By Nicholas Campion
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Additional info for Astrology and Cosmology in the World's Religions
A piece of rock, or rock art, for example, might acquire power through its role in the Dreaming or by virtue of being decorated. We may never recover the full details of the diverse range of traditional Australian constellations, although we do know that they were radically different from those in other systems. Astrology was important as a means of providing information on appropriate times for different actions, but our knowledge of it is fragmentary. We have no evidence of complex, codified systems, so we assume that Australian aboriginal cosmology was pragmatic, flexible, and designed to serve human needs rather than to subject individuals to a greater cosmic scheme.
13 Feathers, though, may represent flight as much as light, and it is invariably a mistake to imagine that a symbol has only one meaning. 14 The spirit that flew across the land from the east to the west, bringing the first people to the land and creating plants, animals and landscape, was Barnumbirr, a being associated with Venus. In Western Australia, the Boorong people believed that the sun, Gnowee, was made by Pupperimbul, one of the old spirits that were removed to the sky before ordinary humans populated the earth.
For example, David Lewis claimed that “Astronomy . . ”3 This duplication is evident in the consistency of naming: The Pleiades were revered as Matariki by Easter Islanders and New Zealanders, Matali on Hawaii, and Matarii by the Tahitians. 6 The cosmology of the Pacific islands shares much with those of other cultures: The cosmos emerges from a formless void and human beings inhabit a world imbued with life, and with meaning. One of society’s main priorities, if not the main priority, was to live in harmony with the stars in order to grow crops, to sail the oceans and revere the gods and goddesses, and to observe the messages these deities sent in order to be forewarned of trouble to come.