OF SUN DISKS, WORLD PORTALS AND MEDICINE WHEELS…FLOATER STRUCTURES IN ANCIENT AMERICAN ART

Eye floaters – vitreous opacities or consciousness light? A glimpse into the art and myths of former and non-Western cultures suggests that floaters had a spiritual meaning for many people. This article presents floater motifs and their meaning in North American Indian cultures.

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This article is based on the experience that a certain type of eye floaters – the “shining structure floaters” – are more than “vitreous opacities,” as ophthalmology claims. This insight came to me by my teacher, the seer Nestor (Tausin 2012a, 2010a, 2009). In my further research, I found numerous indications that floaters – along with other entoptic phenomena – were perceived, artistically reproduced and passed down by the people of many cultures, ancient and modern (e.g. Tausin 2012b, 2012c). They were probably seen during consciousness altering ritual practices and have been mythically or spiritually interpreted (Tausin 2012d, 2010b). This article supports this assumption by presenting floater structures in some of the native cultures of North America. Examples include all of the major cultural regions: the Arctic and Subarctic (Inuit, Yupik), the Northwest Coast (Tlingit), California (Chumash), the Great Basin (Shoshone), the Pueblo cultures of the Southwest, the Algonquian and Sioux tribes of the East and the Great Plains, as well as the Mound Builders of the Southeast.

Cultural areas of North America, according to Alfred Kroeber.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Nordamerikanische_Kulturareale_en.png (5.3.13).

These areas were inhabited by Paleo-Indian hunter-gatherers who had immigrated from Asia in prehistoric times. Various cultures developed from these Paleo-Indians in the Archaic period (c. 10.000-1000 BC). Some of these gradually moved on to agricultural and sedentary lifestyles, forming complex societies. Others remained nomadic hunter-gatherers or practiced hybrid lifestyles. The women and men of these cultures crafted tools, weapons, jewelry and textiles from stone and from products of animals and plants. Some produced ceramics, practiced rock painting or carving and constructed complex sites and earthworks. In the subsequent post-Archaic period (c. 1000 BC until contact with Europeans, 1500-1800 AD), the Native American cultures developed further, but never reached the complexity of the early civilizations in India, China and Europe (cf. Zeitlin 2008; Lynch 2010).

Rock Art

For thousands of years, Native Americans painted or engraved on rocks, mainly in caves, but also on rock walls and boulders outdoors. The designs are figurative – humans or human-like beings, animals, weapons, etc. – or abstract and geometric. Abstract rock art often consists of simple dots, dotted or concentric circles, lines, curves and pit and groove lines (Von Petzinger 2011; Ravilious 2010). 

Cave art of the Chumash people, c. 1000 years old. Painted Cave near Santa Barbara, California. Source: http://nativeamericanantiquity.blogspot.ch/2013/02/how-chumash-turned-wayward-sun-around.html (5.10.14). Cf. Wellmann 1978.

Rock art of the Shoshone from the Coso Range, eastern California, up to 16.000 years old. The anthropomorphic figures with line and circle bodies and heads are characteristic. Source: http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/coso/gallery.php (28.2.13). Cf. Garfinkel et al. 2009; Hildebrandt/McGuire 2008; Maturango Museum N/A.

Bird‘s eye view on geometric motifs, engraved into flat limestone bedrock. Lewis Canyon, Pecos River in Texas. Dating not clear, between 6000 BC and 1000 AD. Source: http://www.gigapan.com/gigapans/136529 (30.10.14). Cf. Turpin 2005.

So-called shield motifs at Castle Gardens, Wyoming. Probably carved by ancestors of the Navajo and Apache between 1000 and 1250 AD. Source: http://www.wyomingheritage.org/castleGardens.html (6.11.14). Cf. Rogers 2003; Bouchet-Bert 1999; Keyser 1977, 1975; Gebhard 1966.

Dotted circle: Rock art at Millstone Bluff, Illinois. Late Mississippian culture (c. 1300-1550 AD). Source: http://esrara.org/wp-content/gallery/illinois/baycreek_1.jpg (27.10.14). Cf. Simek et al. 2013, Woollaston 2013.

Part II of this series continues tomorrow Sunday, February 22, 2015!

Extra information about the article: 
Dotted circle: Rock art at Millstone Bluff, Illinois

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