from NewDawnMagazine Website
are the longest surviving culture on earth
with over 60,000 years of stories
known as The Dreaming.
The Dreaming is the spiritual realm
that binds the past, present and future together.
It is inhabited by incredible creatures and spirits.
At the head of this realm is the Cleverman,
a powerful man who is the conduit
between The Dreaming and the real world.
Introduction to the TV series Cleverman
The title refers to the
shamanic medicine man of Aboriginal culture who is the conduit
between the material world in which we live and The Dreaming
- or spirit world - which is the domain of supernatural creatures.
* The Hairy - also known as Yowie (Yuri) - is generally accepted to be non-human but may share a common ancestral heritage to Aboriginal Australians as well as deep respect of, and connection to, the land.
Some researchers link the Yowie and the Yeti, Sasquatch, etc., but tradition strongly suggests it normally resides in the spiritual realm of The Dreaming.
Data from British researcher Mark Evans defends a new position:
Proof is the EPAS-1 gene - a high-altitude mutation attributed to the Denisovan race - passed down to some Himalayan human races by way of interbreeding thousands of years ago.
might also apply to the Yowies of Aboriginal mythology.
They are a race of sub-humans who exhibit super-human strength and psychic abilities, however these skills are not enough to rescue them from a life of apartheid and an ever-dimming future in the internment camp known as The Zone.
As events play out, we are introduced to Uncle Jimmy, a Cleverman, as he prepares to pass the mantle to a new, unwitting initiate named Koen.
But will the new Cleverman be able to restore balance between the worlds and make things right again?
TV series creator Ryan Griffen says this portrayal,
Their future depends on a special person - a super hero - to fight against the odds and bring both worlds into balance.
Although he may be an unlikely hero, the Cleverman is a leader, a lawgiver, a healer and a magician who exists beyond the barriers of time and space and is, in many ways, immortal.
However, to understand the people's hero, first we need to look into the history of the First Australians and why the Cleverman is so important.
According to Nevill Drury and Gregory Tillett in their influential 1980 book Other Temples, Other Gods - The Occult in Australia, researchers attempted to decipher the mysteries of Aboriginal spirituality, the,
These theorists, including the eminent Australian anthropologist Prof. A.P. Elkin, realized that two important principles underlie Aboriginal Dreaming mythology:
The importance of this definition cannot be over-emphasized:
Aboriginal men are obliged to retain a link to the realm of The Dreaming - and the possibility of encountering its protean, shape-shifting supernatural beings.
Out of this obligation
grew the role of the Cleverman, or shaman, to bridge the gap between
the spiritual and material worlds.
* Descriptions of Wandjina are strikingly similar to those of the mythical Kachina, a race of spirit-people who taught the Hopi and Zuni tribes of North America, and whose appearance is akin to classic images of Wandjina, particularly those with slit eyes, small triangular mouths and feathers radiating from their heads. These characteristics are reflected in the manufacture of Kachina Dolls - a Hopi tradition employed to ensure future generations would not be scared of the Kachinas when they return, as prophesied.
Often used as supporting evidence for the 'Ancient Astronaut Theory', the Wandjina are regarded as beings of a celestial nature, creators of the landscape and its inhabitants, also acknowledged as lawgivers and educators.
They are white in appearance, often depicted with staring black eyes with no mouths.
Tradition indicates they are connected to fertility rites and are characterized as contradictory or even spiteful in their actions. This description brings to mind images of grey alien beings or the old Celtic legends of the Faery Folk of Britain and Europe.
As we will see, these
beings fit into the intriguing story of the Cleverman.
As with the social and
cultural importance of the medicine man, there are other specially
selected candidates with equally significant roles in Aboriginal
communities, such as those who 'protect' the myriad stories, acting
for the traditional 'copyright' owners.
The stories were not
Ryan's to tell, even though he may have grown up with them. Without
the required permissions there is every indication he could have
been exiled from his 'mob' to become persona non grata to his
elders, or worse.
By his very nature, the Cleverman is secretive - he preserves wisdom and powerful techniques that could be harmful in the wrong hands and minds.
Strategies are in place to protect against Western superficialities, negative attitudes, cultural exploitation, pillage and plagiarism - which plagued great Aboriginal Australians like David Unaipon and Albert Namatjira.
Therefore, it must be pointed out that this introduction to the Cleverman is not intended to take power away from the true owners of the Cleverman's stories.
Nobody questions the fact that the secrets of Freemasonry may be eluded to, but not fully disclosed, and it is not for us to question.
