Posts Tagged With: ayni

Film Review: The Cave of Forgotten Dreams

In 1994, local cavers Christian Hillaire, Eliette Brunel-Deschamps and Jean-Marie Chauvet discovered a previously unknown cave with extraordinarily preserved, ancient rock art. The cave is located in the Ardèche region of southern France. In 1998, a small team, headed by Dr. Jean Clottes, began research and Carbon 14 dated the art to 30,000-33,000 years old.

Chauvet Cave is about five hours to the east from where I was during June in the Dordogne region, the particular section called the Périgord Noir. This is where I was so fortunate to experience two caves with very limited access, Les Combarelles and Font-de-Gaume, and was simply overcome. A couple of people, whose names have slipped my memory, then suggested I see the documentary The Cave of Forgotten Dreams done by Werner Herzog on the Chauvet Cave. If any who directed me are reading this review, I thank you profusely.

cave of forgotten dreamsHerzog managed to produce a film that gives a visceral sense of another such hallowed space. Contained in the Chauvet site, home to cave bears, also rest antiquities – indeed lineage bearers, all that remains from the perceptions and sacred expressions of Paleolithic artists.

The team allowed to enter was quite small, some researchers and a few filmmakers, and only for limited times. They could touch nothing of the interior, walking on a carefully protected passageway alone. Remembering how overwhelmed I was when entering 10,000-year-old sites, I could only imagine the condensed energy of one 20,000 years older. One young scientist was interviewed and spoke of how, after working in the cave for five days straight, he found it so powerful he had to take a break to absorb it all.

lions

Panel of lions. Source: The Bradshaw Foundation.

fighting_rhino_four_horses

Fighting rhinos and four horses. Source: The Bradshaw Foundation.

There were so many similarities to my own visit to such sites in the Périgord Noir, although mine were but a snippet. The awe as to the sophisticated renderings and talent. How they translated movement and power of their subjects. How the very place seemed alive. This was so especially in the sweeping scene of images filmed purposefully in silence. I will confess it brought tears to my eyes.

Remember this is narrative art. The narrator pointed out two sets of lions. In one, the obviously male lion was courting a female who was not ready to accept his advances. She growled at him. In the other, the female had agreed, shown as snuggling the side of the male.

I highly recommend this film for those who wish to gain a new respect and appreciation of our ancient ancestors, and for art enthusiasts who want to trace influences on much later, modern artists.

As an aside, I noted in research elsewhere that when the age of the Chauvet Cave rock art came out, it was contested by those who insisted on adhering to their outdated, ego-entrenched conjectures. This also happened with the Altamira cave in northern Spain. Altamira itself was found by a local hunter in 1868. He told Marcelino Sanz de Sautola, an amateur archeologist who owned the land. In 1879, he began excavation, but it was his young daughter Maria who actually discovered the cave paintings. When Sanz de Sautola attempted to take the findings public, suggesting the art was 10,000 years old, he was declared a fraud and the paintings fake by those of the same ilk mentioned above, plus the Catholic Church. He suffered the effects of public humiliation until his death. Posthumously some twenty years later, he was recognized for his achievements, the age of Altamara cave art not 10,000 but 35,000 years old. An account is given in the little known film Finding Altamira, which can be viewed on Netflix.

The Cave of Forgotten Dreams is available on Netflix and has also been uploaded by viewers onto You Tube. One hour, 35 minutes.

Categories: Film Review, Global Consciousness | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sacred Reciprocity – Part I

In the traditions of the Andes, ayni is a way of life. This Quechua word has no real translation but loosely summarized means sacred reciprocity, merely one of the life-affirming teachings about balance and flow. I’ve taken it to heart—and attempted to pass the teaching on in my home culture. I say “attempt” because it’s been a real challenge where, in Western culture, it’s so much more about “winning” on an individual level. In other words: What’s In It For Me? When I was a fledgling organizational development consultant decades ago, I even remember being taught to appeal to people through “WIIFM”…in teambuilding workshops, a paradox for sure.

A Marker in Spiritual Evolution

My sense is that when a person reaches certain markers in their spiritual evolution there’s an inherent understanding of the circle of life—that to hoard interrupts a natural flow, not only to the individual, but affects global wellbeing detrimentally. Instead, there’s an automatic desire to give in whatever ways can be given…and there’s no obsession about how something will be received in turn—what is “due” on the other side.

Connection Mixed Media by Carla Woody

Connection, Mixed Media
©1996 Carla Woody

How Sacred Reciprocity Connects Us

In a recent post, I reviewed Jamie Reaser’s new book of poetry Sacred Reciprocity: Courting the Beloved in Everyday Life with beautiful verses about exchange with the Infinite through nature. Ayni touches many places in our lives.

In my review of the documentary El Andalon I introduced you to humanitarian healer Don Sergio Castro, who works with impoverished Maya communities around San Cristóbal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico. It was an act of ayni on the part of filmmakers Veremos Productions to have produced it and are donating part of the proceeds to his mission.

Without that film I wouldn’t have known about Don Sergio’s work. As a result of that introduction, audiences with Don Sergio are now part of the itinerary of my spiritual travel program in Chiapas. I’ve asked travelers to bring simple first aid supplies to donate, along with a monetary amount I will make as an offering.

Don Sergio attending young Maya girl

Don Sergio attending young Maya girl.
Photo: Patricia Ferrer

But it doesn’t stop there. One of my subscribers, who lives in France, contacted Patricia Ferrer, who is in Tucson and connected with Don Sergio, alerting her to my review. Patricia has been volunteering with Don Sergio for a few years now, spending between two to five weeks per year. She gives of her skills selflessly. We corresponded and I had the good fortune to meet her in person when I was recently in Tucson for a speaking engagement.

Don Sergio and Patricia working.

Don Sergio and Patricia working.
Photo: Patricia Ferrer

Here are some of Patricia’s words from the article The Circle of Life posted on Meg Pier’s blog View from the Pier:

…Many of the Indios do not want to go to the hospital as they feel discriminated against, they don’t trust the hospital system, and they don’t understand the system nor does the system understand them. Many times they wait too long to go to the hospital and when they finally do go they die as their condition has become too severe…

 …Don Sergio knows these people well and even when he recommends they go to the hospital they are still reluctant: some do, some don’t. The one constant is if they come to Don Sergio he will do his best to help them although he knows the outcome is not good.  The unwavering trust from the Maya is clear when they arrive to his museo, which is also used as a clinic…

Another Opportunity for Ayni

We currently have six more openings for the January 13-25, 2013 Entering the Maya Mysteries program in Chiapas. A portion of tuition is tax-deductible and already designated toward Grandmother Flordemayo’s project to preserve Native seeds.

However, I have promised Patricia that, for each person she refers to me for registration through this blog post or otherwise, I will donate an additional $100 to Don Sergio’s work, aside from what I’ve already planned to personally donate. So, if you are someone who is called to practice ayni in this way while having a life-enhancing experience yourself, please contact Patricia through her blog, or me. When registering for the January program mention her name to ensure the additional donation will be made.

This is one way the circle of life continues to expand.

Ayni has a flow all its own.

Go to Sacred Reciprocity, Part II.

Categories: Healing, Indigenous Wisdom, Sacred Reciprocity, Spiritual Evolution, Spiritual Travel, Travel Experiences | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

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