Mircea Eliade "From Primitives to Zen": THE MAKING OF A MEDICINE MAN


My father is Yibai-dthulin. When I was a small boy he took me into the bush to train me to be a Wulla-mullung. He placed two large quartz crystals against my breast, and they vanished into me. I do not know how they went, but I felt them going through me like warmth. This was to make me clever and able to bring things up. He also gave me some things like quartz crystals in water. They looked. like ice and the water tasted sweet. After that I used to see things that my mother could not see. When out with her I would say, 'What is out there like men walking?' She used to say, 'Child, there is nothing.' These were the air (ghosts) which I began to see.

When I was about ten years old, I was taken to the Burbung and saw what the old men could bring out of themselves; and when my tooth was out the old men chased me with the wallungs' in their mouths, shouting, 'Ngai, Ngai,' and moving their hands towards me. I went into the bush for a time, and while there my old father came out to me. He said, 'Come here to me'; and he then showed me a piece of quartz crystal in his hand, and when I looked at it he went down into the ground and I saw him come up all covered with red dust. It made me very frightened. He then said, 'Come to me,' and I went to him, and he said, 'Try and bring up a Wallung.' I did try, and brought one up. He then said, 'Come with me to this place.' I saw him standing by a hole in the ground, leading to a grave. I went inside and saw a dead man, who rubbed me all over to make me clever, and who gave me some Wallung. When we came out, my father pointed to a Gunr (tiger-snake) saying 'That is your budian; it is mine also.' There was a string tied to the tail of the snake, and extending to us. It was one of those strings which the doctors bring up out of themselves, rolledup together.

He took hold of it, saying, 'Let us follow him.' The tiger-snake went through several tree trunks, and let us through. Then we came to a great Currajong tree, and went through it, and after that to a tree with a great swelling round its roots. It is in such places that Daramulun lives. Here the Gunr went down into the ground, and we followed him, and came up inside the tree, which was hollow. There I saw a lot of little Daramuluns, the sons of Baiame. After we came out again the snake took us into a great hole in the ground in which were a number of snakes, which rubbed themselves against me, but did not hurt me, being my Budjan. They did this to make me a clever man, and to make me a Wulla-mullung. My father then said to me, 'We will go up to Baiame's camp.' He got astride of a Mauir (thread) and put me on another, and we held by each other's arms.

At the end of the thread was Wombu, the bird of Baiame. We went through the clouds, and on the other side was the sky. We went through the place where the Doctors go through, and it kept opening and shutting very quickly. My father said that, if it touched a Doctor when he was going through, it would hurt his spirit, and when he returned home he would sicken and die. On the other side we saw Baiame sitting in his camp. He was a very great old man with a long beard. He sat with his legs under him and from his shoulders extended two great quartz crystals to the sky above him. There were also numbers of the boys of Baiame and of his people, who are birds and beasts.

A. W. Howitt, The Native Tribes of South-East Australia (London, 1904), pp. 406-8

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