A child's first Indigenous ritual
13 November 11
Today one of the Indigenous elders at the Rainbow Gathering offered to take the children and perform an Indigenous ritual with them. Wiruungga Dunggiirr is a Gumbaynggair elder and describes the ceremony as the Indigenous equivalent to Christian infant baptism except this baptism is of Earth whereas Christianity’s baptism is of water.
Wiruungga informs us that his tribe believe that this ritual endows the child with a capacity to retain youthful vigour, spontaneity and lack of self conciousness (child-likeness) into their adult experience. Jesus says, “Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Parents are encouraged to spend quality time with each of their children and to engage in affirmation of unconditional parental love via touching, kissing, close physical intimacy accompanied by softly spoken words expressing this unconditional love. David came up with this little chant: “No matter what you do, I’m in love with you.” We all need this kind of affirmation, and how lovely to receive this connection early in life.
First, we gathered the families together. I’ve been told that there are usually more families with children attending a Rainbow Gathering, but the timing and location of this gathering prevented more from coming.
We are a large group of quite small children, so after Wiruungga set everything up, explained the ceremony and the symbolism, he let the parents manage their children without interfering. It was a beautiful, peaceful time of bonding with the children, and interacting with other parents.
After the ritual, Wiruungga gave the children presents he had painted — boomerangs for the boys and little pictures for the girls. They are lovely gifts and a special reminder of our time together at this Rainbow Gathering.