Saturday, 26 May 2007

THE LASCAUX TWIN

If the following piece interests you, you may also enjoy my star-map readings of
a) Titian's Bacchus and Ariande. See:
Bacchus and Ariadne : a Stellar Pageant

b)the famous Knossos Bull-Leaper fresco, see:
PERSEUS AS BULL-LEAPER IN ETHIOPIAN STORY
Constellation Confirmation : THE GIRAFFE OF THE SKY




The Star-Map Hypothesis

The proposition put forward here is that the Lascaux Leaning Man painting shows the constellations of Taurus, Gemini, Leo, and a Bird-on-Pole constellation figure, and the passage of this constellation lore is traced down through the ages as far as the Hellenistic period.

Magdalenian Art

Most people will at some time have seen some of the marvelous cave art of the European Upper Paleolithic: large beasts painted on the rocks with excellent observational detail. Our subject here is a painting from the Lascaux Caves in the Bordeaux region of France, dating from the Magdalenian culture of the Late Paleolithic, around 17,000 years ago.

The temporal gap between us and the Magdalenian civilization - a civilization which we now know stretched south into Spain and as far north as the Creswell Crags region in Britain, and eastward across Europe - begins to dissolve away.

The Leaning Man Painting


It becomes apparent that the painting's logic is in fact far less impenetrable than has hitherto been imagined; that the keys for unlocking it are all in place and simply need to be cross-referenced, and that the resulting discoveries are nothing short of revelatory in terms of our understanding of the Magdalenian culture, and the continuity of motifs from that period.

We tend to think of this art, dating from the Magdalenian culture of the Late Paleolithic, around 17,000 years ago, as almost entirely foreign to our mindset. As described at length in Hancock’s Supernature, academic scholarship regarding the old European cave art, since its discovery a century or so ago, has not made any great achievements. To summarize very briefly, a number of false starts and spurious theories were replaced by a rather dull decision to focus solely on data collection rather than on theory. A scholar named Lewis-Williams found this unsatisfactory, and wondered if surviving records of interviews with the San people of South Africa might help. These people painted images on rocks that have some similarities to the European cave art. For example, the pictures often showed therianthropes, that is to say figures who are half-human and half-animal. They may for example have the body of a human but the head of an animal. Such figures are also known in the European art, where we find minotaurs (dancing human figures with the upper body a bison), bird-headed figures, and figures with animal attributes such as a horses tail (a Silenus, in other words). The San bushmen were asked what these figures represented, and were told that they were shamans who had entered trance and gone into the Otherworld, where these metamorphoses had occurred. Lewis-Williams also noticed similarities with the art of shamans from South America, where rocks are painted with certain patterns that they see after ingesting hallucinogens. Similar signing on or near the animal figures of European Cave Art is common.

So, runs the logic, could it be that the Old European Cave Artists, whose blood still runs in the veins of most native Europeans, were similarly expressing outwardly the inner world that they had seen as a result of trances induced by dance or ingesting certain plants?

It seems likely to me that this is part of the story…but not the whole story.

The Chamber of Tribal Initiation?

There is a particularly intriguing work of Magdalenian art located in a chamber known as the ‘Shaft of the Dead Man’, after a descent in a side shaft of the main complex. The stone at the lip of the drop into the chamber is worn and blackened, and, as Settagast writes in Plato, Prehistorian, this has indicated to archaeologists that “countless numbers of human beings had descended into the Shaft over the years.” She adds that “a great many bone points, all broken, and a number of small dishlike stone lamps lay below the painted panel.” She tells us that such objects found here appear to have been offerings of some sort, and that the opinion generally held by prehistorians is that “this celebrated chamber played a central role in the religious life of those who visited Lascaux”, and that the general arrangement has lead to the conclusion that this is the sanctuaries heart, the inner sanctum.

The painting itself has been considered an important one because of its strong narrative possibilities. In other words, it is distinct from many of the other paintings in that the characters depicted are not a mass of overlaid images, but distinct and clear, and it is not simply a natural scene, such as lions hunting bison. It depicts a bison bull with head lowered, to the right of which is a long ithyphallic man hanging as if in mid air and at a sharp angle, and whose head has a beak resembling a bird, while a bird also crowns the scepter below him. To the left of these is a rhino, facing away from the scene.

So while other imagery in other parts of this and other of the cave complexes may be of the type that accords with Lewis-Williams’ theory, this scene appears to be more like an expression of a story, and, we can guess from nature of the location and the signs of it being a ritual sanctuary, this story was probably central to a tribal initiation, just as the Dreamtime initiations of the Australian Aborigines tended to revolve around cave art depictions of key stories. Settagast quotes Laming-Emperaire who points out in … that these figures probably represent “mythical beings who were perhaps connected in some way with the history of the ancestors of the group.” I regard Laming-Emperaire’s guess as extremely intuitive and effectively confirmed by the further discoveries details here below.





The rhino is very realistically drawn and well proportioned, which raises questions as to why the man is simply a stick figure drawn from two long parallel lines. It is also reasonable to assume that there is some reason why he leans over at such a sharp angle. Other features of note are the upward curl of his feet, and what has been taken to be a spear thrower on the ground before him.




Earlier Speculations : The Old Shamanism Hypothesis

Before moving to very specific conclusions, we may start by looking at a few commonly held opinions. Much speculative discussion of this painting thus far has often focused on the supposed shamanic aspects, where shamanism refers to those practices used in animic societies, who interact directly with spirits on a one to one basis. For example, the leaning man is frequently referred to as a bird-man, because of what appears to be the man’s bird head and a bird-topped staff, with this bird-aspect being thought by many to relate to magical shamanic flight. Popularization of this kind of viewpoint came with Lommel’s Shamanism: the Beginnings of Art (McGraw Hill, New York, reviewed in Current Anthropology 39-48, 1970).

However, further insights into the painting related here will show that the issue seems to be more complex, for the evidence that we shall look at points not to animism, but to totemism, which, like the Hermetic philosophies, places importance on lasting Forms (whether constellations of the sky or enduring rocks of the landscape), as vehicles for the passing on of ancestral or clan essence.

Here we shall simply put two other existing theories together, and it is from this that the new, exciting, and increasingly persuasive star-map theory emerges. The first of these existing theories suggests that the image relates to the old and widespread Yima myth, since it has to do with sacrifice of a primordial bovine in a cave. The second existing theory relates to the apparent presence of Taurus and the Pleiades in another of the Lascaux paintings. We shall see how these two theories are mutually suportive. First, Yima.

The Yima Story

When we discover a nexus of common lore, stories and linguistic elements spread out across great distance and many different cultures, one fairly logical conclusion is that it is very old, (where there is no other obvious explanation). And if we have some idea about the connections between the cultures, and the periods of their movements, we can perhaps also arrive at the date of the common source.
So, for example, it has been calculated that if there is a common source behind the fact that the Pleiades have been known as the Seven Sisters in the Americas, in Europe, and as far away as Australia, then this source would have to be 40,000 years old, (Frolov 1981, referenced in Lost Civilizations of the Stone Age by Richard Rudgely) unless there was some as yet unknown alternative explanation.

There is a weightier example, in the form of the collection of stories that speak of the first ancestor and the first bovine, in which the commonalities are both contextual and convincingly etymological.

According to these traditions, the first ancestor is known variously as Yima, Yema, Yama, Jam or Ymir, all of which are thought to derive from an Indo-European root meaning ‘Twin’, or ‘Double’. Gemini, ‘the twins’ is another Indo-European word from the same root, this time in the plural.

Ymir

The Norse/Scandinavian Ymir is the first ancestor, a primordial giant who emerges as the ice meets warm air and melts, and after his emergence there is the emergence of the first Cow. This Ymir has twin attributes in the hermaphroditic sense, for he is able to reproduce on his own, and it was said that his two feet mated with each other, hence the first people. Upon his death, the various parts of his body were used to craft the various features of the world. Arthur Cotterell and Rachel Storm’s Ultimate Encyclopaedia of Mythology tells us that Ymir ‘was the first living creature…Ymir fed on the milk of the primeval cow Audhumla.’ We then read of how the world was formed from his body: ‘His flesh became the Earth, his unbroken bones the mountains, his teeth and jaw rocks and boulders, his blood rivers, lakes and the sea, and his skull the sky.’ (Cotterell and Storm 2003 : 253) Truly an ancestor character, consubstantial with the land, who would not be out of place in Australian Dreamtime culture.

Yima

The Persian/Iranian older ‘Avesta’ tradition speaks of Yima, while the ‘Younger Avesta’ calls him Gayomart (‘Mortal Life’), although the second name still contains ‘yomar’. As with the Scandinavian version, he is the first being, and again there are references to emergence after a cold period, (what sounds in fact rather like the ice age). From J.A. Coleman's Dictionary of Mythology we learn that Yima sacrificed a bull in an attempt to make humans immortal, and that he had a sister-wife called Yimeh. This Persian Yima lead the animals - including cattle - and people into an underground citadel in a cold period, and, much as with the emergence from the ice of Ymir and the Cosmic Cow, he lead the way out again as the cold passed. Equally, as Gayomart, 'the primeval being of ancient Iranian mythology', he was Lord of the Primordial Bull, and, Cotterell and Storm’s Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythology tells us, ‘his corpse, along with that of the primeval bull Geush Urvan, was said to have given rise to all life…According to one myth, all the parts of the Universe were created from his body; another tale tells how the seed of Gayomart was buried in the ground for forty years, until it gave rise to the first human couple, Mashya and Mashyoi.’ (Cotterell and Storm 2003 : 332)

With the same name, the first bovine, the emergence after the cold period and the same story of creation of the world and the first human couple from his body, it is obvious that the Persian and Norse stories comes from a common source. Why is this significant to our enquiry? We may firstly note that images of this Persian Primordial Bull, Geush Urvan, were painted on the walls of cave-like underground caverns in the rituals of the cult of Mithras. Cotterell and Storm's section on Mithras tells us that "he was worshipped in underground shrines, almost all of which were decorated with a relief showing him slaying the bull Geush Urvan." We are concerned, of course, with an underground cave showing a wounded bull.

According to some traditions, Yima was born in a pillar of fire when lightning struck the Earth, and he governed the land wisely and justly, and earned the kingly title ‘Good Shepherd.' He lived in a time known as the Golden Age, when death did not exist. A dark spirit then sent the cold weather, but the principle of good, Ahura Mazda, decided Yima should be saved. He told Yima to build an underground dwelling and to take the animals and people into it. He later emerged unharmed from this subterranean retreat. The pillar of fire, the cold period, the subterranean retreat, and the ultimate safe re-emergence: all this will be seen to be highly significant.

Yama

The first couple, spawn of Yima, Mashya and Mashyoi, lead us to Yama of Hindu tradition, a literal twin whose sister is called Yami. Yima and Yimeh of Persian tradition were the children of Vivanghat, who himself links again to Vedic tradition, since he corresponds to the Vedic Vivasvat, "he who shines out", who is in turn father of Yama and Yami, so it is fully accepted that Yama and Yima derive from the same origin. Yama features in Tibetan Buddhism too, where, as with Yima’s association with underground retreats, he is associated with caves, and with a bull, for sometimes he is himself bull-headed. The Hindu Yama, also, had an attendant black buffalo. As with Gayomart he has associations with death, and the passage of the Soul at death. He was originally a benevolent figure. As in the Persian account, the Hindu story of the Twins speaks of an original paradise, and of the twins Yami and Yama as the first ancestors living in this paradise, very similar then to Mashya and Mashyoi. Yami grieved the death of Yama, and the latter became the god of the dead. The bovine, the primordial paradise, the twins, the first ancestors, the connections with caves and the similar name - the story is clearly from the same root. Yama maintained a blessed region beyond a boiling river called Vaitarani, a realm to which the virtuous could go after death. There is a bird connection too, for Yama's messengers were an owl and a dove. This Hindu version of the Elysian Fields beyond the boiling river Styx has a strong connection to our discussion in this piece.

The Hindu texts known as the Rig Veda record a very ancient funerary ritual concerned with the ascension of the deceased to the afterlife realm of Yama beyond the river. This rite of passage to the blessed afterlife fields beyond the river involves merging with Yama, the First Ancestor, as the Egyptians merged into the body of Osiris. Consubstantiality of the clan with the first ancestor figures suggests a totemic outlook. Shown here are verses 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15 & 16 of the funeral hymn.

