Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The Palaeolithic artist: part 23

A very generous comparison of H. naledi with fairly recent hominids (with H. floresiensis thrown in just to confuse things). I say generous because if you look at the reconstruction of the face of H. naledi, we really should be thinking more like about 3 million years ago than 1.3. Just picture him a little more furry.

image   authors: Chris Stringer, Natural History Museum, United Kingdom - Stringer, Chris (10 September 2015). "The many mysteries of Homo naledi". eLife 4: e10627. DOI:10.7554/eLife.10627. PMC: 4559885. ISSN 2050-084X.

As it is my birthday today, I will let you do the work for this post as I have various things to do and events to enjoy. All you need are the two images on this post and the Popular Archaeology article with its images. Take a look at the geological map and try to figure out the relationship between the pile of material inside the large chamber and the right angle in the rock at the other end of that chamber. Remember, dolomite is sedimentary rock formed in water, and water and pressure can (respectively)wear it away and fracture it. Look at the strata. Then think about the soft sediment where the bones were found and what might cause a bird to fly through a narrow passage in complete darkness and why mice would go where there could be no food. Then try to imagine the circumstances that would allow such caves to remain in pristine condition for a thousand years, let alone more than a million. If you come up with anything, leave it as a comment. I see no great need to comment myself. (click images to enlarge)

(credits as in part 22)

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Tuesday, 29 September 2015

The Palaeolithic artist: part 22

Geological map and cross-section
of the Rising Star cave system
author: Paul H. G. M. Dirks et al

A geological survey will not just include its target, but will also include the surrounding area. An archaeological survey will only include its target.

Read this account of the Rising Star Cave finds in South Africa. You can tell right away that the excavators wanted, so badly, the remains to be a newly discovered species of hominid (which they named Homo naledi) that they completely subjectivized the classification process. Hopefully, this will be rectified. I think it is significant that they mentioned that its brain was "...not much larger than a chimpanzee. But this was no chimpanzee. This was something else. Something more human."

If you are a perceptive person, you will detect a mens rea:

"The only reliable means by which an investigator can show that a defendant was acting under the required mens rea is to gather facts the jury can use to infer or conclude that the defendant knew what he or she was doing. From the beginning of a case, investigators must look for physical and testimonial evidence that shows what the defendant's state of mind was at the time the act occurred." (Michael F. Brown, Criminal Investigation: Law and Practice, 2nd edition, Woburn, MA, 2001, p.5.)
The book is rather coy about how much more powerful mens rae is when compared to its use after a suspect has been arrested and informed of his or her rights. Not reacting to a question (or anything else rather pointed) is one of the most obvious examples of mens rea and its applicability extends much further than just criminal investigation. If you have not thought much about this subject, you are about to explore a world you might never have dreamed even existed. If you are disturbed whenever some reality is swept away from beneath your feet you had better stop reading my words at this point.

In Ian Hodder's Reading the past: Current approaches to interpretation in archaeology, Cambridge University Press, 1986, p.163, (which printing, unstated) the author says:
"Most individuals in the general public find it extremely difficult to develop their ideas about an alternative past in relation to the data from the past. They are excited by Von Daniken and films such as One Million Years B.C. and Raiders of the Lost Ark, and they develop their personal views about what the past must have been like, but they are kept at a distance from archaeological artifacts by glass cases, systems analyses and the jargon of social theory. When they do manage to gain some access to an immediately experienced past, they are often directly confronted by the archaeological establishment, or else their views are studiously ignored."
As laudable (and brave) is Hodder's statement here, it also exposes a certain bias, and this bias sweeps through the entire chapter: The public is only interested in "fringe" archaeology; those who are interested in archaeology as perceived by academia who:
"...have a broader and and more accurate knowledge of what archaeologists write. They watch more archaeological documentaries on television, go to more museums and visit sites and churches, and read about the past." ibid. p.162.
You will note that each statement in the above quote places the public in a passive light. The archaeologist mostly exists here as a hidden authority, save for when explicitly mentioned ("archaeologists write" being an aggressive action.). We see, here, Marshall McLuhan's "The medium is the message". Sometimes, life is just too delicious for words: Googling the second of those two links I find:
"This article relies too much on references to primary sources. Please improve this article by adding secondary or tertiary sources. (July 2013)"
This is an academic call for non-scientific deductive reasoning as opposed to scientific inductive reasoning. It can also be found in the structure of a Ph.D thesis which demands a review of secondary sources (making the candidate the tertiary source.

But it gets far, far worse. It is also an enantiodromia. which is a neurosis, which, if unchecked, can lead to a full-blown psychosis. Nietzsche is one of Jung's favorite examples, and mine for that matter (Not surprising because both Jung and myself share the same personality type: INFJ or "Intuitive empath"). The last link is, by far, the best definition I have seen. Neitzsche was also an introvert (the "I" in INFJ) and demonstrates one of the most extreme historical examples of what can happen if an introvert becomes psychotic. This is why he is so fascinating to sane introverts.

