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Cave Painting

Cave Painting

Primal art has a feature that sets it apart from "modern art" or "contemporary art" or even "classical art" - namely that it is from a place where art and magic were one and the same and had not yet been broken apart. Art was magic, magic was art and as all art served a magical purposes, so did all magical purposes serve art itself. The logical next step from 1st Art is the hand print on the cave wall, and then to go on and put other things on the cave wall as well.

So it made sense to make a cave painting at this juncture.

First, of course, you need a cave wall.


cave painting under construction 1

I found some cans of old varnish on a trip to the skip; the mahogany is so wonderful, it near enough breaks my heart. It's old, too, very dense, reminds me of slow amber and the colour is just unbelievable. I'll never find that varnish again, not from that company, a long time out of business, nor in the exact state it was in so that's kinda precious and rare in and of itself.

Perfect for the wall of my cave, though.

Once you have a cave wall, what would you put on it?

That was very interesting. I had to step in that frame of mind that I was living in the cave, and that I would see this in fire's light and every day I passed by it, in and out.

You'd only put special things on there; and even though a cave is obviously a great deal larger than my little canvas here, there is still the sense you would never waste the space you have and you'd only put special things on it.

There is always the "fear of the blank canvas" and in this case it was exacerbated by the fact that I really liked my cave wall as it was and didn't want to "ruin" it; still, bravely I got my gold pen out to make the first marks.

cave painting starman closeupWhat was it? Amazingly enough, it was a little Starman right in the top right hand corner. A man with a star on his head. Dedicated to the first record I ever bought with my own cash, Starman by Bowie, in 1972.

Up until the point where the Starman arrived, I'd seriously thought I would be doing pictures of antelopes and crocodiles, the usual stuff you find on a cave painting.

Turns out that if it is your cave, and you live in the 21st century, you put stuff on your cave wall that is meaningful to you.

Good things, as well, things you love, things that are relevant and important.

Who would have thought ...

I was thinking in the direction of the Starman and that time and then I smiled and put a teensy little Starship Enterprise (B!) near him on the top right. Then a few little horses - my young aspects used to draw horses all the time. Schoolbooks were covered in thousands of them ... leaping, rearing ... running away ... jumping over fences ... :-)

At this point, my younger son arrived and made the comment that an area of the cave wall looked like an elephant. I drew it on to commemorate the person and their comment.

This also made me think to lighten up a little, not take this so seriously. This is my cave wall; it should be intriguing, interesting but also happy, joyful, playful. Life sucks when it becomes work rather than play; and when you play in earnest, the Gods tend to smile at you and play along, happily.

So this was the state of play and I left it for the day. As you do, when you pass by your cave wall (which I put in my den where I watch TV, relax, often eat and pass through many times a day) you keep wondering what else there should be.

And then it occurred to me that there was this clear central space and something should be in there ...

Something that kind of takes charge of it all, the spider at the centre of the web ...

Meet ...

The Lightning Woman

Cave witch casting the bones

Now this is somewhat of a long story but I had a vision whilst doing something magical in nature of a primal female shaman who was "casting the bones" - creating reality. She wasn't using words or thinking in terms of words because what she was creating was much too complex for that, much too interwoven, affecting many lives, many existences across time and space. Magic without words - so much more powerful, direct, primal, there's that word again ...

I was really "moved" by that vision, evolved we might say, understanding many things in a different way and at a different level. This is very related to "The Boy & His Sticks" from PS11 (Infinite Creativity) and very important both in the context of understanding how the world works, and how to change it, too.

One other thing that was very striking about the vision was how she was *casting* the bones - really throwing them out to fall where they would fall, throwing them hard, a lot of physical power as well as psychic power being generated there. You see/experience people "casting spells" these days and it's not 5% of the sheer power and effort this primal shaman was putting into the task. She was doing this most whole-heartedly, or most mind/body/spirit-all-alignedly. Awesome.

So ... when it came to wondering what should be in the centre of the cave painting, that's who materialised. I'd done the quick drawing above just after I had the vision, I don't do that often, but here she was.

The next thing was a journey from vision to symbol, again sans words who would clearly hinder rather than help.

This is how it went.


The Journey From Vision To Symbol

Well, we don't have the original vision, obviously, but that's where it starts.

The eye is a misnomer as is the word, "vision" because a proper vision has six sensory modalities and is fully autogenic - you are THERE and you see, hear, scent, taste, feel and sense everything 1st person, lucid, awake and aware.

Everything starts with the vision ...

We do have a little something that gives us a reminder or indication of the vision, which is the little drawing I made after the fact.

It's a reminder, nothing more. It gives a sense of what has happening.

Now we can turn our point of view around so we're facing her squarely on and simplify the drawing to the main events.
We can stylise the drawing further; bring in the bones she is casting, show the power that was sparking from her hands and hair.
We can stylise it further and add more information about the magic.
Then we can tidy it up and we have a primal magic symbol that evokes the spirit (energy) of the Lightning Woman.
And if we wanted to put the symbol around the place, carve it into trees, into stones, or share it with folk who might not be adept at wielding chewed stick and red earth mixed with animal fat, we can give them this instead.

Simples, as the meerkat would say ...

So that's where we're at with the next step of the cave painting ...

Lightning woman cave painting detail


Cave painting trees and paths

Once the Lightning Woman had taken centre stage, lots of other things just happened.

Three Mirrormen - can't live without those! lol - and various other things. I do draw straight on it with metallic markers but there's also this primal thing still going on, making various shaped marks with pieces of plants, wood, stone, amber and the two trees had their branches made with a brush made from the tip of my pony tail. Very satisfying.

This is happening over days and nights; I see something, do it, then leave it alone again as it settles down.

That's the state of play at StarDate 65842.4 ...:-)

To be continued ...


Here is the completed Cave Painting. 

 Cave Painting by Silvia Hartmann Complete





The Lightning Woman - Journey From Vision To Symbol

Lightning Woman Primal Art by Silvia Hartmann @

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Text & Images © Silvia Hartmann 1993 - 2024. All Rights Reserved.