Part 1: Why I Have Lost My Religion because of My Adnyamathanha Yura Mudha Identity & Beliefs
From the start it need to be noted that what I am about to write is based purely on the Ancient Spiritual Beliefs of my Vap-apa (Mother’s Father, Opposite Mate, Grandfather) Peoples, the Adnyamathanha Yura Peoples of the Northern Flinders Ranges, South Australia only and not any other Aboriginal Language Group in Australia.
Adnya-mathanha literally means ‘Rock/Stone People’ or ‘People of the Rocks’.
Yura is derived from the Ancient Adnyamathanha Yura Ngawarla word Yurra meaning ‘dirt/Earth’ thus it means and implies ‘Of the Earth’.
Yura Ngawarla is the name we call our Ancient Language and it literally means ‘Earth Language’.
Mudha is the Ancient Name we apply to all our Ancient Spiritual Beliefs, Laws, Customs and Traditions e.g. stories, songs, dance, marriage customs, funeral and burial rites, ceremonies, social rules, etc
Any topic about Religion can often cause a lot of controversy, critics and even death threats if someone from any particular Religion believe you have breached some or all of their Religious Laws and/or Doctrines. so I may need to be careful what say has I may well be walking through a Religious Minefield that may blow up in my face.
For the record my background is Christian just so people know that my main focus of this post topic is the Christian Religion and I’m also an Aboriginal Australian, one of the most Christianised group of People in Australia due to the many Christian missionaries that came our way and a member of a Race of People with one of the most Ancient Spiritual Beliefs in the World.
Now notice I said Spiritual Beliefs and not Religious Beliefs, for this is very important to highlight, because our people have more of a Spiritual Relationship with the Great Creator rather than a Religious Relationship with the Great Creator, and it is a concept that other Peoples of the World should sit up and take some notice of, even some of our Fellow Aboriginal Australians, for like I said in the beginning, ours is an Ancient Spiritual Belief which is much more older than any of the rest of the World’s Religious Beliefs.
Now don’t get me wrong for some, if not many, Australian Aboriginal Peoples have abandoned our Ancient Spiritual Beliefs and now have become more so like the Utnyu (corpse, Europeans) in adopting other Religious Beliefs, especially adopting Christianity, but such abandonment has only been a fairly recent event within the whole history of our Peoples.
For example, My Vap-apa Peoples, the Adnyamathanha Yura Peoples of the Northern Flinders Ranges only began to adopt the Christian Religion in 1927, so only in the past 82 years of South Australian history which commenced in 1836 did some choose to become Christian, but for 91 years our Adnyamathanha Yura Wardu-mathanha (Ancestors) Peoples had resisted any attempt by the Christian missionaries to come into our Peoples and to interrupt our Ancient Spiritual Beliefs, in fact when they were finally permitted to come in they were actually told they could not interfere in our Ancient Ways, but nevertheless, interfered they did.
As a result of the continued interference by the invited Christian missionaries, less than 20 years later our Ancient Sacred Ceremonies were stopped and ceased for all time, but we Adnyamathanha Yura Peoples have continued onwards into the 21st Century to maintain firmly and faithfully our unique Cultural Identity, our Language, and much of our non-sacred and non-secretive laws, customs and traditions.
Sadly, today, in less than two generations even some of the non-sacred and non-secretive laws, customs, and traditions are also being gradually lost or abandoned and that is why our Wardu-mathanha has always promised, that within each succeeding Generations of our Adynamathanha Yura Peoples, our Wardumathanha will choose and raise up from amongst our Peoples many who will work hard to ensure our Ancient Mudha and Spriritual Beliefs are always forever known and maintained, so that it may be passed onto all future descendants of our Peoples.
For this current Generation of Adnyamathanha Yura Peoples I am merely one of just many others who have been chosen and raised up by our Wardumathanha to ensure our Mudha, Our Identity and Language is passed onto the next Generations of Adnyamathanha Yura Peoples; this not not a selfish boast, selfpride or delusion of granduer, it is a fact and a faithful promise made by our Wardmathanha.
So Why have I lost my Religion because of My Adnyamathanha Yura Mudha Identity and Beliefs?
When I was younger one of my life goals and ambitions was to actually became a Pastor or Minister of the Christian Religion for I fully believed in it and wanted to play a role in spreading the Gospel and the Christian Faith amongst my Peoples.
Now one of the early decisions I made for myself was that before I fully commit myself to Christianity I should at least look at all the other Religions of the World, and also include at least some research about all the many different Christian Denominations that were scattered thorughout Australia and the World, but at the time not once did I ever consider looking into my own Peoples Beliefs and comparing our Ancient Spiritual Beliefs with the rest of the Worlds Religions.
I was led to believe by the Christian missionaries that our Ancient Spiritual Beleifs were all fables, myths and mere superstition of a backward ignorant Race of People and not the true Religion as the Christian Religion was. That we were to adopt fully all the customs, traditions and beliefs of the Utnyu (corpse, European) Christian Religion.
It was only later after much personal research and thought that latter in my life that everything I was told were actual lies and solely based upon the ethnocentric racial superiority and belief that the Utnyu were vastly superior to Yura and their Christian Religion was also superior to Ancient Spiritual Beliefs.
Six years ago I finally made a decision to look into my own Wardumathanha Ancient Spiritual beliefs because of three key findings and events, an Epiphany and Adnyamathanha Yura Mudha Spiritual Awakening, so to speak.
The first was the reading and new understanding of the Books of Acts Chapter 15: 1-36
The same principles and rules that were applied to the newly converted Christian Gentiles (non-Jews) by the earlier Christian Jews should have also been told and applied by the Christian missionaries to we Adnyamathanha Yura Peoples, and all Aboriginal Peoples in general, for that matter; and
What principles and rules I am speaking of?
Well what if I rewrite parts of Acts 15 and imagine it was two early English, German or even Australian Gentile Christians missionaries having a similiar debate about Aboriginal people becoming Christians; it would read like this:
“Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Aboriginal Race might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? 11No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”
“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Aboriginal Race who are turning to God. 20Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”
They would then also send the Aboriginal Race following letter:
The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Aboriginal Race believers in Australia: Greetings. 24We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you 26men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27Therefore we are sending certain Christian Witnesses to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.
That was the message our Adnyamathanha Yura Wardumathanha should have been told and sent, and yet, the Utynu Missionaries overstep this Ancient directive from their own Bible and for their own Gentile Peoples, and began to place many of their ethnocentric cultural Yokes upon the Spiritual and Physical necks and minds of our Wardumathanha:
Our Wardumathanha were not permitted and told to no longerto follow our Ancient Yura Mudha: our laws, our ceremonies, our customs, our traditions, our songs, our stories, our language, our identity, and our lands were no longer ours etc
To put it more in context this is what the early Christian missionaries should have said to our Adnyamathanha Yura Wardumathanha:
We are please that the Holy Spirit has fallen upon your Peoples and It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.
Farewell, Farewell, Farewell – which means once the Holy Spirit had fallen upon our Wardumathanha, that was it, the missionaries should have either said Farewell, and those who did remain, were merely to help us in our own unique Cultural Spiritual Expression of looking into our Culture for anything that may have breached the requirement of:
“You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.” FAREWELL…
I have given you much to think about, to reflect upon, to debate, to criticise and so I wish to avoid information overload.
More will be discussed in Part 2 of: “Why have I lost my Religion because of My Adnyamathanha Yura Mudha Identity and Beliefs?”