Kunapipi, the Great Mother, came out of the vast ocean on to the skin of the Earth when all the work inside it had been completed. She went immediately to Uluru Rock, Ayer’s Rock, the massive red belly button of Father Earth, and put her ear close to hear the whispered instructions of what she must do next.
She told Earth that she was afraid of losing her soul and could think of nowhere to keep it safe. Earth told her that he would keep her enormous soul completely safe inside his own body, and that now she must start to stock his skin with great supplies of everything needed.
He told her that she must travel around and decide which animals or plants or Land form or weather each different place needed, and as she went about her tasks she must sing their names loudly so that he could hear them. Then, when she was satisfied that she had all the supplies she wanted, she must go about creating humans.
Earth was adamant that before she did that she must make sure that each human she wanted to create had an animal or plant or Land form or weather which would carry around its soul, as he carried hers. He knew that humans would be too busy with all the speaking and singing to be responsible for their own souls. Father Earth and the Great Mother must be sure that their souls were safe.
As Great Mother embarked upon the enormous tasks Earth had given to her, she kept his words in her head and on her lips always. ‘Create only what you need!’ When she was not busy providing everything, she began experimenting with the creation of humans by transforming herself into two twin sisters. She christened them the waxan’wane sisters, and thought of them by her side when she came out of the Vast Ocean.
They were to keep her company as she travelled north, helping her to carry all theknowledge of ritual and fertility. Then, as proof of her expertise in design and selection, she would make them both pregnant. They would each give birth to Great Mother’s first humans, becoming pregnant again and again, and in time they would show those first Humans how to make others themselves.
An important part of the Great Mother’s plan was that the animals and plants and Land forms and weather she created must provide certain things for Father Earth. First, food, and warmth when the planet became cold, and shade in the desert heat. Second, bones and teeth, feather and fur, for all the rituals these humans must practise.
She especially knew that humans had to be very carefully planned for because they would not have claws and thick fur, and so they were fragile out in the Lands. Their skin was hairless and their tongues and eyes were different, containing messages to be transmitted.
But their main task was to communicate Earth’s enormous soul stored in the Milky Way, and to communicate her own soul stored deep inside Earth’s body, to each other and to all other beings. It was decided then that humans were special enough to sing the songs of the Milky Way, and to paint sacred pictures to decorate Earth’s skin with. They were to be the creative children of Father Earth who would, with life’s experience of communication and society, in time develop great wisdom. This was what the great father wanted more than anything.
One day as experiments were going so well with human design, Mother decided to create a brother for the waxan’wane sisters; she called him djanggawul, calling out his name proudly to Earth. His role was very important as he was to be their midwife and deliver their first babies.
She made him huge and strong so that he could do everything the waxan’wanes wanted while they were busy with the new designs. When the sisters were ready to give birth, djanggawul would roll up his sleeves and reach deep inside their wombs to bring out numerous children, both boy children and girl children.
Djangawul gathered up all their many children and as they travelled through many different Lands he would leave a child behind to carry on the work of spreading tribal knowledge. In this way the waxan’wanes and their brother djanggawul helped Great Mother populate Earth’s skin, and so it was that women possessed all the sacred knowledge of religion and culture that the humans needed, and men were their strong dedicated slaves. In fact, the Great Mother and the sisters did not even tell djanggawul these sacred secrets. He was simply their assistant.
Earth looked on and was pleased with Great Mother’s work. Next, he told her to choose the best of each species she created and make them into Sky Heroes so that they could help her with all of the great teachings. The Sky Heroes lived in the Dreaming in the tops of the highest trees where they could easily get in and out of the great hole in the Sky, which led to the Milky Way.
It became clear that because humans had a special mission, they needed many rules and songs. Rainbow Snake was the first Sky Hero Mother created. He was in charge of making valleys and plains by slithering around with his vast belly, and helping to create the weather with his lightning tail.
Baru, crocodile man, created Fire by accident during a ritual when he thrashed his tail violently around. He was frightened at first, but soon he followed its trail across the Land. This way he met up with lots of different clans which the waxan’wanes had started, and learned how to burn the Land to make plants and trees more fertile. Wititj, the black python, sucked up all the waters of lagoons and then sprayed them as torrential rain on the desert Lands to put out the fires he made, and to moisten the parched Lands, dried out by the massive Heat of Great Mother’s enthusiastic Sun. Wititj invited the lightning men to help his huge rains by making bright flashes of light. And there were many more Sky Heroes who worked together to make Earth’s skin a wise and fertile place.
But each year, baru, crocodile man, made more and more Fire until the Land was completely parched. Mother could not stop him and he couldn’t stop the sparks caused by his tail. Life became impossible without Water because the desert was so hot and dry. All the trees and plants started to die and scream with thirst.
