The beliefs and practices of the Aborigines native to the Australian continent include a variety of religious forms that vary depending on the specific region in which they live. One way in which the Aboriginal worldview has been articulated is that of "Dreaming," or "The Dreamtime," a complex set of ideas and practices incorporating most aspects of life including the past, present, and future. "Dreaming" helps orient oneself with nature, the community, and the spirits through the engagement of the spiritual realm using altered states of consciousness. All aspects of life (birth, puberty, death, etc.) have specific rituals that orient oneself to "Dreaming." One of the common characteristics of indigenous Australian religion is the veneration and worship of ancestors. Many of these indigenous religious traditions believe that ancestors become supernatural beings who continue to interact with the community. Related to the veneration of ancestors, many of the Aboriginal religious groups also believe that ancestors can be reincarnated as newborns within the family. Most indigenous religious traditions include varying degrees of song, dance, and mythology intended to enable individuals to gain access to the spiritual world in order to help unify the cosmic order. Other important rituals include puberty rites, circumcision, body-piercing, scarring, and various fire rituals. Sacred art, often in the form of painting and word carving, is another important aspect of many indigenous Australian religions. The form and style of the art depends on the cultural region.
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