Australian aboriginals believe in a creation time when great spirits in the form of serpents, half humans and animals roamed the earth. They created the rocks, the trees and the people. These creatures were known as “the ancestors” and taught their descendants the rituals and symbols used today in body painting. In my short tale collection “Fifty Tales from Ma’s Watering Hole,” there is a tale about a woman who told these ancestral stories through her body tattoos. When she ran out of skin, she had no choice but to tell the stories with her voice. Look for that story this year, coming up in serialized format on Shelfstealers. Back to the body painting, the native people also told their stories through rock engraving (rubbing, pitting, drilling, scratching) and paintings on boulders and rocks with twig brushes or human hair. Sand drawings painted stories with primitive symbolic maps, ground mosaics included leaves, shells, stems, feathers and flowers. More next time on story telling via natural media.
Do any of you work with these methods? Your comments are welcome.