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Religion of Australia's Aborigines, based in the Dreaming. Religion involved living in agreement with the way of life ordained in the Dreaming, through the performance of rituals and obedience to the law. Through dreams and other states of altered consciousness, the living could come into contact with the spiritual realm and gain strength from it; myths, dances, and other rituals bound the human, spiritual, and physical worlds together in a single cosmic order. A child's spirit was held to come from the dreaming to animate a fetus, and a person's spiritual heritage was more important than the bond between a physical parent and child. Sacred art included tjurunga, sand and cave paintings, and paintings on bark.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Australian religion, visit Britannica.com.
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