Forbidden Archeology of Consciousness
Mikael Kindborg, Oct 14, 2021
We can observe what the peoples of the past created in the form of ancient cities, buildings, artefacts, and depictions. But would it also be possible to get a glimpse of their consciousness, and observe aspects of their minds?
This article is intended to be an introduction to the idea of using unconventional methods for exploring the mystery of prehistoric shamanic practices, with the objective of studying ancient consciousness.
We can tell from rock paintings and other sources, like ancient myths, that the spiritual connection had a central role in the lives of our ancestors. Various forms of shamans are a common motif found in cave art. Frequently, they are depicted with animal attributes, which tells us something about their relationship to nature.
Today, there are different understandings of what having a "spiritual connection" means. Some call it superstition, or think of it as holding a religious belief. Others view the spiritual connection as being in harmony with nature and with our existence.
But what might spirituality have meant for the ancients who lived in prehistoric times? What did it mean for the people who built Göbleki Tepe? And even before that?
In South America, and in many other parts of the world, there are remains of ancient shamanic traditions that are still being practiced. What can we learn from such practices?
When participating in a shamanic ceremony, it can indeed feel like being transported back in time. Can a participatory ethnographic approach help us form an understanding of ancient human consciousness? And can it help us to discover states of mind that are largely unknown to us, long lost in the passages of time?
It seems unlikely that we will ever know for sure. That is, to "know" in the way we are trained to think about what knowing means.
In our society, we are used to consider mainly (if not only) "hard facts" as evidence. Physical archeological findings hold far more weight than myths and legends. And experiences reported by people are quickly dismissed as subjective and speculative. Most of us automatically explain away shamanic contact with the spiritual realm as simply being an hallucinatory episode.
We suggest that by investigating experiences such as those formed during shamanic practices, we are allowing ourselves to enter new territories of exploration. A realm of discovery where experience is considered as evidence.
My colleague Gösta Lindwall has created the following illustration that depicts a woman participating in a shamanic retreat. She is meditating together with the other participants, connecting to the consciousness of her existence and the surrounding elements. Or is she meditating together with the spirits of her ancient ancestors - transported back in time - getting a glimpse of their consciousness?
Understanding human consciousness is considered fundamental by multiple alternative researchers and scholars. Graham Hancock has pointed out on multiple occasions that modern humans have lost their connection to the spiritual world. An important source for the research of ancient consciousness is Michael Cremo, who we will return to in an upcoming article.
We propose that archeology should expand its view, and not be exclusively focused on the matterium. Likely, it is not possible to solve the mystery of prehistoric civilizations unless we also understand consciousness.