We can go even further with these topics: Whenever you see an academic archaeological interpretation, it is virtually "counter holistic". Take the Gundestrup cauldron, for example. All such interpretations give disjointed meanings for each of the motifs and this disassociative method is typical of extraverted (philosophically materialist) people, some of whom are attracted to archaeology because it deals in solid objects that cannot be subjected to scientific proofs (which are inductive).

This series is not one of my hypotheses (which I label as such), it is the only theory I have posted here. It is a theory because I can provide proofs.Not only that, but these proofs are irrefutable and can only be denied in a superstitious manner. This is a very unusual situation. I actually have two ebooks in the planning stages right now. The major one has as its current working title: Mythos and Logos: Our bi-polar planet. It is virtually an opposite of  Walter A Shelburne's Mythos and Logos in the Though of Carl Jung: The theory of the collective unconscious in scientific perspective. My study will be an artistic/poetic study of the collective consciousness. but don't expect anything fluffy here. Although it will be clearly written in human language, its basis lies in quantum physics. It will deal with the collective consciousness from about where Jung left off. He mostly complained about it even though knowing what global tragedies came from it. In his day, he had few other options. I warned you about this post, the book will make this seem like nothing in comparison. While it is theoretically possible to bring about the end of wars in just a single lifetime (if you are young enough, that is). I think that two or three lifetime would be a more realistic goal. It will sell for about $5, but if you live in a country where $5 is a lot of money, I will give you a copy for nothing that you can hopefully get printed.

The second ebook will be about $1.95 and will be on fringe archaeology. After my computer meltdown on the weekend, I need to buy a more recent computer. When I plug my tablet into it, it does not know what a tablet is and appears to identify it as one of those"new-fangled and expensive digital cameras". My, how technology moves so fast. Unfortunately, I might have to take an extended break from this blog to do all of that work.

Tomorrow, the species in the cave.

John's Coydog Community page

Monday, 28 September 2015

The Palaeolithic artist: part 21

in the Hall of Human Origins in the Smithsonian
Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
graphic: Tim Evanson
News of a new discovery of a hominid is always exciting news but it is always best not to leap to conclusions before a proper examination can be done. British Columbia, Canada, Simon Fraser University archaeology graduate student Marina Elliott will be doing just that when she returns to the Rising Star Cave in South Africa. An added bonus is her years of spelunking  and being able to squeeze through small passages because of her slimness. Fellow archaeologist Mana Denbo will have the unenviable task of classification.

Her biggest problem will be with the subjective nature of all classification: one classification might be given for one feature while another might be given for a different feature. Unfortunately, academic archaeology is sometimes not very strong on interdisciplinarity and will hold conferences where people have the choice of attending lectures in different disciplines. Only the building would really experience interdisciplinarity but it's not talking. Try to explain transdisciplinarity to the vast majority of archaeologists and you might just as well be speaking in Etruscan.

Take a look at the width of the mandible in the reconstructed head of Homo erectus, and then compare it to the chimpanzee's mandible in the lower left illustration. While you are there, compare the shape of the brainpan of Homo erectus with that of the chimpanzee. Of course, Homo erectus was a pretty tall fellow, and the creatures in Rising Star Cave were pretty small creatures. Confused yet? It would really depend on which features were given primacy as to whether were were classifying a hominid or a primate.

Sorry for the shortness of today's post, but on the weekend I had a computer meltdown and have gone from Windows 7 Professional, 64 bit, to an antique Windows XP 32 bit. I'm actually enjoying doing it "old school"

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Friday, 25 September 2015

The Palaeolithic artist: part 20

Pigment from Altamira
Ochre, hematite, iron oxide, and zinc were the pigments used in the Altamira Cave. Ochre can cover a lot of modern colours depending on the presence of other minerals. The example of ochre illustrated here might be burnt, or it could contain iron oxide. I gathered some ochre, myself form an ancient site. Don't freak out, I picked my sample from around some twentieth century scrap iron, undoubtedly left from a mining operation. It had been thoroughly contaminated by the iron oxide and looked a lot like the ochre on the right. The original deposits at the site were all yellow ochre. Taking it home, I used a muller on frosted glass and ground it in linseed oil to make an oil paint. I had no plans to do any painting with it apart from a small test panel to see the results. It was so so. The colour was not that bad, but it did have an unpleasant violet sheen at the surface when dry. There would hardly be much demand for such a colour. The Altamira artists  were using rather modern pigments, pretty well all of the "earth colours" are possible from these. Granted, they also used charcoal, which is far from a pigment. You read about them using bones to blow pigment, leaving the hand impressions. Right, air-brush work over a stencil. Unlike other caves where our ancestors painted on the walls, There are no traces of soot deep in these caves where no light penetrated. The reports say that no one knows how this was done. If I were to attempt such a thing, I would bring a small tallow lamp made from a bivalve seashell and cover it with a stick frame over which I would place a hide "umbrella". But where would these ancient hunters get tallow, a seashell, sticks and hides? The other cave people  apparently did not care if the smoke rose from their lamps to stain the cave wall. Smoke rises, by the way. What is actually remarkable is that the artists cared enough not get the walls sooty. An added bonus is that a lamp with such a shade could be used to make relief in the rocks more visible, and they utilized these swellings to emphasize the shapes,like a heavy chested bison, for example. Not only that, but they also utilized natural fissures in the rock as outlines. They seem to have far surpassed trompe-l'œil. Just how modern were these artists? By another happy accident, my friend Susanne just returned from Denmark and emailed me the following pictures. The first was just the right size for the blog.

