Altamira, Lascaux and Chauvet caves indicate clearly that our ancient ancestors had a lot of something that they wanted to say. There is no definitive explanation as to the motivation driving our ancestors to leave their marks on cave walls. Some believe it was to control an animal’s spirit to ensure a successful hunt (i.e., the basic human desire to survive); or possibly to thank their deities for a successful hunt and thereby providing the basic necessities for survival; or, quite frankly, there is also the basic human need to communicate! All of these motivations are most likely at play in varying degrees with the mark making that we see today after the passage of forty thousands or more years. What we do know with certainty is that these images left by our ancestors do contain a sustaining power that continues to resonate within us today. Angela Cepeda taps into this latent power of our ancestors in the following excerpts from her book Bird of Paradise: How I Became a Latina: “When we illuminate the road back to our ancestors, they have a way of reaching out, of manifesting themselves…sometimes even physically…Individually, every grain of sand brushing against my hands represents a story, an experience, and a block for me to build upon for the next generation.” What are your initial thoughts on the cave images left by our ancestors and do you find Ms. Cepeda’s thoughts an accurate and insightful reflection on the connection we seem to be able to engage in with out ancestors?
Images from Alta Mira Cave