Mother was afraid that she had not quite got her design right, so she worked away trying to improve it. Meanwhile, the waxa’nwanes and djanggawul had an idea. They called together all the children they had produced from every corner of the country to help them bring on the Wet season earlier. Witijij needed a lot of encouragement to suck up enough water to make the Lands cool again at this time.
They all arrived and got to work building bonfires and cooking wonderful foods; emu and bandicoot were their favourites. Everyone was very busy with the preparations for the grand ceremonies that would make everything fertile once more. Djanggawul was in charge of the men and boys. He showed them how to shape sacred pieces of the casuarina tree into curved boomergangs with axes made of stone.
He had made a giant one himself as a model, so proudly demonstrated how powerful it was, whirring round through the air and accurately hitting the target he had chosen. He taught them to chip away with their stone axes, the chips of wood flying out, until they had flattened the sides and made fine points at each end.
As they worked, he sang with his rich bass voice songs of their travels all over the Lands. Songs of how he and his sisters had made their own fertility rites until the people were old enough to join in. He showed them his huge penis with which he had given his sisters pleasure, and they had all become more and more excited as they saw the storm clouds gathering. They had danced and laughed and sung at the tops of their voices when at last the rains came.
The waxan’wane sisters took all the women and girls aside and showed them how to prepare paint from the red Earth by pounding away to make it into a thick paste mixed with honey or blood. They taught them how to make small boomerangs shaped indifferent way from the men’s. The women would use these to kill smaller animals and birds, learning how to skim Father Earth’s skin.
Then the waxan’wanes talked to them about Great Mother’s new design for producing babies. When they were ready to make their own baby, they must go to Jundal Gianga, Mother’s new assistant. She would choose a baby for them and then set about finding a father and matching up all the thunthunie, all the totems, for each of them. As Earth had insisted, they must each have an animal or a plant or Land form or weather to keep their souls safe.
Now Great Mother had finished her system of soul-keepers for all the humans. She had also devised an intricate system of clans, all of which spoke in a different language, and each one had strict rules about who they should marry. The waxan’wanes began to explain this to the women and girls even though they were not certain they understood it themselves. Soon Mother arrived and complimented the sisters on their idea to speed on the Wet season to cool down the desert.
Even though she was so hot and thirsty, she set about explaining her design to them. Soon they all knew who they should marry and who they should not mix with, and how their partner was chosen so that the thunthunie were compatible and shared the same colours. She explained how some of the women would share their husbands with another wife or maybe two, so that the balance was right. It was very complicated and the women and girls, and the waxan’wanes listened with great patience.
As soon as they understood everything, the waxan’wanes informed them that during the rites and rituals that were about to take place, there were no rules about who they could mix with. The women became excited about the prospect of experiencing pleasure with someone outside their clan. They admired how Great Mother understood their nature. She knew that if strict rules were enforced there would be a strong temptation to break them, and what better time than during these joyous celebrations for the fertility of Earth.
Mother wanted all the humans to join together in a climax of torrential rain during which all the Sky Heroes from the Dreaming would show them sacred love. They would all join in together. Barama flying ant, baru, crocodile man, honey ancestors, the lightning men, the mimi spirits, wadi nintuka – man lizard, purukuparli and bima, witti, tingari and yingarna. And many more.
So the songs began. The chips of wood flew into air as the men sharpened their boomerangs. The women danced the fertility dance the waxanwanes had taught them, moving their buttocks from side to side, up and down. The great Fires burned and the sumptuous aromas of cooking were heavy in the night air.
Soon it was time for the youngest women to take their places standing in a line, for they must be initiated. They chattered excitedly in many dialects, their tongues flickering between their lips. The men joined them, and so the slow speaking and flashing of eyes, the twisting of tongues and the great search for attractive qualities began openly and smoothly. Meanwhile the waxan’wane sisters and Great Mother welcomed the Sky Heroes as they began to arrive, and eventually they all sat down to watch the ceremony. All except wittij, the great Rainbow Serpent. He would arrive later.
Djanggawul led the men with his huge erect penis. They had pounded their own ochre and mixed it with saliva, and then painted their clan lines across their chests and necks. The women had pounded their ochre and mixed it with their blood, and now had painted their breasts and buttocks with the clan lines which Kunapipi had given to them. All the time their buttocks were moving from side to side, slowly, slowly up and down, and their feet stamping in the red Earth.
The preparations were complete. It was time for everyone to move into the nonggaru, the Ring Place where all the fertility rites would take place. But before this the waxan’wanes asked everyone to come together for the Great Mother wanted to talk to them. She appeared standing on the red rock overlooking the nonggaru. She was small and neat, and spoke in a quiet sweet voice like galas perched up in the mulga trees.