click to enlarge
She had a number of photos of this Trompe-l'œil exhibit of street art in Jutland, various subjects. We were talking on the phone while she was emailing some to me. I told her I was most impressed with the ape's head, which really "popped out". Later she emailed me a really huge (over 4,000 pixel across) photo of the same piece of art. Yet another happy accident, because the area I cropped was also just the right size for this blog, but I will start with one shown very small first. It's not too bad at that size
but look what happens with the larger version below. Not as advanced as at Altamira where the cracks were used as part of the composition. Susanne, by the way, has her own interior design company. She says that she "just feels" what is right, and her clients trust that. They show her the space and let her decide what to do with it. Before she started her company, she was one of the top interior designers at Ikea, travelling to many parts of the U.S. to design new Ikea stores' displays. She says that most graduates she encounters are just too "book learned" and have no such knack at all. She says you pretty well have to be born with the ability to be able to "feel" what is right, and I agree. If you have an interior design project in mind, you can email her at:

"Pedersen Interiors" <susanne.v.p (at)> (you know the anti-spam drill!)

and get one one of the best designers out there. She likes to travel, so she would probably go anywhere that interior design is relevant. Once she asked me to tag along, but I could not leave my dog, Besides, Susanne like hotels and beaches, and I'm more of a hammock in the woods sort of person. Well this took up more space than I thought and the one on the Rising Star Cave is going to be very long indeed. So check out the image below, and a have a weekend filled with happy coincidences.

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Thursday, 24 September 2015

The Palaeolithic artist: part 19

Natural light near the entrance of Moose Mountain Cave
The jagged appearance and fracture lines can be
compared to the same motifs in Picasso's painting.
As limestone is sedimentary, and an ancient
seabed it can fracture along its strata as well as
due to other forces. One such force is

conveniently shown in the screen shot
here where, on the left, a slab has fallen.
Pablo Picasso's Le Bordel d’Avignon reflecting
the Altamira Cave. The comparison with the blues in
the Moose Mountain ice cave are just a happy

The only unexplainable part of yesterday's post is that of Nietzsche's and Van Gogh's final descent into insanity in the same year, but coincidences do happen.. The references to syphilis is that, in that time, any psychic process was explained as being due to syphilis by those people too far along the Logos (extraverted, materialist) scale to be able to comprehend such things. People closer to the middle of the scale, and on either side, can communicate with each other fairly well, and if the extravert is only minorly expressed, and the introvert is not too far down that side of the scale, then really remarkable collaborations can occur and these can often result in the greatest of discoveries. It is also fascinating that too strong an extravert can then go on to assign another extraverted cause in the treatment of the original extraverted explanation of the psychic phenomenon. It becomes like a mirror reflecting another mirror.

I should mention, at this point, and especially for anyone who has come across this page through a Google search, that "psychic" here means "of the psyche" and is not the sort of thing that can be seen performed on the stage. It is a Jungian term.

My friend Robert is a geologist, the other day he told me that he would never have gone where I did in the Moose Mountain cave because such places are unstable. Look at the geological map below. The right-angled space is not original to the cave, nor is the pile of material to its left, or even the narrow passageway to the right. At some time, the cave was much bigger and more open. It is always changing and it is very difficult to chronologize such changes.

After reading yesterday's post last night, it occurred to me that some people might have become rather disturbed by the three (mine included) interpretations of the painting. mostly in life, we are presented with only two interpretations and we find comfort in thinking that one is right and the other wrong. When we have three interpretations and they all include some elements of each other, we can suddenly feel that reality is being pulled away from beneath our feet; that there is no objective reality at all just different, and subjective, perceptions of realities.

While I am doing this "housecleaning", I should mention a couple of other things that I have been doing which is probably not too obvious: part 16 demonstrates the difference between wholistic and holistic. The former is analytical: 123, ABC; everything in order. Holistic, as part 16 is, can be seen as one of those plastic toys that delivers a 3D image when you shine a light on it. If you break one of those into small parts, the complete image is still visible on each part, it is just of lower resolution. The first part consists of  quotes from a number of Jung's papers and books. I tried to arrange them so that each one is closest to another which shares a greater number of similarities. You can read them in any order and the meaning will slowly come into greater focus. The links are also designed to add further depth. The second part, while being on material matters, is also designed similarly, but not as strongly expressed as the first part. Part 15 should reveal that I believe that the divergence of species through "natural selection" is pure bunk, and instead I see very gradual evolutionary changes  through the agency of epigenetics, but that will take an entire post to do it any justice, and also will come later, as will the one about how postmodernism only rarely works inside of an academic environment, and then only with very independently-minded professors. students have little hope at all. All of the posts have various embedded structures, too. You might like to try and figure out each of them. Tomorrow: A tale of two caves, Rising Star Cave in South Africa and, of course, Altamira.

This installment is dedicated to Constantinos Ragazas (Along with Jung and Picasso...)

