Saturday, March 17, 2012

Entering the Cave

Horses from Chauvet Cave
Last June I went to see the film Cave of Forgotten Dreams a documentary by Werner Herzog about the cave art of Chauvet Cave in France.  I knew when I watched this film that it affected me deeply, but I had no idea that it would be part of a catalyst that would change me.  

As I sit here on the bank of the "river" that I dragged myself out from (see last post), I have been examining my art, my life, spirituality and how they all intertwine.  It has brought me back to Chauvet Cave and the feelings that viewing the art found within evoked.  Chauvet Cave contains the earliest known cave art, but it also contains art that spans several thousand years, which means that this cave was an active creative center far longer than anything we have known.

The art inside is astounding and makes the term "primitive man" insulting and inaccurate. The work found in the cave is masterful and powerful, even when viewed on film.  These are not mere scribblings made by a child-like mind. Each stroke is sure, confident and representative of the creature it depicts.  I can only imagine what it must be like to see this work in person.  The people in the film seemed deeply moved from being in the presence of this work.

I began reading Cave Paintings and the Human Spirit by David Whitley and it is further fueling this inner change.  It is difficult to articulate what it is that is changing in me, as it takes place, but I know that is has to do with this fusion of art, life, and spirit.

We know hardly anything about the people that made this art, but it is clear that there is a powerful, spiritual element.  When I look at the paintings, I feel as though I am seeing with my heart and soul, I feel something deep within me stir and long for a connection that I have yet to fully experience.

I know that while I take in the view of the "river" from here upon the shore, while the many people surge by, I am experiencing a transformation from inside out.  My creative output is strained, but I wouldn't call it blocked.  It is like the pause one must take between a deep inhalation and the long slow exhalation. I am finding this pause, a good place to be right now.

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