Seeing Through Ancient Eyes

We look at things so superficially, so at-the-moment, so very materially: Western society has forgotten there are other ways to see. But these ways require us to slow down, to see the world without all we have built and paved and altered. I recently watched two documentaries that are like taking a deep breath of truly fresh, clean air with all the scents of nature, after being cooped up for most of our lives in stale, dead airs. 

The first one, FIRST FOOTPRINTS: THE ORIGINAL PIONEERS OF ALL HUMANKIND, is about how the first modern humans arrived in Australia some 40,000 years ago: how they lived, and lived well in what to us appears the harshest of environments; how they passed on knowledge of the land’s Law generation to generation, and how the people today who are their direct descendants still remember, still know the Law, and live it. Through paintings and carvings 10,000 years old, and more, the history of these original inhabitants is remembered, still owned, still NOW: The descendants as they walk in sacred places speak aloud to the Old Ones who are, they say, still right there. They speak to them, tell them of the current moment, “Hello, it’s Margaret… I grew up here but I left for a while and now I have come back. These people with me are coming to see you, and then they will go home.” It isn’t mere ritual, it is real, it is present and alive. They are visiting family when they go to these places.

The second is called SEASONS. It is French, subtitled in English, but there is very little spoken as the stunningly lovely film reminds us what the world of Europe was like following the last Ice Age: a Golden Age of the forest.

Over 10,000 years, humankind imposed itself on this world, yet we are still intimately part of it, if only we pause, think back, and remember.

Both these programs remind us what we have lost touch with, but what is still there, can still be reconnected with, if only we have the will and awareness to do it. Both these programs inspire the will to remember, and to reach out and find it again. We have forgotten, we have ceased to see so much in our busy, clever, technical lives!

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