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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

The Palaeolithic artist: part 18

Single brushstrokes painted alla prima
adds volume to otherwise flat surfaces; the
prostitute stands out from the jagged,
fractured lines of the Altamira limestone
cave. Perhaps even the double perspective
of her face is Picasso's homage to the cave
artist's use of swellings in the rock to create

"[210]...As the day is woman to him, so is the night; psychologically speaking, they are the light and the dark soul (anima). The dark one sits waiting, expecting him in the blue twilight, and stirring up morbid presentiments. With the change of colour, we enter the underworld. The world of objects is death-struck, as the horrifying masterpiece of the syphilitic, tubercular, adolescent prostitute makes plain. The motif of the prostitute begins with the entry into the beyond, where he, as a departed soul, encounters a number of others of his kind. When I say “he,” I mean that personality in Picasso which suffers the underworld fate— the man in him who does not turn towards the day-world, but is fatefully drawn into the dark; who follows not the accepted ideals of goodness and beauty, but the demoniacal attraction of ugliness and evil. It is these antichristian and Luciferian forces that well up in modern man and engender an all-pervading sense of doom, veiling the bright world of day with the mists of Hades, infecting it with deadly decay, and finally, like an earthquake, dissolving it into fragments, fractures, discarded remnants, debris, shreds, and disorganized units. Picasso and his exhibition are a sign of the times, just as much as the twenty-eight thousand people who came to look at his pictures."

C.G. Jung,  Picasso, First published in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, CLIII : 2 (Nov. 13, 1932); reprinted in Wirklichkeit der Seele (Zurich, 1934). Previously translated by Alda F. Oertly for the Papers of the Analytical Psychology Club of New York City (1940); another translation, by Ivo Jarosy, appeared in Nimbus (London), II : 2 (autumn, 1953). Both versions have been consulted in the present translation.Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 15: Spirit in Man, Art, And Literature: 015 (pp. 138-139). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.
A shell of a man

Friedrich Nietzsche about ten years after his mental

collapse and about a year before his death. While some
could understand the psychic causes of his demise,
others could not accept anything but the physical and
suggested syphilis; manic-depressive illness with
periodic psychosis followed by vascular dementia;
the slow growth of a right-sided retro-orbital
meningioma; frontotemporal dementia; a hereditary
stroke disorder called CADASIL.; Poisoning by
mercury, a treatment for syphilis at the time of
Nietzsche's death?

"It depicts five naked women with figures composed of flat, splintered planes and faces inspired by Iberian sculpture and African masks. The compressed space the figures inhabit appears to project forward in jagged shards; a fiercely pointed slice of melon in the still life of fruit at the bottom of the composition teeters on an impossibly upturned tabletop. These strategies would be significant in Picasso’s subsequent development of Cubism, charted in this gallery with a selection of the increasingly fragmented compositions he created in this period." Anonymous, Museum of Modern Art

The iconic portrait of Vincent Van Gogh with
his ear bandaged after he cut off the lobe and 
presented it to a prostitute, shortly before he
shot himself.

Van Gogh and Nietzsche had a complete mental
breakdown in 1889, but Picasso was only seven
at the time.

The cause of Vincent Van Gogh's death. Complications following an attempted suicide brought about by psychic problems? or Syphilis; epilepsy; bipolar disorder; borderline personality disorder; sunstroke; Ménière's disease; lead poisoning; acute intermittent porphyria; digoxin toxicity from foxglove plants used to treat his epilepsy?

Three different views of the same painting. and multiple opinions of what led to two mental breakdowns in the very same year. What was happening here? Syphilis was the meme of that time. Nietzsche's Existential Nihilism  had become societal fragmentation by the time Jung died. That was the time of the "Angry young men" and the beatniks, which I saw, but never understood. The sixties, for me, were very different. And what of the references to prostitutes? More memes. Picasso never had need of such in that time. He always attracted the young women in those days.

The cause of Picasso' s death is never even mentioned by anyone. It happened when he was ninety,
while he and his wife, Jacqueline, were entertaining friends at dinner. He had met her when he was 72 and she was 26.

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Tuesday, 22 September 2015

The Palaeolithic artist: part 17

The Brothel of Avignon (Le Bordel d’Avignon)
Retitled, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (Las chicas de Avignon)
Apart from Joseph Campbell, all of my early mentors of depth psychology and mythology were dead at the time.

