It’s funny sometimes, the twists and turns on the path of life. If I could go back in time (with better health) to take one of the many forks in the road, who knows where I might be now. At various times in my life I’ve wanted to *be* very particular things. That is, to have particular careers. My earliest memory of wanting to be something was inspired by the old 1960’s TV show about a dolphin named Flipper. I wanted to be an oceanographer. In lieu of that, I wanted to train dolphins at the zoo!
A year or so later, I read of a fossil field found about two hours from my home. I already wanted to be an archeologist. You can’t grow up with all the renown museums of Chicago in your backyard and not have something rub off on you. Just knowing dinosaur fossils were so close made me want to be a paleontologist too. I pleaded with my dad to take me to Braidwood Illinois so I could see the discoveries there, and I held onto the newspaper clipping for years on the outside chance he’d change his mind.
My parents were never on board with this precocious kid’s science interests beyond many trips to the museums. Art, music, teaching or nursing were the open doors for girls back then. That was common. All in all there are very few Jane Goodalls and Maxine Singers out there today. Blatant or subtle, the paths for girls of my generation were narrow except in extraordinary circumstances or where sheer force of personality said otherwise. I was far too meek and shy for the latter.
The sciences always called to me, even as I grew and my interests changed and evolved. Empirical method still speaks to this info hound. I may have never walked the paths that forked off my main road, but I’m forever feeding those old interests by keeping up on new innovations, discoveries, and information. And that’s good enough. What’s more, I married a man with a somewhat similar mind and our grown children are just like me in that they have sweeping interests of their own. Our discussions around the dinner table are amazing, and now that they’re grown with lives of their own, all too infrequent and precious. Through my interests I also enhanced curriculum taught to my students — boys and girls alike.
Anyway…I’m especially keen on the study of anthropology that deals with the paleolithic and neolithic eras. This science has it all — a little history, a little archaeology, and more than a little symbolism. For example: the spiral shows up all over the world. I’ll cover that in depth tomorrow.
Today I’m looking at spirit animals.
It was in the 1940’s when 17 -year-old Marcel Ravidat and three of his companions stumbled upon one of the greatest paleolithic finds in the world — The cave of Lascaux.
In the decades following WWII, the Lascaux cave was modified and opened to the public. It closed in 1963 after it was determined the carbon dioxide of thousands of breaths had created an environment of mold, bacteria, and fungi that were eating away at the precious artworks.
The well-respected archaeologist Abbé Henri Breuil was one of the first to study the site in those early days. Along with bone fragments, oil lamps, and other artifacts, he found nearly 2000 artworks — paintings done with mineral pigments and engraved images of horses, bison, aurochs, mammoths, ibex, deer, bears, lions, and wolves. It’s believed such images served spiritual needs or ceremonial purpose. That’s so easy to imagine.
The symbolic representation of wildlife clearly shows those early peoples’ relationship to their environment. Given the age, we’ll never know the true meaning or purpose, but we can compare them to artworks done by primitive peoples discovered in the historical era and get a general idea beyond a good guess. Was capturing the spirit the point as in aboriginal rock art in other parts of the world? Did they call upon the spirits of those animals to bring good fortune to the hunt? Or were these paintings shamanic undertakings; a pictorial record of experience(s) of having drawn the essence of the creatures into oneself that enabled you to walk among the animals in the spirit realm? I’ve taken shamanic journeys. My imagination just flies with this.
Research puts most of the artwork done in Lascaux cave at around 15,000 ago. The oldest such paleolithic cave paintings are found at Chauvet cave in France. Discovered in 1994, these works were painted at least 32,000 years ago. Wow.
A fun side note: The artworks of Lascaux so tickled my fancy, that many years ago I recreated this cave scene on the walls of a small room in my home. Just another layer of creatively from a fanciful mind. 🙂
Take the virtual tour.
Then stop at Chauvet cave.
For $2.99 watch The Cave of Forgotten Dreams on youtube
It’ll blow your mind.
Tomorrow ~ spirals
Another 100 Things Blogging Challenge! For 100 days, I’ll post something from my chosen topic: Words on the Verge of Extinction. There are 57 entries to come.
Here’s one for today:
Brabeum (noun common 1675)
reward or prize
It’s Wednesday and time for Hump Day happenings.
Hump Day Hook
Horny Hump Day
First Kiss Wednesday
First Kiss Wednesday!
Over on the Exquisite Quills blog it’s a day dedicated to kisses. In 300 words or less taken from the pages of their novels, authors share their best smackeroos.
Several promotional opportunities for romance authors can be found on my Exquisite Quills group blogs. Meet the founding authors and our guests. http://exquisitequills.blogspot.com/
Exquisite Quills Yahoo Group
Free to join in each week
Wash Line Monday ~ share your descriptions of clothing in your novel.
Tickle Us Tuesday ~ Share fun and funny snippets from your novel.
First Kiss Wednesday ~ share your best 300 word kiss.
Set the Scene in Six~ share your backdrop or lead-up on Sundays.
Book a spot
The Genesis of a Book ~ share the spark that ignited your novel.
Author Interviews ~ We’re booking early summer now.
Today is Author Gemma Juliana’s blog day.
The February contest is on Romance Books ‘4’ Us and it’s all about Cupid. Find the little cherub hidden all across the site to win. This month’s contest will have 2 winners who’ll each receive a $50 gift card for Amazon/B&N, then split the remaining prizes (randomly chosen by RB4U). Be sure to check all our pages for news about authors and their books, publishers and their books, and industry representatives. http://www.romancebooks4us.com/
Love Waits in Unexpected Places – Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories
Sample my love stories for free!
The cave artwork is so fascinating. I wanted to be an animal husbandry person with the zoos too! But my love came from watching Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom!
LOL mine too! My husband and I laugh about Merle hiding behind the rock while Jim was thrust in the middle of an elephant stampede. 🙂
I’ve often pondered the synchronicity of how the ancient people of the world carved animals and “stories” on cave walls, from the Americas to Egypt to Europe and Australia…and then we named so many constellations after animals as well. It’s a fascinating thread of common expression.
Isn’t it though? I’ll be doing constellation symbols soon. 🙂 No rest for the wicked.
I can identify with your wish to be involved in many different careers, Rose! Love your creativity with the painting at home.
Thanks! I’ve considered adding more cave painting images to the walls. Especially now that I’ve seen Cave of Forgotten Dreams.