1 The one who has passed beyond along the great, steep straits, spying out the path for many, the son of Vivasvan, the gatherer of men, King Yama - honour him with the oblation.
2 Yama was the first to find the way for us, this pasture that shall not be taken away. Where our ancient fathers passed beyond, there everyone who is born follows, each on his own path.
7 [To the dead man:] Go forth, go forth upon those ancient paths on which our ancient fathers passed beyond, rejoicing in the sacrificial drink.
8 Unite with the fathers, with Yama, with the rewards of your sacrifices and good deeds, in the highest heaven. Leaving behind all imperfections, go back home again; merge with a glorious body.
9 [To demons:] Go away, get away, crawl away from here. The fathers have prepared a place for him. Yama gives him a resting place adorned by days, and waters, and nights.
10 [To the dead man:] Run on the right path, past the two guardian dogs, the four-eyed keepers of the path, who watch over men. O king, grant him happiness and health.
15 Offer to Yama, to the king, the oblation most rich in honey. We bow down before the sages born in the ancient times, the ancient path-makers.
16 All through the three Soma days, he flies to the six broad spaces and the great one. Tristubh, Gayatri, the metres, all these are placed in Yama.

So Yami, still present on Earth, had her immortal, celestial twin in the Otherworld, rather as the Egyptians said that we each have a Ka, an eternal body that is a double of our physical body, like the copies of things in the Realm of Ideas/Forms in Platonism and Hermeticism. Even in Greek culture the idea that one of the Gemini was immortal persisted.

The stories of Ymir in Europe, of Yima in Persia, and Yama in India do seem to be versions of the same tale, and seem to have become accepted as such. J.A. Coleman's Dictionary of Mythology tells us, bluntly, that “Yima=Yama=Ymir”. The vastness of the geography covered by this distribution might seem a little bizarre. However, it is very far from being an isolated coincidence, because in fact the common cultural/linguistic origins of ancient Europe and North India are richly attested. The regions we have so far looked at, namely Norse, Persian and Indian lands, are unquestionably populated by speakers of languages with a common Indo-European root. Latin Remus, one of the twins involved in the founding of Rome, is also linked with this same etymology. (May we allow ourselves to wonder if the recently found underground sanctuary of the original Roman twins was once a cave of Yima?) Basically, then, there is nothing so very strange about finding various versions of the story across the Eurasian landmass.

Now to return to that Lascaux painting. Mary Settegast (Plato Prehistorian, Lindisfarne Press 1990) points out that in the Persian version Gayomart and the Primordial Bull lived in bliss until the evil principle came into the world, and that in Eurafrican mythology the rhinoceros often represents the ‘evil principle’, i.e. death. In the Lascaux cave there is a man and a bull - both seemingly wounded - and a rhinoceros moving off to the left. Settegast also points out that in the Persian version when Yima was killed his king power flew from him as a bird, (like the Egyptian benu bird as the soul of Osiris) and in the Lascaux painting the man is bird headed, so he could be the rising soul, and also he seems to have dropped a bird-topped staff (itself a recurrent symbol of kingship). For reasons such as this Settegast concurs with those scholars who see the Lascaux painting as a narrative depiction of the myth of the first ancestor Yema and the Primordial Bull. Remember again that Yima / Yama / Ymir is associated with caves and underground retreats from the cold, while Lascaux is such a retreat.


At this point we simply accept that Settegast’s theory of a depiction of the Yima story is not an unreasonable one, since the story in question is clearly extremely old, (as we see from its wide dispersal), and certainly any surviving story depicted in the Lascaux cave would have to be extremely old (the painting dates from at least 16,500 years ago), while at the same time there cannot be many other stories that fit the context so well.
Next we shall see that the Yima hypothesis both leads us to and is simultaneously effectively confirmed by its connection to the stars.

Yima and His Bull at Lascaux - Gemini and Taurus

Firstly, we return to that aforementioned constellation - the ‘Seven Sisters’, or Pleiades. We have already seen that the dispersal of the name Seven Sisters seems to have occurred a very long time ago. But from the Lascaux caves it also seems that perhaps their location in relation to the star animals may also be very ancient. The painting in question here is that of an auroch bull from the right wall of the main Hall of the Bulls in Lascaux.

Lascaux Taurus and Pleiades?

Below: Figure 3. Rhino mapping to Leo, Leaning Man (Yema) to Gemini, Bison to Taurus

The first speculations about the depiction of constellations in the Lascaux art came from Marcel Baudouin and Henri Breuil around the beginning of the last century. The ideas were taken up by various others such as Swiss engineer Amandus Weiss, the astronomer Heino Eelsalu, and the German art historian Marie König.

But it was the Spanish researcher Luz Antequera Congregado who, in her doctoral thesis Arte y astronomia: evolución de los dibujos de las constelaciones (1992) first suggested that the dots above the shoulder of this bull depict the Pleiades (and that the dots on the bull's face are the neighbouring Hyades).

The idea that the auroch bull beneath the proposed Pleiades dots is Taurus the Bull, as indeed the Pleiades hang over the shoulder of Taurus today, was championed by the American astronomer Frank Edge in his booklet Aurochs in the Sky (1995) and a later article Taurus in Lascaux (1997). He compared the dot markings with the star clusters as they were viewed on the horizon around 15,000 years ago.

Michael Rappenglüeck, from the University of Munich, has also written on the subject. He presented the idea that the Pleiades were depicted in Lascaux at an astronomy conference in 1996, and set these ideas out again in his essay The Pleiades in the "Salle des Taureaux" Grotte des Lascaux (1997).

So the basic idea here is that we have a depiction of the Pleiades hanging over the shoulder of Taurus, and therefore that the Taurus constellation image dates from the Upper Paleolithic.

This suggestion is so exciting that we must be careful not to jump to conclusions about other Upper Paleolithic paintings. Dr Michael Rappenglüeck, speaking of the birdman painting, while making passing mention of the similarities to Mithraic depictions and to Gayomart, misses a constellation connection that, as we shall see, derives simply and elegantly from this, and claims that the triangle formed between the eye of the bull, the eye of the bird on the staff, and the birdman’s eye is the Summer Triangle of stars Vega, Deneb and Altair, in the Cygnus, Aquila, Lyra area of the sky. This is quite a leap for so simple a figure as a triangle. Nevertheless, the BBC has reported that Rappenglüeck’s work has been taken seriously. The BBC online describes the existence of this star-map, in my view quite mistakenly, as if it were fact. With the greatest of respect to Professor Rappenglüeck, whose work on the Pleiades painting is useful, and whose references to Gayomart in connection with the Leaning Man I agree with, I cannot see the logic of the Summer Triangle theory. Choose any painting in an art gallery and you could probably find the Summer Triangle. I say rewind, let's look more at the Gayomart/Yima connection.
Much stronger conclusions can be drawn. First of all, as has been widely recognized, 'Gemini' is another word derived from the 'yemo' family, this time in the plural, and it has the same meaning. Equally, Gemini is the Twins constellation, and it is located immediately to the left of the Taurus constellation, while according to the narrative theory Yema the Twin is the bird-man to the left of the left-facing bison bull.




At first this might seem like too much - two of the well-known constellations of our Zodiac being star lore at least 16,500 years old! But various other factors reveal themselves greatly reinforcing the theory. For a start, the plain fact of the matter is that the Gemini constellation has always been made up of two long parallel lines - like the bird-man - and the constellation also leans over at the same angle with respect to Taurus and the ecliptic. Both the Birdman in the painting and Gemini in the sky are inclined at about 45 degrees to the ecliptic path.

And don’t the Yima/Bull stories sound seasonal? Taurus and Gemini rise above the horizon, the emergence of Ymir and the Cosmic Cow after a cold period of ice. And like Orion who was slain by the Scorpion as it rose in winter in the Greek period, Yima and the Bull went down into the underground citadel - in other words the constellations set - during the winter period. Then as the weather warmed Yima rose again, together with his bull. The stars of our winter night sky were those of late Magdalenian summer nights, so while for us these are winter constellations, for our cave-painter ancestors they were signs redolent of summer.

It seems extremely likely, then, that this is why the man was drawn as a long thin, ill-proportioned figure at an angle, despite the accomplishment of the artist: it is a depiction of Gemini!

Bearing this in mind, this Hindu statuette showing the twins Yama and Yami standing on the head of Yama’s attendant black buffalo can be seen in a new light. The twins are adopting a stance known as the posture of Yab-Yum, with legs extended diagonally, straight and parallel like the two lines of Gemini, the Twins constellation.

It is not simply a chain of ideas that we are looking at here, but a web in which each node links to - thus further validating - all the others. So, for example, the Yima narrative theory links to the star map theory, and thus they reinforce each other. In turn, these both then link to the Taurus-Hyades-Plieades star-map theory of the other Lascaux painting, which both further validates that theory as well as this new one. All of these are thus both validated by, and further validate, the idea of a dispersal of proto-Indo-European language and culture from some early source.



We need to revise the shammanic flight theory. True, the bird-man goes up in the sky, but, whatever the animic origins of the concept, by the time this image was painted the scene was no longer a direct ‘entopic’ record of some out of body experience, but had become a Hermetic and totemic and mythological representation of the afterlife realm of Yima the first ancestor in the unchanging sky, the Eternal Realm. If he carried a bird-topped staff then, by this point, it was because the bird was his totem. As Ingold notes, the resonant consubstantiality of people with the first ancestors in totemic cultures makes out of body flight less necessary, which is why it is not usually practiced in those cultures. The idea that he is ascending or in flight then may still be correct, but within the context of an ancestral myth and its portrayal in the skies as the ascending constellation. The image illustrates a story, rather than recording an experience of a shamanic flight, and the replay of the story in the skies contributes to the sense of contacting what for want of a better word I must call the Dreamtime.

If some scholars were willing to take the Summer Triangle theory seriously, then now they should really be sitting upright in their seats, for in this case we have a strong set of supportive connections, and there is much further confirmation for the Lascaux Yima star map theory.

If we further examine the cave painting as a star-map, there is a shock in store. The back of the rhino maps onto Leo with a close match up of lines and angles, and in the correct position relative to Gemini and Taurus. Notice also the similarity between Yima’s feet and Orion’s belt.

So we have here a scene from a large section of the ecliptic, three constellations along the path of the Sun, Moon and planets.

And now, since the Gemini straddle the Milky Way, we can see why it was said in the Persian story that Yima was born in a pillar of fire, and why in the Hindu story he guards a river crossing. This decoding also accords with the statement in the Persian Bundahišn that Gayomart stood on one side of the river Daiti directly across from the Primordial Bull who stood on the opposite bank. Those who know of the common mythologizing of the Milky Way as a river will immediately see the great significance of this, recalling the Egyptian bovine goddess Hathor waiting on the western bank of the Great Winding Waterway in the Fields of Satisfaction to receive the deceased into the Afterlife.

The Lascaux cave is a mythologized location, the underground dwelling where Yima took, or generated, the animals. Intriguingly, the Roman Marcellinus (AD 330-400) put it well when he spoke of 'subterranean passages and winding retreats, which, it is said, men skilful in the ancient Mysteries (by means of which they divined the coming of the Flood) constructed in different places lest the memory of their sacred ceremonies should be lost'. The Yima myth, like Yima himself in the story, sought sanctuary in such a retreat, survived the Younger Dryas mini ice age. Now he returns, recognized at last.


But there is sill much more confirmation. The next realization comes as a bolt out of the blue, and the gaps in the chain are filled in afterwards.


The Bird on the Pole

Below Gemini in the Lascaux painting, in a position that would appear to accord with that of the bright star Sirius in the star map, is the bird on the pole. From the context we are now projecting, with increasing confidence, upon the wall painting, the motif represents the scepter of the bird totem king, perhaps a king of a bird tribe.

Below: Gemini (Yema) is above Bird on Pole in Lascaux
Below: Gemini (the Twins) are above Bird on Pole (Standard of Followers of Horus), Denderah, Egypt





The big surprise here is that in the Denderah Zodiac of Egypt there is, below Gemini, a bird standing on a pole. Leo is to the left, Taurus to the right, with Orion below and with the Twins between Leo and Taurus holding hands, and below the Twins is a bird on a pole. The bird is a hawk and wears the crown of the pharaoh, indicating that he is Horus.

This raises some questions!

To say the least. However prepared we may have been for surprises, this causes immediate bewilderment. How can it possibly be that the very same place in the sky, the place beneath Yema / Gemini, was seen as a bird on a pole both in the Ptolemaic Zodiac of Hellenistic Egypt, and a cave painting from Upper Paleolithic France?!

The matters discussed here demonstrate an astounding tenacity of cultural tradition over such vast periods that it cannot be explained by the conviction of singular individuals. Sheldrakes's “Presence of the Past” – morphic resonance - seems to grant us the only perspective that stands strong in the face of such surprising endurance of myth.

In fact, Sirius did not rise above the horizon at the Lascaux latitude 17000 years ago, for which reason I think it is more likely that the bird on the pole is Canis Minor, including the reasonably bright star Procyon. In fact, this accords better with the position in the Lascaux painting.

