Thursday, October 28, 2010

Legend of the Rainbow Serpent

Art for FurtherConfusion's sponsor/patron print. With their theme of "Southern Crossing," one of the first things that came to my mind was the Rainbow Serpent legends of Australia. There are countless variations to the creation myths, and here's another:

A long time ago, in the Dreamtime...

Before there were men or animals, plants or any other thing, there was the Rainbow Serpent. She was the mother of us all. She moved around in the darkness before there was the sun and the moon in the sky, and her heavy, winding body created the mountain ranges and deep channels. Where she thrashed her tail, great rifts appeared, and there were great hallows where her body had lain sleeping.

After a time, the Rainbow Serpent decided that it was time to create life for the world. So at the place called Uluru, she gave birth. She gave birth to the Frog tribe and the Kingfisher tribe. But the Kingfisher people couldn’t see to fly and the Frog people didn’t have any water to live in.

The Rainbow serpent told the Kingfisher people what they must do. The Kingfisher flew up into the sky and shot down at the Rainbow Serpent’s head, splitting it in twain with his long, sharp beak. Out of her stomach leaped all the animal tribes of the world and all the spirit beings.

The sun leaped up into the sky to light the world for the tribes, and the moon jumped up to take his place in the night sky.

The Frog tribe started singing as the blood of the Serpent flowed out of her body and into the channels cut by her travels, and into the deep chasms to become the sea. The vibrant rainbow-coloured scales of the Serpent flew up into the sky to become a colorful flock of birds. The image of her colours was left on the sky as the rainbow, the reminder to all the tribes of their common mother.