The Sorcerer – Cave Painting

The Sorcerer is the name that has been given to this iconic painting, discovered on a cave wall in Le Trois Freres in France. This piece of art, dating from the Stone Age depicts a male shaman wearing a stag mask and costume.

The Sorcerer an assimilation of Breuil's drawing
The Sorcerer an assimilation of Breuil’s drawing

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Experts have placed the drawing to the end of the Ice Age within a period between 15,000 to 10,000 BC.
The Stag was clearly venerated by our ancestors, not just for its meat, but as a symbol suggesting masculine force, a powerful energy that exudes life energy, virility and fertility.
Thus the sorcerer’s dance portrays raw force and connection with humankind’s most ancient beliefs. Only a powerful shaman and elder would be entitled to wear such costume, using it as part of a ritual to enter the spiritual aspect of the natural world of the Stag and internalize aspects of this powerful animal’s character.

The Sorcerer is found in a cavern known as 'The Sanctuary' at the Cave of the Trois-Frères, Ariège, France.
The Sorcerer is found in a cavern known as ‘The Sanctuary’ at the Cave of the Trois-Frères, Ariège, France.

Thus the portrayal of this Shaman tells us that he aspired to, or was, the equivalent in his community: a proven, fertile father, a noble hunter, a defender of his herd – and in tune with the life and world of the forest. As the king of the forest the Stag also represents hierarchy, and a Shaman wearing this costume would be acting out leadership – his authority made the first laws.
In Tarot this image corresponds with the Emperor.
This ancient drawing instantly connects us to Shamanism, spirituality, and the dance rituals of our ancient forefathers and gives us insight into their world. It reminds us that humans have always had a fascination for the spiritual, and a respect for nature.

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