Spirit-Child: The Aboriginal Experience of Pre-Birth Communication

by Elizabeth Carman and Neil Carman, Ph.D.

The stories that we hear of pre-birth communication are typically about a woman sensing contact with her future child — so much so, that it is difficult to keep the subject from being classified as “just” a women’s issue. How fascinating, therefore, to learn of a culture where it is primarily the men who experience contact before conception. This article, excerpted from Cosmic Cradle, a forthcoming book by Elizabeth Carman and Neil Carman, Ph.D., presents stories from Aboriginal groups as reported in anthropological research. It offers a glimpse into a world imbued with very different assumptions from our own, reminding us of the plasticity of the human psyche.

Cosmic Cradle (publication scheduled for early 2000) is an extraordinary compendium of evidence for the most mysterious phase of human existence–the stage before conception. It brings together traditional accounts, little-known historic references, and interviews with contemporary Americans. This broad-based research makes it clear that the experience of pre-birth communication has been known and recorded throughout history and across cultures world-wide. More information is available online at CosmicCradle.com or email Elizabeth Carman.

Communications with the unborn may be as old as human life itself. Aboriginal peoples of Australia, a territory slightly larger than the U.S., had unique economic, political, social, and linguistic characteristics. At the same time, they shared one extraordinary belief: conceiving a child is founded in a spiritual event–a “spirit-child” selects his parents and this event enables biology to take its course. A Forrest River Aborigine, as a prime example, dreams of a spirit-child playing with his spears or with his wife’s paper bark; the husband thrusts the spirit-child towards his wife and it enters by her foot. Conception then proceeds into pregnancy (except in certain cases where conception occurs several years later).

The term “spirit-child” roughly equates with the Western concept of the soul. Aside from that similarity, the Aboriginal pre-conception paradigm contrasts with science’s understanding of pregnancy. The first anthropologists to hear Aboriginal pre-conception reports assumed that the spirit-child pre-empted the role of male sperm, and labeled this notion “the most elementary belief concerning the genesis of the individual.”

Even more puzzling, Aborigines held their belief after learning about biological conception as an accidental collision of sperm and egg. They contended that sexual intercourse, though it may prepare the way for the child’s entry into the womb, by itself is not the sole cause of conception–since a spirit-child is necessary. As elucidated by anthropologist Ashley Montagu(1):

The Aboriginal world is essentially a spiritual world, and material acts are invested with a spiritual significance… The spiritual origin of children is the fundamental belief, and among the most important stays of the social fabric. It is absurd then to think…intercourse could be the cause of a child.

A contemporary researcher who lived with the Aborigines explains the spirit-child concept(2):

The new life which has chosen to enter the woman is a complete entity who has originated at some time in the long distant past, and is immeasurably more ancient and completely independent of any living person.

Perception of spirit-children depends upon intuitive ability. Aborigines generally agree that the spirit-children are tiny, fully developed babies. Four versions follow:

Ngalia: Spirit-children have dark hair with light-colored streaks. They sit under shady trees, waiting for a compatible mother to pass by. Meanwhile they eat the gum of acacia trees, and drink morning dew.

Tiwi: Spirit-children are small dark-skinned people who are two to three inches high, but reach nine inches in maturity.

Western Australian Aborigines: Spirit-children are as small as walnuts and wander over the land, playing in pools like ordinary children.

Central Australian Arunta: A spirit-child is the germ of a complete pre-formed individual, about the size of a tiny, red, round pebble.


-Gevara 2017-12-11 21:23:35

How can a person experience visions and dreams of spirit children from more than one man in life? I have with almost every guy I’ve been in love with, have had some sort of experience about our future child-a son. I’ve only had this about 4 times. I’m worried because now I’m 42, divorced and my time clock is ticking away. I don’t see how I will have children yet let alone obtain a husband in enough time to have children? In real life, With one guy in the past year and a half, we locked eyes the same night after we walked through his mothers house separate doors at the very same time (we opened them from coming in from outside not knowing we both were coming into the house at the same time). People/guests in the house were like very awkward because they thought how could we be like each other’s separate half/soulmate when I’m not even officially his religion. We had some chemistry going on and then things soured because of an illness I had. I feel I have lost him forever with hardly a chance for growth in our infantile relationship….but what is weird is I’ve had visitations of our son from like first of all way before I was married 12 years ago I had a dream of this little boy on my lap and now I recognize the men in this dream were this guy’s brothers. Also before I was ever married I had a dream of this guy in his wife beater tank shirt. I’ve had a lot of dreams of some guy’s bare shoulders I keep seeing. And finally this year 2017 I dreampt of our son being about a year old and being very fiesty and running away out of my reach and going to some father figure on the sidewalk pushing a baby stroller and this little son of mine wanted to help push it so bad…boy he was fiesty for only a year old…then about 6 months later, I had a vision of this son of ours apparently, and all I saw was him running on the grass about age 3 and he took a nose dive and fell forward then the vision cut off. Oh and I had a dream of that I gave birth to two premature twins a boy and a girl (ours) sometime this past year and that our moms helped with the delivery…I don’t know what in the world to think. And just within the past 3 weeks I had a split second vision of him wearing a white beanie stocking hat and a white wife-beater tank shirt and laughing so hard…I’ve never had that much future baby dream activity for a guy! He’s been out of my picture and life now for over a year. I have thought there’s no way he’s ever coming back in my life. But yet out of the clear blue I’ve had these occurances of our children? And then just three days ago I saw a split second psychic picture/vision of my and my X husbands son? I don’t know what to think. I’m not trying to obsess over these things. I do have two daughters from my X husband and when my youngest was 2, she was talking and waving to something/somebody (I couldn’t see) near a bookshelf in our apartment living room. So I don’t know what or who she was communicating with, but something was going on. If you have any insights into my future baby dream/vision/spirit child activity I’d be much obliged. I don’t know what to make of these things anymore even though I’ve had very psychic dreams and even saved my own brother from a fatal situation once because of a dream I had told him about and he remembered it.

-Isabel 2010-11-25 3:38:53

Interesting article. I had a similar experience with my oldest son. It was an incredible experience and it feels like it happened yesterday. He is now 32.
Not only that; after he was born he was very much in tune to my thoughts that I actually had to be cognizant of what I was thinking.
We had a serial killer in our city and I thought of the worst and he woke up screaming from his nap. This wasn’t just a one time experience.

    -Tony Crisp 2010-11-25 10:03:22

    Isabel – This is such an interesting subject. If possible would you post it on the Discussion Forum as I would like other people to see it easily, and I have an experience I would like to add to yours. The Discussion Forum appears at the top right hand side of each page.



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