The area in which I live, in the south-west of France, is home to some of the oldest and most beautiful cave art in the world. The caves of Pech Merle have been the scene of a number of my shamanic visions. I have seen a shaman woman making handprints of ochre all over the cave walls and deep inside the cave system I have received teachings about the Body of Light, from children sitting on spotted animal skins.
Once, in shamanic consciousness, I was shown a book, as the pages turned in front of me I saw different scenes from the caves, until I saw the drawing that is now considered to be a shaman. A spirit-hand passed right through my body and pointed emphatically at this picture. It depicts a person with a number of lines extending from the body and a strange shape above the head.
Archeologists have speculated that the lines are arrows or spears, and that this is some kind of ritual or symbolic death. They have further suggested that the shape above the head is a stylized bird, representing shamanic soul flight. To me however, a different interpretation reveals itself. The spears or arrows do in fact correspond closely to the main chakra points. There is one at the base of the spine, at the sacrum, the point where kundalini is most strongly felt initially. Then there is one going directly into the belly button, again a very important kundalini centre. There are three more spears going up the spine corresponding with the other major chakra points, except for those in the head. This brings us to the stylized bird figure. My sense is that rather than a bird, what is being shown here is a diagram of the spiritual nervous system in the brain. The three most important chakras in the head are Ajna(third eye), associated with the forehead, Sahasrara(crown, above the fontanel) and the lesser known Bindu chakra. All these chakras are connected. In kundalini yoga there is a meditation called Kirtan Kriya, during this, the yogi visualises drawing energy down through the crown chakra and out of the third eye in an L shape. If we follow the top of the ‘bird’ down, then turn left, we have this connection.
If we turn right we have the connection between crown and Bindu chakra. This interpretation is backed up by the line connecting the ‘bird’ to a point on the back of the shaman’s head. This is the exact location of Bindu chakra, where Hare Krishnas have their ponytail. So to me, what we have here, is a detailed representation of the human spiritual nervous system, and at 25,000 years old, perhaps the earliest illustration of advanced yogic knowledge in the world!
This however is quite recent, compared to what has been found only a few miles from my house in the Cave of Bruniquel. Here, archeologists have discovered what appear to be ritual enclosures made from stalagmites. What is astonishing is that this site is 175,000 years old and was likely constructed by Neanderthals!
Even earlier than the Neanderthals was their ancestor, homo erectus, also connected to this region as Tautavel Man.
In one of the most spectacular shamanic visionary experiences I have undergone, I made a direct connection with this most ancient ancestor, which I relate in my book, A Shamanic Kundalini Awakening.
Suddenly I became aware of a figure standing against the glass double doors that lead onto the patio. I felt a sense of recognition, and shouted, ‘look, they’re back!’ This brought me into a shamanic state of consciousness, a state of total awareness in which I was fully immersed within the vision and I was filled with wonder and excitement. The being at the window was about five feet tall and of a squat muscular build with no neck. It had its back turned to us revealing a body covered entirely in short grey- blue hair. Although I was behind it, I could simultaneously see its face, which was hairless with a sloping brow. It was like a small wild-man, a miniature Sasquatch and I ‘knew’ absolutely this was one of the Almas. Then I saw three other figures, also about five feet tall but these were wearing shaman costumes. No part of their bodies was visible, the costumes covered their faces down to their feet. The costumes had ribbons in the colours of the rainbow on them, like those used by Siberian shamans. They each held drums, and as they drummed they spun around, the ribbons swirling around them. Three Siberian, Almas shamans, drumming and whirling like dervishes on my terrace!
The height and build of these shaman Almas corresponds to the traditional descriptions of them being between five and six and a half feet tall, not gargantuan like Sasquatch. It has been suggested by the great cryptozoologist Dr. Bernard Heuvelmans, that the Almas may be a surviving population of homo erectus. Some reconstructions of Tautavel Man do match very closely the appearance of my Almas. I think the Almas came to me, as they have such a close connection to this region where I live, they too are of this place and are still here, at least in spirit form. For me they are my shaman ancestors. The message I receive from them is, we are a part of you, that you have forgotten, and need to remember.
We certainly interacted with Neanderthals and it’s possible that homo sapiens and Neanderthal also interacted with homo erectus and other hominid species. The archeology, combined with my own visions and experiences convinces me that, although shamanism may be our earliest form of spiritual expression, it was not confined to our species and may in fact be a legacy from those relatives and ancestors quite different from and very much more ancient than us.