As it happens, though the Zodiac as a formalized structure appears in Mesopotamia in the late Bronze Age, the bird on the pole symbol goes back to the earliest known periods of Egyptian and proto-Egyptian culture, as a symbol of the ‘Followers of Horus’, mysterious figures of Egyptian tradition said to have arrived from another land thousands of years earlier. Could they have been Magdalenians of the Yima clan?

The Pyramid Texts from the Pyramid of Unas, dating from back in the Pyramid Age, are concerned with the resurrection of the Soul of Unas in the Otherworld to become one with the body of Osiris, who rules their as king. The theme then is not dissimilar to the Yema myths, such as the Hindu tradition in which Yama after death passed over the river to a blessed realm over which he is lord to this day. Amazing as it seems, the Pyramid Texts speak of the spirit double (or ka) of the pharaoh ascending with the head of a hawk and becoming one with the constellation of the Twins! It could be a description of the Lascaux painting, where Yima the Twin has entered the stars with the head of a bird!

The texts say: 'Unas ascends towards heaven near you, Re, while his face is like that of hawks.’ Then they say: ‘Your head is that of Horus [the hawk] of the Duat, o Imperishable One, your brow is the One-with-the-Two-Eyes, o Imperishable One, your ears are (those of) the Twins of Atum, o Imperishable One, your eyes are (those of) the Twins of Atum, ... and you ascend, your legs are (those of) Imsti and Qebehsenuf, which you need to descend to the lower heaven, and you descend. All your members are (those of) the Twins of Atum, o Imperishable One ! You did not pass away, your ka does not pass away. You are a ka ! [Emphasis mine] Certainly by the time of the later Hermetic lore Atum was credited with the creation of the Zodiac figures, and it is impossible to escape the conclusion that the Twins of Atum are Gemini, especially as it is this part of the sky, the Duat, the region featuring Orion, Taurus and Sirius with which these Pyramid Texts are concerned. The above references to the king’s ka assuming the form of the Twins in the sky is followed by a statement repeated several times: ‘Your son comes to you, this Unas comes to you, that you (both) may stride over the sky, united in darkness, that you may rise on the horizon in the place where you like to be.’ Here he cannot be rising as the Sun, because he does so in darkness - the context is stellar. These repeated references to striding across the sky, rising on the horizon - we can be in little doubt that a constellation is what is being referred to, and as the Twins of Atum there is little doubt which one.

In the Lascaux painting, the figure stands next to a bull, which we have said is Taurus, the bull of the sky. And in the Pyramid Texts there are references to the star animal, such as: ’Ignore not Unas, o Bull of Heaven, you know him because he knows you. Ignore not Unas, o Bull of Heaven.’ Indeed, the same part of the texts also has specific mention of stars and constellations, such as: Orion is encircled by the Duat [this region of the sky], when the One-who-lives-in-the-Horizon purifies himself. Sirius is encircled by the Duat, when the One-who-lives-in-the-Horizon purifies himself. There is also mention specifically of a Lion which the king's spirit must pass, (‘Cloud, burst, that the lion be drowned in water and that the throat of the king be wide’), and similarly of a Scorpion - more of what sounds like constellation imagery.

The link with Lascaux shouldn't be taken as justification for feelings of Eurocentric superiority. When the Sahara dried up the Nile must have become the most desirable region to move to for people from over a vast area, so that it became a melting pot, with the Followers of Horus only being one group of many. It must also be recognized that the majesty and magnificence of the high phases of Egyptian construction are due not to anything brought by the various peoples into Egypt from whence they had come, but to the great fertility of the land and other conducive factors of the location. Ancient Egypt's greatness was rooted in the black mud of the Nile, but cultural continuity is fascinating for other reasons not related to the impressiveness of Egyption construction. We seek here not some majestic Atlantis, but the humbler glories of hunter-gatherer Dreamtime.


The Magdalenian Dreamtime, Plato's Cave and the Akashic Records : Totemism as the 'Shamanism of Art'

Totemism is defined clearly by Ingold (The Perception of the Environment, Routledge, 2000, p. 113). The classic examples are taken to be the Australian Aboriginal cultures, in which animals including humans are all seen as coming from a primordial ancestor, now one with the land itself, an ancestor who does not become any more distant in time with the passing of generations, but instead dwells in a first time often called the Dreaming, while perception of this time of dreaming is still available through various means, including, notably, painting. Ingold examines an example from Western Arnhem Land showing the hunting of a kangaroo, and contrasts it with an animic depiction of hunting. The kangaroo in the depiction is not shown as an individual living creature, but as the first ancestor of kangaroos. The dreamtime perception together with the kangaroo’s identity as first ancestor are shown by certain stylistic conventions. Ingold writes (ibid, p. 118):

‘…The figure of the kangaroo is a portrayal of no ordinary animal. It depicts, rather, an ancestral being, one of many whose world-shaping activities are recounted in the stories of the Dreaming. The ancestral standing of such beings is usually indicated by means of a ‘geometric’ internal division of the body area into triangular or rhombic panels which are filled in with fine cross-hatching (Taylor 1996 : 139-43) This cross-hatching produces a shimmering effect that is understood as an emanation of the ancestral power immanent in the depiction.’

Ingold continues that painting ‘is one of the ways that the order of the Dreaming is presented to humans.’

Although there are, obviously, strong cultural differences between the peoples of Western Arnhem and the Magdalenians, I think that it was in order to open totemic perception that the Leaning Man painting of Lascaux was created.

We can note that it is clear that the myth of Yima, even considered in isolation, accords in almost every detail with Ingold’s definition of totemism. Yima / Yama / Ymir is the first ancestor of people, the bull is the first ancestor of cattle. The land has come from and is thus consubstantial with their bodies, and the clan members hope in turn to become one with the ancestor when passing on. The land has been shaped from them; they existed in a first time, an original paradise; they are in some way in this paradise still, in an otherworld, that can be reached.


The bird-head need not necessarily lead us away from thoughts of totemism. In their book Ancient Ochres David Andrew Roberts and Adrian Parker look at the Mount Borradaile site of northern Arnhem Land in Australia. They write that depictions of therianthropic beings (part human, part animal) are very common, and that they depict "Dreaming characters associated with particular species." An example is a Kangaroo-headed being. Contact with these beings is not through any shamanic out of body flight, but through the art itself, and the mythologized sites associated with these Ancestors, activated by, as well as the rock art, songs and ceremonies, dances and stories. Through contact they might revivify the sites or themselves, but there is no mention of interaction with the beings depicted in the same way that animic shamans interact with spirits. I'm reminded of how the anthropoligst Tim Ingold in The Perception of the Environment says that the rock paintings of the totemic peoples of Australia are one of the ways that contact with the Dreamtime is made. If shamanism refers to methods used in tribal cultures to go beyond the mundane world, then to me this is still shamanism, (though the word is not used by anthropologists for totemic peoples). It operates beyond the purely physical, and transcends time, but it is through contact with the art, not through eyes-closed inner ('entopic') visions. So perhaps we cannot take the bird-head therianthropism itself as proof of out-of-body shamanic flight.

Also interesting is that in Ancient Ochres we are told that there are various degrees of initiation associated with the Mount Borrodaile paintings "with degrees of symbolism and subject matter deepening with advancing age and respective stages of initiation." Some cave paintings in the Borrodaile site are highly secret, only for the initiated. More interesting still is that First Mother's "acts of creation are central to the major ritual sequences of western Arnhem Land." She was a first ancestor and she traveled around planting plants in the ground. Persian Yima, after the cold period, came out of his cave and repopulated the Earth, planting everywhere the seeds he had stored up. The Australian First Mother figure plants in our minds the idea that a creation myth could be the mythic substance of an artistic initiation sequence.

Could the Yima-Bull image of Lascaux be comparable - a sacred ceremonial site where a particular initiation occurred? What strengthens this speculation is that there seems to be some long thread of connection linking to the Persian initiations, where the Yima and Gayomart stories survived. I'm not aware of records of initiations from the Persians themselves, but Porphyry (The Cave of the Nymphs) says their initiations took place in caves where images of constellation animals were placed on the walls. The Romans supposedly based their Mithraic religion on Persian prototypes, and the temples were supposed to represent a cave, and there was always a large morphically-standardized image of the sacrifice of the First Bull, while we also know that it was a religion based on initiation, seven stages to be precise.

Then there are the references in Plato's works which seem to refer to this kind of initiation, and which outline the mechanism. In The Republic Plato uses a cave as a simile to describe the philosophy of the Realm of Ideas. Those in the cave are looking at images cast on the wall of geometric patterns and the shapes of animals. At first they see only the Particular, thinking that to be the only reality, but the Philosopher then makes the journey into the Realm of Ideas and sees with the Mind's Eye the Universal Forms of which the images are mere copies. Later in The Republic Plato refers back to this cave, calling attention to the "the progress of sight from shadows to the real creatures, and then to the stars themselves." To the thinking of Plato, I think this was what he claimed it was - a simile. But Plato often used images from the Mysteries in this way, to illustrate philosophical ideas. This was the subject of the dissertation of Anne M. Farrell , holder of a PhD in Philosophy, entitled Plato's Use of Eleusinian Mystery Motifs. So it would not be making too outlandish a claim to suggest that here too his simile was based on an actual initiation tradition.

It is when we consider the situation from the point of view of Sheldrake’s theory of Morphic Resonance that we can really see how this cave initiation works at more than the level of a mere simile. Highly qualified biologist Rupert Sheldrake looked at anomalies in a wide range of areas, such as animal behaviour transfer, human learning and crystal growth, and found them best explained by a resonance between things of like form occurring in fields that, as with once-linked photons as now proven in Physics, have a connection at a distance which transcends space-time. Through this resonance individuals have a connection to a collective bank of patterns.

So in our cave, the initiate at first sees only paintings of figures on the wall of the cave, lit by the burning torches. Then, as a standardized ceremony takes place, perhaps with incense (we know the Magdaleninans used little juniper lamps), with reverberating chanting, telling the stories that relate to the myth depicted, through such things the initiate begins to resonate with a collective Idea, for the constellations have long been a source of awe and wonder. The Forms are thus 'imprinted' with ancestral perception, and when one resonates through the principle of similarity of form (hence 'morphic') with this collective, one is in the Dreamtime.
The ancient Rig Veda makes a particularly explicit reference to this:

‘The Brhati metre resonated in the voice of Brhaspati [etc] That was the model for the human sages, our fathers, when the primeval sacrifice was born. With the eye that is mind, in thought I see those who were the first to offer this sacrifice. The ritual repetitions harmonized with the chants and with the metres, the seven divine sages harmonized with the original models. When the wise men looked back along the path of those who went before, they took up the reins like charioteers.’

In fact Morphic Fields exist in Hindu thought under the name of Akasha, the element of the Universe that records all things eternally, and one with an open third eye can read the Akashic Records. This for me is why the Mysteries of totemism are in their way a kind of shamanism, as this type of initiation involves a genuine journey beyond the everyday world - the Dreamtime is real. Though this is not necessarily the same realm visited by animic shamans, it is a parallel process. So I am tempted to refer to totemism not so much as a complete contrast to the shamanism of animic cultures, but as a different kind of shamanism: the shamanism of art and tradition, where animism is the shamanism of nature.

Through this resonant connection with what can truly be called the esoteric elder knowledge of the clan, written only in Morphic Fields, the candidate in the cave becomes more fully initiated into the clan, more merged into the body of the Dreamtime ancestor, so to speak. Furthermore, following the initiation, they have had a sense being more multidimensional, less trapped in linear space and time, a fascinating, liberating and de-pressurizing experience.

Whether the initiation was as formal in the Upper Paleolithic, I don't know, but this is why I think that the type of 'shamanic' experience that the Lascaux image is involved with was probably more like mind's-eye-journey of the initiation mysteries of the Borrodaile First Mother than the out-of-body journeys of animic shamans. And if the Magdalenian Dreamtime is real, there is no reason why we now could not become initiated into it, entering into the most ancient Eurasian/'Old World' Mysteries.

You can see why for me the term “totemic” has much common ground with the terms “Hermetic” and “Platonic.” “Rise out of Time into Eternity” and “See the Universal within the Particular” are tenets of the writings known at the Hermetica. In Timaeus (3) Plato has Timaeus distinguish between the corruptible physical realm and the eternal intelligible realm, and then (in 6, the discussion of the creation of the world), the eternal is called the Same and the realm of flux is called the Different. Timaeus describes how the Different is divided into seven circles in which the planets orbit in their wandering paths “measured against the regular motion of the Same.” As Lee notes in the Penguin translation, the Same, the Eternal, is therefore simply the tapestry of the fixed stars against which the planets go retrograde. Ergo, Plato here very closely associates the Realm of the Eternal with the fixed stars, the constellations, precisely because of their reliable fixity. Timaeus further states “whenever the maker of anything keeps his eye on the eternal and uses it as his pattern for the form and function of his product the result must be good.” In the context, this could easily be taken as recommending that artistic works be based on the patterns of the constellations. In The Republic he rightly adds that, though the mind can be lead up to the Realm of Ideas by such contemplations of the stellar Forms, the ideal, once this access has been opened, is to resonate also with the Idea of Goodness Itself, within this realm, for just as forms have a collective resonance, so too do intelligible, universal concepts such as Goodness. We might note the goodness is imprinted into the mythological figure of Yima, for he is in Persian tradition the Good Shepherd.

