Another closely related spirit entity is the creator being Wunngurr, a being analogous to the Rainbow Serpent in other Aboriginal peoples’ belief systems, but with a different interpretation.
The Wandjina paintings have common colours of black, red and yellow on a white background. The spirits are depicted alone or in groups, vertically or horizontally depending on the dimensions of the rock, and are sometimes depicted with figures and objects like the Rainbow Serpent or yams.
Common composition is with large upper bodies and heads that may show eyes and nose, but typically no mouth. Two explanations have been given for this: they are so powerful they do not require speech and if they had mouths, the rain would never cease.
Around the heads of Wandjina are lines or blocks of color, depicting lighting coming out of transparent helmets.
Today, the paintings are still believed to possess these powers and therefore are to be approached and treated respectfully.
The most visually striking of the ancient aboriginal paintings can be found in the Kimberly region of Western Australia. Besides bearing a striking resemblance to modern depictions of aliens, the Wandjina figures also have an interesting story to tell.
Due to its proximity to Southern Asia, it is very likely that the Aboriginal Australians settled in the Kimberly region as early as 70,000 years ago. Their mythology is rich and interesting, both in terms of characters and events and the legends surrounding the Wandjina make for a very interesting topic.
As the story goes, the Wandjina created the world and everything within it during a period the Aborigines call Dreamtime. The legend says they came from beyond the stars, acting as civilizing gods and teaching the locals their way of life.
After completing their work, the Wandjina left. According to some stories, they returned to their home, somewhere in the Milky Way. An alternative scenario has the Wandjina painting their likeness on the surfaces of rock shelters before entering the rocks themselves.
Aborigines hold the paintings in high regard and maintain them with a sense of sacred duty.
These depictions present the Wandjina as majestic and strange creatures, usually painted against white backgrounds. Their faces are encircled in an oval band with outward radiating lines, reminiscent of a space faring humanoid’s helmet.
They are always painted with big black eyes, a nose but never with a mouth. In fact, legends say the Wandjina never resorted to speech as they conveyed their will directly inside the mind of their subjects. Telepathic abilities?
The Wandjina paintings of Western Australia aren’t the only ones of their kind. Similar ancient paintings have been found in Indian caves, all over South America and in many regions of Africa.
Do they have a common denominator?