Dark Sparklers signposts an oral, educational and intellectual astronomy to be viewed observationally, not only in words. The full ceremonial and practical culture of these traditional people is therefore visual in the book. This is appropriate. The complex culture can be read in and across the night sky almost all the year round.
Dark Sparklers expresses the first published comprehensive cognitive mapping of a whole Aboriginal cosmos as well as the first indigenous astronomy proper published in Australia.
As cognitive mapping, it suggests unique elements of spirituality, perception and reality-testing within a tradition of story-metaphor, concrete ability and practical culture. In this it points overall to the integrity and value of people of indigenous worlds, so they may be better understood today.
Likewise, Four Circles is a comprehensive attempt to describe customs relating to Behaviour, Community, Death, Education, Family, Initiation, Justice, Law, Marriage, and Tradition, by means of Bill Harney’s words, specific ancient and modern Aboriginal art, recent Naïve art, and the co-writer’s interpretations and contemporary selective perceptions.
These two Books, ranging widely but centering on Aboriginal Senior Elder Bill Harney, are co-written with Dr Hugh Cairns (b. Oxford 1935) who focuses on data and interpretation of the lived-in order, life and thought of Wardaman Aboriginal people in the north of Australia.