If the blood of the Primordial Bull flowed out into the land, and from this source came the animals, then when the painter takes ochre and other blood-like substances from the Earth and uses them to paint animals, he or she is repeating and in a sense dancing the steps of that primordial act of ancestral genesis. Equally, if Yima maintained an underground citadel in which he kept the animals, then the choice of underground cave complexes also seems to be an enactment of the myth itself. It follows that that the people who made them may have thought of these sites as places directly involved with that first creation, and therefore may have thought of the paintings as having a living power deriving from those First Ancestor figures. In all the Australian Aboriginal painting traditions there is a strong connection between the paintings, the ancestral beings they depict, and the morphology of the landscape. If painting is a way to open perception of the Dreamtime, it is not unreasonable to imagine that artistic depictions of Yima and his Bull would also have been painted for a similar purpose and according to certain conventions distinguishing the art from mere mundane mimesis - namely the formic adherence to the lasting constellations.

So, to recap, we have so far found in the Pyramid Texts the first link in the chain between the Dendera and the Lascaux bird on the pole, and it is one that fits with the passage-after-death themes of the Yema myths. To find more links we look at the hawk-totem associated with the royal god Horus.

The Followers of Horus and the Boat of a Million Years

The Lascaux painting gives us a connection with the later Egyptian culture, but leaves us wandering how the traditions got to Egypt, while concurrently there were traditions in Egypt of an early pre-dynastic arrival, leading to questions about where these arrivals came from. The link is Horus. Horus was the hawk of royalty, and so is the hawk perched on the king’s scepter, which we have found carried by the birdman in Upper Paleolithic France, and the arrivals from another shore in early Egypt were the Shemsu Hor, the Followers (or ‘companions’) of Horus, who were linked with the Denderah Zodiac.

Murray Hope writes of the Denderah temple that contains the Zodiac we have looked at (1996. The Sirius Connection. Element): ‘Its hieroglyphics declare it to have been constructed ‘according to the plan laid down in the time of the Companions of Horus’.’ Researching this claim we find that the inscription in question states that this plan - the plan of the temple and thus also the Zodiac which adorns a part of it - was written on a goatskin parchment by the Shemsu Hor - the Followers of Horus - who were said to have arrived in Egypt long before dynastic times. The extraordinary thing then is that this Denderah Zodiac has already been associated with mysterious arrivals from a very early time, and then we find this amazing match up with the Lascaux painting! Did a Magdalenian Bird Tribe, a Hawk Clan, find their way over the Straights of Gibralta to Northern Africa to escape the shock onset of the Younger Dryas mini ice age at the end of the Magdalenian period, and then settle in the Nile Valley when the Sahara dried up during the Neolithic? There is not a question about whether they could have done - the land is visible across the water and the distance is even swim-able. Some kind of movement over the sea definitely occurred during this period, since Crete is thought to have been uninhabited by humans before the Mesolithic. Even the shortest distance to Crete from mainland Europe or Africa is a veritable marathon compared to the tiny hop over the straights of Gibraltar. Speculation concerns whether this journey was made hundreds of thousands of years ago, but concerning the period 11,000 years or so ago there need not be doubt.

What do we know about these mysterious Shemsu Hor? The Turin Papyrus, which was written during the reign of Pharaoh Sethos, contains a chronology of the kings of the pre-dynastic period in Egypt. It also covers the period before the first ‘historic’ king Menes, with a list of the Shemsu Hor who reigned a total of 13,420 years. This takes us back well into the Upper Paleolithic. The Egyptians themselves of the Sethos period obviously viewed them as historical personages. Clearly, given the very long lifetimes of the early Shemsu Hor, they were in part legendary, but it becomes apparent that they were based on a genuine history.

All the evidence discussed here shows that they were hunter-gatherers like everybody else at that time. What is intriguing - and valuable, in the fullest sense of the word - is not whether these arrivals were more advanced than the natives they found in Egypt, but rather the continuity of culture, the span across large amounts of geography and time.
Hope also mentions the work of the Greek philosopher Proclus (AD 412 - 485) who mentions a Greek traveler called Cantor who visited Sais in Egypt and was shown a column in the temple of Neith with hieroglyphics recording not only the history of pre-dynastic Egypt, 'but also that of the country from which those people hailed, who brought their culture to the shores of Egypt in those distant times.' The interest in these visitors here arises simply because they fit with the fact of the transmission of the constellation lore. The arrival of the Shemsu Hor, by the Egyptian reckoning (in the Turin Papyrus), was during the late Upper Paleolithic. Egyptian culture certainly gives many indications of having grown organically out of an animal shamanism such as that of the Magdalenians. Yima in the star-map is himself bird-headed, like Horus.

Early rock art from Egypt has similarities with the Saharan rock art; the earliest Saharan art is thought to come from a time concurrent with the end of the Magdalenian art, around 9000 B.C, while this Mesolithic Saharan art also shows similarities with Magdalenian French and Spanish Art. This is the first phase of Saharan rock art, characterized by large depictions of big animals, many of them the same subjects as chosen by Magdalenian artists: rhino, buffalo, elephants and antelopes. The general movement makes very good sense from a climatic point of view. It is becoming generally reckoned that the first Ancient Egyptians were the nomadic hunter-gatherers of the Sahara who settled into the Nile valley as the Sahara began to dry up. This would provide the hypothesized route by which the traditions in question could have entered Egypt. We know that the Magdalenian culture seemed to come to an end during the Younger Dryas mini ice age. Europe became very cold at this time, while the Sahara was green. There was certainly the motivation for the hunter-gatherers to shift their operation across the Straights of Gibraltar. So it was these hunter-gatherers who then become marooned in the only part that stayed lush and fertile - the Nile Valley.

And what is particularly intriguing is that in this early Egyptian rock art we see both the bull constellation and the bird on the pole. Much of this rock art shows images of the Solar Boat, much as found in later Egyptian tradition. This is seen for example in the rock art of the Rock of Vultures in El Kab to the East of the Nile. There are images of a large solar boat with a horned bovine to the right, facing left.

By definition a solar boat moves through the sky, and so when we find it passing a bovine there is scarcely any other possible conclusion besides that the bovine is a constellation, which obviously brings to mind Taurus. By comparison with images on early pottery, this rock art is dated to around 3,000 B.C., so a vernal Sun in Taurus could be a confirmation of this dating. The presence of animals such as giraffes in the art also seems to confirm the great age of the art, as these animals left Egypt as the drier periods came on around 3500 B.C. I have to mention that the giraffes are well placed to represent the Giraffe Constellaton, Cameleopardalis.

Across on the other side of the Nile from El Kab is Hierakonpolis, location of the oldest known necropolis of Egypt, with mummified remains and funerary masks going back to 3,600 B.C., contemporary with the dating of the rock art. There is evidence of habitation in this place from around 5000 B.C. The Egyptians themselves spoke of the twin towns of Nekheb (El Kab) and Nekhem (Hierakonpolis) as being places of their early ancestors, and it is quite possible that even in this early time the deceased elite were ferried across the Nile in these solar boats to the western necropolis in imitation of the Sun as in later times. It is interesting that in the proto-Hindu/Vedic tradition the bird messangers of Yama, owl and dove, drag the souls of the deceased across the river Vaiterana in order to enter the afterlife realm of Yama.

Another example, recently discovered in Wadi Hammamat, is very interesting indeed, for here again we see the solar boat, and again we see the bull of the sky, but this one also shows the bird perched on a pole at one end of the of the boat. This would appear to be the front of the boat, and may again represent the bird messenger leading the way across the river to the Afterlife. I have seen much later images of the solar boat where a bird still perches on the front, such as Cheritwebesheshet's Book of the Dead from the 21st Dynasty.



On the far left of this close up image we can clearly see the bird on the pole, looking remarkably close to the way he looked back in Lascaux! Looking back at the zoom out, take note of the position of the back of this boat where the bird is relative to Taurus. It is to the left of and below Taurus, the same as much later Denderah and much earlier Lascaux. We have found another key pillar in the hypothesized bridge between those two.

Chronologically, after the settling of the Saharan nomads, there comes the ‘pre-dynastic period’. From this period some of the most interesting archaeological finds are the makeup palettes inscribed with images. On several of these we find again the bird on the pole, and on more than one occasion this motif is in association with the bull on these palettes. In these instances the bird on the pole is described as a standard, as figures are shown holding it. This ‘standard’ and a small number of similar ones were in dynastic times given the name Followers of Horus. In other words the Bird on the Pole was specifically associated with those ‘legendary’ kings who arrived from foreign shores thousands of years before pre-dynastic times, the same kings the Egyptian inscription says were responsible for the design of the temple that includes the Dendera Zodiac where we again see this pole - a fact fitting remarkably well with the hypothesis here proposed that those kings were a Magdalenian bird tribe or hawk clan. Examples of palettes showing the bull and the bird on the pole are the Narmer and the Bull palettes. These are of course also very early in the sense that they are a good 3000 or so years before the Dendera temple was (re)constructed, and as such they further strengthen the bridge between the very old and the more recent examples of this same motif.



It is not as if I have sifted through a vast amount of material to find what might come up by the law of averages eventually; far from it - the number of images we have from this proto-dynastic period are few, and these make-up palettes are the most prominent of them, just as the Pyramid Texts which describe the king’s spirit double assuming the form of Gemini with the head of a hawk are the earliest Egyptian religious texts - the earliest religious texts from anywhere, for that matter.


But perhaps the most amazing supportive links to emerge from pre-dynastic Egypt come from findings made in 2004 by Dirk Huyge. In El Hosh in Egypt Huyge found 'bovids executed in a ‘Franco-Cantabrian, Lascaux-like style’ and dated them by the Accelerator Mass Spectrometry C-14 method to between 8,000 and 10,000 B.C.! I was understandably delighted to learn this. Here I was looking for evidence of the continuity of the bovine cult from Lascaux into Egypt during the Mesolithic, and there was Huyge finding bulls in the Lascaux style in Egyptian rock art dated to the late Palaeolithic / early Mesolithic! Perfect! An article "Lascaux on the Nile" published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM and including some good images of the bovines (short-horned aurochs) can be seen at http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2007/849/he1.htm.

Image below: some of the aurochs from "Lascaux on the Nile".




Enough of their works have survived for us to be able to say with increasing confidence that the Magdalenian Hawk Clan undertook a great migration and found a new land. Time has been kind to their story. They must have merged with a people already present in the Nile Valley who didn’t speak an Indo-European language, but key totems of their tradition were retained. This is not Atlantean fantasy, but history. Of course, it is logical that the ancestral roots of peoples are more in common the further back we go. Yema and the Bull are common to peoples of North Africa, Europe, Persia and Northern India - a truly vast area. Yema is truly pan-Eurasion: as a lord of the dead he even exists in Japanese Buddhism as Emma-O.




The Bird-man and the Bull in Egypt

A bird-headed man stands to the left of what could be a Taurus figure in the astronomical ceiling of the tomb of Senmut, in Egypt (shown above). The figures of this ceiling are universally acknkowledged to be constellations, but with regard to these two figures there is no inscription making it clear which ones, which has opened the doors to a feast of speculation, mainly falling into two camps, one where the strange horned bull figure is Taurus, the other where it stands for the Ox's Thigh, the Plough. For this reason I have merely appended to the end here the suggestion that they are the Twins-Orion figure (Horus/Sokar, originally Yima) "with the face of hawks", and Taurus, "the Bull of the Sky". The other reason why I've not included it in my main theory is that hawk-headed figures, and bull figures for thaat matter, are pretty common in various roles in Egyptian traditions.






Below: Figure 1. Leaning Man Mural from the Lascaux Caves, France (click to enlarge

Below: Figure 2. Bull and possible Plieades Cluster, Lascaux
Below: Figure 3. Rhino mapping to Leo, Leaning Man (Yema) to Gemini, Bison to Taurus
Below: Gemini (Yema) is above Bird on Pole in Lascaux
Below: Gemini (the Twins) are above Bird on Pole (Standard of Followers of Horus), Denderah, Egypt





Below: Figure 4. The Twins Yama and Yami in Yab Yum Pose on the Black Buffalo Below: Predynastic Egyptian Rock Art: Solar Boat, Twin Giraffes and "Bull of the Sky"
Below: Wadi Hammamat Rock Art, Egypt, with Bull of the Sky and Bird on Pole
Below: Close Up (left) of Wadi Hammamat Bird on Pole (Click to Enlarge)
Below: Repeated Bird on Pole ("Follower of Horus") Standard together with Bull imagery
from Predynastic Egyptian Palettes







There follows an older version of this piece, which contains some links that I have yet to edit into the above.


