Oeania

New Zealand

The Myth is how Maui fished New Zealand out of the water and he made the daylight and discovered fire.

This story is about a young boy that is called Maui who grew up in the sea with the sea god. The ancestor from the sky taught him wisdom. Then when he was big he returned to his family but his brothers didn't know him. His mum knew him and his brothers were all jealous of him. So the brothers thought that it was a bit strange that they didn't know him and his mother did.

Their mother told the two brothers to catch fish but Maui was already in the canoe playing with the fish spears. Maui went fishing with his brothers and he showed them how to make barbs on their spears so they didn't lose the fish off the end. Then he showed them how to fix their eel pots so the eels couldn't swim out. He told his brothers it was easy to make the eel trap. "You just have to be cleverer than the eels." This insult make his brothers angry and they wouldn't take Maui fishing.

So one day he hid in the boat and went fishing. Maui pulled up a huge fish. It was so big it covered the sea as far as they could see. This fish became the islands of New Zealand. The island became the home for Maui and his family and the Maoris.

They liked their new home, but then Maui noticed the people had to work fast because there were not many hours of sunlight. Maui asked his brothers to help him to slow down the sun. His brothers had seen the things Maui could do and they decided it was silly to be jealous so they agreed to help him.

With Maui's wisdom from his ancestor in the sky he could make ropes with magical powers. Maui and his brothers caught the sun in ropes and Maui wouldnÕt let the sun go until he promised to go more slowly over the sky. The Maoris liked the longer days but now they needed fire to keep them warm at night and to cook with. So Maui went through a hole in the earth to meet Mahuika who had fingernails made of fire. Maui asked her how to make fire and she gave him a fingernail. So he threw it in the sea.

But he still didn't know how to make fire. So the next day he went again and Mahuika threw a bit of her fingernail on some dry grass and the whole Earth got in flames. Then Maui asked the ancestor to help him and a huge wave went over the whole Earth. Mahuika saw the wave and just before the fire went out, she threw two sparks in a tree where they stayed until the Maoris learned to make fire with wood.

 

Australia

This is the story of Dreamtime. It comes from the Aborigines of Australia.

When the earth was new-born, it was plain and without any features or life. Waking time and sleeping time were the same. There were only hollows on the surface of the Earth which, one day, would become waterholes. Around the waterholes were the ingredients of life.
Underneath the crust of the earth were the stars and the sky, the sun and the moon, as well as all the forms of life, all sleeping. The tiniest details of life were present yet dormant: the head feathers of a cockatoo, the thump of a kangaroo's tail, the gleam of an insect's wing.

A time came when time itself split apart, and sleeping time separated from waking time. This moment was called the Dreamtime. At this moment everything started to burst into life.
The sun rose through the surface of the Earth and shone warm rays onto the hollows which became waterholes. Under each waterhole lay an Ancestor, an ancient man or woman who had been asleep through the ages. The sun filled the bodies of each Ancestor with light and life, and the Ancestors began to give birth to children. Their children were all the living things of the world, from the tiniest grub wriggling on a eucalyptus leaf to the broadest-singed eagle soaring in the blue sky.
Rising from the waterholes, the Ancestors stood up with mud falling from their bodies. As the mud slipped away, the sun opened their eyelids and they saw the creatures they had made from their own bodies. Each Ancestor gazed at his creation in pride and wonderment. Each Ancestor sang out with joy: "I am!". One Ancestor sang "I am kangaroo!" Another sang "I am Cockatoo!" The next sang "I am Honey-Ant!" and the next sang "I am Lizard!"

As they sang, naming their own creations, they began to walk. Their footsteps and their music became one, calling all living things into being and weaving them into life with song. The ancestors sang their way all around the world. They sang the rivers to the valleys and the sand into dunes, the trees into leaf and the mountains to rise above the plain. As they walked they left a trail of music.
Then they were exhausted. They had shown all living things how to live, and they returned into the Earth itself to sleep. And, in honour of their Ancestors, the Aborigines still go Walkabout, retracing the steps and singing the songs that tell the story of life.

A Rainbow Serpent Creation Story

 

The Australian Aborigines (Koories) tell of a time, or a place/time out-of-Time, known as Alcheringa - the Dreamtime.

This is where/when the creators and the heros lived, when men could change into animals, and animals could change into men. It was when the land around us was given its shape and the laws and traditions were laid down.

The Dreamtime is still with us, and if we are properly attuned we can take part in the Dreaming.

There are many Dreamtime (Alcheringa) stories, and many more versions of all those stories. What follows is my personal variation on one of the Rainbow Serpent stories.

A long time ago, in the Dreamtime, before there were men or animals, plants or any other thing, there was the Rainbow Serpent which was the mother of us all.

She moved around in the darkness before there was the sun and the moon in the sky, and created mountain ranges, and deep channels where her great body wound its way.

Where she thrashed her tail great rifts appeared, and there were great hollows where her body had lain sleeping.

After a time, the Rainbow Serpent decided that it was time to create life for the world. So at the place called Uluru (Ayers Rock), she gave birth.

She gave birth to the Frog tribe and the Kingfisher tribe. But the Kingfisher people

couldn't see to fly and the Frog people didn't have any water to live in.

The Rainbow serpent told the Kingfisher people what they must do. The Kingfisher flew up into the sky and shot down at the Rainbow Serpent's head, splitting it asunder with his long, sharp beak.

Out of her stomach leaped all the animal tribes of the world, and all the spirit beings.

The sun leaped up into the sky to light the world for the tribes, and the moon jumped up to take his place in the night sky.

The Frog tribe started singing with delight as the blood of the Serpent flowed out of her body and into the channels cut by her travels, and into the deep chasms to become the sea.

The vibrant rainbow-coloured scales of the Serpent flew up into the bright sky to become a flock of rainbow lorikeet tribe, and the image of her colours was left on the sky as the rainbow, the reminder to all the tribes of their common mother.