Saturday, September 22, 2012

yeperenye dreaming

The Book of Genesis, in the Bible, describes how the world was created.
The rest of the Bible describes how God has always existed, the parts he has played in the history of mankind, and how he still exists and interacts with mankind today.

Aboriginal Dreaming is an amalgam of stories of how the ancestor spirits created and formed the landscape, how the spirits have interacted with mankind over time, and how they still exist and continue to interact with mankind today.

Aboriginal creation stories have a great deal more detail than the creation story in the Bible, and relate quite directly to the landscape in which significant spirits reside. The spirits are the landscape.

The most striking example of this I’ve ever seen is the Yeperenye or caterpillar dreaming of central Australia, around the Alice Springs region.

What I have set out here – in sequence – is my version of how a whitefella might visualise this from spirit form to landscape.

The Yeperenye caterpillars are sometimes referred to as processional caterpillars.
  • Clip 1 illustrates how the procession begins.
  • Clip 2 provides a good example of a procession well underway.
  • The panoramic photo of the area provides a good picture of caterpillars as part of the landscape.
  • The dot painting provides an Aboriginal representation of this dreaming.

yeperenye, caterpillar dreaming
by Gavin Arabie

link to source is here

Gavin is an Aranda man, custodian for the main dreaming of Mbantua (Alice Springs): Yeperenye the caterpillar.
This work is also an Aboriginal mapping of Alice with the caterpillar on the left representing the East Mac Donnell ranges and to the right the West MacDonnell Ranges.
Flowing through the Gap, is the Todd river and the concentric circle in the middle refers to an important secret site where initiation ceremonies were performed.

[Late edit - oops, spelled the name Reperenye incorrectly in a few places. Hopefully I now have it right.]


  1. Much as I like Aboriginal art, I always have to have it interpreted for me. I haven't seen those caterpillars before.

    1. There are some symbols common to large regions, e.g. a man or a woman, but it seems that the point of the paintings is to explain or describe some aspect of dreaming, so it makes sense that Aboriginal Art often needs interpretation.

      Without the colours or modern art media, I guess that sitting around in a circle and drawing these images in the sand was the traditional education system. Not having been through this particular education system, I have lots of Eureka or Aha! moments once I hear the stories behind art.

      There are some touristy type [i.e. isn't this quaint?] signs referring to the caterpillar dreaming dotted around the Alice, but until I found clips of these caterpillars on YouTube the dreaming made no sense to me at all.

  2. Interesting how 'christian' religions take parts of myth and legend from other cultures as 'proof' that their version is correct! But why doen't they consider that their version just might be the proof that the myth is correct??!!

    1. Now my mind is racing and the floodgates are about to open. Hmm... wonder if I took my medication this morning?

      Maybe the problem is I learned it all in the wrong sequence. Firstly, heard the Christian version and was told it was true. Later found most of it had been plagiarised. Yes, that's the test. If it's been plagiarised it's been elevated to the status of truth?
      If all else fails a papal 'bull' should sort the wheat from the chaff.

      A cinnamon bun might leave a better taste in my mouth. Can I interest you in a slice? [Only with real butter of course.]

  3. I see no point in a cinnamon (or any other kind of) bun WITHOUT butter! But see comment just made (on another post) about vanilla slices ...

    I shouldn't get too emotional about religion - sometimes I realise that the comments I've made about it don't completely make sense!

    1. To whom? If your comments about religion don't make sense, wouldn't that mainly be to people who don't have their BS meter turned up high?

      Some of the recent brouhaha about atheism v religion makes for interesting reading. What part of the word "faith" don't people understand?

      Anyway, to each their own. I'm all for people's freedom to believe whatever works for them [without causing bloodshed, of course]. Your idea of heaven is a vanilla slice, while mine is a decent piece of cinnamon bun. No cause for violence there.