Observations placeholder

David Lewis-Williams - The San [Xam] bushmen and the thread of life



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

David Lewis-Williams – The Mind in the Cave

Art, cosmos and spiritual experience coalesced.  The San fused the abstract experiences of altered states with the materiality of the world in which they lived.  Perhaps most strikingly, this fusion is seen in the way in which the ‘painted threads of light’ are identical in widely separated rock shelters.  The uniformity of the width of the line and the spacing of the white dots is so remarkable that some researchers have felt all the depictions of the line must have been made by a single painter, though we know this cannot have been so.  It is as if there is only one thread that links all the shelters.  The shamans thus constituted a network of extra corporeal travel that united distant communities and that was manifest in the people’s living places

The source of the experience

African tribal

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Activity not known