Our subject is a painting from the Lascaux Caves in the Bordeaux region of France, dating from the Magdalenian culture of the Late Paleolithic, around 17,000 years ago. We tend to think of this art as almost entirely foreign to our mindset, but it becomes apparent that the painting's logic is in fact far less impenetrable than has hitherto been imagined; that the keys for unlocking it are all in place and simply need to be cross-referenced, and that the resulting discoveries are nothing short of revelatory in terms of our understanding of the Magdalenian culture, and the continuity of motifs from that period. The temporal gap between us and the Magdalenian civilization - a civilization which we now know stretched south into Spain and as far north as the Creswell Crags region in Britain - begins to dissolve away.

The painting is located in the ‘Shaft of the Dead Man’, after a descent in a side shaft of the Lascaux complex. It has been considered an important one because of its strong narrative possibilities. In other words, it is distinct from many of the other paintings in that the characters depicted are not a mass of overlaid images, but distinct and clear, and it is not simply a natural scene, such as lions hunting bison. It depicts a bison bull with head lowered, to the right of which is a long ithyphallic man hanging as if in mid air and at a sharp angle, and whose head has a beak resembling a bird, while a bird also crowns the scepter below him. To the left of these is a rhino, facing away from the scene. The rhino is very realistically drawn and well proportioned, which raises questions as to why the man is simply a stick figure drawn from two long parallel lines. (Figure 1) It is also reasonable to assume that there is some reason why he leans over at such a sharp angle. Other features of note are the upward curl of his feet, and what has been taken to be a spear thrower on the ground before him.


Figure 1


Initial Speculations
Before moving to very specific conclusions, we may start by looking at a few commonly held opinions. Much speculative discussion of this painting thus far has often focused on the supposed shammanic aspects, where shamanism refers to those practices used in animic societies, who interact directly with spirits on a one to one basis. For example, the leaning man is frequently referred to as a bird-man, because of what appears to be the man’s bird head and a bird-topped staff, with this bird-aspect being thought by many t relate to magical shammanic flight. Popularisation of this kind of viewpoint came with Lommel’s Shamanism: the Beginnings of Art (McGraw Hill, New York, reviewed in Current Anthropology 39-48, 1970).
The popular Earth Mysteries writer Paul Devereux (Devereux 1992 : 76) notes that a bird-headed staff was a shaman’s badge of office in Siberia up to recent times.

However, further insights into the painting related here will show that the issue seems to be more complex, for the evidence that we shall look at points not to animism, but to totemism. The assumption of those who have seen this picture as a depiction of an animic shaman seems to have been that the figure is shown prostrate on the ground and that he is in a trance, that he is in an eyes-closed altered state, engaged in an out-of-body quest into a sky realm to consult or obtain something from the spirits there, in other words that the shamanism in question is orientated towards the animic kind. In fact, a ground line is conspicuously absent, and the figures float in space.

Totemism is defined clearly by Ingold (The Perception of the Environment, Routledge, 2000, p. 113). The classic example is taken to be the Australian Aboriginal cultures, in which animals including humans are all seen as coming from a primordial ancestor, now one with the land itself, an ancestor who does not become any more distant in time with the passing of generations, but instead dwells in a first time often called the Dreaming, while perception of this time of dreaming is still available through various means, including, notably, painting. Ingold examines an example from Western Arnhem Land showing the hunting of a kangaroo, and contrasts it with an animic depiction of hunting. The kangaroo in the depiction is not shown as an individual living creature, but as the first ancestor of kangaroos. The dreamtime perception together with the kangaroo’s identity as first ancestor are shown by certain stylistic conventions. Ingold writes (ibid, p. 118):

‘…The figure of the kangaroo is a portrayal of no ordinary animal. It depicts, rather, an ancestral being, one of many whose world-shaping activities are recounted in the stories of the Dreaming. The ancestral standing of such beings is usually indicated by means of a ‘geometric’ internal division of the body area into triangular or rhombic panels which are filled in with fine cross-hatching (Taylor 1996 : 139-43) This cross-hatching produces a shimmering effect that is understood as an emanation of the ancestral power immanent in the depiction.’

Ingold continues that painting ‘is one of the ways that the order of the Dreaming is presented to humans.’

Although there are, obviously, strong cultural differences between the peoples of Western Arnhem and the Magdalenians, we shall never the less become certain I think that it was in order to open totemic perception that the Leaning Man painting of Lascaux was created. But before we get to the proofs, we will look first at the basics of this alternate interpretation that has been made of the Leaning Man painting.

Our Oldest Story?

When we discover a nexus of common lore, stories and linguistic elements spread out across great distance and many different cultures, one fairly logical conclusion is that it is very old, (where there is no other obvious explanation). And if we have some idea about the connections between the cultures, and the periods of their movements, we can perhaps also arrive at the date of the common source.
So, for example, it has been calculated that if there is a common source behind the fact that the Pleiades have been known as the Seven Sisters in the Americas, in Europe, and as far away as Australia, then this source would have to be 40,000 years old, (Frolov 1981, referenced in Lost Civilzations of the Stone Age by Richard Rudgely) unless there was some as yet unknown alternative explanation.

There is a weightier example, in the form of the collection of stories that speak of the first ancestor and the first bovine, in which the commonalities are both contextual and convincingly etymological. Anyone looking at these connections and viewing them as involving ‘too many widely separated parallels’ must surely have their eyes firmly closed.
According to these traditions, the first ancestor is known variously as Yima, Yema, Yama, Jam or Ymir, all of which are thought to derive from an Indo-European root meaning ‘Twin’, or ‘Double’. Gemini, ‘the twins’ is another Indo-European word from the same root, this time in the plural. The Norse/Scandinavian Ymir is the first ancestor, a primordial giant who emerges as the ice meets warm air and melts, and after his emergence there is the emergence of the first Cow. This Ymir has twin attributes in the hermaphroditic sense, for he is able to reproduce on his own, and it was said that his two feet mated with each other. Upon his death, the various parts of his body were used to craft the various features of the world. Arthur Cotterell and Rachel Storm’s Ultimate Encyclopaedia of Mythology tells us that Ymir ‘was the first living creature…Ymir fed on the milk of the primeval cow Audhumla.’ We then read of how the world was formed from his body: ‘His flesh became the Earth, his unbroken bones the mountains, his teeth and jaw rocks and boulders, his blood rivers, lakes and the sea, and his skull the sky.’ (Cotterell and Storm 2003 : 253)
The Persian/Iranian older ‘Avesta’ tradition speaks of Yima, while the ‘Younger Avesta’ calls him Gayomart (‘Mortal Life’), although the second name still contains ‘yomar’. As with the Scandinavian version, he is the first being, and again there are references to what sounds like the ice age. From J.A. Coleman's Dictionary of Mythology we learn that Yima sacrificed a bull in an attempt to make humans immortal, and that he had a sister-wife called Yimeh. This Persian Yima lead the animals - including cattle - and people into an underground citadel in a cold period, and, much as with the emergence from the ice of Ymir and the Cosmic Cow, he lead the way out again as the cold passed. Equally, as Gayomart, 'the primeval being of ancient Iranian mythology', he was Lord of the Primordial Bull, and, Cotterell and Storm’s Ultimate Encyclopaedia of Mythology tells us, ‘his corpse, along with that of the primeval bull Geush Urvan, was said to have given rise to all life…According to one myth, all the parts of the Universe were created from his body; another tale tells how the seed of Gayomart was buried in the ground for forty years, until it gave rise to the first human couple, Mashya and Mashyoi.’ (Cotterell and Storm 2003 : 332)

With the same name, the first bovine, the emmergence after the cold period and the same story of creation of the world from his body, it is obvious that the Persian and Norse stories comes from a common source. Why is this significant to our inquiry? We may firstly note that images of this Persian Primordial Bull, Geush Urvan, were painted on the walls of cave-like underground caverns in the rituals of the cult of Mithras. Cotterell and Storm's section on Mithras tells us that "he was worshipped in underground shrines, almost all of which were decorated with a relief showing him slaying the bull Geush Urvan." We are concerned, of course, with an undergound cave showing a wounded bull.

According to some traditions, Yima was born in a pillar of fire when lightning struck the Earth, and he governed the land wisely and justly, and earned the title ‘Good Sherpherd.' He lived in a time known as the Golden Age, when death did not exist.’ A dark spirit then sent the cold weather, but the principle of good, Ahura Mazda, decided Yima should be saved. He told Yima to build an underground dwelling and to take the animals and people into it. He later emerged unharmed from this subterranean retreat. The pillar of fire, the cold period, the subterranean retreat, and the ultimate safe re-emergence, all this will be seen to be highly significant.

The first couple, spawn of Yima, Mashya and Mashyoi, lead us to Yama of Hindu tradition, a literal twin whose sister is called Yami. Yima and Yimeh of Persian tradition were the children of Vivanghat, who himself links again to Vedic tradition, since he corresponds to the Vedic Vivasvat, "he who shines out", who is in turn father of Yama and Yami, so it is fully accepted that Yama and Yima derive from the save origin. Yama features in Tibetan Buddhism too, where Yama, as with Yima’s association with underground retreats, is associated with caves, and with a bull, for sometimes he is himself bull-headed. The Hindu Yama, also, had an attendant black buffalo. As with Gayomart he has associations with death, and the passage of the Soul at death. He was originally a benevolent figure. As in the Persian account, the Hindu story of the Twins speaks of an original paradise, and of the twins Yami and Yama as the first ancestors living in this paradise, very similar then to Mashya and Mashyoi. Yami grieved the death of Yama, and the latter became the god of the dead. The bovine, the primordial paradise, the twins, the first ancestors, the connections with caves and the similar name - the story is clearly from the same root. Yama maintained a blessed region beyond a boiling river called Vaitarani, a realm to which the virtuous could go after death. There is a bird connection too, for Yama's messengers were an owl and a dove. This Hindu version of the Elysian Fields beyond the boiling river Styx has a strong connection to our discussion in this piece.
The Hindu texts known as the Rig Veda record a very ancient funerary ritual concerned with the ascension of the deceased to the afterlife realm of Yama beyond the river. This rite of passage to the blessed afterlife fields beyond the river involves merging with Yama, the First Ancestor, as the Egyptians merged into the body of Osiris. Shown here are verses 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15 & 16 of the funeral hymn.

1 The one who has passed beyond along the great, steep straits, spying out the path for many, the son of Vivasvan, the gatherer of men, King Yama - honour him with the oblation.
2 Yama was the first to find the way for us, this pasture that shall not be taken away. Where our ancient fathers passed beyond, there everyone who is born follows, each on his own path.
7 [To the dead man:] Go forth, go forth upon those ancient paths on which our ancient fathers passed beyond, rejoicing in the sacrificial drink.
8 Unite with the fathers, with Yama, with the rewards of your sacrifices and good deeds, in the highest heaven. Leaving behind all imperfections, go back home again; merge with a glorious body.
9 [To demons:] Go away, get away, crawl away from here. The fathers have prepared a place for him. Yama gives him a resting place adorned by days, and waters, and nights.
10 [To the dead man:] Run on the right path, past the two guardian dogs, the four-eyed keepers of the path, who watch over men. O king, grant him happiness and health.
15 Offer to Yama, to the king, the oblation most rich in honey. We bow down before the sages born in the ancient times, the ancient path-makers.
16 All through the three Soma days, he flies to the six broad spaces and the great one. Tristubh, Gayatri, the metres, all these are placed in Yama.

So Yami, still present on Earth, had her immortal, celestial twin in in the Otherworld, rather as the Egyptians said that we each have a Ka, an eternal body that is a double of our physical body. Even in Greek culture the idea that one of the Gemini was immortal persisted.

The stories of Ymir in Europe, of Yima in Persia, and Yama in India do seem to be versions of the same tale, and seem to have become accepted as such. J.A. Coleman's Dictionary of Mythology tells us Yima=Yama=Ymir. The vastness of the geography covered by this distribution might seem a little bizarre. However, it is very far from being an isolated coincidence, because in fact the common cultural/linguistic origins of ancient Europe and North India are richly attested. The regions we have so far looked at, namely Norse, Persian and Indian lands, are unquestionably populated by speakers of languages with a common Indo-European root. So perhaps there is nothing so very strange about finding various versions of the story across the Eurasian landmass.

