The Lightning Man dreamtime story about Namarrgon, source of the fierce tropical storms in Western Arnhemland during the monsoonal wet season.
As told and painted by Leslie Nawirridj
Western Arnhem Land, NT
Namarrkon is the Lightning Man.
His body is shaped like a praying-mantis.
He makes lightning flashes with his lightning rods that go around his body. This is Namarrkon’s power source to light up the clouds and the sky.
Namarrkon has axes on his shoulders and his knees. When he comes to earth as a lightning strike, he uses the axes to split trees.
We can hear Namarrkon’s thunder from late October. That’s when he tells Aboriginal people that bush tucker like red apple, green plum and black plum is ready to collect to eat. This is the start of the ‘build-up’ season.
Namarrkon stays from late October and gets stronger through the wet season. In January and February we see him strike trees and split them with his axes. He goes away in early March.
When we hear the last thunder roar, that’s when Namarrkon is saying, “Bo bo, I’m going away, and I’ll see you mob next year.”
Compiled by Alison Nawirridj