Author of the Month

Star Beings In Stone? —A Rock Art Site In Central South Africa (cont.)
By Gary A. David

One petroglyph that Rob showed me ostensibly looked like a sun symbol, with rays emanating from the circle. Then I flashed on another icon of a very different sort and thought, “no, that can’t be it,” and put it in the back of my mind.

Later I got a picture of NASA’s Pioneer Plaque and compared it with the engraving with a radial pattern. (Photo is rotated so the natural rock fracture bisecting the circle is horizontal.) There are seven rays in each hemisphere of the circle, corresponding to the pulsars (see diagram below). At the upper-right is a circle that contains two lines, corresponding to the hydrogen molecule on the plaque. The outer circle may contain 33 rays, but it is impossible to tell because the rock surface is flaked to the immediate right of the circle.

The 6” X 9” gold-anodized aluminum plaque (above) shows the position of the sun with respect to the center of the galaxy and nearby pulsars. Carl Sagan and Frank Drake created it in an attempt to communicate with extraterrestrial life somewhere in the far reaches of outer space. Launched in 1972, the Pioneer 10 and the Pioneer 11 were the first spacecraft designed to leave the solar system, and both carry duplicates of the plaque. It displays the then-nine planets, including Pluto, which, by the way, was discovered at Lowell Observatory in Arizona. It also shows the Pioneer spacecraft’s planet of origin, its trajectory past Mars and Jupiter, and its slingshot past Saturn outward from our helio-heart. The radial pattern consists of 14 lines made up of long binary numbers that represent the periods of the pulsars. The horizontal line that extends past the humans represents the Sun’s relative distance to the center of the galaxy. A silhouette of the spacecraft in scale is juxtaposed to the humans so that relative size can be determined. The two circles at the top represent the fundamental state of the hydrogen atom, which acts as a universal clock. The regular decrease in the frequency of the pulsars will enable ETs to determine the time elapsed since each spacecraft was launched. In about 2 million years the plaque should arrive at Aldebaran, 68 light-years away. Let’s hope that whatever intelligence retrieving this message in a bottle is not reading an elegy to an extinct civilization.

Did the people who made this South African rock engraving perhaps thousands of years ago actually “remote view” the future and glimpse this image we created in the late 20th century, which is now bound for the stars? Were they in contact with an intelligence that knew about the Pioneer Plaque from their journeys through space-time and wanted to convey its significance to indigenous tribes? Or is this all just a big “coincidence”?

Countless hours were spent carving sacred symbols into obdurate stone. These inner visions of the spirit world had been received from both cathartic trance states and quiescent deep meditation. The veil between the physical and non-physical universes was extremely thin, and in many cases the interaction between the two occurred right at the rock surface, which appeared as a translucent and permeable membrane.

Beyond the two worlds merging like dual circles of the vesica piscis are myriad realities, world upon world. Some of these are stars with revolving planets inhabited by entities whose technologies may be millions of years ahead of ours. Others worlds are purely inter-dimensional, with completely different laws of physics and ontological paradigms. As postmodernists thousands of years removed from San sensibilities, we must in the end admit that we are nothing but Horatios confronting this “wondrous strange.” At the end of the 19th century, one San informant reported: “We do not utter a star man’s name.”[13]

Copyright © 2011 by Gary A. David. All rights reserved.


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  1. “Story: We do not utter a star man’s name,” Lucy Lloyd |xam Notebooks, December 1878, The Digital Bleek & Lloyd,[back to text]

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