ancient art, cave paintings, Caves in South of France, Glen Rogers Art, inspiration and creativity, monoprints, Niaux Grotto, paleolithic cave art, Sacred Feminine
On a recent visit to France, I visited one of the last prehistoric caves sites open to the public where one can see authentic paintings from the paleolithic era. The Niaux Grotto is located in the northern foothills of the Pyrenees, just south of the French town of Foix. I made us a reservation months in advance for 1:30 in the afternoon – enough time, I thought, to drive from the small village of Sauve. We booked a rental car and set off – GPS said 3 1/2 hours to get there. It took 4 hours and we barely made our tour! Driving in a foreign country, sometimes on small windy roads, not knowing where we were going or if we would make it on time, added to a slightly stressful adventure.
But we did make it (at 1:15) and it was worth the stress! Like my traveling companion said, this was a once in a lifetime experience. (Actually, this was my third cave visit (See my blogs), but equally exciting. Ofcourse, no photography was allowed and veryone was given a flashlight to maneuver the unlit cave.
Once inside the cathedral like space, I felt a serenity and a connection to the ancients who walked this space 15,000years before us. On the left, a figure of a woman (not a painting- a spirit) greeted me. (This is not in the guide books, folks!) She was there to the left outlined in the gold and white granite rock. I pointed her out to my friend and she saw her as well. This sign of the sacred feminine spoke to me and let her presence known. Perhaps she created some of these drawings and wanted me to know it. Thats my story and Im sticking to it!
As we moved further into the cave, our guide pointed out the beautiful drawings made with black carbon – horses, bison, mountain goat, ibis etc. There was often a layering of images – implying motion and one could tell many hands created these images over time. One never knows what will inspire the artist – in my case it was something even more mysterious and ethereal than the ancient cave drawings themselves. It was the spirit of the cave and perhaps a whisper in my ear…
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Who knew?! – But seriously, that’s what you call artistic license. I don’t expect women were wearing dresses 15,000 years ago. But the image I saw of the woman in the stone – she was wearing a long flowing gown…
Thanks for your comment!
Interesting that they are wearing, in effect, ‘dresses’
Interesting post Glen. I so believe in the power of place and how it can touch us so deeply.
It looked like such a nice trip. Lucky you.
Yes, I’ve been taking pilgrimages to sacred sites for over 30 years now – with intention to connect with those who came before me. And I’ve never walked away disappointed. And the ‘power of place’ usually inspired a body of work!
Yes, a great trip! Thanks!
The spirit of the cave really touched you.
Yes, a wonderful and magical moment that I could take away with me.
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