The moon of the Arrernte. He is associated with the opossum totem. According to one myth he was originally an opossum man, who came up on to the earth and was carried about by another old opossum man in a shield as the latter went about hunting for opossums. A grass-seed man stole him, and the opossum man, being unable to overtake the thief, shouted out to the moon telling him to go up into the sky, which accordingly he did, and there he has remained ever since. Another myth describes how, before there was any moon in the heavens, a man of the Anthinna or opossum totem died and was buried. Shortly afterward he arose from his grave in the form of a boy. His people saw him rising and were very afraid and ran away. He followed them, shouting that they should not be afraid and run away, or else they would die altogether, but that he shall die and rise again. He subsequently grew into a man and died, reappearing in the moon, and since then has continued to periodically die and come to life again; but the people who ran away died altogether. When no longer visible, it is said that the man is living with his two wives who dwell far in the east.

The moon is also spoken of as Ertwa Oknurcha, or a big man.

The full moon is called atninja aluquirta; the half moon, atninja kurka iwuminta; the new moon, atninja kurka utnamma; and the three-quarter moon, atninja urteratera.



  • Spencer, Baldwin; Gillen, F. J. (1968). The Native Tribes of Central Australia. New York: Dover, p. 564.
  • Spencer, Sir Baldwin. (1904). Northern Tribes of Central Australia. London: Macmillan, p. 625.
  • Spencer, Sir Baldwin. (1927). The Arunta. London: Macmillan, pp. 498, 499.