9 June 2015

Threads of Light

When San shamans enter the spirit realm, a particular kind of vision closely parallels the painted line. They report seeing bright and iridescent sinuous lines along which they can walk or simply glide. They also treat these lines as ropes that they can grasp and climb as they ascend to the spirit realm in the sky. The lines they see can thus be both paths and cords. Researchers call them ‘threads of light’. Before going up to the sky, some San shamans say they enter a hole in the ground, travel underground for some distance and then emerge in another part of the country before they climb up to God’s house in the sky. There they plead for the sick and entreat God to assist them in their hunts.
San Rock Art by David Lewis-Williams (2011)

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