Now to return to that Lascaux painting. Mary Settegast (Plato Prehistorian, Lindisfarne Press 1990) points out that in the Persian version Gayomart and the Primordial Bull lived in bliss until the evil principle came into the world, and that in Eurafrican mythology the rhinoceros often represents the ‘evil principle’, i.e. death. In the Lascaux cave there is a man and a bull - both seemingly wounded - and a rhinoceros moving off to the left. Settegast also points out that in the Persian version when Yima was killed his king power flew from him as a bird, (like the Egptian benu bird as the soul of Osiris) and in the Lascaux painting the man is bird headed, so he could be the rising soul, and also he seems to have dropped a bird-topped staff (itself a recurrent symbol of kingship). For reasons such as this Settegast concurs with those scholars who see the Lascaux painting as a narrative depiction of the myth of the first ancestor Yema and the Primordial Bull. Remember again that Yima / Yama / Ymir is associated with caves and underground retreats from the cold, while Lascaux is such a retreat.
Here, in the flight of Yima's "king power" or "glory" in bird form, we do find agreement with the shamanism theory, at least in terms of the origin of the idea, for it seems difficult to imagine another explanation for this motif, especially given that this may reasonably be taken as comparable to the benu bird being the Soul of Osiris, and indeed souls in general being shown in Egypt in bird-form (the Ba). The extreme ubiquity of part-human, part-animal figures in human culture across much geography and time is explored by Hancock in Supernature.

At this point we simply accept that Settegast’s theory of a depiction of the Yima story is not an unreasonable one, since the story in question is clearly extremely old, (as we see from its wide dispersal), and certainly any surviving story depicted in the Lascaux cave would have to be extremely old (the painting dates from at least 16,500 years ago), while at the same time there cannot be many other stories that fit the context so well.
Next we shall see that the Yima hypothesis both leads us to and is simulataenously effectively confirmed by it's connection to the stars.

Yima and His Bull at Lascaux - Gemini and Taurus

Firstly, we return to that aforementioned constellation - the Seven Sisters. We have already seen that the dispersal of their name seems to have occurred a very long time ago. But from the Lascaux caves it also seems that perhaps their location in relation to the star animals may also be very ancient. The painting in question here is that of an auroch bull from the right wall of the main hall of the Hall of the Bulls in Lascaux. (Figure 2)

The first speculations about the depiction of constellations in the Lascaux art came from Marcel Baudouin and Henri Breuil around the beginning of the last century. The ideas were taken up by various others such as Swiss engineer Amandus Weiss, the astronomer Heino Eelsalu, and the German art historian Marie König.
But it was the Spanish researcher Luz Antequera Congregado who, in her doctoral thesis Arte y astronomia: evolución de los dibujos de las constelaciones (1992) first suggested that the dots above the shoulder of this bull depict the Pleiades (and that the dots on the bull's face are the neighbouring Hyades).
The idea that the auroch bull beneath the proposed Pleiades dots is Taurus the Bull, as indeed the Pleiades hang over the shoulder of Taurus today, was championed by the American astronomer Frank Edge in his booklet Aurochs in the Sky (1995) and a later article Taurus in Lascaux (1997). He compared the dot markings with the star clusters as they were viewed on the horizon around 15,000 years ago.
Michael Rappenglüeck, from the University of Munich, has also written on the subject. He presented the idea that the Pleiades were depicted in Lascaux at an astronomy conference in 1996, and set these ideas out again in his essay The Pleiades in the "Salle des Taureaux" Grotte des Lascaux (1997).

So the basic idea here is that we have a depiction of the Pleiades hanging over the shoulder of Taurus, and therefore that the Taurus constellation image dates from the Upper Paleolithic.
Figure 2
This suggestion is so exciting that we must be careful not to jump to conclusions about other Upper Palaeolithic paintings. Dr Michael Rappenglüeck, speaking of the birdman painting, while making passing mention of the similarities to Mithraic depictions and to Gayomart, misses a constellation connection that, as we shall see, derives simply and elegantly from this, and claims that the triangle formed between the eye of the bull, the eye of the bird on the staff, and the birdman’s eye is the Summer Triangle of stars Vega, Deneb and Altair, in the Cygnus, Aquila, Lyra area of the sky. This is quite a leap for so simple a figure as a triangle. Nevertheless, the BBC has reported that Rappenglüeck’s work has been taken seriously. The BBC online describes the existence of this star-map, in my view quite mistakenly, as if it were fact. With the greatest of respect to Professor Rappenglüeck, whose work on the Pleiades painting is useful, and whose references to Gayomart in connection with the Leaning Man I agree with, I cannot see the logic of the Summer Triangle theory. Choose any painting in an art gallery and you could probably find the Summer Triangle. I say rewind, let's look more at the Gayomart/Yima connection.

Much stronger conclusions can be drawn. First of all, as has been widely recognized, 'Gemini' is another word derived from the 'yemo' family, this time in the plural, and it has the same meaning. Equally, Gemini is the Twins constellation, and it is located immediately to the left of the Taurus constellation, while according to the narrative theory Yema the Twin is the bird-man to the left of the left-facing bison bull.

At first this might seem like too much - two of the well-known constellations of our Zodiac being star lore at least 16,500 years old! But various other factors reveal themselves greatly reinforcing the theory. For a start, the plain fact of the matter is that the Gemini constellation has always been made up of two long parallel lines - like the bird-man - and the constellation also leans over at the same angle with respect to Taurus and the ecliptic. Both the Birdman in the painting and Gemini in the sky are inclined at about 45 degrees to the ecliptic path.
Figure 3 - The characters of the Lascaux painting pasted individually over a map of the stars

And don’t the Yima/Bull stories sound seasonal? Taurus and Gemini rise above the horizon, the emergence of Ymir and the Cosmic Cow after a cold period of ice. And like Orion who was slain by the Scorpion as it rose in winter in the Greek period, Yima and the Bull went down into the underground citadel - in other words the constellations set - during the winter period. Then as the weather warmed Yima rose again, together with his bull. The stars of our winter night sky were those of late Magdalenian summer nights, so while for us these are winter constellations, for our cave-painter ancestors they were signs redolent of summer.

(Wayne Herschel has, without reference to the Yima myths, viewed this bison as Taurus. He has the birdman as Orion, which I regard as being an understandable conclusion, and partially correct as Yima’s legs do extend down from Gemini into Orion, the foot being the belt stars. Herschel explores an esoteric theory derived from this upon which I do not feel in a position to comment, but I will include the link here:-
http://www.thehiddenrecords.com/lascaux_cave_france.htm)


It seems extremely likely, then, that this is why the man was drawn as a long thin, ill-proportioned figure at an angle, despite the accomplishment of the artist: it is a depiction of Gemini.

Bearing this in mind, this Hindu statuette showing the twins Yama and Yami standing on the head of Yama’s attendant black buffalo can be seen in a new light. The twins are adopting a stance known as the posture of Yab-Yum, with legs extended diagonally, straight and parallel like the two lines of Gemini, the Twins constellation.

Figure 4 - Yama and Yami on the Black Buffalo
It is not simply a chain of ideas that we are looking at here, but a web in which each node links to - thus further validating - all the others. So, for example, the Yima narrative theory links to the star map theory, and thus they reinforce each other. In turn, these both then link to the Taurus-Hyades-Plieades star-map theory of the other Lascaux painting, which both further validates that theory as well as this new one. All of these are thus both validated by, and further validate, the idea of a dispersal of proto-Indo-European language and culture from some early source.

We need to revise the shammanic flight theory. True, the bird-man goes up in the sky, but, whatever the animic origins of the concept, by the time this image was painted the scene was no longer a direct ‘entopic’ record of some out of body experience, but had become a Hermetic and totemic and mythological representation of the afterlife realm of Yima the first ancestor in the unchanging sky, the Eternal Realm. If he carried a bird-topped staff then, by this point, it was because the bird was his totem. As Ingold notes, the resonant consubstantiality of people with the first ancestors in totemic cultures makes out of body flight less necessary, which is why it is not usefully practised in those cultures. The idea that he is ascending or in flight then may still be correct, but within the context of an ancestral myth and its portrayal in the skies as the ascending constellation. The image illustrates a story, rather than recording an experience of a shammanic flight, and the replay of the story in the skies contributes to the sense of contacting what for want of a better word I must call the Dreamtime.

If some scholars were willing to take the Summer Triangle theory seriously, then now they should really be sitting bolt upright in thier seats, for in this case we have a strong set of supportive connections, and there is much further confirmation for the Lascaux Yima star map theory.

If we further examine the cave painting as a star-map, there is a shock in store. The back of the rhino maps onto Leo with a close match up of lines and angles, and in the correct position relative to Gemini and Taurus. (Figure 3). Notice also the similarity between Yima’s feet and Orion’s belt.

So we have here a scene from a large section of the ecliptic, three constellations along the path of the Sun, Moon and planets.

And now, since the Gemini straddle the Milky Way, we can see why it was said in the Persian story that Yima was born in a pillar of fire, and why in the Hindu story he guards a river crossing. This decoding also accords with the statement in the Persian Bundahišn that Gayomart stood on one side of the river Daiti directly across from the Primordial Bull who stood on the opposite bank. Those who know of the common mythologizing of the Milky Way as a river will immediatley see the great significance of this, recalling bovine Hathor waiting on the western bank of the Great Winding Waterway in the Fields of Satisfaction to receive the deceased into the Afterlife.

The Lascaux cave is a mythologized location, the underground dwelling where Yima took, or generated, the animals. Intriguingly, the Roman Marcellinus (AD 330-400) put it well when he spoke of 'subterranean passages and winding retreats, which, it is said, men skilful in the ancient Mysteries (by means of which they divined the coming of the Flood) constructed in different places lest the memory of their sacred ceremonies should be lost'. The Yima myth, like Yima himself in the story, sought sanctuary in such a retreat, survived the Younger Dryas mini ice age. Now he returns, recognized at last.


But there is sill much more confirmation. The next realization comes as a bolt out of the blue, and the gaps in the chain are filled in afterwards.


The Bird on the Pole

Below Gemini in the Lascaux painting is the bird on the pole. From the context we are now projecting, with increasing confidence, upon the wall painting, the motif represents the scepter of the bird totem king, perhaps a king of a bird tribe.
Figure 6
The big surprise here is that in the Denderah Zodiac of Egypt there is, below Gemini, a bird standing on a pole. Leo is to the left, Taurus to the right, with Orion below and with the Twins between Leo and Taurus holding hands, and below the Twins is a bird on a pole. (Figure 7) The bird is a hawk and wears the crown of the pharaoh, indicating that he is Horus. Uwe Homann has sent me an email with a link to a diagram showing that the main axis of the Denderah temple aligns straight through the pole-pillar-papyrus stalk and through the centre of the circular zodiac. This must surely show that it is a key figure, which of course it is since it is the totem of the Followers of Horus who are supposed to have built the original Denderah sanctuary, according to the inscription. The bird on pole figure is repeated in the square zodiac also at Denderah.
Figure 7

This raises some questions!

To say the least. However prepared we may have been for surprises, this causes immediate bewilderment. How can it possibly be that the very same place in the sky, the place beneath Yema / Gemini, was seen as a bird on a pole both in the Ptolemaic Zodiac of Hellenistic Egypt, and a cave painting from Upper Paleolithic France?!

As it happens, though the Zodiac as a formalized structure appears in Mesopotamia in the late Bronze Age, the bird on the pole symbol goes back to the earliest known periods of Egyptian and proto-Egyptian culture, as a symbol of the ‘Followers of Horus’, mysterious figures of Egyptian tradition said to have arrived from another land thousands of years earlier. Could they have been Magdalenians of the Yima clan?
The Pyramid Texts from the Pyramid of Unas, dating from back in the Pyramid Age, are concerned with the resurrection of the Soul of Unas in the Otherworld to become one with the body of Osiris, who rules their as king. The theme then is not dissimilar to the Yema myths, such as the Hindu tradition in which Yama after death passed over the river to a blessed realm over which he is lord to this day. Amazing as it seems, the Pyramid Texts speak of the spirit double (or ka) of the pharaoh ascending with the head of a hawk and becoming one with the constellation of the Twins! It could be a description of the Lascaux painting, where Yima the Twin has entered the stars with the head of a bird!