In my personal mythology, this was why I had such a pressing need to be taught to read at the age of three. To this day, I can still remember watching my father apparently making sense of those "squiggles" on the pages of his morning newspaper as we sat at the breakfast table: it would take until I was in my mid twenties before I was ready to make real sense of the subject. Perhaps this is why the Jung Institut will admit no student until the age of twenty five, and even then, only if they already had  a degree in the sciences. When, Bill, my first living mentor arrived, he brought some dead friends with him: Hermann Hesse, Carl Jung and Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton KCMG FRGS.
The late Dr. William G. Blackburn (Yale)
Scholar of 16th century magic and alchemy,
swordsman (épée), one time bodyguard to the
children of a Maharajah, he had modelled his
life on Burton's as, obviously, if you read the
linked article on Burton, so have I. He died
(under mysterious circumstances) in
Thailand about fifteen years ago. Another
of his friends, Tashi Phuntsok, whose last
boss had been His Holiness, the 14th Dalai
Lama, compassionately helped us all to
understand what was happening with Bill
not long before his death. Bill never really
belonged in this century. Bill's major
contribution to scholarship was his theory
that Kenneth Grahame's chapter "The Piper
at the Gates of Dawn" in The Wind in the
The Wind in the Willows was a "stand alone"
work before he included it. I'm sure you can
figure out why. I will always miss Bill, I owe
him so much. I gave Tashi's own story to
a stunned audience at the European
Archaeologist's meeting in Bournemouth
in 1999. Tashi is the bravest man I have ever
known.                                          (fair use)
Friday's post had started with a quote from Jung from his paper on Picasso which ended:

"In Picasso’s latest paintings, the motif of the union of opposites is seen very clearly in their direct juxtaposition. One painting (although traversed by numerous lines of fracture) even contains the conjunction of the light and dark anima. The strident, uncompromising, even brutal colours of the latest period reflect the tendency of the unconscious to master the conflict by violence (colour = feeling)."
Jung did not understand, but that is because he was not really an artist, and he was also of his own time.

Bill also brought a living exemplar with him, too: the outsider, Colin Wilson, But I had discovered Picasso much earlier. I have only recently really understood Picasso, but something had stuck with me from the mid seventies: Someone had said that he had encountered Salvador Dali painting a church wall in Spain. Dali was muttering something repeatedly, like a mantra. AS the man got closer to
him, he heard what Dali was saying. It was "I wish I was Picasso".  The cave appears in Le Bordel d’Avignon, and it is the Altamira cave. Picasso was there. How else could he have said "After Altamira, all is decadence"

If you read, very carefully, the Wikipedia article on Picasso. you might just see, that when everyone has held a glass to that painting, The glass turned out to be only a mirror reflecting the minds of the observers, and the "jagged shards" are those of limestone, not of Iberian sculpture and African Masks. I will explain all of this tomorrow, when we also have to deal with the deaths of Nietzsche, Vincent Van Gogh, and of course, of Picasso himself. 

syphilis will be a very important element in that discussion, but you will never guess why.

John's Coydog Community page

Monday, 21 September 2015

Coydog community page

See: "Living with a coyote hybrid (Coydog)"

Click to enlarge photographs (Free for non-profit use)

LMT #20903, CA, RMT
Monday 10-4, Thursday 1-4, Friday 10-4

  • Massage
  • Reiki Master
  • Certified Equine Bodywork

This is Bandit, although, he also knows his very original nickname, Coyote. He is a rescue dog that is supposed to be Aussie/Queensland. He has the healer coloring, but his temperament and behavior is completely bizarre in terms of any dog behavior I have seen. He looks like a coyote, and has many traits pointing to the possibility of having coyote genes...he is approaching 2 years old.


John's Coydog Community page


Yesterday, I realized that there were some more things to add to Friday's post under the heading of  "Coriosolite coins". One of them I decided would go in a future post, but I added the rest. This took a while and when I finished I decided that I really needed another day off. So, to make sure your visit is not wasted, here is a little musical interlude with a favorite song from my favorite band: Einstürzende Neubauten, and a sterling performance from its leader Blixa Bargeld. Of course, it contains many elements that appear in this blog series, so it is an appropriate interlude. Picasso, Jung and I will be back tomorrow as promised. The bar is now open on the first balcony. Enjoy.

Friday, 18 September 2015

The Palaeolithic artist: part 16

"In view of the dazzling versatility of Picasso, one hardly dares to hazard a guess, so for the present I would rather speak of what I have found in my patients’ material. The Nekyia is no aimless and purely destructive fall into the abyss, but a meaningful katabasis eis antron, a descent into the cave of initiation and secret knowledge. The journey through the psychic history of mankind has as its object the restoration of the whole man, by awakening the memories in the blood. ... In Picasso’s latest paintings, the motif of the union of opposites is seen very clearly in their direct juxtaposition. One painting (although traversed by numerous lines of fracture) even contains the conjunction of the light and dark anima. The strident, uncompromising, even brutal colours of the latest period reflect the tendency of the unconscious to master the conflict by violence (colour = feeling)."
C.G. Jung,  Picasso, First published in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, CLIII : 2 (Nov. 13, 1932); reprinted in Wirklichkeit der Seele (Zurich, 1934). Previously translated by Alda F. Oertly for the Papers of the Analytical Psychology Club of New York City (1940); another translation, by Ivo Jarosy, appeared in Nimbus (London), II : 2 (autumn, 1953). Both versions have been consulted in the present translation. Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 15: Spirit in Man, Art, And Literature: 015 (pp. 139-140). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition. 

Picasso, The Harlequin's Family, 1905

And just as Faust is embroiled in murderous
happenings and reappears in changed form, so
Picasso changes shape and reappears in the
underworld form of the tragic Harlequin— a motif
that runs through numerous paintings. It may be
remarked in passing that Harlequin is an ancient
chthonic god. Jung, Picasso, p. 139.