While Griffen's re-imagining of the Cleverman as a paranormal super hero allowed him to bypass some of the more secretive elements of the Cleverman - and there are many such secrets that cannot be discussed in public - there is much we can discuss outside the circle of initiates, and "men of high degree."
So, with great respect,
we begin our look at the man and the magic of the Cleverman. 7
The calling can take one of a few forms, all of which are recognized as legitimate from the spiritual perspective.
The mechanics behind the calling do not appear to be a function of our mundane world, and it also appears that the initiation process depends on having one proverbial foot planted firmly in The Dreaming...
There are also regional differences in the performance of these rituals, dependent on the individual characteristics exhibited by the candidate.
However, of significance to Aboriginal spirituality, according to anthropologist A.P. Elkin, was,
It was believed spirits were created in the Dream-Time by the action of some Being, and waited in sacred places,
Many observers would draw comparisons with Indian and Tibetan occult teachings, citing a possible link in the remote past between Australia and Asia.
One might expect that a
spirit Being incarnating as a Cleverman would have no conscious
knowledge of his real abilities until he started experiencing minor
miracles or paranormal phenomena during his 'amnesiac' period.
This replacement of anatomical organs for magical talismans is said to be performed by the ghost of an outstanding (deceased) person, the spirit of a culture hero or agent of 'The Great Spirit'.
During the preliminary
stages, the Cleverman-in-making might be required to sleep on the
grave of a special individual whose ghost performs the surgical
This process of reincarnation 12 might be symbolic but, with his newly replaced innards, it's a concept reminiscent of enlightened Buddhist monks who are purported to be able to produce rare gemstones from their bodies (and retrievable from the body after death).
He can appear at more than one place at any one time or disappear and re-appear in different locations.
This skill of
'omnipresence' has been demonstrated on a number of occasions to
non-Aboriginal researchers, producing dismayed reactions in the
witnesses and provoking further, serious scientific enquiry.
This skill has been
performed for thousands of years and, as mind-bending as it might
seem, has been recorded on numerous occasions.
He has the power to heal
at will but the flipside is that he can also kill at will; his
mastership in balancing the forces of light and darkness proves that
absolute power does not need to corrupt absolutely.
This kind of magic is not exclusive to the Australian shaman:
In fact, this type of 'malevolence' exists universally wherever there is a tradition of magic.
As with voodoo, it is often explained as a psychosomatic process whereby the magic power comes into effect once the recipient gains awareness of the hex or malediction placed upon them.
In the case of the
Aboriginal shaman, it needs to be clarified that 'pointing the bone'
is not used for petty, personal gains because this invokes stronger
paranormal forces against the user and is not the behavior of a
Familiars are also employed when a Cleverman needs to obtain information, however, to do this he must first be in the correct state of awareness to receive such information.
This would be in the form
of a trance-like state or a dream-sleep which enables him access to
other worlds - a technique reminding us of modern day practices to
As to whether this process refers to his spirit in the sense of an external entity symbiotically connected to his essence, or whether his own internal spirit is somehow manifested into an externalized existence by internal vibrational forces, is not defined.
The ability of the shaman to,
To differentiate between the different aspects of the shaman's out-of-body experiences, Elkin points out that in some cases,
As reported in The Sun newspaper in 1969, 16 blood transfusions were part of the medicinal responsibilities of the Kimberley shaman, the barnmunji.
The extraction process was allegedly made possible by use of a thin, hollow reed inserted into a vein of the middle or inner arm.
Transfusions were performed only in extreme circumstances or to transfer the blood of the young to an elder who required revitalization or sustenance.
The knowledge to do this precludes an understanding of blood types and donor selection, direction and flow of blood, and an awareness of the functions of the various bodily organs, as well as hygiene.
Research has shown that transference of blood could also occur orally.
The general knowledge of
transfusions in Aboriginal society pre-dated the 17th
century Western discovery of transfusion by thousands of years!
As to whether the Wandjina - the spiritual agents of a greater power - take part in the actual mechanics of paranormal events or conform to roles as overseers or regulators, is a fact we may never know.
However, it has been surmised the Cleverman does not work alone, that his partners reside in The Dreaming, and assist only those humans who are initiated and have attained the highest levels of spiritual awareness.
Recognizing the rich
cultural heritage of this land and its Original inhabitants is
unifying for all Australians - and there is much for us to learn and
experience that can bring us closer together.
He has survived the white man's tyranny, and massive social and cultural upheaval.
His survival is made possible because he performs his duties in plain sight, donning the costume of the everyman in the everywhen.