Circumcision and Initiation Ceremony
A very important event in the life of a young male Aborigine is the initiation ceremony which makes him an adult man, and is performed at the first signs of puberty. These initiation ceremonies consist of circumcision and the incision of scars on his chest, shoulders, arms and buttocks. The wounds are filled with sand in order to produce larger scars. In the case of a young girl the initiation ceremony happens at the onset of the first menstruation, when scars are incised on their buttocks. She is then deflowered by members of her own marriage class, after which she can cohabit with all young men who are classed as possible husbands.
For the young man Circumcision is followed by Subincision when his beard starts to grow. The young man is seated on rock while his penis is split open with a stone knife along its full length on the underside. The penis once split open is pressed flat against the rock on which the young man is sitting. The Aborigines explained that this is done in order to make it "lighter and more beautiful".
In this way he can strike his enemies with lightning or shatter trees to get firewood for himself. I have often observed the aborigines in thunderstorms trying to follow the Wandjina's example of directing flashes of lightning, and no amount of failure was able to shake their belief. The aborigines decorate their Spearthrowers with a yellow serpent to represent lightning.
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Watch the Bradshaw Paintings Documentary Film (featuring The Unambal)