Lloyd Graham deposited The sp tp.y (First Occasion) and the Dreamtime: Egyptian D.t as a parallel to Aboriginal tjukurrpa? on Humanities Commons 1 year ago
Egyptologists have long struggled to translate D.t nHH, with expressions ranging from ‘linear and circular eternity’ to ‘everlasting completedness and ongoingness’. Similarly, ethnologists have found it impossible to translate the pan-Australian Aboriginal concept of tjukurrpa, resorting to neologisms such as ‘the Dreamtime’ or ‘the Dreaming’.
Steven Gregory’s new book [Archaeopress Egyptology 38, 2022] concludes that D.t nHH represents the duality of not-time (‘eternity’) and all time (‘sempiternity’), respectively, with the world of D.t resembling Plato’s realm of archetypal Ideal Forms. If so, the Egyptian D.t and Australian Aboriginal tjukurrpa – both of which have chthonic associations – may represent similar metaphysical constructs.
The sp tp.y (First Occasion) of Egyptian cosmogony was a pristine creative epoch which, in its atemporal extension as D.t, served as a template of perfection – an ideal state brought closer in physical reality by performing mAa.t in daily life and ritual. In the Dreaming, the Ancestor-beings created all the features of the Australian landscape. However, tjukurrpa is not just an epoch in the distant past but also an eternal process which provides the model for all earthly activity (‘Aboriginal Law’) – an unchanging paradigm to be emulated in daily life and reenacted in ceremony.
Jan Assmann’s definition of D.t as ‘the enduring continuation of that which, acting and changing, has been completed in time’ could equally be a definition of tjukurrpa, and Gregory’s interpretation offers further conceptual overlaps. Here, I suggest that our understanding of D.t and mAa.t may be deepened by exploring their homology with the Dreaming and with Aboriginal Law, respectively.