Updated: Aug 9
One of the most perplexing and intriguing legends of the Australian Aboriginal people is that of the Wandjinas, the tales of sky beings who are believed to be the creators of the land and people.
The land of the Wandjina is a vast area that spans approximately 200,000 square kilometres of land, water, sea, and islands in the Kimberley region of north-western Australia, with a culture that dates back at least 60,000 years but is almost certainly much older. In this area, original culture and traditional Aboriginal law are still very much active today.
The three Wandjina tribes are, the Worora, Wunumbul, and Ngarinyin, these tribal groups are responsible for the oldest known figurative rock art that is prominent throughout the Kimberley region.
The most perplexing and interesting part of their art which is painted in caves and on rocks is the way in which the artwork represents the Wandjinas - white face, no mouth, menacing large black eyes, and a head that appears to be surrounded by some form of helmet or halo.
Could The Wandjina Have Been Ancient Astronauts?
These ancient paintings have been interpreted in all sorts of different ways, from representations of people, to owls, and to ancient astronaut theories which suggest that extraterrestrial entities from another planet visited Earth tens of thousands of years ago and had detailed and longstanding contact with the people. Many believe that the supposed alien entities played a role in creation, which is spoken about in many myths and legends of numerous ancient civilisations from around the world, as well as reflected in the Dreamtime stories of the Aboriginals.
It is certainly difficult to deny that there is a remarkable similarity between the Wandjinas and the image that is frequently portrayed of an extraterrestrial that we have seen described in many alien abductee stories, artwork, and movies.
Many questions have been raised, such as, why were the Wandjinas painted with white skin if they were indeed supposed to represent another Aboriginal, all of whom had black skin? Why were the eyes always painted so large and a deep black colour? And why were all the paintings showing a face without a mouth?
Two different explanations as to why the "beings" weren't pictured with mouths. The first one is that they are so powerful that they don't need speech. The second explanation is that traditionally it was believed that if they had mouths the rain would never stop.
The real fascination, however, lies with the account of the Wandjinas that has been passed from generation to generation just like all of the other Aboriginal Dreamtime stories have been.
Aboriginal Creation Stories and The Wandjinas
The passed-down story goes like this - the Wandjina were "sky-beings" or "spirits from the clouds" who came down from the Milky Way during Dreamtime and created the Earth as well as all its inhabitants. It is said that the Wandjina realised the enormity of the task and returned home to bring down more Wandjinas. With the assistance of the Dreamtime snake, the Wandjina descended and spent their Dreamtime, teaching, creating, and ultimately acting as Gods to the Aboriginals that they created.
The story explains that after some time the Wandjinas disappeared, it is said that they descended down into the earth and since then, they have lived at the bottom of the water source associated with each of the paintings. There, they are believed to continually produce new "child-seeds", which are said to be the source of all human life. Some Wandjina also returned to the sky, and can now be seen at night, as lights moving high above the Earth.
In Kimberley, the Aboriginal people also believe that once the Wandjina disappeared, they remained in control of everything that happened on the land, in the sky, and in the sea.
Aboriginal Dreamtime stories, cave paintings, and rock art have often been dismissed as simply a myth and not reality, similar to many stories we find in modern-day teachings around religions. Recently though, new archaeological discoveries have proven the reality of several of the Dreamtime stories. To give an example, they spoke of huge mammals walking the Earth, this was also once considered to be nothing more than a fantasy, but discoveries of animal fossils belonging to "mega fauna" including giant mammals confirmed that these stories were in fact accounts of real-life events that had been passed down by generations over tens of thousands of years.
Interestingly, artifacts and objects have been found on geographical sites that suggest that the area had actually been inhabited as long as 174,000 BC. This completely contradicts the theory that Aboriginals had their routes in Africa and that inhabitants travelled from Africa to Australia approximately 60,000 years ago, some researchers have actually argued that Homo Sapiens originated in Australia.
Today, the Aboriginal tribes of the Worora, Ngarinyin, and Wunumbul still revere the Wandjina and only certain individuals are given permission to paint them. It is said that the Wandjina could punish those who broke the law with floods, lightning, and cyclones, and the paintings of the Wandjina are still thought to possess these powers, therefore according to the Aboriginals they are always to be approached and treated respectfully.
You have to ask yourself, why would ancient Aboriginal people create untrue stories or myths that would remain so important to their culture even to this day? Many legends and myths that people saw as nothing but fantasy have been proven true, such as the labyrinth of the Minotaur, the city of Troy, Norse legends of navigational crystals, and many more. Is it not a possibility that the Aboriginal people of the time were simply telling the story of events that happened to them at that time? Hopefully one day the answers will come out and the truth will be released to the public and not locked away in a Government folder.