Transcript of Disc I, Chapter VI: Animal Spirits
© 2013 Max Dashu

Elamite lion-woman
About 5000 years ago in southwest Iran, the proto-Elamites carved a figure that mixes the qualities of woman and lioness.

Mtoko, Zimbabwe
Woman encounters lioness, maybe one she has called up, in a mural at Mtoko, Zimbabwe.

Mazoe, Zimbabwe
In the caves at Mazoe, where these massed souls are painted, a Shona woman named Nehanda founded a line of lion oracles that lasted for five centuries.

Mucheka Cave, Murewa, Zimbabwe
At Mucheka Cave, two ritually adorned women each raise a hand, toward a dancing animal presence

Astuvansalmi rock art
At Astuvansalmi in Finland, this woman with a bow could be a huntress, a shaman, a goddess or ancestor.

Astuvansalmi 2
Although severely eroded, the Mesolithic rock painting shows the woman standing among a group of female elk, a common focus of murals from Siberia to Scandinavia.

Lena river rock drawing
In eastern Siberia, Evenk rock art shows ceremony around the bugady enintyn, whose name means mother/elk of the ancestral sanctuary.

Tomsk elk
An ancient petroglyph from Tomsk, Siberia, shows a person making the gesture of invocation amongst elk

Elbategui, Baja California
This ceremonial gesture appears at Elbategui, Baja California, this time with a group of humans and deer

Jabbahin, Arabia
At Jabbahin, Arabia, the invoking woman stands among long-horned antelope and camel

At Taleshout, Libya, women make ceremony with animals, adorning the horns of their beloved cattle for a procession.

Baffin Island
A horned woman in old ivory from Baffin Island, Nunavut, may represent an angakok

Luristan, circa 750 bce
In the mountains of Luristan, Iran, an invoking woman wears a horned cap, or maybe a serpent cap.

Luri Finial
Many Luri bronze staff heads are stacked with spirit faces, rampant beasts and birds [no overt gender on this one]

Luri bronze finial
Some are manifestly female, whether  goddesses, ancestors, or shamans with their spirit allies

Disco de Chaquiaqo [also known as de "Lafone Quevedo"]
At Andalgalá, Argentina, a woman is flanked by spiral-tailed felines and other beings, in a bronze of the shamanic La Aguada culture of Catamarca. [600-900 CE]

Perm Spiders
In Eurasia, Permian bronzes show parallel themes, with the Mother of Nature flanked by various spirits, and here, standing on spiders

So too a Moravian cauldron shows a woman flanked by wolves [in what is now the Czech Republic]

Quechua keru
Condors and other large birds appear over the heads of invoking priestesses on several Quechua kerus, or offering vessels, in Peru

Keru 2
The women raise their hands to the sky, and lower them toward the earth, with birds over their heads, and serpents ascending and descending the tree.

At Ndedema Cave in South Africa, San holy women call a spirit bird with long, streaming feathers. Their outstretched arms themselves look like wings. Their painted faces are immersed in a golden ochre band of energy.

Pottery Mound
A crane stands beside a woman in a kiva mural at Pottery Mound, New Mexico. Four fringed objects float between them; behind are a corn man, and possibly the Corn Mother herself birthing into a basket

Crane invocation
A Chinese silk painting shows a woman calling up a crane spirit, which hovers above her, and a snake, at left

Hacilar woman with tailed creature
Women and animals, women with animals. This figurine from Hacilar, Turkey, may be holding a leopard cub.

Jaguar women
Two old Maya women with spindles on their heads, an insignia of Ix Chel, are making offerings to her in the form of a jaguar woman wearing the same headdress. She has jaguar paws and robes. One of the women also wears a jaguar skin. 

Bychikh, Yenesei river, southern Siberia
Tigers were important medicine animals over south and east Asia, all the way up into the Yenisei and Amur rivers of Siberia.

Helan tiger petroglyphs
They’re also engraved on rocks at Helan, China. A persistent Chinese folk tradition talks about female were-tigers, or women who receive a call from the tigers.

Indus tiger woman
In the Indus valley, a number of little-known seals envision tiger-women or goddesses-- like centaurs only feline and female, and horned...

Tiger dancer
On another seal, a slender figures dance with two tigers—somewhat gender-ambiguous, but broad-hipped, and feminine-looking.

Tiger dancer 2
This tiger dancer, breasted and clearly female, was carved into a cylinder seal, with a wheel above, an elephant below.

Tiger dancer 3
Another female tiger-dancer wears horns and has bovine legs, hooves and tail. The tiger too is horned...
Tiger Mother
Two Chinese bronze vessels were cast in the form of a tiger-mother with a human child. They belong to a broader Chinese constellatin of tigress-ancestor-shaman-goddess.



Woman Shaman: the Ancients © 2013 Max Dashu




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