Weekly Deity: Altjira


Altjira is an Australian deity of the Aranda tribe and others, which are located in the Northern Territory.  He is a major creator god.

Attributes

For some reason, Altjira is thought to have emu’s feet, for reasons unknown. Other attributes are not given.  However, native tribes of Australia did not have the same style of art or mythology that many Westerners are familiar with, and they may not have found the appearance of the gods important in their mythos.

Mythology

Altjira is a sky god.  He is the creator of the Earth and gave humans all that was needed to survive.  Altjira then retired to the sky and remained there once he’d finished creating things.  He is also the main god of the Dreamtime, also known as Alchera.  The Dreamtime, as far as I can understand, is sort of the framework of the cosmic universe, in which all humans exist eternally.  The Dreaming or Dreamtime existed before humans and exists after life, and holds the eternal parts of humans before the person is born and returns upon death.  It sounds like a more complicated version of heaven combined with the universe.  Anyway, Altjira is principal deity of the Dreamtime.

Altjira’s wife and children are said to have dog’s feet.

Light and Dark Sides

With so little information to go on about Altjira, it’s more difficult to get an idea of his personality.  However, I can say that as a sky god and principal god of the Dreamtime, he is probably considered a father-figure in the mythos.  He seems to be helpful to humans, because he is said to have given us all the things we need to survive–but he also seems a little uncaring, since he sort of dropped everything on us and then left for the sky.

As a creator god, he would be a deity of fertility, the earth, growth, and new things.  You could probably also associate inspiration and creativity with him as well, since those two things tend to go hand-in-hand with creation.

He doesn’t seem to be Dark, but given the lack of information, we can’t say so definitively.  But I think I would put him more on the Light side of the scale, along with most other creation gods.

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