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Wayarra/Wyarra is a spirit in the darkness that makes people very frightened. It is unseen but you feel scared when he is near you. It is something that you can’t normally see; but you can see skeleton shapes of the Wayarra/Wyarra if you are a witch doctor. It floats around at night and can appear as a floating white skeleton. They take their skin off to wash. These spirits can be frightening in appearance, however they usually stay away from humans.
A result of being a ‘clever man’ or a traditional healer, is they can commune with the Wayarra/Wyarra. It is also believed that the Wayarra/Wyarra can endow humans with the power to heal.

The ghost-like spirits are an integral part of Aboriginal cosmology in the western and central parts of Arnhem land. Some of the clans have the Wayarra/Wyarra as their clan totem and there are also dreaming sites for Wayarra/Wyarras and if you break or move rocks on those sites, there will be Wayarra/Wyarras everywhere. Wayarra/Wyarras prefer darkness.
Arnhem land is divided into clans or moieties. All living things, lands, clans, people, the natural and supernatural are classed as either one or the other of two moieties in Kununjku. duwa or yirridjdja. The duwa patrimony Wayarra cant walk around if the moon is shining. If they see the thin crescent just after the new moon, they have to put their heads down so they cant see the moon or their necks break. The yirridjdja patrimoiety Wayarra behave differently, they can walk about anytime.

You can hear them calling at night sometimes, they sound like the Curlew or they may even visit you! They look after you if you are lost by yourself. They can even follow you home until you are close to your home before they let you go.

Name: Charlie Nangukwirrk Nanguwerr

Language: Kuninjku

Community: Maningrida


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