and the Drug Propaganda: Bone
Eyes floating in mid-air, shaped like diamonds, can be seen arresting
the attention of a majestic stag crossing a river in which realistic
salmon are leaping on a beautiful 14,000 year-old bone baton from the
Pyrenees. Another bone shows floating eyes attending a bear's head bleeding
from the mouth, the sacrificial symbolism. The floating eye motif, in
conjunction with snakes, sacred plants and ecstatic people, is repeated
in Bronze Age temple-palaces from Teotihuacán to Knossos, as is the
sacrificial animal motif.
In the beautiful 17,000 year-old (Lower Magdalenian) cave paintings
at Lascaux, horses, cows and buffalo are depicted with specific, stressed
plant images. A 14,000 year-old carved mammoth ivory from Czechoslovakia
depicts a grain plant on one side and a snake on the other. A 12,000
year-old engraved flat bone from La Vache in the French Pyrenees shows
a realistic bellowing bull and a doe, apparently in early fall, the
rutting season. The associated bare branches and drooping flower may
confirm the season. That is also the season of the Amanitas, the Soma
mushrooms, above, which may be what is depicted below the conifer branches.
The pictorial accentuation of meaningful plants is even more dramatic
in the 12,000 year-old bone fragment showing the schematized stag head
and a particular kind of flower. The complex fragment below, combining
plant and animal images, was a sort of Paleolithic notebook.
The single most common image found throughout the 25,000-year span
of Upper Paleolithic art is that of an adult woman. Female images are
found majestically cut into cave entrances, below right, as shaped reindeer
antler batons, and as bone, stone or coal statuettes and amulets. The
20,000 year-old soft stone Venus of Willendorf, Austria, below left,
was coated with red ochre (ferrous clay), as were many ceremonial batons
and statuettes. A 25,000 year-old mammoth ivory calendar-baton from
Moravia is a highly stylized bone stick with counting notches and pendulous
The 22,000 year-old red-ochred sculpted reliefs at the rock shelter
of Laussel, France, above, one to three feet high, realistically depict
a goddess holding up a crescent horn with thirteen notches on it,a god
hurling a lance, a horse, a deer and other animals. The thirteen notches
probably count off a lunar year of 29-day months, new moon to new moon.
The female image with the crescent moon is repeated over and over in
both Paleolithic and Neolithic artifact and mythology. Frolov: "Perhaps
the Siberian peoples possess the key to that phenomenon; their women
calculate child-birth by the phases of the moon... Pregnancy has a duration
of exactly 10 lunar months, and the woman keeps a sort of lunar calendar
(it was always the woman who was the custodian of the lunar calendar
among these nationalities)."
Much of the schematized female imagery is combined with chevrons, angles,
meanders and serpentine or spiral images identical or almost identical
to the imagery found on Neolithic pottery and grave markings worldwide.
These designs match the eye's natural phosphenes, geometric designs
produced by the eye subjectively in the absence of light, under manual
pressure, or under the influence of entheogenic plants.
Contemporary neuroscience has no idea where the distinction between
cognitive and noncognitive processes lies. The best working model Professor
Churchland can suggest for the brain is a living hologram. The historical
achievements of Paleolithic shamanism are strong empirical proof that
both extrasensory perception, which can be empirically demonstrated
but not explained, and creative genius are at work. They include the
discovery of virtually all known medicinal plants and innumerable ways
of employing them, the invention of local and general anesthesia, midwifery,
surgery, transfusion, organ replacement, vaccination, hypodermic injection
Auric vision is a power consistently attributed to the ancient shamans.
Auric (Kirlian) photography confirmed the reality of the acupuncture
points in 1957; ancient Chinese shamans drew accurate schematics of
the dozens of bodily points, which show up as white light on the Kirlian
photographs, thousands of years ago. Obviously, they were using their
'biological technology' to see the white light.
The intellectual, social and technological contribution of Paleolithic
shamanism is immeasurable. Virtually all the surviving Bronze Age mythology,
for instance, attributes the discovery of astronomy, mythology, writing
and metallurgy to the shamans. Anthropologists are consistently amazed
at the encyclopedic genius, botanical or poetical, they encounter in
many shamans. One anthropologist reported an Amazonian shaman who could
accurately discuss the properties of more than 2000 plants.
The many Iron Age shamans known as Homer could sing both The Iliad
and The Odyssey from memory. These book-length epic poems, which
date from the events they describe, are hundreds of years older than
the Ionian Homers who finally set them down in writing. They could not
have survived to have been recorded in the eighth century BC had they
not been memorized by singing shamans over the course of generations.
Imagine the power of the intellect that could sing The Iliad
from memory. The anthropological literature is full of examples of shamans
capable of as much as a hundred continuous hours of repeatable versification,
a feat very few, if any, moderns could match. Poetry, of course, is
the shamanic invention par excellence. Strophe (verse) means
'a turning,' and the Latin ballare, from which ballad, means