Harlequin is a tragically ambiguous figure,
even though— as the initiated may discern— he
already bears on his costume the symbols of the
next stage of development. He is indeed the hero
who must pass through the perils of Hades, but
will he succeed? ... he is too reminiscent of that
“motley fellow, like a buffoon” in Zarathustra,
who jumped over the unsuspecting rope-dancer
(another Pagliacci) and thereby brought about his
death. Zarathustra then spoke the words that were
to prove so horrifyingly true of Nietzsche himself:
“Your soul will be dead even sooner than your
body: fear nothing more!” ibid, p. 140f.
"Fittingly enough, it expresses its meaning in the opinion and voice of a wise magician, who goes back in direct line to the figure of the medicine man in primitive society. He is, like the anima, an immortal daemon that pierces the chaotic darknesses of brute life with the light of meaning. He is the enlightener, the master and teacher, a psychopomp whose personification even Nietzsche, that breaker of tablets, could not escape— for he had called up his reincarnation in Zarathustra, the lofty spirit of an almost Homeric age, as the carrier and mouthpiece of his own “Dionysian” enlightenment and ecstasy."

C.G. Jung, Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 9 (Part 1): Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious: 009 (Kindle Locations 889-894). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

“… what did Dionysus mean to Nietzsche? What he says about it must be taken seriously; what it did to him still more so. There can be no doubt that he knew in the preliminary stages of his fatal illness, that the dismal fate of Zagreus was reserved for him. Dionysus is the abyss of impassioned dissolution, where all human distinctions are merged in the animal divinity of the primordial psyche – a blissful and terrible experience. Humanity, huddling behind the walls of its culture, believes it has escaped this experience, until it succeeds in letting loose another orgy of bloodshed. All well-meaning people are amazed when this happens and blame high finance, the armaments industry, the Jews, or the Freemasons.” [Jung notes (44): "I wrote this passage in spring, 1935"]

C.G. Jung, Psychology and Alchemy, p.89f.
First Princeton / Bollingen Paperback printing, 1980.

Photo: Jean Housen
For the uninitiated (see para. 2 in the caption above), The lozenges on the Harlequin's costume can be seen on this stone outside of Newgrange. Above the lozenges is the triple spiral that indicates endless cycles of the years, each of which starts at dawn of the winter solstice when the first rays of the sun enter the temple through the roof box to illuminate the triple spiral in the chamber within. But it also represents the endless life (Greek, zoë) of the people who enter and leave, and also the nineteen year cycle (with its intercalation of seven months) of the stars, above, which can be seen represented on the back corbel stone of the roof-box, which has six radiate lines, or four plus a broken baseline, and omits the circle, leaving only the central pellet. Nineteen pellets are arranged in two semi-circular rows around this symbol. For a diagram (uninterpreted) see: Michael J. O'Kelly and Claire O'Kelly, Newgrange - Archaeology, Art and Legend, 1982.

Diodorus, quoting the sixth century B.C. historian, Hecataeus, says:
"Opposite to the coast of Celtic Gaul there is an island in the ocean, not smaller than Sicily, lying to the north, which is inhabited by Hyperboreans...Apollo visits the island once in the course of nineteen years in which period the stars complete their revolutions."

Coriosolite billon stater of my Series Y, Group M
early 56 BC, mint site west of R. Rance, Côtes-d'Armor, Brittany. 

see, John Hooker, An Art Historical Analysis of Coriosolite Coins,
British Archaeological Reports (BAR) International Series 1092
Archaeopress, Oxford, 2002
 The obverse head of the coin to the left shows the Armorican version of Hermes as psychopomp. The three locks of hair meet in the triple spiral at the left of the face. On the reverse side, the "lash" is another version of the Newgrange and Harlequin lozenges and terminates in a "Union Jack style" motif, which is one of several types on Coriosolite coins where the top half mirrors the bottom half. This motif means:
"as above, so below". Another example of the variety shown here can be found on a stone in the Subsidiary Chamber of Dowth: R.A.S. Macalister, The Archaeology of Ireland, 2nd edition (revised and rewritten), 1949, fig 14. Armorican coins, in addition to La Tène motifs and Greek themes also depict Megalithic motifs as about half of the population at the time of this coin were descended from the much earlier Megalithic populations. See, Pierre-Roland Giot, Brittany, London, 1960. Three Provincial lunulae (the type originates in Megalithic Ireland) were discovered in Kerivoa, Brittany (Kerivoa-en-Bourbriac, Côtes-d'Armor) in the remains of a box with some sheet gold and a rod of gold.

Indigenous developments of the Megalithic iconography of the local culture (which Includes Ireland) mixes with the La Tène motifs and all can be subsumed within the Jungian paradigm in these staters of my Series X, winter of 57/6 BC, mint east side of the R. Rance, Côtes-d'Armor.

