Since I am always fascinated by history, a few years ago I saw Werner Herzog’s documentary, “The Cave of Forgotten Dreams,” about the Chauvet Cave in southern France. This remarkable cave is full of 30,000 year-old prehistoric drawings and bones of animals: lions, horses, rhinoceros, cave bears and wooly mammoths, among others. Protected by an ancient landslide, the cave was hidden until 1994 and is in pristine shape. Herzog was given special permission by the French minister of culture to film there. Ancient cave drawings in Southern France below:

Chauvet Horses

Chauvet Horses

Smithsonian Magazine had a long and informative article about the Chauvet Cave in April. The French, seeking to preserve the real Chauvet Cave, have built a duplicate three miles away, naming it the Caverne du Pont d’Arc (the name of a natural archway over the Ardeche River nearby). This new museum, which cost $62.5 million, was opened this April. It took 500 people about 10 years to create the new wonder. The French had learned a difficult lesson from the famous Lascaux Cave discovered in 1940 and opened to the public in 1948. From exposure to thousands of people, that wonderful cave with its amazing drawings was mostly destroyed by bacteria, algae and fungi.

Other than the incredibly beautiful and realistic drawings and the realization that humanity was capable of so much more than we’ve thought, I was intrigued by the observations voiced by Herzog and the French experts Herzog interviewed for his film. A French interviewee said ancient man felt differently about his/her world. As I interpreted, the mind was not of primary importance, emotion was. Mankind felt more connected to the world around him: to the animals, the earth and its features, birth and death. They were more naturally spiritual.

Herzog said that he and his crew, plus many of the scientists who studied the cave, sensed other presences when they visited the site. They felt as if they were being watched. I can easily imagine this cave is a sacred place of spirits.

Some of us are more spiritually aware than others. Perhaps some were born that way or have had experiences that have opened up their sensibilities. Perhaps certain cultures can make easier use of the third eye, as it is called in Hindu philosophy, which leads to the inner realms of higher consciousness. Millions of us have had inexplicable encounters, and I am always intrigued by them.

My friend Sally remembers an incident driving home to Los Angeles from San Diego late at night. She began to get very tired and sleepy. Instead of pulling over, she kept trying to keep herself alert. All of a sudden, she was frightened by a loud noise and flashing colorful lights. It jolted her wide awake. When she couldn’t figure out what had happened, she pulled over to check everything on her van. By the time she determined the van was fine, she was totally alert and got back in the car to finish the drive. She never forgot, and later concluded she had received spiritual help in keeping her safe.

My cousin Jackie’s husband Ray is a Vietnam vet who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and has battled his demons over the years. For help in this world, he sees a psychiatrist every three months and takes pills for depression every day. Despite the negatives, Ray’s life has been blessed with some unusual spiritual positives.

Ever since Ray almost died from an overdose of pain pills and alcohol in the 1980s and had an encounter with a deceased friend from his Vietnam days, he’s felt and seen spirits in his peripheral vision. When he walked into a bathroom in his home not long ago, he heard large wings flapping and felt wind in his face, despite the fact that the windows were all closed and there was no air conditioning running. “I suddenly had a very warm feeling of love in my chest,” Ray told me.

Ray feels spirits of people beside him, but if he turns to look, they disappear. “I hear voices but I can’t understand what they are saying. I hear a woman calling me at times, but I don’t recognize the voice.” He’s grown used to these unusual experiences over the years and appreciates them for the comfort they bring.

As Shakespeare wrote and Hamlet said to his friend, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

One Comment

  1. camilla consuelos says:

    I really enjoyed it and found it very interesting. Victoria is a very talented writer and she is so well informed on facts and events, which she describes in a very understandable manner. I was intrigued but not surprised by the spiritual happenings to her friends because I am a strong believer of a higher consciousness.

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