‘My children, I am pleased with you. I am pleased with all my designs so far, although I am sure there will be things I have overlooked. When the time comes, we can change those things. You have seen how Earth has provided this wonderful place for us. You have seen how all animals and plants and land forms and weather I have made love to make Earth happy.
You too must continue to make Earth happy. You must listen carefully to his needs and always respect the stories. And you must listen to and respect each other so that we can all live in the universe community.
Earth and I made you to step out of his rich black Heart. Your black and white beautiful souls will last forever, journeying all around Earth’s soul, learning, celebrating, making campfires and singing. He loves your song. Your heart is his, and his is yours. He knows each one of you, so you are not separate from Earth ever. And you are not separate from me. Sun and Moon rise and set inside you.
Tides and estuaries come and go there. You take in the air provided by Earth, and blow it out again, feeling your body move against Sky, land, and under cool green Waters. You take in Earth’s sounds and he takes in your shouts and sighs, your speaking and singing. And then you step back inside his skin to be still and sleep and dream and love. Do not forget that you are all as important as each other in my great plan. No one has more or less. You are all equal.’
She walked forward and bent to touch the hot surface of rock.
‘You will never leave your home, for there is no other. Walk and run and love with the Dreaming Sky Heroes. Feel your Spirits rub against theirs. We all have important roles to play in the Four Great Stories. This is my work now. I must make these special stories for you. The Galactic story. The Earth story. The Life story. The Human story. When I have completed them, I will come to tell you. We must share. We must listen. We must keep the balance.’
She smiled, satisfied that she had told them the most important things.
‘Now go and enjoy your rituals sharing the great good equally among you. Go and participate in your great stories for you are each important characters.’
They continued with their dancing and singing. They moved their buttocks, noisily twisting their tongues together, and high in Sky the first black rain clouds began to gather. There in the loins of red Earth, in the great circle nonggaru, djanggawul showed the men how to paint their finished boomerangs with ochre and ash clan marks. When they were all ready, they sang the song to summon Rainbow Serpent from his waterhole.
He was always the last to arrive. Without him being witness, the boomerang throwing would fail to impregnate Sky and make rain pour down, and then there would be no Wet, and everything which had been created would wither and die.
The men began their boomerang throwing, hurling them high into Sky until they became blue and vermillion, and Earth’s air became filled with whirring sounds. The women watched, eyeing their chosen man closely. Then some of them dragged sacred branches into the middle of the nonggaru. These would form a screen behind which the young chosen girls would make themselves ready for the final act of love. From that moment on they would become known as the ‘sacred’ girls. They were special, aroused by breaking the Laws with a forbidden man. This would be their only chance.
In time the chosen men came closer and closer to the screen, still dancing and moving their buttocks up and down, and from side to side, and singing their song of sacred love with a beautiful young virgin from outside their clan. The black storm clouds massed overhead, over the nonggaru. The girls were ready, still moving their painted buttocks and singing excitedly of this sacred chance with the forbidden man of their choice.
Then the men entered the shelter and lifted the girl of their choice up into air, still singing and moving their buttocks, up and down, from side to side. They pulled the girls down on to their thighs, raising them and pulling them down again, and again, piercing the young girls, who cried out in ecstasy. The men sang louder and louder, moving their buttocks quickly now, again and again, and the nonggaru was filled with the sounds of this sacred love.
Air became filled with sultry clouds, the joyous sound of birds and the calls of all the creatures living on the skin of Earth. The Sky Heroes joined in with their enormous song, laughing and dancing, and jumping up and down. After their climaxes, the young sacred girls struck their bellies so that the mixed juices inside them would be dislodged and flow along with blood and the rush of rain.
Men and women were united during this ritual. They were one. They smeared each other with the wonderful substances they had produced, mixing them with the red ochre and ash paint. Men and women were one. The rain pouring down upon them smeared with their substances. The substances of Earth.
Then they left the nonggaru. They were reborn. They were renewed. Suddenly Rainbow Snake became Lightning Snake. His silvery tongue flashed along black and sulphur clouds making them shine. He was greatly excited by the smell of the blood of the sacred girls. They were offering him their blood as a gift in return for the rains. He took the gift and promised to give them as much rain as they needed throughout the whole season. Then he vanished back to his waterhole with his precious prize.
Finally, the morning pigeon flew into the nonggaru singing her beautiful song. She perched on branches of the sacred screen and began to make her nest. All people had been transformed during this ceremony; their bodies filled with the power of the Great Mother. She was very pleased with her creations. The waxan’wane sisters and their brother were also pleased and proud of their work. So they started the next part of their journey.
The waxan’wanes must produce more and more humans with the help of their midwife, and then teach them all the new Laws and rites. And next season, more and more people would gather together for another huge celebration to bring on the rains. Meanwhile, the Great Mother made her way excitedly to Uluru to tell Father Earth that she had almost finished the great task he had given her, and to check that he had kept her own soul safe.