Temple of the Dark Moon



SEASONS OF THE NORTHERN AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINAL PEOPLES

Australia is rather an unique country where the number of distinct seasons differs from two, six, eight to even more depending on the area. For example, as the Temple of the Dark Moon is based in South Australia, there are basically four seasons, so therefore the Temple observes the four Greater and four Lesser Sabbats according to their seasonal significance to this part of Australia. In other parts of the country, particularly in the Northern Territory, following the four seasons is almost impossible.

The year in the top end of Australia is basically divided into two parts - the Wet (from November to April) and the Dry (from May to October). The local Aboriginal people, however, divided the year into six seasons ...

  • Gunumeleng (pre-monsoon storm season) = October to December: This is the pre-monsoon season of hot weather which becomes more and more humid. As this season progresses, thunderstorms build in the afternoons and scattered showers bring a tinge of green to the parched Earth. As the streams begin to run, "old water" washes into the billabongs from stagnating pools, causing localised fish kills. Waterbirds disperse as surface water and new growth becomes more widespread. Barramundi move out of the waterholes and downstream to the estuaries. This is the time for people to move camp from the floodplain, to shelter from the violent storms of the Wet Season.

  • Gudjewk (monsoon season) = January to February: The time of violent thunderstorms, heavy rain, and flooding. Heat and humidity generates an explosion of plant and animal life. Magpie geese nest among the sedgelands. It is egg gathering time. Flooding may cause goannas, snakes and possums to seek refuge in the trees where they are easily caught.

  • Bang-Gereng (knock 'em down storm season) = March: Most plants are fruiting and animals are caring for their young. Expanses of water recede and streams run clear. Violent storms flatten the 2 metre high spear grass.

  • Yekke (cooler but still humid season) = April to May: Early morning mists hang low over the plains and waterholes. The shallow wetlands and billabongs are carpeted with waterlillies. Drying winds signal it is time to commence burning the bush in patches to "clean" the country and to encourage new growth. Early season fires are insurance against destructive fires in the hotter, drier months. The woollybutt Eucalyptus miniata begins to flower and when the flowering ceases in early August, the fires are usually no longer lit.

  • Wurrgeng (cold weather season) = June to July: The "cold weather" time with low humidity, days of 30C and nights as low as 17C. Creeks cease to flow and floodplains quickly dry out. Magpie geese, fat and heavy after weeks of abundant food, crowd the diminishing billabongs with a myriad other waterbirds. Burning continues, dampened by the dew at night. By day the birds of prey patrol the firelines as insects and other small animals escape the flames.

  • Gurrung (hot dry weather season) = August to September: Windless and hot, the land seemingly lies dormant. It is still "goose time" but also a time to hunt file snakes and long necked turtles. Sea turtles lay their eggs on the sandy beach of Field Island where goannas rob the occasional nest. White breasted woodswallows arrive as the thunderheads build again with the return of Gunumeleng.

And the cycle repeats ...


More articles about the Sabbats from a Southern Hemispheric perspective:

A closer look at the Australian Greater Sabbats

An alternative Wheel of the Year story




For more information, contact the Temple of the Dark Moon or write to us at PO Box 2451, SALISBURY DOWNS SA 5108.

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