The Mind in the Cave by David Lewis-Williams

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Review written by Nicola

This book goes a long way to answering my question I have had ringing around in my head for over two decades now, which has brought me firmly onto the shamanic path.

What did our ancestors know living so close to the land which we have forgotten?

 

This is a fascinating book for two reasons.

Firstly it takes the reader through evidence based rationale for why our ancient ancestors painted rock art, up to 40,000 years ago.

Secondly it’s because it is written by an archaeologist. who does not practice shamanism himself, and is purely looking at this from a scientific research point of view.

David makes the argument that the rock art which was drawn by these Paleolithic people was in fact drawn by shamans who were journeying to Otherworlds.

One of the key findings which really stood out for me was the difference between Neanderthals and our species, Homo Sapiens. These two species overlapped in Europe by about 10,000 years, and it seems that the reason the Neanderthals died out is because they did not have connection with the spirit world.

It seems that the spirit world was crucial for the development of our species during a great transitional period.

Where David and I disagree, is the very last paragraph of his book, where in just a few lines he dismisses that, whilst this approach was relevant for our long distant ancestors, it’s not for us. However, if you ignore that tiny part of the book, the rest of it is fantastic.

He talks of the evidence for a whole range of things under what we would call ‘core shamanism’ such as shifting consciousness, the upper and lower world, animal spirit guides, drumming, rattles, crystals, bones, dreams, visions, souls and the wounded healer.

It is really clear to me that in this time of great transition for the human species, we need to look to how we have survived in other great transitions of a similar scale. The messages our distant ancestors left us in the cave art go a long way in helping us fathom how to navigate this world to create a new one were we can survive and thrive once more.

Get the book on Amazon here…