The Neanderthal Legacy
Primordial Magic of the Original Biomancers
The ancient land of Sumer, in what is now modern-day Iraq, holds a powerful memory of the Neanderthal legacy and their connection to feminine consciousness and embodied magic – a legacy that went on to inform the priestess traditions and Goddess temples of the area, and was passed directly down through this lineage into the Alchemists working in the middle-ages.
Shanidar cave (pictured above) located on Bradost mountain in the Kurdish region of Iraq, was once home to our Neanderthal ancestors, and the remains of eight adults and two infant Neanderthals dating from 35,000 – 65,000 years ago, was found in this ancient cave.
Evidence suggests that one of the Neanderthal adults was given a ritual burial, laid out on his left-hand side in the fetal position, returning to the womb of Mother Earth and garlanded with flowers, which throughout cultures across the world symbolize the Goddess.
Biomantic wisdom brings the knowing that our ancestors were deeply embodied in cerebellar shamanic consciousness, living in at-one-ness with the mother spirit of the earth.
This essay is an extended extract from the Magdalene Mysteries, including material not published before, and shares a vision of the spiritual legacy of these primordial magicians.
There was a time on earth when women and men were whole. When an ancient Motherline firmly anchored a braided umbilical cord of ancestral memory stretching back to the dawn of time; where humanity drank deeply in a Eucharistic of communion with this Ancient Motherline, merging with it, baptizing in it – and remembering, always remembering the old ways of the Mother Dragons of Creation.
Our story of lineage of Primordial Alchemy takes us back 65,000 years ago, to gaze into the Neanderthal womb caves of Shanidar, in the Zagros mountain range that forms the northeastern boundary of modern day Iraq, directly adjacent to the land that would one day be known as Shu-mer-u, Sumeria, Su-Mer. The magical Land of the Mer.
World of the Ancestors
On a crisp spring morning a small group of humans slowly and ceremoniously walked past the briskly flowing Greater Zab River, and up a mountainous path to the sacred cave of Shanidar. The band would have looked somewhat unusual to modern eyes, a stronger, sturdier, more muscular stock, with more body hair, along with striking green eyes, bronze skin, and red hair. Their manner would seem gentle, their movements simple, coordinated, mesmerizing, more like panthers or bears than humans.
Between them they carried the body of a beloved family member, who had died the night before. As they walked, they called in Spirit, gently singing the songs of the ancestors, who were so close they might have reached out and touched them.
For the Neanderthals, a people of the ancient primordial religion, Shanidar was a birthing cave on many levels: a place of emergence, where life first came forth from the dark, primordial depths of the earth womb, and the sacred site where human women would come to give birth, like the First Mothers of their stories. It was also a womb-tomb sanctuary where they would bring the ‘resting ones’, their blessed and honored dead, to lay back into the earth. The memory of these caves would be carried forth across time, hidden in roots of ancient languages, as well as myth, story, and symbol. This legacy would infuse down to Biblical times, as the Hebrew word for cave, MARH (מְעָרָה),) contains the feminine root MAR, of Mary – reminding us of the magical cave of resurrection where Mary gave the sacred death/rebirth rites.
When their funeral procession reached the cave, the group dug a hole in the earthen floor and tenderly laid the body into the ground, left side down, in a fetal position befitting his return journey back to the mother-womb of Gaia. The tribe lovingly anointed the body with red ochre pigments, a time-honored Neanderthal tradition that symbolized the menstrual and birth blood of the earth. By the mystery of the mother’s blood - cosmic, shamanic, holographic - he would find safe passage home.
Over 300,000 years ago (and up to 3 million years ago) The Neanderthal womb shamans depicted honorific religious symbols of V’s and M’s to celebrate the generative feminine womb portal, carving them artistically into bones, and painting them on cave walls, and etching them into stone figurines and clay pottery.
There is evidence of shamanic, goddess worshipping humans across the globe, including the remarkable 73,000-year-old ochre art in the Blombos caves in South Africa, the striking crimson red hand prints in El Castillo cave in Spain, over 40,000 years old, and the red ‘Jacob’s’ ladder found in another Spanish cave, over 65,000 years old. At Cueva de los Aviones, a cave in southeastern Spain, researchers also found perforated seashell beads and pigments that are at least 115,000 years old. South African artists were already working with red ochre, which archeologists believe symbolized fertility, death and menstruation, over 160,000 years ago.
They were artistic, intuitive, feeling beings, connected to the sacred web of life.
Theirs was a cerebellar intelligence rather than a cerebral thinking one. They were spiritually and emotionally awakened, through the amygdala and the neural network of the cerebellum – the feminine brain and portal of cosmic mother consciousness, which philosopher Swedenborg described as the gateway to the Angelic realm. The prehistoric womb shamans had a far greater cerebellar capacity than modern humans, and their capacity for magical feminine wisdom and psychic visions was emulated by the Egyptian initiates who often emphasized the large cerebellar skull and directed the mystery of the Ankh to the mouth of the goddess, at the base of the skull, transmitting into the amygdala. The cerebellum also releases intoxicating nectars of consciousness and creates hormonal ecstasies in mystic states of heightened awareness, and female womb shamans could initiate this state, and were considered the original shamans.
