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Climate, Weather and Aboriginal Culture
A culture in which all things past and present are interrelated
Introduction A Precious Heritage The Rainbow Serpent Indigenous Seasonal Descriptions


The Rainbow Serpent

A common theme in all Aboriginal mythology is the Rainbow Serpent. The Rainbow Serpent is seen as the inhabitant of permanent water holes and is in control of life's most precious resource, water. It is the sometimes unpredictable Rainbow Serpent, who vies with the ever-reliable Sun, that replenishes the stores of water. Serpent stories vary according to environmental differences. Tribes of the monsoonal areas depict an epic interaction of the Sun, Serpent and wind in their Dreaming stories, whereas tribes of the central desert experience less drastic seasonal shifts and their stories reflect this.

The close affinity between water and snakes may stem from the presence of most snakes in the vicinity of permanent water. The Walmadjari people of the deserts of the Northern Territory see the spirit of water as the Carpet Snake. This is of scientific interest in that carpet snakes cannot survive long without water and are almost always found near water sources.