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Maban or Mabain is a material that is held to be magic in Australian Aboriginal mythology. It is the material from which the Clever Women and Clever Men and Elders of Indigenous Australia supposedly derive their magical powers. Maban is variously identified by different Australian Aboriginal tribes with quartz crystals, australite, mother of pearl, blood, ochre, feathers, Desert Rose, seeds, etc. The potent polyvalent term maban also shares meanings with the term 'shaman' and may be employed to denote Clever Women and Clever Men directly.

During the ceremony in which a karadji initiates an apprentice, maban is used and spiritually "inserted" into the body of the apprentice. Lawlor (1991: p. 374) states that:A. P. Elkin compiled descriptions of Aboriginal initiations from diverse clans and distant tribes and found, beneath the innumerable variations, underlying universal themes. The most common was the implanting of a resonant substance in the body.Lawlor (1991: p. 374) affirms that the insertion of quartz crystals or mabain into the body of the postulant is a consistent initiatory theme.

Aerodynamically shaped Australite

Lawlor (1991: p. 374-375) states that: Throughout Australia one of the most consistent themes in Aboriginal initiation is the insertion into the body of quartz crystals, or mabain. This procedure symbolizes the transformation of consciousness from physical to psychic levels. The Aborigines seek quartz crystals with internal fractures that produce vivid rainbow light refractions. These fractures signal that the stone resonates powerfully with the primordial energies of the Rainbow Serpent.

Blood and ochre

In many indigenous Australian peoples' traditions ochre, feathers and blood, all high in iron content and considered Maban, are applied or adorned to the bodies of dancers for ritual. As Lawlor (1991: p. 102-103) states:
In many Aboriginal rituals and ceremonies, red ochre is rubbed all over the naked bodies of the dancers.
In secret, sacred male ceremonies, blood extracted from the veins of the participant's arms is exchanged and rubbed on their bodies.
Red ochre is used in similar ways in less secret ceremonies.
Blood is also used to fasten the feathers of birds onto people's bodies.
Bird feathers contain a protein that is highly magnetically sensitive.

Lawlor comments that blood employed in this fashion is held by these peoples to attune the dancers to the energetic realm of the Dreamtime. Lawlor then draws information from different disciplines charting a relationship between these invisible energetic realms and magnetic fields, iron and magnetism having a marked relationship.

Seed power and totem design

Guruwari may be translated as "Seed Power" and "Totem Design" and the energetic concept to which it refers is a pervasive cultural meme throughout indigenous Australia. Following is a quote from Lawlor (1991: p. 36) who references the source of this anthropological scholarship to Munn (1984): "Guruwari refers to the invisible seed or life-energy that the Creative Ancestors deposited in the land and in all forms of nature."

Cross-cultural lineages

The first clear example of Buddhist settlement in Australia dates to 1848. However, there has been speculation from some anthropologists that there may have been contact hundreds of years earlier; in the book Aboriginal Men of High Degree, A.P. Elkin cites what he believes is evidence that traders from Indonesiamarker may have brought fleeting contact of Buddhism and Hinduism to areas near modern-day Dampiermarker. Elkin interpreted a link between Indigenous Australian culture and Buddhist ideas such as reincarnation. He argued this link could have been brought through contact with Macassan traders. There was also speculation due to reports of Chinesemarker relics appearing in northern Australia dating to the 15th century, although it may have been brought much later through trade rather than earlier exploration.Not only maban-crystal, but also "magic cord" is used in the making of "clever men" in Australia. The "magic cord" is reminiscent of the Indian rope trick or of the silver cord. Elkin cited linguistic commonalities of certain far northern Australian indigenous words and lexical items and ancient southern Indian 'Dravidian' languages. There are also documented analogues and marked similarities in their kinship systems.

See also


  1. 'Clever Women' and 'Clever Men' is the traditional scholarly euphemism for Shaman employed in the Australian investigatory anthropological tradition. 'Clever Men' is a rendering of karadji.
  2. Elders are defined as key persons and keepers of various knowledges within Aboriginal communities.
  3. Elkin, A.P.. Aboriginal Men of High Degree: Initiation and Sorcery in the World's Oldest Tradition. 1973. Inner Traditions, 1994.


  • Lawlor, Robert (1991). Voices Of The First Day: Awakening in the Aboriginal dreamtime. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions International, Ltd. ISBN 0-89281-355-5
  • Elkin, A. P. (1973). Aboriginal Men of High Degree: Initiation and Sorcery in the World's Oldest Tradition. Inner Traditions.
  • Rolls, Mitchell (2000). Robert Lawlor Tells a 'White' Lie. Source: [184412] (Accessed: Thursday March 1, 2007)
  • Adzema, Mary Lynn (1995). Voices From the Dreamtime: An Essay Review of Robert Lawlor's "Voices of the First Day: Awakening in the Aboriginal Dreamtime". Source: [184413] (Accessed: Thursday March 1, 2007)
  • Munn, Nancy D. (1984). "The Transformation Of Subjects Into Objects in Walbiri and Pitjantjartjara Myths." In: M. Charlesworth, H. Morphy, D. Bell and K. Maddock, Eds. Religion in Aboriginal Australia: An Anthology. St. Lucia, Queensland: University Of Queensland Press.

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