Some of the earliest forms of art have been found on the walls of the caves where prehistoric man painted what seem to be the scenes from his “daily life”. At least that’s what historians thought until recently.
However, it’s a little known fact that for ancient people, art meant a lot more than just an aesthetic pastime with hedonistic purposes.
Ancient people used art as a form of magic and in purposes of reconnecting with the spiritual world. All the best historians and theoreticians of art know that sacred rituals were the birthplace of art. This was the heart and soul of Shamanism.
So what does art have to do with the spiritual world, you may wonder… Simply put, art is a sacred ritual in which symbols are employed to affect the matters of the spirit…
In that regard, the famous painting of the bison in the Altamira caves some 20,000 years ago does not depict what our ancestors liked to eat or hunt as most of the people thought…
What we think we know
Those paintings are used to honor the spirits of the animals in which many shamanic cultures saw the spirits of their ancestors.
It was believed that the paintings had soul-trapping properties. You trap the soul of the life form you paint. That’s why Muslim art forbids painting their prophets to this very day.
Anyway, soul-trapping sounds a bit dire, but it’s not to say that paintings were used explicitly to capture and control the painted.
It’s more probable that ancient shamans used those paintings to communicate with what they painted.
It’s important to note that there were 2 kinds of rituals as well as (at least) 2 kinds of prevailing desires of the humankind:
1) those meant to control nature for one’s own purposes and rise above the natural order
2) those meant to honor nature, nurture it, learn from it and bring a state of harmony between man and nature
First kind of strife strayed into black magic and (2000 years later) into industrialism which brings about spiritual and ecological catastrophes.
The second kind of strife is what real shamans are about. We use the word “shaman” in its most broad sense as someone who communicates with the spirits of nature and calls upon them to help us heal.
When we say “spirits of nature”, we mean “spirits of our ancestors”, as well as all shamans, know that man is one with the earth.
Scientists today suspect that memory of all our ancestors from the very first man is stored and preserved in our DNA. Imagine that, not an ounce of data lost… it’s just that we can’t access those.
Not consciously at least. Many spiritual teachers assume that the conscious part of the mind is just a filter for more or less useful information while the absolute body of knowledge lies beyond.
Our subconscious allegedly has the power to tap into this universal field of data and draw from it.
That, in relation to our theory of ancestral memories, means that we basically can communicate with our ancestors by tapping into their memories.
Now we know not how it looks, but there are many reports of people witnessing their ancestor’s lives as if they were the ones living them or even communicating with the spirits of their ancestors.
Especially in ayahuasca rituals, communicating with the spirits of your old ones is nothing unusual.
Now, that brings us back to the caves. It’s often the case that the ancestral spirit will summon us to a cave for a little home welcoming. Why is that so?
Because caves are some of the human kind’s oldest homes, shelters, temples, and sanctuaries. It’s in the stone bowels of the mother earth that the first man loved, prayed, laughed and dreamt…
That’s why caves have an archetypal primordial symbolic meaning attached to them. They marked some of the man’s first experiences and associations with safety and home.
However, caves can also be associated with darkness, hiding, secrets, and danger as man is not the only thing that liked to settle down inside.
In that regard, a cave also carries a symbolism of deep, unearthed parts of our psyche, hidden from our knowledge, where both darkness and the fire of ancestral tribes await for us.
By engaging with spirituality, art, and primordial, archetypal symbols and images, by conducting sacred rituals, we stir the deep-seated ancestral memory in the roots of who we really are.
By getting back to our roots we may find out the cause of some of our present ailments and call upon our guardian spirits to assist us with healing energy.
We’re bid to dive deep into the ancestral caves of our spirits to the source where we’ll give and receive forgiveness and reconnect with ourselves and the universal flow of energy.
That’s how transgenerational trauma is being healed. Nowadays, most people don’t even know the real cause of their suffering – the accumulated negative energy, bestowed upon them by their ancestors.
Some people even exhibit behavioral patterns that they themselves are not able to explain. It’s the behavioral patterns of the past that repeats itself until the trauma is healed.
Our ancestors, joined with One, stripped away from their egoic personas, await and offer a helping hand, but we need to reach out to them so that they can help us heal.
That’s how we can both cut the cord with the past and renew our connection to it. That is how we can mend ourselves and in mending ourselves, we help mend the world, for we are part of it.
Ancient man knew that, but it seems that somewhere along the way, we’ve forgotten all about that knowledge.
Nevertheless, the messages bestowed upon us on the walls of the caves of our ancestors, still communicate and stand to remind us of who we are and what we’re meant to do.
Messages are written mostly in the universal language of archetypal imagery. If you can’t interpret it, just ask your nearest shaman…