The texts say: 'Unas ascends towards heaven near you, Re, while his face is like that of hawks.’ Then they say: ‘Your head is that of Horus [the hawk] of the Duat, o Imperishable One, your brow is the One-with-the-Two-Eyes, o Imperishable One, your ears are (those of) the Twins of Atum, o Imperishable One, your eyes are (those of) the Twins of Atum, ... and you ascend, your legs are (those of) Imsti and Qebehsenuf, which you need to descend to the lower heaven, and you descend. All your members are (those of) the Twins of Atum, o Imperishable One ! You did not pass away, your ka does not pass away. You are a ka ! [Emphasis mine] Certainly by the time of the later Hermetic lore Atum was credited with the creation of the Zodiac figures, and it is impossible to escape the conclusion that the Twins of Atum are Gemini, especially as it is this part of the sky, the Duat, the region featuring Orion, Taurus and Sirius with which these Pyramid Texts are concerned.

The above references to the king’s ka assuming the form of the Twins in the sky is followed by a statement repeated several times: ‘Your son comes to you, this Unas comes to you, that you (both) may stride over the sky, united in darkness, that you may rise on the horizon in the place where you like to be.’

Here he cannot be rising as the Sun, because he does so in darkness - the context is stellar. These repeated references to striding across the sky, rising on the horizon - we can be in little doubt that a constellation is what is being referred to, and as the Twins of Atum there is little doubt which one.

In the Lascaux painting, the figure stands next to a bull, which we have said is Taurus, the bull of the sky. And in the Pyramid Texts there are references to the star animal, such as: ’Ignore not Unas, o Bull of Heaven, you know him because he knows you. Ignore not Unas, o Bull of Heaven.’ Indeed, the same part of the texts also has specific mention of stars and constellations, such as: Orion is encircled by the Duat [this region of the sky], when the One-who-lives-in-the-Horizon purifies himself. Sirius is encircled by the Duat, when the One-who-lives-in-the-Horizon purifies himself. There is also mention specifically of a Lion which the king's spirit must pass, (‘Cloud, burst, that the lion be drowned in water and that the throat of the king be wide’), and similarly of a Scorpion - more of what sounds like constellation imagery.

The Magdalenian Dreamtime, Plato's Cave and the Akashic Records : Totemism as the 'Shamanism of Art'

We can note that it is clear that the myth of Yima, even considered in isolation, accords in almost every detail with Ingold’s definition of totemism. Yima / Yama / Ymir is the first ancestor of people, the bull is the first ancestor of cattle. The land has come from and is thus consubstantial with their bodies, and the clan members hope in turn to become one with the ancestor when passing on. The land has been shaped from them; they existed in a first time, an original paradise; they are in some way in this paradise still, in an otherworld, that can be reached.
It must be admitted that, according to anthropologists such as Ingold, the use of masks is not common in totemic cultures, but rather is commonly found in those of the animic type. Another Magdalenian painting, the “Dancing Sorcerer”, shows what looks like a man wearing an animal mask. Of course it may not be a mask that is represented on the Lascaux man, but an actual bird-head. Aren't birds generally symbolic of flight, and doesn't this suggest shammanic flight? If so, a speculative hypothesis might suggest that the idea for a bird-headed man first entered the culture through the type of shamanism that involves more direct contact with individual beings of the spirit world, (or through contact with a culture of this animic type) and that stories about these figures then crystallized into the more structured mythology that seems to be evidenced in Lascaux. My personal feeling is that totemism comes to dominate when a culture has a relationship to a particular landscape for very long periods of time, due to a build up of the resonant ancestral imprint, and that these Magdalenian ancestors of Europeans had become totemites by the Upper Paleolithic. I even feel that this imprinted mindset would go on to inform the later Hermetic-Platonic mindsets of the later Western Tradition through its various renaissances.

Then again, the bird-head need not necessarily lead us away from thoughts of totemism. In their book Ancient Ochres David Andrew Roberts and Adrian Parker look at the Mount Borradaile site of northern Arnhem Land in Australia. They write that depictions of therianthropic beings are very common, and that they depict "Dreaming characters associated with particular species." An example is a Kangaroo-headed being. Contact with these beings is not through any shamanic out of body flight, but through the art itself, and the mythologized sites associated with these Ancestors, activated by, as well as the rock art, songs and ceremonies, dances and stories. Through contact they might revivify the sites or themselves, but there is no mention of interaction with the beings depicted in the same way that animic shamans interact with spirits. I'm reminded of how the anthropoligst Tim Ingold in The Perception of the Environment says that the rock paintings of the totemic peoples of Australia are one of the ways that contact with the Dreamtime is made. If shamanism refers to methods used in tribal cultures to go beyond the mundane world, then to me this is still shamanism, (though the word is not used by anthropologists for totemic peoples). It operates beyond the purely physical, and trancends time, but it is through contact with the art, not through eyes-closed inner ('entopic') visions. So perhaps we cannot take the bird-head therianthropism itself as proof of out-of-body shamanic flight.

Also interesting is that in Ancient Ochres we are told that there are various degrees of initation associated with the Mount Borrodaile paintings "with degrees of symbolism and subject matter deepening with advancing age and respective stages of initiation." Some cave paintings in the Borrodaile site are highly secret, only for the initiated. More interesting still is that First Mother's "acts of creation are central to the major ritual sequences of western Arnhem Land." She was a first ancestor and she travelled around planting plants in the ground. Persian Yima, after the cold period, came out of his cave and repopulated the Earth, planting everywhere the seeds he had stored up. The Australian First Mother figure plants in our minds the idea that a creation myth could be the mythic subtance of an artistic initiation sequence.
Could the Yima-Bull image of Lascaux be comparable - a sacred ceremonial site where a particular initiation occured? What strengthens this speculation is that there seems to be some long thread of connection linking to the Persian initiations, where the Yima and Gayomart stories survived. I'm not aware of records of initiations from the Persians themselves, but Porphyry (The Cave of the Nymphs) says their initiations took place in caves where images of constellation animals were placed on the walls. The Romans supposedly based their Mithraic religion on Persian prototypes, and the temples were supposed to represent a cave, and there was always a large morphically-standardized image of the sacrifice of the First Bull, while we also know that it was a religion based on initiation, seven stages to be precise.
Then there are the references in Plato's works which seem to refer to this kind of initiation, and which outline the mechanism. In The Republic Plato uses a cave as a simile to describe the philosophy of the Realm of Ideas. Those in the cave are looking at images cast on the wall of geometric patterns and the shapes of animals. At first they see only the Particular, thinking that to be the only reality, but the Philosopher then makes the journey into the Realm of Ideas and sees with the Mind's Eye the Universal Forms of which the images are mere copies. Later in The Republic Plato refers back to this cave, calling attention to the "the progress of sight from shadows to the real creatures, and then to the stars themselves." To the thinking of Plato, I think this was what he claimed it was - a simile. But Plato often used images from the Mysteries in this way, to illustrate philosophical ideas. This was the subject of the dissertation of Anne M. Farrell , holder of a PhD in Philosophy, entitled Plato's Use of Eleusinian Mystery Motifs. So it would not be making too outlandish a claim to suggest that here too his simile was based on an actual initiation tradition.
It is when we consider the situation from the point of view of the modern theory of MORPHIC RESONANCE that we can really see how this cave initation works at more than the level of a mere simile. Highly qualified biologist Rupert Sheldrake looked at anomalies in a wide range of areas, such as animal behaviour transfer, human learning and crystal growth, and found them best explained by a resonance between things of like form occurring in fields that, as with once-linked photons as now proven in Physics, have a connection at a distance which transcends space-time. Through this resonance individuals have a connection to a collective bank of patterns.
So in our cave, the initiate at first sees only paintings of figures on the wall of the cave, lit by the burning torches. Then, as a standardized ceremony takes place, perhaps with incense (we know the Magdaleninans used little juniper lamps), with reverberating chanting, telling the stories that relate to the myth depicted, through such things the initiate begins to resonate with a collective Idea, for the constellations have long been a source of awe and wonder. The Forms are thus 'imprinted' with ancestral perception, and when one resonates through the principle of similarity of form (hence 'morphic') with this collective, one is in the Dreamtime.
The ancient Rig Veda makes a particularly explicit reference to this:

‘The Brhati metre resonated in the voice of Brhaspati [etc] That was the model for the human sages, our fathers, when the primeval sacrifice was born. With the eye that is mind, in thought I see those who were the first to offer this sacrifice. The ritual repetitions harmonized with the chants and with the metres, the seven divine sages harmonized with the original models. When the wise men looked back along the path of those who went before, they took up the reins like charioteers.’

In fact Morphic Fields exist in Hindu thought under the name of Akasha, the element of the Universe that records all things eternally, and one with an open third eye can read the Akashic Records. This for me is why the Mysteries of totemism are in their way a kind of shamanism, as this type of initation involves a geniune journey beyond the everyday world - the Dreamtime is real. Though this is not necessarily the same realm visited by animic shamans, it is a parallel process. So I am tempted to refer to totemism not so much as a complete contrast to the shamanism of animic cultures, but as a different kind of shamanism: the shamanism of art, where animism is the shamanism of nature.
Through this resonant connection with what can truly be called the esoteric elder knowledge of the clan, written only in Morphic Fields, the candidate in the cave becomes more fully initiated into the clan, more merged into the body of the Dreamtime ancestor, so to speak. Furthermore, following the initiation, they have had a sense being more multidimensional, less trapped in linear space and time, a fascinating, liberating and depressurising experience.
Whether the initiation was as formal in the Upper Paleolithic, I don't know, but this is why I think that the type of 'shamanic' experience that the Lascaux image is involved with was probably more like mind's-eye-journey of the initiation mysteries of the Borrodaile First Mother than the out-of-body journeys of animic shamans. And if the Magdalenian Dreamtime is real, there is no reason why we now could not become initiated into it, entering into the most ancient Eurasian/'Old World' Mysteries.

You can see why for me the term “totemic” has much common ground with the terms “Hermetic” and “Platonic.” “Rise out of Time into Eternity” and “See the Universal within the Particular” are tenets of the writings known at the Hermetica. In Timaeus (3) Plato has Timaeus distinguish between the corruptible physical realm and the eternal intelligible realm, and then (in 6, the discussion of the creation of the world), the eternal is called the Same and the realm of flux is called the Different. Timaeus describes how the Different is divided into seven circles in which the planets orbit in their wandering paths “measured against the regular motion of the Same.” As Lee notes in the Penguin translation, the Same, the Eternal, is therefore simply the tapestry of the fixed stars against which the planets go retrograde. Ergo, Plato here very closely associates the Realm of the Eternal with the fixed stars, the constellations, precisely because of their reliable fixity. Timaeus further states “whenever the maker of anything keeps his eye on the eternal and uses it as his pattern for the form and function of his product the result must be good.” In the context, this could easily be taken as recommending that artistic works be based on the patterns of the constellations. In The Republic he rightly adds that, though the mind can be lead up to the Realm of Ideas by such contemplations of the stellar Forms, the ideal, once this access has been opened, is to resonate also with the Idea of Goodness Itself, within this realm, for just as forms have a collective resonance, so too do intelligible, universal concepts such as Goodness. We might note the goodness is imprinted into the mythological figure of Yima, for he is in Persian tradition the Good Shepherd.
If the blood of the Primordial Bull flowed out into the land, and from this source came the animals, then when the painter takes ochre and other blood-like substances from the Earth and uses them to paint animals, he or she is repeating and in a sense dancing the steps of that primordial act of ancestral genesis. Equally, if Yima maintained an underground citadel in which he kept the animals, then the choice of underground cave complexes also seems to be an enactment of the myth itself. It follows that that the people who made them may have thought of these sites as places directly involved with that first creation, and therefore may have thought of the paintings as having a living power deriving from those First Ancestor figures. In all the Australian Aboriginal painting traditions there is a strong connection between the paintings, the ancestral beings they depict, and the morphology of the landscape. If painting is a way to open perception of the Dreamtime, it is not unreasonable to imagine that artistic depictions of Yima and his Bull would also have been painted for a similar purpose and according to certain conventions distinguishing the art from mere mundane mimesis - namely the formic adherance to the lasting constellations.
So, to recap, we have so far found in the Pyramid Texts the first link in the chain between the Dendera and the Lascaux bird on the pole, and it is one that fits with the passage-after-death themes of the Yema myths. To find more links we look at the hawk-totem associated with the royal god Horus.

The Bird on the Pole is located below Gemini, and below and to the left of Orion and Taurus, so which stars does it represent? The brightest star in that part of the sky is Sirius, but in fact, at the Lascaux latitude 17000 years ago, Sirius didn’t rise. In fact the bird on the top of the pole is located more in the position of the star Procyon of the constellation of Canis Minor, which did rise at that time. A role may have been assigned to Procyon that was at different times/latitudes assigned to the brighter, nearby Sirius, when it was visible. Why a bird on a pole? Possibly, the star's appearance in the sky was in some era timed with the onset of Spring announced with song by a returning bird of a particular species. The soul of Yima returned in bird-form to the meadows and forests and, Phoenix like, inaugurated the new season with its song.