The 'S' motif is La Tène and means the single organism's (Greek, bios) journey between this world and the underworld. For the human being, this is represented by life in this world followed by the promise of an afterlife in the underworld in the obverse motifs. For vegetal motifs, the first leaf appears on the shoot on the obverse motifs and the other half is reversed to represent its prior underworld (underground) germination and growth prior to it breaking the surface (or its liminal horizon). This is a representation of the Greek myth of Persephone with Hades (Winter) and Persephone with her mother Demeter (Spring). The plant in question here, though, is the ivy which was syncretized from the dying and resurrected god Dionysos (Carl Kerényi, Dionysos: Archetypal Image of Indestructible Life, Princeton University Press, 1976, pp. 61-64) who is syncretized to the Thracian Zagreus. The dissolution of bios into the "animal divinity of the primordial psyche" which so terrified Nietzsche whose personality and neuroses prevented him from the realization of the transformation (metempsychosis) of the bios mortal individual into the zoë of infinite life. Jung was unsure whether the personality of the individual survived this transformation:
 "1. Metempsychosis. The first of the five aspects of rebirth to which I should like to draw attention is that of metempsychosis, or transmigration of souls. According to this view, one’s life is prolonged in time by passing through different bodily existences; or, from another point of view, it is a life-sequence interrupted by different reincarnations. Even in Buddhism, where this doctrine is of particular importance— the Buddha himself experienced a very long sequence of such rebirths— it is by no means certain whether continuity of personality is guaranteed or not: there may be only a continuity of karma. The Buddha’s disciples put this question to him during his lifetime, but he never made any definite statement as to whether there is, or is not. a continuity of personality. 1 (Cf. the Samyutta-Nikaya (Book of the Kindred Sayings), Part II: The Nidana Book, pp. 150f.)
C.G. Jung, Concerning rebirth. [First published as a lecture, “Die verschiedenen Aspekte der Wiedergeburt,” in Eranos-Jahrbuch 1939 (Zurich, 1940). Revised and expanded as “Über Wiedergeburt,” Gestaltungen des Unbewussten (Zurich, 1950), from which the present translation is made.— EDITORS.], Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 9 (Part 1): Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious: 009 (Kindle Locations 2200-2206). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition. 

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
photo: Christopher Michel
The personality does not survive that transformation. What is immortal is known, by Tibetan Buddhists as the clear light:
" is always there. You can compare it with water. When water is muddy, the purity of the water is still there. But, because the water is mixed with dirty substances, you cannot identify it. If the pure water were not there, the muddy water could not exist. The existence of the dirty water itself proves that pure water is its basis. At this moment, the clear light is inactive, but it exists. Because clear light is there, the different states of consciousness and constituent factors can arise."
Tensin Gyatso, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, The Buddha Nature, Woodside, CA, 1996, pp. 30f. 

For me, the above is really the essence of the matter, but I highly recommend that you enlighten yourselves by reading The Buddha Nature and another book by His Holiness: Becoming Enlightened. These two, together, will alert you of many others things contained in the dirty water that are not an aspect of the clear light. For example, the thought that we, at death, pass through a cosmic consciousness. Be pleased by that fact, because, if it did happen, then the universe would cease to exist at that instant, and us with it. Personally, I really would not like to have to go through the universe all over again.

To return to our coin examples, whether the 'S' motif faces right or left, or is aligned up or down is subservient to the tenets of the composition that the artist had to obey. The obverse design represents the driving principles, such as the personification of spring issuing from the top of the nose on  28 and presenting a shoot with a single leaf. The triple spiral of the inner chamber at Stonehenge, is represented at the ear position of the head. The evolutionary design of the sun symbol at its centre is something I am still working on. But the reverse shows the stages and the nature of the transformation: The process starts in the underworld with the curl of the driver's/chariot "tail" (chariot horn) and the single leafed shoot facing backward. The trefoil-headed sun sceptre is reminiscent of the fleur-de-lis refers to an earlier time when the day was divided into three, but the usual pellet-in-annulet sun sceptre both precedes and follows it in the chronology. Below the ponies is the "dawn" lyre symbol which refers not just to the dawn of the day, but the dawn of the year, or even the nineteen year ""Metonic" cycle, but also the psychic transformation itself. It "rises" from the horizon line which is also the liminal division. It appears, in many earlier variations which might have specific meanings and are concentrated around the roof-box at Newgrange. Below this are a series of arcs or crescents that represents zoë or metempsychosis. The key, though is the riches symbolized by the two leaves of the shoots that face forward in front of the pony. It also shows the end result of the hero's battle, whether his body should survive or perish.

As this is a continuation of Friday's post, and took a long time to write, There will be an "intermission" tomorrow as I will have to do some things I had planned for today, and because I need the rest. Accordingly, I have changed what follows

On Tuesday, Picasso, Jung, and I will take you into the Altamira cave to meet the living psychopomp within. I hope you had a significant weekend, I certainly did!

Thursday, 17 September 2015

The Palaeolithic artist: part 15

graphic: Carin Perron, 1996
When Jung was criticized for speaking of Mandala imagery it seems to be because people had a hard time imagining how Eastern imagery could be part of a Western mind. So in comparing Rembrandt and Shi Ke to discover things about our Palaeolithic ancestors, I imagine the criticism could get much louder.

