Friday, February 5, 2010

THE ALCHEMY OF INNER EARTH/ Rock Art of the Modoc Plateau North of Mt. Shasta


               The Alchemy of Inner Earth or The Seven Mountains
               by Eric Whollem
               gouache and wax resist on paper
               Collection of the artist.
               9" x 6"
                                                                                                     Copyright by the artist.

The Petroglyphs in the Desert North of Mt. Shasta

In the Petroglyph Section near Tule Lake just north of the Modoc
Lava Beds in California is the oldest rock art in the state. It has been
dated approximately at 10,000 years old.

The painting above does not copy designs exactly as they appear at
this site, but rather gives a loose interpretation. Insofar as the site is
close to a large configuration of Lava Tubes it is easy to read "lava
tube" symbols in the Indian rock engravings, specifically those long,
meandering parallel lines that sometimes are drawn connected to
triangular prominences, which most probably represent mountains,
perhaps volcanoes.

A lot of insect-like icons appear at the site. In California insects are
highly revered by many tribal groups as "gods," or "spirits." They
generally are considered quite holy.

The "long-earred" figure near the center of my painting is one of my
own fanciful creations, and is not represented in the petroglyphs near
Tule Lake. It is a shamanic figure.

It is believed that  Indians carved these images from reed boats in
the old days. Tule Lake was much larger 10,000 years ago. The
rock art at this site is on a huge stone outcrop about a quarter mile
long. The artists would travel to what was an island in the lake to
create their stone records. In modern times the stone outcrop is
in dry desert. Huge numbers of birds nest in the upper reaches of
the rock.

Esotericists speculate that Atlantis sank about 10,000 years ago.
Thus we hear notions to the effect that this rock art site represents
Atlantean script. This is a subject that needs further study.

In the Modoc Lava Beds are many lava tube caves with accom-
panying pictographs painted near the cave entrances. A park
ranger told me that the Native Americans would meditate in the
caves and have visions, which were then painted by the cave's

The Modoc Lava Beds are the site of the last big war between
the European settlers and the California Native Americans. Captain
Jack was the last of the chiefs of the Modoc Indians. The lava
tubes provided excellent hiding places for the Indians in the course
of battle.

Near Mt. Shasta are other lava tube caves, such as Pluto Cave.
As to whether lava tubes from Shasta connect to the Modoc area
is not known for certain.


Readers interested in my posts on Pictographs and Petroglyphs should view this link:

A video about pictographic art.                             

My posts on the subject of Mt. Shasta can be found here:



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