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"Dreaming" is also often used to refer to an individual's or group's set of beliefs or spirituality. For instance, an Indigenous Australian might say that they have Kangaroo Dreaming, or Shark Dreaming, or Honey Ant Dreaming, or any combination of Dreamings pertinent to their "country". However, many Indigenous Australians also refer to the creation time as "The Dreaming". The Dreamtime laid down the patterns of life for the Aboriginal people. "The Dreaming" was the time of creation.
Dreaming stories vary throughout Australia, and there are different versions on the same theme. For example, the story of how the birds got their colours is different in New South Wales and in Western Australia. Stories cover many themes and topics, as there are stories about creation of sacred places, land, people, animals and plants, law and custom. It is a complex network of knowledge, faith, and practices that derive from stories of creation, and which pervades and informs all spiritual and physical aspects of an indigenous Australian's life.
They believe that every person in an essential way exists eternally in the Dreaming. This eternal part existed before the life of the individual begins, and continues to exist when the life of the individual ends. Both before and after life, it is believed that this spirit-child exists in the Dreaming and is only initiated into life by being born through a mother. The spirit of the child is culturally understood to enter the developing fetus during the 5th month of pregnancy. When the mother felt the child move in the womb for the first time, it was thought that this was the work of the spirit of the land in which the mother then stood. Upon birth, the child is considered to be a special custodian of that part of their country and taught of the stories and songlines of that place. As Wolf (1994: p.14) states: "A black 'fella' may regard his totem or the place from which his spirit came as his Dreaming. He may also regard tribal law as his Dreaming."
One of the beliefs was that before animals and humans and plants were created, there were souls and they knew that they would become physical,but not know when. They then knew the time was right and they all one by one all said "we will do our very best to try to help the one that takes care of us all." Then they all became animals and the plants. Then the last soul became the human. That is why Aboriginal people respect the environment and want to be with the nature because they are their friends.
Traditional Australian indigenous peoples embrace all phenomena and life as part of a vast and complex system-reticulum of relationships which can be traced directly back to the ancestral Totemic Spirit Beings of The Dreaming. This structure of relations, including food taboos, was important to the maintenance of the biological diversity of the indigenous environment and may have contributed to the prevention of overhunting of particular species.