Witikirli : The Travels of the Witi Poles single work   prose   dreaming story  
Issue Details: First known date: 1994... 1994 Witikirli : The Travels of the Witi Poles
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'The tale of the travels of the witi poles is a central Warlpiri myth ... [it] involves a complete description of all the procedures relating to a boy's initiation, both the ceremonies, and the travels that precede and follow the ceremonies.'

(Source: Warlpiri Dreamings and Histories, 1994, p. 89)


  • 'Translator's note:

    The initiation ceremony (kurdiji) is the major ceremony of Warlpiri life, and one of its functions is to reinforce the structures which bind Warlpiri society together. So, in this story, several initations take place and the narrative follows a number of journeys to a number of different places ... This narrative has two features of great interest. One is the style of the narration, a stately, high, formal Warlpiri with a distinctive and elegant diction. The other is the profundity of the myth itself, including as it does a visit by one of the initiates to what seems to be the land of the dead ... During the intiation, a ceremony parallel to mourning takes place, in that the child is said to die in order to be reborn as a man. After the dance with the witi poles, the women leave the ceremonial ground, wailing as if for the dead.'

    (Source: Warlpiri Dreamings and Histories, 1994, pp. 89, 91)

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Last amended 1 Apr 2010 18:51:18
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