Mimi Spirits

Mimi Spirits are fairy-like beings of some of the Indigenous Australians tribes. They are described as having, extremely thin and elongated bodies, so thin as to be in danger of breaking in case of a high wind. To avoid this, they usually spend most of their time living in rock crevices. They are said to have taught the Aborigines of Australia how to hunt, prepare kangaroo meat, use fire and dance.  

They are like humans but they live in a different dimension. They were depicted during the freshwater period (1200 thousand years ago).

The Australian Museum (Sydney, N.S.W.) in its web article “Indigenous Australia Spirituality” describes them :

“The Mimi are tall, thin beings that live in the rocky escarpment of northern Australia as spirits. Before the coming of Aboriginal people they had human forms. The Mimis are generally harmless but on occasions can be mischievous”.

“When Aboriginal people first came to northern Australia, the Mimis taught them how to hunt and cook kangaroos and other animals. They also did the first rock paintings and taught Aboriginal people how to paint.”

They are said to live in family groups along the rocky escarpments, Mimi spirits appear regularly in Aboriginal myth and seen in cave and bark art. They are described as being just like the paintings on rock shelters; naked, stick-like creatures with big heads and hair. One myth from Gunwinggu country tells of the Mimis being so thin that you can see right through them, and adds that, because they have no flesh, their bones rattle as they walk.

One of the stories about Mimi spirits, Original Dreaming story :

The original Dreaming story of the Mimi spirit revolves around a young boy who wants to be a successful hunter like the rest of his tribe, but is unfortunately particularly bad at hunting. After seeing his other tribe members return successfully from a hunt he is inspired to venture out to find and bring back an Echidna, but he finds himself unable to do. As the sun sets and the shadows grow long the Mimi spirits emerge to take care of the land by grooming shrubs, feeding fish and fixing the broken branches of trees.

At first the boy is scared of the Mimi spirits, but they soon enchant him with their magic before leading him back into the rocks and into their world. Here the boy experiences the fun and playful nature of the spirits and is given wives and made a part of the Mimi people.

His father, an expert tracker, eventually goes looking for his son by following his tracks until the tracks suddenly stop. So he sits and begins to chant until he is able to hear the Mimi spirits dancing and singing inside the rocks. Wanting his son back, the father continues to chant for a long time until his hair and beard grow deep into the earth. As it gets closer to his son, he can hear the Mimi spirits more clearly and the young boy begins to hear his father singing. Eventually the father’s hair grows and wraps around his son and pulls him out of the Mimi’s world like a fish from a lake.

Upon returning to the camp, the boy realises that the tribe needs all sorts of people with all sorts of skills, and just because he is not very good at hunting, does not mean that he is not of value to the tribe in another ways.

Mimi Spirits are depicted in a painting by the well known aboriginal artist, Jamie Eastwood, in his page :


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