Jung did not give them George Bernard Shaw's quote: "It's never safe to trust to the intelligence of a ...... audience", instead, he said that Mandala imagery resides in the unconscious, and that because of the inward-looking nature of many Eastern religions, it is mostly them who ever get to see it. We might say that, in a cultural sense, the Eastern mind is introverted, holistic, spiritual and artistic, and the western mind is extraverted, linear, materialistic and practical. But that is a mouthful and it can also get a little confusing, so I prefer to use Mythos for the East and Logos for the West.

The other thing about East and West is that it really depends on how you align the globe for maps. It would be pointless aligning the globe by its poles: all the interesting bits would get all squashed up because of mercator distortions, while the virtually uninhabited North South polar regions would be in crisp detail (if it wasn't for the snow, that is). Are we clear on this now? Good.

When some of our earlier ancestors left Africa they had already started growing larger brains, at the top of their skulls, that is. That area is particularly good for analytical, sorry, Logos type thinking. After all, with everybody heading off into new places one would really have to be able to deal with the unexpected. Instinct would not help, thinking would be best. According to the journal Nature, in a study published in 2004, a mutation happened that started shrinking our huge jaw muscles and, quite by accident, this allowed us to get bigger brains and become smart. Perhaps we should add a little Neo-Darwinian evolution into this scenario: Because it was considered much better survival to nibble rather than to eat great mouthfulls of meat, our  brains became larger and we became more intelligent because there were less muscles restricting the growth of our skulls. Just a minute, we must be missing something. Right! Let's stick epigenetics in there and then see what we get.

As we began to head off in new directions, we encountered all sorts of strange animals and plants and climatic and geographical features that we had not experienced before. Some sort of imprinting mechanism in our brains had been recording, behind the scenes; times when we had suddenly had to think a bit clearer. It had been doing this long before we were anything resembling human, but it was dependent on us breeding to pass this structure along. It was stronger in some folks than in others. One day, a hominid named Duh who did not express this ability very well decided that it would be a great plan to drive the cave bear away from what looked like a pretty comfortable new home. He didn't make it. Over the longest time, this ability became epigenetic switches, that could deliver the goods even if it meant having to nibble instead of wolfing down our food. It was especially useful, because if we were smart enough, we could cooperate with each other better and also come up with ways to prevent other creatures from stealing our food, Just as well, if you ask me. Imagine going into a restaurant and instead of sitting at a table and slowly savoring our food quite politely, we would grab the steak off the plate, hide under the table and growl at anyone who came too close.

Of course, it was not a series of sudden, dramatic  random mutations that happened. It was happening so subtly that it is difficult to assign any cause one way or the other. It is just that those who had this ability less than others, had a lower chance of passing it along.

Back then, there were a lot fewer of us, and during our travels, we became ever more separated by distance and there were even fewer breeding partners to choose from. In one area, these folks started growing their brains in a different direction: toward the back. That is where vision lies and quite a bit of really primitive stuff, too. We could see better, but our "feelings" improved, too. This is because that part of the brain was not really analytical. When someone asked the hominid Hmmm why he did what he did, he could not really say, it "just felt right"

Over time, the smart groups would encounter the large eyed Neanderthals and say "What lovely  big eyes you have, my dear". Of course, some groups, through different experiences were not that nice and just took what they wanted. Everyone is different. There were probably a few biological variations here and there too, and after we all became Cro-magnons, it was a pretty adaptable and very brilliant sort of person who stood in front of a cave wall and produced this wonderful painting of a  boar.

"But", you say, The Neanderthals were more western. In fact, they seem to have lived in the same places as the Cro-magnon cave painters. Yes, but remember, our cleverer, more analytical ancestors had left Africa much earlier and had gone both east and west. A long time later, what was, or what became Neanderthals left and went in all directions, as well. not so many of them made it that far east, because some places had such ideal conditions that it was already getting rather populated. A few of the earlier residents could well have killed the newcomers or drove them away,

Here's where syncretism comes into play: A member of one of the really smart groups is getting fed up with one of his companions, a workman of some sort, always telling him, "Well just tell me what you want, and I will build it". This was starting to be real pain to the other fellow, because he didn't know what to make either, and what was even worse, he couldn't have made it even if he knew what it was he needed to make exactly. He was starting to feel inferior, and that really annoyed him. He remembered travelling a few miles with this other hunter. That fellow was not such a good hunter, but he sure had some great ideas. They kept popping up all the time in fact. The fellow had said, though, that his own people just thought he was a pain, always talking, never working. Sometimes he would just sit there gazing off into the distance and that really annoyed  them.

Our inferiority complex driven human rushes off to see this fellow again, and invites him to come along. "Don't worry", he says, "We won't make you work too hard, and we will really appreciate all of your good ideas." He jumps at the opportunity. These two were each just a little on each side of the Logos/Mythos division and they could understand each other very well. They were very clever, indeed. Other groups were too far apart, stupid and violent, both unable to understand each other. What of those few at the extreme ends? They were completely insane, but in different ways.

East and West do not matter at all. We can barely keep track of the erratic movements of people over the last 4,000 years. Imagine the problems of tracking  movements over 40,000 years. We ended up with what we have now.

Well, this has been fun, but the sun is shining and I think I will wander off somewhere. Tomorrow, I'll bring Jung along to talk about Picasso and other stuff.