Ray P. Norris
Each of the 400 different indigenous cultures in Australia has a distinct mythology, ceremonies, and art forms, some of which have a strong astronomical component. Many share common traditions such as the “emu in the sky” constellation of dark clouds, and stories about the Sun, Moon, Orion, and the Pleiades. Several use the rising and setting of particular stars to indicate the time to harvest a food source, and some link the Sun and Moon to tides, and even explain the origin of eclipses as a conjunction of the Sun and Moon. Such traditions reveal a depth and complexity of Aboriginal cultures which are not widely appreciated by outsiders. This talk will explore the wonderful mystical Aboriginal astronomical stories and traditions and the way in which these are used for practical applications such as navigation and harvesting, as well as describing the journey of exploration which is opening Western eyes to this treasury of ancient Aboriginal knowledge.