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Tingari Dreaming


Aboriginal culture locates ‘Dreamtime’ as the beginning of all knowledge, from which came the laws of existence. All activities and ways of life- ritual, ceremony and duty relate to this ‘Dreamtime’. Knowledge concerning this beginning of time is sacred and passed down from one generation to the next via ceremony, stories, dance and imagery. Everything in the natural world is a symbolic footprint of the metaphysical beings whose actions created our world. As with a seed, the potency of an earthly location is wedded to the memory of its origin.


The group of ancestral spirit beings known as the Tingari brought law and culture to the people of the Western Desert. Their journeys, important sites and activities cover a huge area stretching from Pintupi country around the Papunya region 250 kilometres west of Alice Springs southwest to the Great Sandy and Tanami deserts around Balgo Hills, and their depictions are numerous in Western Desert art.


Tingari stories are abstracted, linear depictions of journeys and sacred-secret sites and events therefore no further details are given. Generally, the Tingari men were followed by Tingari women and accompanied by novices. Their travels and adventures are enshrined in a number of song cycles. These mythologies form part of the teachings of the post-initiatory youths, as well as providing explanations for contemporary customs.