Accessing the Eternal: Dreaming “The Dreaming” and Ceremonial Performance



Australian Aboriginal cosmology is centered on The Dreaming, which has an eternal nature. It has been referred to as “everywhen” to articulate its timelessness. Starting with the assumption that “waking” reality is only one type of experienced reality, we investigate the concept of timelessness as it pertains to the Aboriginal worldview. We begin by questioning whether in fact “Dreaming” is an appropriate translation of a complex Aboriginal concept, then discuss whether there is any relationship between dreaming and The Dreaming. We then discuss Aboriginal ceremonial performance, during which actors are said to become Dreaming Ancestors, using as a frame of reference the “flow” experience explicated by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi together with Alfred Schutz's “mutual tuning-in relationship.”