The crow was laughing at him, laughing at the way he walked because he was so fat….”…
….”Because the crow had laughed at him Old Man Pelican picked up a piece of the dullong and threw it at the Crow…..”…..
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