My most recent book, published at the end of last year was entitled ‘Sacred Shadows – Ice Age Spirituality.’ I became aware even as I was researching it that this was no ordinary book. It seemed to seep into my bones, affecting not only the way I viewed the world around me, but even the way I viewed myself.
I think my psychic intuition certainly went up a notch or two in writing it. I began to feel things, especially in relation to places and their history, that I’d never really noticed before, at least, not on this sort of scale. For example, there are noticeable fault lines on the road along the River Avon into Bristol – and I began to ‘feel’ the disruption and disturbance, the shuddering of the earth beneath me. It was all very strange.
In the past week I have been thinking about pebbles. Now in my book I do mention painted and engraved pebbles from the ancient past. Tens of thousands of years old, they carry messages we can only guess at nowadays. I’ve also been very influenced by a gentleman named Alan Miles who did a fascinating programme for Eerie Investigations a few years back about ancient pebbles and the pictures on them. I have never looked at stones in quite the same way since!
This past few months of course, I’ve also been aware of pebbles because the weather created a huge hole in our road, ripped up the tarmac and made parts of the pavement disappear. Mountains of pebbles and boulders surged out of the drains and scattered all over the place. You get the picture. Anyway, in the past week I have had the strongest feeling that I am going to find something special. Every time I walk down our street I have to stop if there are any pebbles about. But so far nothing.
At least until yesterday. It was wet and I was hurrying to get back indoors after putting out some birdseed. I was passing part of my garden known as ‘the well’ – it isn’t really, but there is a spring of some sort there, and a ‘portal’ where all sorts of strange things come and go. Anyway, looking down I noticed a very dark pebble with what looked like rust on it. It’s about two inches long (5cm?) and about an inch wide (2.5cm). Very striking!
I couldn’t resist picking it up and taking it indoors where I dried it off and had a good look at it. It wasn’t rust, for a start, it seemed to be some sort of stone or terracotta pressed into a dip in the stone. And the stone seemed to have been darkened in the other areas, just on the top half of the pebble – there’s a distinct line around the edges suggesting the pebble was painted black only on the front i.e. the decorated side.
And before anyone accuses me of looking for faces in the clouds or in the fire, I would point out that the stone has no marks of dark paint or staining anywhere else, nor are there any terracotta coloured streaks (or streaks of any colour) anywhere else.
To me, holding the pebble in the upright position, it looks like a half animal, half human figure holding something that looks suspiciously like a small bow in his hands. I knew I’d seen something like it before but it took a bit of thought before I realised – the Bison Man of Les Trois Freres cave. I mentioned it in my book Sacred Shadows, but there isn’t a picture of it in the text. So here’s one for you now:
The idea of holding a bow is rather controversial. It’s rather short to be a weapon, for a start. Some claim it’s a musical instrument, like a syrinx. Personally I think it could be a bow drill, used for starting fires. If so – and this again is something I explored in my book – it would make the Bison Man of Les Trois Freres a Master of Fire, perhaps an ancestor of the ancient Blacksmithing gods such as Hephaistos, Vulcan and Wayland Smith.
Now – if there is a link between that famous figure and my pebble – why a blacksmith? Why my garden?
Well, we have an ancient prehistoric cairn on the mountain just about my home. Sacred, portable art may have been left up there thousands of years ago and then gradually washed down the mountainside until much later, my home was built there and the pebble was ‘trapped’ in the garden. Who knows?
But it was the blacksmithing part that intrigued Mr Penry. He has two anvils out in our garden. And the people who had the house before us also put an anvil in the garden… a response to some ancient call, perhaps?
Well, why not? Stranger things have happened…