The Followers of Horus and the Boat of a Million Years


The Lascaux painting gives us a connection with the later Egyptian culture, but leaves us wandering how the traditions got to Egypt, while concurrently there were traditions in Egypt of an early pre-dynastic arrival, leading to questions about where these arrivals came from. The link is Horus. Horus was the hawk of royalty, and so is the hawk perched on the king’s sceptre, which we have found carried by the birdman in Upper Palaeolithic France, and the arrivals from another shore in early Egypt were the Shemsu Hor, the Followers (or ‘companions’) of Horus, who were linked with the Denderah Zodiac.

Murray Hope writes of the Denderah temple that contains the Zodiac we have looked at (1996. The Sirius Connection. Element): ‘Its hieroglyphics declare it to have been constructed ‘according to the plan laid down in the time of the Companions of Horus’.’ Researching this claim we find that the inscription in question states that this plan - the plan of the temple and thus also the Zodiac which adorns a part of it - was written on a goatskin parchment by the Shemsu Hor - the Followers of Horus - who were said to have arrived in Egypt long before dynastic times. The extraordinary thing then is that this Denderah Zodiac has already been associated with mysterious arrivals from a very early time, and then we find this amazing match up with the Lascaux painting! Did a Magdalenian Bird Tribe, a Hawk Clan, find their way over the Straights of Gibralta to Northern Africa to escape the shock onset of the Younger Dryas mini ice age at the end of the Magdalenian period, and then settle in the Nile Valley when the Sahara dried up during the Neolithic? There is not a question about whether they could have done - the land is visible across the water and the distance is even swim-able. Some kind of movement over the sea definitely occurred during this period, since Crete is thought to have been uninhabited by humans before the Mesolithic. Even the shortest distance to Crete from mainland Europe or Africa is a veritable marathon compared to the tiny hop over the straights of Gibraltar. Speculation concerns whether this journey was made hundreds of thousands of years ago, but concerning the period 11,000 years or so ago there need not be doubt.
What do we know about these mysterious Shemsu Hor? The Turin Papyrus, which was written during the reign of Pharaoh Sethos, contains a chronology of the kings of the pre-dynastic period in Egypt. It also covers the period before the first ‘historic’ king Menes, with a list of the Shemsu Hor who reigned a total of 13,420 years. This takes us back well into the Upper Paleolithic. The Egyptians themselves of the Sethos period obviously viewed them as historical personages. Clearly, given the very long lifetimes of the early Shemsu Hor, they were in part legendary, but it becomes apparent that they were based on a genuine history.
All the evidence discussed here shows that they were hunter-gatherers like everybody else at that time. What is intriguing - and valuable, in the fullest sense of the word - is not whether these arrivals were more advanced than the natives they found in Egypt, but rather the continuity of culture, the span across large amounts of geography and time.
Hope also mentions the work of the Greek philosopher Proclus (AD 412 - 485) who mentions a Greek traveler called Cantor who visited Sais in Egypt and was shown a column in the temple of Neith with hieroglyphics recording not only the history of pre-dynastic Egypt, 'but also that of the country from which those people hailed, who brought their culture to the shores of Egypt in those distant times.' The interest in these visitors here arises simply because they fit with the fact of the transmission of the constellation lore. The arrival of the Shemsu Hor, by the Egyptian reckoning (in the Turin Papyrus), was during the late Upper Paleolithic. Egyptian culture certainly gives many indications of having grown organically out of an animal shamanism such as that of the Magdalenians. Yima in the star-map is himself bird-headed, like Horus.

Early rock art from Egypt has similarities with the Saharan rock art; the earliest Saharan art is thought to come from a time concurrent with the end of the Magdalenian art, around 9000 B.C, while this Mesolithic Saharan art also shows similarities with Magdalenian French and Spanish Art. This is the first phase of Saharan rock art, characterised by large depictions of big animals, many of them the same subjects as chosen by Magdalenian artisits: rhino, buffalo, elephants and antelopes. The general movement makes very good sense from a climatic point of view. It is becoming generally reckoned that the first Ancient Egyptians were the nomadic hunter-gatherers of the Sahara who settled into the Nile valley as the Sahara began to dry up. This would provide the hypothesized route by which the traditions in question could have entered Egypt. We know that the Magdalenian culture seemed to come to an end during the Younger Dryas mini ice age. Europe became very cold at this time, while the Sahara was green. There was certainly the motivation for the hunter-gatherers to shift their operation across the Straights of Gibraltar. So it was these hunter-gatherers who then become marooned in the only part that stayed lush and fertile - the Nile Valley.

And what is particularly intriguing is that in this early Egyptian rock art we see both the bull constellation and the bird on the pole. Much of this rock art shows images of the Solar Boat, much as found in later Egyptian tradition. This is seen for example in the rock art of the Rock of Vultures in El Kab to the East of the Nile. There are images of a large solar boat with a horned bovine to the right, facing left.

By definition a solar boat moves through the sky, and so when we find it passing a bovine there is scarcely any other possible conclusion besides that the bovine is a constellation, which obviously brings to mind Taurus. By comparison with images on early pottery, this rock art is dated to around 3,000 B.C., so a vernal Sun in Taurus could be a confirmation of this dating. The presence of animals such as giraffes in the art also seems to confirm the great age of the art, as these animals left Egypt as the drier periods came on around 3500 B.C. I have to mention that the giraffes are well placed to represent the Giraffe Constellaton, Cameleopardalis.
Across on the other side of the Nile from El Kab is Hierakonpolis, location of the oldest known necropolis of Egypt, with mummified remains and funerary masks going back to 3,600 B.C., contemporary with the dating of the rock art. There is evidence of habitation in this place from around 5000 B.C. The Egyptians themselves spoke of the twin towns of Nekheb (El Kab) and Nekhem (Hierakonpolis) as being places of their early ancestors, and it is quite possible that even in this early time the deceased elite were ferried across the Nile in these solar boats to the western necropolis in imitation of the Sun as in later times. It is interesting that in the proto-Hindu/Vedic tradition the bird messangers of Yama, owl and dove, drag the souls of the deceased across the river Vaiterana in order to enter the afterlife realm of Yama.

Another example, recently discovered in Wadi Hammamat, is very interesting indeed, for here again we see the solar boat, and again we see the bull of the sky, but this one also shows the bird perched on a pole at one end of the of the boat. This would appear to be the front of the boat, and may again represent the bird messanger leading the way across the river to the Afterlife. I have seen much later images of the solar boat where a bird still perches on the front, such as Cheritwebesheshet's Book of the Dead from the 21st Dynasty.
Figure 8 - Solar boat with accomplished depiction of horned bovid from Wadi Hammamat rock inscriptions

Figure 9 - Close up of Bird on Pole (left) on Wadi Hammamat Solar Boat
Figure 10 - Bird on Pole from Lascaux

On the far left of this close up image we can clearly see the bird on the pole, looking remarkably close to the way he looked back in Lascaux! Looking back at the zoom out, take note of the position of the back of this boat where the bird is relative to Taurus. It is to the left of and below Taurus, the same as much later Denderah and much earlier Lascaux. We have found another key pillar in the hypothesized bridge between those two.

Chronologically, after the settling of the Saharan nomads, there comes the ‘pre-dynastic period’. From this period some of the most interesting archaeological finds are the makeup palettes inscribed with images. On several of these we find again the bird on the pole, and on more than one occasion this motif is in association with the bull on these palettes. In these instances the bird on the pole is described as a standard, as figures are shown holding it. This ‘standard’ and a small number of similar ones were in dynastic times given the name Followers of Horus. In other words the Bird on the Pole was specifically associated with those ‘legendary’ kings who arrived from foreign shores thousands of years before pre-dynastic times, the same kings the Egyptian inscription says were responsible for the design of the temple that includes the Dendera Zodiac where we again see this pole - a fact fitting remarkably well with the hypothesis here proposed that those kings were a Magdalenian bird tribe or hawk clan. Examples of palettes showing the bull and the bird on the pole are the Narmer and the Bull palettes. These are of course also very early in the sense that they are a good 3000 or so years before the Dendera temple was (re)constructed, and as such they further strengthen the bridge between the very old and the more recent examples of this same motif.

Figures 11- 16 Predynastic Bird-on-Pole images: First: from the Narmer Palette. Second : together with bull imagery on an ivory label of Narmer. Third: From the "Battlefield Palette."Fourth: together with bull imagery from the Bull Palette.

18
It is not as if I have sifted through a vast amount of material to find what might come up by the law of averages eventually; far from it - the number of images we have from this proto-dynastic period are few, and these make-up palettes are the most prominent of them, just as the Pyramid Texts which describe the king’s spirit double assuming the form of Gemini with the head of a hawk are the earliest Egyptian religious texts - the earliest religious texts from anywhere, for that matter.


But perhaps the most amazing supportive links to emerge from pre-dynastic Egypt come from findings made in 2004 by Dirk Huyge. In El Hosh in Egypt Huyge found 'bovids executed in a ‘Franco-Cantabrian, Lascaux-like style’ and dated them by the Accelerator Mass Spectrometry C-14 method to between 8,000 and 10,000 B.C.! I was understandably delighted to learn this. Here I was looking for evidence of the continuity of the bovine cult from Lascaux into Egypt during the Mesolithic, and there was Huyge finding bulls in the Lascaux style in Egyptian rock art dated to the late Palaeolithic / early Mesolithic! Perfect! An article "Lascaux on the Nile" published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM and including some good images of the bovines (short-horned aurochs) can be seen at http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2007/849/he1.htm.



Enough of their works have survived for us to be able to say with increasing confidence that the Magdalenian Hawk Clan undertook a great migration and found a new land. Time has been kind to their story. They must have merged with a people already present in the Nile Valley who didn’t speak an Indo-European language, but key totems of their tradition were retained. This is not Atlantean fantasy, but history. Of course, it is logical that the ancestral roots of peoples are more in common the further back we go. Yema and the Bull are common to peoples of North Africa, Europe, Persia and Northern India - a truly vast area. Yama as a lord of the dead even exists in Japanese Buddhism as Emma-O.

13 comments:

a.borkwood said...

I definitely think you're on to something of serious significance, here, but isn't it possible the 'twin' giraffes with their identically angled necks are another version of the Yama/Gemini twins?

Especially given how they're depicted as if the larger, (in the foreground?) one's meant to be understood as being to 'this' side of the solar boat, while the smaller, (in the background?) one's meant to be understood as being to the far side of the boat, the implication being, therefore, they're on the either side of the 'river' (dividing Life from Death?) the solar boat is sailing on?

ELPHINofANGLELAND said...

Hi, yes, that was my first thought too. But it then seemed more than concidental the the giraffe ("Camel-Leopard") constellation is located just above Gemini. Possibly the two were at some point joined, and what is now the giraffe constellation may have been just the head, appropriately located high up at the roof of the sky.

Delphine said...

Sometimes we stretch so to find shamanistic and mystical explanations for ancient things that we lose sight of the fact that those artists also lived in close proximity with nature - which includes seeing the animals depicted on cave walls do all of the things that animals do. The only wonderful mystery here is the instinctual ritual being performed by the animal: The six dots behind the Lascaux rhino depict dominant male rhino behaviour: Visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCz0Jx1dIqc to see what I mean. Note the position of the tail and the hind legs. Dominant males defecate on middens and then drag their hind legs through the dung to spread it out. If a non-dominant male is caught performing like that he gets killed. Pleiades - maybe. Rhino poop? Definitely.

lascaux bull painting said...

Very informative post. Lascaux is a must visit for Paleolithic cave paintings. The basic designs consist of huge animals. You can see around 2000 figures in this cave. The figures are divided into animals, human beings and abstract things. The Great Hall of the Bulls is very famous. The painting of four huge bulls is amazing. The best time to visit this caves is between July and August.

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pneumatictrousers said...

All the ancient mysteries related to Gemini / Twins in general in art and archaeology is this. That is the gate of the eternal loop that goes to Sagittarius. The other eternal loop is the archers target of Taurus which is why every civilization worshiped the bull as the earthly karmic world soul cycle. The Gemini Gate was represented by the double axe, twins, cross, scarab, swans, or janus. It became understood that people would look and feel different on the one side of the gate compared to afterwards. Egyptians or others would use maybe a jackal looking figure on prior and the various reborn gods after the gate depending on which sequence or phase since is harmonic. All their math, music (even shapes of instruments!), and language is derived from study of the moon, sun, AND stars. So the minor eternity gates are annual but the major eternal rebirth gates were more based on the eclipses. Some measured in metons but some went by their own saros which is the complete movement of many. That is why you see that north or south node ohm curved or spiral looking symbol or star all over their art. Many worshiped, including many of the early anglo saxons and celtic christians in europe the Triple Saros or 1 full outer turn around stonehedge. I know many ore details but this is the key to the mysteries.