Ngalyipi Jukurrpa (Snake Vine Dreaming) – Yanjirlpiri

Japaljarri/Jungarrayi men and Napaljarri/Nungarrayi women are the ‘kirda’ (custodians) of the Ngalyipi Jukurrpa (snake vine [Tinospora smilacina]). The country associated with this Jukurrpa is at Yanjirlpiri (Mt. Nicker) to the west of Yuendumu. ‘Ngalyipi’ is a green creeper which curls its tendrils around the trunks and branches of trees and has many uses. Traditionally it was used as a strap to carry ‘parraja’ (wooden food carrying dishes), as a cure for headaches (it was wrapped very tightly around the head), as a rope and as a ceremonial wrap during the ‘witi’ ceremony for the initiation of the sons and grandsons of the Japaljarri and Jungarrayi men. ‘Ngalypi’ was also used to tie ‘witi’ (ceremonial) poles to the legs of the young initiates. The women danced and sang at the ceremony and then had to look away and block their ears when the men danced.

The ‘witi’ ceremony happened at night under the stars.