Ngangkari (the Healers in Aborigines)
First time to hear about this particular word was at Nurra Gili Aboriginal Studies in University of New South Wales. Throughout centuries, Ngangkari has been practiced widely in Aborigin communities. This article is a summary of several importance of Ngangkari.
For Aborigins, life is though. Keeping old traditions like foods and life style have been a greater focus despite doing laborious works on daily activity, aboriginal arts and performance. Ngangkari is a part of old traditions conserved and thought through generations until these modern era. Negative practices like sniffing petrol, alcoholism, and tobacco smoking are introduced by white settlers and heavily infested in Aborigin communities.
The basic principles of Ngangkari are healing and balancing spirits (kurrpa) of Aborigins with their surrounding by means of touches, rubs, and blood sucking with mouth. A spirit is portrayed as a free and joyful bird. As soon as people fall asleep, spirits will travel and journey a vast area before going back to the person. Ngangkari would see if a spirit is not balanced as of it cannot fly and joy the journey. Helping spirit to regain its power is a part of Ngangkari responsibility. A very sick person is presumed to have lost his spirit, then Ngangkari tasks to bring the spirit back and rejoin his physical body.
To materialize a disease, Ngangkari requires to extract a form of wood, stone, coagulated blood or other physical proves from patient's body. Establishment of a good dialogue between Ngangkari and patient also plays a crucial role in healing. Ngangkari usually explains all reasons of his actions during healing to patient and that family.
Ngangkari skills are usually imparted from father to child and aboriginal people who are interested in spiritual healing. Being a Ngangkari is not gender specific. Method of learning Ngangkari varies as spiritual journey would be different between Ngangkaris. Sacred sharp stones, rounded metal or bones are crucial during imparting Ngangkari skills. A disciple would need to keep these as a part of Ngangkari identity.
It is not only spiritual healing practiced by Ngangkari, but also bush medicine. Decoction is made by Ngangkari from various bush plants available. Foods are believed to have curing effect, thus should be consumed in several ways.
Dot painting plays an important role in Ngangkari, i.e body painting is essential before a festival or dance is carried out. It also indicates a unique identity of Ngangkari. A life journey is articulated in dot paintings, thus bringing every single aboriginal art made by Ngangkari a deep understanding and reflective thinking for those who aware of.