The Neanderthal Legacy
The primordial magicians weaved with the old root magic of the instinctual world. They merged with bird, serpent, scorpion, wild bull, lion, fish and dragons in the magical process of a spirit-journey communion undertaken by the shaman-priestesses. To become animal, to call in the spiritual power, they would ritually dress themselves in animal costumes. They would move like the animal, dancing in darkened womb chambers or under the moonlight. They would fast, pray, make animal sounds, swirl and spin to the rhythm of the animal-skin moon drums, until they became serpent-women, scorpion-women, dragon-women. The primordial powers channeled by the priestess heightened their powers to interpret dreams, to read the omens, to receive spirit messages, and to magically minister between the gods and peoples of earth.
This ‘time before time’ still exists, it still weaves dreams of primordial union, it still holds the labyrinth map to return to the center; the holy womb cave. In 2006 it was announced that Neanderthals are not actually extinct. Rather, they live on inside us. Neanderthal DNA, or the DNA of similar archaic humans of Africa and South Asia, comprises 1 – 4% of the genetic material of modern humans. Many modern humans have the equivalent Neanderthal genetic material of one pure-blooded Neanderthal as a great, great, great grandparent. These primordial shamans and alchemical biomancers are our dear Ancestors.
They are calling to us from within our own blood memory to remember their pristine consciousness of love and wisdom, and their beautiful communion with earth’s spirit, and the Garden of Eden they once created here through their eco-magic.
In essence, the Neanderthal legacy is the legacy of the Alchemists – it is the embodied power of shamanic feminine spirituality and cosmology, rooted in our deepest hearts and memory. It is the path of the moon, the path of love, the wild feminine. It is a bloodline legacy that was passed down from the Stone Age to the priestesses.
There is no coincidence that the Neanderthals are often depicted as having red hair, and that over time red hair has been associated with witchcraft and unbridled sexuality. This folk memory is passed to Magdalene, who is depicted with red hair, as were the Fairy Folk.
This is their lost her-story. This is the secret knowledge of Biomancy – wisdom within the body - passed down to Mary Magdalene. This is what it is that the Magdalene knew – and what she wishes you to know, to treasure, to embody, and to pass on in an unbroken continuation of the line. This was the legacy passed down to the European alchemists to restore the paradise of Sophia’s Garden.
The ancient priestesses of the Near East claim descent from the primordial forces of nature, as well as the moon, the stars and the ancient dragons. They knew that to honor and remember these connections was to open the doorway to the deepest magic.
The primacy of the psyche, the potency of the mythic imagination, the magic of sign and sigil, of totemic animal communion around the midnight fire, of memories stored in stone, land and water—these were the domains of the ancient primordial shamans and magicians. They tapped into the vast field of creative potential and cosmological memory to give birth to structures of spirit, building majestic mythological landscapes the way modern architects build cities of concrete and steel. The Neanderthal ancestors and shaman priestesses of old knew what forces propel, fructify and animate life, and the cycles that rise and fall over time. They reached for these powers, brought them down into form and whispered them forward across time.
Primordial Magic Prayer
There is no beginning of time, and no end, only cycles of birth, dissolution, and rebirth, eternal spirals of becoming that inevitably return us to the fecund womb of darkness, where we quietly gestate the next phase of our journey. We wax, we wane, we wax again. Ours is a lunar womb world.
Mother Night, the Great Shepherdess of the dark birthing sea, presides over her queendom, along with her numinous, luminous divine children – the moon, the imperishable stars, and the fertilizing sun.
The song of creation is sounds forth, rising up from her nethermouth, the Great Hor of the Cosmos.
Let there be moonlight over the primordial oceans.
Let the earth and her creatures be born.
The she-dragon Nammu, Kur, Tiamat – creatrix of many names - stirs in the deep.
We know her by her birth bellows -- her volcanic eruption and earthshake. New land pours out with her lava. Valleys rise into mountains, hills sink back into the seas.
There are forces older than human that shape us, that we must learn to live with, that we must summon and evoke, that we must have faith in.
Our spirits fly with the soul birds, our thighs are strong like the bounding gazelle. We spit and kick with the vigor of wild asses. We mate like lions. We roar.
The power in the wildness is ours to remember.
The serpents coil around each other to sexually conjoin, pulsating, mesmerizing, magical. As do the two strands of our human DNA. New life arises.
Woman’s blood comes monthly, with the moon. It is the gift of the goddess, the gift of life, and the measure of time. From the mother’s blood our bodies are formed, from the milk of her breasts we are nourished. From her womb we are born. All culture arises from this foundation. May we never forget.
Male and female, masculine and feminine, god and goddess come together. Infinite form is birthed. One becomes two, two becomes one. One becomes interwoven everywhere.
The microcosmic reflects in the macrocosmic. The mundane in the celestial. As in the heavens, as in the earth, as in the wild creatures, so it is in us.
The fruit of the date palm nourishes us; her fronds shade us. The reeds of the marshes become shelter. The dry land is watered, the field plowed, the furrow seeded. Green shoots of wheat and barley rise each spring. We celebrate their return with the esh-esh all-temple festivals, and the rites of sacred marriage. In turn we celebrate each new moon, her golden crescent crown like the horns of the wild cow, reminding us of all that nourishes us, our many mothers.
The garden must be cultivated with song, with prayer, with craft, with ritual, with the waters of life. We weave the world into being. Every movement, every word, every item of beauty we adorn ourselves with, is its own magic.
Let the Gate of Horn be thrown open, let us step across time into another world, let what is ancient be remembered and be born again into fresh forms.
Love is becoming itself.