Aphorismes sur la Lune et autres pensées sauvages…

Numa época em que pululam os espiritualismos new age de trazer por casa e a superficialidade kitsch, não deixa de ser surpreendente a interpretação científica da arte rupestre paleolítica como manifestação xamânica. Desde logo por diversos investigadores denominarem determinados locais da geografia subterrânea como “santuários” mas também, e sobretudo, pela identificação de determinadas figuras teriantrópicas (que denominam “feiticeiros”), mormente no tocante a explícitas práticas sexuais associadas ao êxtase ou ao transe (de “transitar” e/ou “transar”?!) entre mundos (natural/sobre natural, humano/não humano). O reconhecimento de remotas crenças vitais, ainda que incompreendidas, ligadas às grutas enquanto lugares numinosos/sagrados, enquanto lugares de poder (power spots), revelam uma velha faceta das cavidades subterrâneas: o serem locais privilegiados para a vivência de experiências extra-sensoriais.

Há muito que o Homem perdeu a clarividência atávica mas, quem sabe, talvez o regresso à natureza (ao ser natural) possa, por um processo de anamnese, desvelar parte do significado da arte rupestre. Como referiu o escritor Gilberto de Lascariz, “a essência da arte está no corpo” mas como o xamanismo implica a alteração radical da percepção do corpo, sem transcendência dificilmente se poderá empreender a compreensão dessa velha arte, dessa manifestação parietal em espaço(s) sagrado(s). Será preciso um naturalismo transcendente e saudosista, à moda de Pascoaes, ou um transcendentalismo panteísta, pessoano, ou algo ainda mais primevo ao estilo de uma boa batida (caçada)? Talvez tenhamos de nos preparar para viajar no tempo (e no espaço!), tornando-nos de certo modo tribais, religar-nos à natureza de uma forma primária, primitiva, animal… Ao estilo de David Abram, sentir a excitação de “novas sensibilidades”, de uma “recém-encontrada consciência de um mundo mais-do-que-humano, do grande poder da terra e, em particular, de penetrante inteligência de outros animais, grandes e pequenos, cujas vidas e culturas se interpenetram com a nossa”.

Voltemos à interpretação científica da arte rupestre paleolítica como manifestação xamânica, na perspectiva de David S. Whitley (in Cave Paintings and The Human Spirit, 2009, pp. 167-171):

The culmination of our Trois Frères visit was the Sanctuary, another chamber whose relatively small size belied the fact that it contained some of the most notable examples of Paleolithic art. The art here was almost entirely engraved like the open-air panels at Côa. Like them, too, the principle panels were a disorienting palimpsest of engraved lines, taken to another level of confusion: art seemingly gone entirely awry. Careful examination, aided by Breuil’s meticulous copies, revealed a complex array of overlapping yet beautifully executed images: stoic, almost imperious, or alternatively fast-charging bison; short-legged, thick-bellied, and wide-necked horses (fat ponies with broached manes, to my modern eyes); curious ibex and caprids, posed as if peering intently from some high rock or crag; running reindeer and deer, chins jutted forward (lowering and streamlining their antler racks, aiding a run through wooded areas); a large bear, covered by small circular dots with lines flowing out of its mouth and nose; all mixed with a seemingly random array of geometric signs. Intermingled among the “animals” were two human- animal conflations, suggesting that all of these images were more likely spirits in animal form than animals in any normal sense.

One of these conflations stood upright on two legs with its head turned as if looking back, expectantly, over its shoulder. It had a bison’s upper body but seemed human from the waist down, especially its large and erect penis, which emerged from the interior of its groin, like that of a human, rather than from a penis sheath on its belly, like that of a bovine. Another conflation, likewise an upright and noticeably phallic bison, walked forward on two distinctly human legs and feet. Two conjoined lines, creating a bowlike form, seemed to emerge from its nose. (…) Perhaps more importantly, as Breuil first noted, this bison-human seemed to be advancing, upper bison legs out-raised, on a bison-cow, apparently in estrus. Her head was turned back over her shoulder, seemingly looking at the advancing male, as she presented her exposed vagina (shown as concentric circles) for mounting.

The sexual symbolism at Chauvet Cave was to me (and Jim Keyser) obvious; the voluptuous nature of the Trois Frères imagery made the erotic intent of the artists all the clearer, pointing toward another kind of intimacy in this cave. This is the Paleolithic conceptual connection, expressed here in the most intense and biologically fundamental (sexual) form, between humans and bison. These key images signal that this art does not concern animals as food, hunted by man. Nor is it about animals as dangerous creatures, stalking the landscape. It is at least partly about the relationship of humans to animals who, in Native American terms at least, were called “nonhuman people”. This conceptual linkage to humans is materialized here by the bison shaman – this is the only way that these can be reasonably interpreted – exhibiting two common bodily hallucinations associated with altered states: bodily transformation and sexual arousal. Both were employed worldwide, (…), as graphic metaphors for the otherwise ineffable feelings of trance.

(…) Despite the significance of these motifs, the focal point of the Sanctuary was a large painted and engraved image (about two and half feet high), placed above the lower panels, which seemed to command the room. Dubbed the “Horned God” by Breuil, this has been more commonly called the Sorcerer, and is become one of the most famous Paleolithic images. It was a human, of course, or really more than a human for it conflates the features of three, maybe four, different species, poised in a half crouch falling somewhere between an upright two-legged man and a standing quadruped. The hind legs and feet were distinctly human, even to the details of the calf muscles and toes. A large pendant penis and testicles emerged from the creature’s rear, making clear its sex (male) but little else: this is the position of a feline’s sexual organs, not a man’s. A large flowing tail (horse? canid?) also emerged from its rump, which like the rest of the leaning body, appeared to be a cervid (most likely a stag). The ears and antlers confirmed this identification, but the face was different and distinctive, with the deep-set, night eyes and the small beak of an owl. The outward reaching front legs/arms and hands, elbows tucked against the chest, appeared half formed or, better, in a state of transformation. Rather than a sorcerer, this was a shaman transforming, standing at the balance between the natural and supernatural worlds, entering into or emerging from the spirit realm within the cave walls.

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