The discovery that ancient people had employed natural sun and shadow displays to note seasonal events at Inyo posed a serious question. How were these discovered? To note the display employed as the equinox animation, someone had to be on the site, know the exact day of the equinox event, and have a need to make such a notation in the first place. Additionally, a knowledge of Celtic lore, the ogam writing system and Gadelic language was part of the knowledge base. Besides all this, the maker would have had to notice the very subtle display in action. The odds of this being accidental are far too great to assume the chance discovery. Some other factor was at work. That factor may very well be a petromantic message that would draw a knowledgable, albite probably quite curious shaman (or Druid) to investigate the area. Once the unique shadows had been discovered, the place would have been considered a gift from the gods, in this case, the god was Lugh. Dr. Barry Fell introduced me to this insight. He had addressed petromantic messages some time earlier. This is a quote from the Epigraphic Society Occasional Papers, Volume 10, Part 1, 1982, page 96.
"Such natural 'pseudo-ogam' greatly interested our Ancestors, who mistook it for mysterious messages from the gods. A pseudo-science that the Greeks called petromania was developed, purporting to give interpretations of these supposed divine messages... Occasionally an actual bit of readable text can be produced by these natural processes..."
The Greek pseudo-science Dr. Fell refers to evolved from the practices of the Earth Mother Cult. This is the generic name given to the practicing Edenites who called themselves the People. By the time of Greek civilization, the controlled populace was no longer informed of the monotheistic belief that God had created the world and that we are all "children of God." In the oldest philosophy, the work of God was the public explanation for what we now call nature. Science has replaced the mysteries once explained with religion.
Once I understood that this philosophy was known to literate priests, shamen and druids, the reading of oracle stones, burnt bones, and entrails suddenly became a literal term. Recall that nothing was arbitrary or incidental, everything, including the patterns made by random veins and vessels in entrails or the arbitrary sedimentation later to form rocks broken to wave tossed pebbles or strata in mountains. If it formed a readable message, or a readable message could be conjured and agreed upon, it would be and was considered a message directly from God and acted upon accordingly. The earliest writing systems are either consonantal syllabic or consonantal vowel-less. Either case gives a lot of latitude in making determinations from oracle readings. The trait is known to many older cultures, Native Americans, Celts and Phonecians included.
It should not be surprising that in Amerindian culture the trait is demonstrably present. In many places, sculpted rocks or formations were considered special because an image or representation could be recognized. The legends and inferred representations vary from place to place but the petromantic concepts remain a constant.
If the Celtic Ogam and image of Lugh have been properly analyzed, then the presence of someone who knew how to do these things is proven. How you would spell Lugh in Ogam, without a stem line is demonstrated several times at Inyo. Pictured below is the hillside location of the natural temple. The blasting destroyed one of the letter staves, but examination has led to the conclusion that the intrusive volcanic material that made up the letter staff did penetrate to the surface and the reconstructed image is reasonably accurate. It is easily readable as the letters either G-L or L-G. L-G can be read as Lugh. G-L can be read as an abbreviated form of "Lugh of the west." Either reading is perfectly acceptable, such is the nature of petromantic messages. Whoever could read this, read it to be an important message, written by the hand of God. This was cause enough to consider the area sacred ground and investigate it's properties.
The views are from approximately where the ancient trail must have been. The size of the nearby lake varied quite a bit, but there were periods of time when the marshy shoreline would extend to the base of the petroglyph site. One could not pass by the location, heading south, without seeing this.
The importance of Inyo was known into historic times. When the first American settlers came into the area, they set up camp about 15 miles from the Inyo site, near the Owens River. History records that they were approached by Native inhabitants. It is not likely that any of the Americans could speak the Panamint dialect of Shoshone or that any of the Natives could speak English. The one item that came out of the "discussion" was the name "Inyo" and the idea that Inyo was the dwelling place of a great spirt. I suspect that the gestures toward the petroglyph site was cause for the mountain range to bear this name.
There was physical evidence that notes the presence of Shoshone venerators some thousands of years after the sites creation, pot sherd offerings. The site creators did not use pottery, the Shoshone did and in an identifiable style. Clifford Baldwin, in his 1931 survey, noted the tithed offerings in his records ( Baldwin) and they now reside at the Eastern California Museum, Independence, California. The pottery style is labeled "Owens Valley Brownware."
It was mis-communication that kept the knowledge of the secrets of the Inyo location known to "Chief George," the leader of the Native inhabitants that first approached the Americans. Eventually, the Amercan habit of killing the Native at will and without consequence brought the two groups into severe conflict that ended with the incarceration of the areas Shoshone population for three generations of "pacification." The concept of "Dwelling place of a Great Spirit" is now understood somewhat more properly.
Notes about this discovery:
While searching for related habitation sites west of the Inyo petroglyph site, I chanced to look back on the hillside to the north of the site. I saw two huge black lines quite clearly against the beige dolomite. Without much hesitation, I considered that the two lines looked like a natural ogam letter, a "G" to be exact. Then I noticed another line, equally dark, but about half the width and length of the first two. A huge blasting scar was adjacent to the third line, but a vein through the scar was visible. Abandoning the evidence search, I walked the quarter mile back to the base of the hillside and scrambled up the blasting scar to investigate. At the very top of the damaged area, a small patch of undisturbed hillside proved the black material had penetrated to the surface and it was logical to conclude that the fourth line was similar to the third. This was a second potential ogam letter, an "L." The identification of this petromantic message now exposed, explained why an image and prayer to Lugh was present at Inyo.R. Schmidt
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