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Terreson Profile
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Cave art


I love this stuff.

[sign in to see URL]%20281/Philosophy%20of%20Magic/My%20Documents/[sign in to see URL]

Tere
Oct/16/2010, 12:12 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: Cave art


Hey Tere,

Have you seen this movie:

"Cave of Forgotten Dreams"

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I haven't seen it, but I was remind of it today when this I read Lisa Spaar's review of "The Birth of God" by Daniel Brown:

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Jun/27/2011, 11:36 am Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: Cave art


Thought this might be of interest:

"Oldest American Art Found on Mammoth Bone"

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Jul/6/2011, 9:03 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: Cave art


"The '50s-'80s was the discovery of the depths of Far Eastern religious thought for Occidentals. The '90s should be the period of the beginning of the discovery of the actual shape of early Homo Sapiens consciousness: for both Occidental and Oriental seekers. A profound new step. Knowing more of the Paleolithic imagination is to know the "Palo Ecology" of our own minds. Planetwide human mental health in the twenty-first century may depend on arriving at these understandings. For it is in the deep mind that wilderness and the unconsciousness become one, and in some half-understood but very profound way, our relation to the outer ecologies seems conditioned by our inner ecologies. This is a metaphor, but it is also literal."

Gary Snyder, written in 1980

Quote taken from this this introduction to Juniper Fuse by Clayton Eshleman:

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Of the book Eshleman writes:

To follow poetry back to Cro-Magnon metaphors is not only to it real bedrock--a genuine back wall--but to gain a connection to the continuum during which imagination first flourished. My becoming aware of the caves led to the recognition that, as an artist, I belong to a pre-tradition that includes the earliest nights and days of soul-making.

This book is also an attempt to answer the first question that the science writer Alexander Marshack fired at me when he walked into our kitchen in the French Dordogne in the spring of 1974:

"What is a poet doing in the caves?"




Jul/6/2011, 9:23 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Cave art


Kat, I always enjoy the way you have for circling back to something posted months ago. You are indeed a steady thinker. I can't agree with Snyder's time line. It mostly speaks for himself alone perhaps. The generation before his, especially in Europe, had already started thinking seriously on the depth experiences involved and suggested by paleolithic cave art. You've read Joseph Campbell's handling of the period from a religico-artistic standpoint. So I know you know what I mean. I can, however, agree with his larger point about the importance of bringing back to the surface, so to speak, a kind of ecological intuitiveness involved in paleolithic cave art. It is hard to know which came first in the men, and we now know, women, who worked those caves: the artist or the shaman; working in a tradition that spanned millenia. I have several books of the cave art, all filled with illustrations and photographs of the paintings. Also filled with maps of the caves themselves. The caves were not simple. They were complex affairs involving chambers and narrow crawl ways communicating from one to another. All the walls are filled with paintings in the living rock itself of all the animals on which the paleolithic people depended for their livelihood. And not just animals. There are also Venus type figurines, usually fertility big in thighs and breasts, vulvas promninant. Over the entrance to the cave at Laussel, France there is one such sculpture in the rock. I am looking at her now. She is carved out of the rock. Her body proportions are classic for the period's style, if you can call it a period. And in her left hand she is holding up what is either a bull's horn, maybe that of a pre-historic aurauch, or a crescent moon. More than likely the latter. Incredibly the sculpture dates to 25,000 B.C.

That is a great story about Marshack. His big book on the subject is called "The Roots of Civilization." It is one of my best loved books in my collection. He started out as a science journalist. I recall he was working for NASA when he made a chance discovery, first intuited, that turned him full time to the paleolithic. What he found in bones and antlers, always crescent shaped, were notches. He began counting them. Everytime he found representations of a 28 day lunar month, replete with distinctive marks representing each of the moon's phases. He found the artifacts through out Western Europe's caves AND in Africa. All from the paleolithic. He realized what this meant. It meant that humans had developed the means to, what he called, time-factor. He decided that time factoring would have been very important for them, insuring their survival, because it enabled them to calculate when the great migratory herds would return. His conclusion, which I believe is still widely accepted, is that it was in the paleolithic period, again spanning tens of thousands of years, when complex language was first developed, what was enabled by the capacity to time-factor. Thus, for him, the roots of civilization.

So for me a "return" to the paleolithic consciousness is important on three levels. Snyder's ecology of the soul, yes. But also the emblems of earth reverence as evinced by the Venus types. And then the first flowering of language itself, complex language, what enables the depth experience, and what may make the human animal distinctive.

You have to hand it to Marshack for getting that poet types peopled those caves. That they worked in the belly of the earth is itself poetic. Not bad for a science journalist.

Tere
Jul/9/2011, 2:52 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 


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