Ka

 

1)  My thesis: KA was the Middle Stone Age word of the Blombos Cave people who dwelled in South Africa in the Middle Stone Age, some 75,000 years ago. Ka was the world above, behind and inside the world, life behind life, the beyond, the sky, the invisible, what is above us, or inside the rock, beneath the ground, or deeply inside ourselves, not diretly accessible to our eyes, realm of the Great Spirit who made the sun wake up all beings and inspires people to make all kinds inventions. So there are two worlds: the one of our daily life and our senses, and a spiritual world, accessible by ways of reasoning, asking, combining our experiences, pondering life, studying nature, performing rituals, praying, invoking the help of a shaman.

 

The hypothetical calendar of the Blombos Cave, South Africa, Middle Stone Age, 75,000 BP, would be an example of Ka: one may just live from day to day and take what comes, or one may observe nature, count days by laying out patterns of shell beads, or by lining them up on threads, notice regularities, plan the year ahead, and thus participate in Ka, realm of the Great Spirit ...

 

The Middle Stone Age culture of the Blombos Cave people came to a premature halt, presumably due to a precipitous temperature drop. May it be that the Blombos people on the soutern shore of Africa wandered along the eastern shore to warmer regions?

 

According to a new study, a small group of some 200 people, or perhaps only some 70 people, left Africa some 65,000 years ago for the shores of Arabia and India. May these have been descendants of the Blombos people? Australia was populated from around 60,000 BP on. The hypothetical Ka-word may have survived in languages of the Aboriginals.

 

Let me recommend the following books: Pintupi/Luritja Dictionary, 3rd edition, by KC & LE Hansen, Institute for Aboriginal Development, Alice Springs 1974/77/92; Archaeology and Linguistics, Aboriginal Australia in Global Perspective, edited by Patrick McConvell and Nicholas Evans, Oxford University Press 1997.

 

Now let me look out for Ka-words in Pintupi/Luritja:

 

KA - but, on the other hand; basic element of reasoning: it may appear like thatthis, but consier also that aspect ...

 

KATJA, KAMURU, KATJANGALI, KALYATU, KALYATURRA, KAAKA, KALYAKALYA, KALYAKALYARARRA, KAMI, KANTAMARRI, KANTIYA; KANGKURU, KAPALI, KARIPATU - relationship terms; Ka-words are the largest group among the terms of kinship. They are also frequent in other aboriginal languages (see the essay Kinship Terms by PAtrick McConvell, op.cit.)

 

KARU (Murrinpatha language from northern Australia) - aboriginal people and human classification, including human spirits (see Nominal Classification in Aboriginal Australia, Edited by Mark Harvey and Nicholas Reid, John Benjamins B.V. 1997)

 

Ka, in the hypothetical philosophy of South Africa in the Middle Stone Age, would also have been a spark of the Great Spirit living in the humans. Those acquainted with Ancient Egypt will recognize that idea: the ka-soul in human shape represented vitality.

 

 

 

2)  The following selection of Pintupi/Luritja ka-words from Central Australia may reveal further properties of the hypothetical KA in South Africa in the Middle Stone Age.

 

KALYU, KAPI - water, rain, springs, rockholes or rainpools

 

KARRKU - ocher, red in color / KANTAWARRA - yellow ocher, yellow, used to describe any object that is yellow in color

 

KATA - head, leader, round, spherical, head hair, person with highest authority

 

KATA WITTU - confident, strong, without fear; literally: made head hard/tight

 

KATUTIYA - God; literally: pertaining to the above

 

KATU - above / KANKARRA - above, up

 

KATAKUTU - upright / KATANU - uplifted

 

KAYILI - north / KAKARRU - east

 

KARRIMUNU - very large

 

KANA, KANARU - alive, awake, conscious

 

KAMINA - female / KAPALINYTJAMIRRI - female ancestors

 

KAWALI - secret

 

KAWALYA, KALYPA - reconciled

 

KAWAKU - together / KAWAKURRINGU - come together, congregated

 

KALA - task completed

 

KATAPITI, KAMITIJI - juice of berry fruits, fruit: sweet and juicy

 

KAMPURARRPA, KANYTJILYI, KATARAPALPA - edible berry, fruits during November and December, used metaphorically to describe a good person i.e. one obedient to God

 

KANTANTI - shrub type, white secretion, use of the white secretion of the shrub, found in sandhill country

 

KALUTU, KANTURANGU - desert poplar

 

KANYALA - rock kangaroo type, only inhabits the hills

 

KANANU - clearing, specially prepared place which is cleared of grass etc. for camping or ceremonies

 

KANANTJIPUNGU - style of body rolling dancing at ceremonies

 

KANGURRPUNGU - ceremonial action done usually by a group of men when conducting women to the initial part of the initiation ceremony

 

KANGKINYTJI - affectionate, to have affection for others, especially children

 

 

 

3)  In my previous list of Pintupi/Luritja words from Central Australia I mentioned neutral or positive examples of Ka-words that may testify to properties of KA in the hypothetical philosophy of the Blombos people in South Africa in the Middle Stone Age. There are also negative Ka-words, either indicating problematic aspects of the spiritual world, or problems occurring when the spiritual powers are abused. It may also be that the world wherein we live and the spiritual world should be separated and only joined by experienced people, while other people might get in danger. An indication for this may be seen in the following Pintupi/Laritja word that contains a double ka in doubled form, hence four Ka's:

 

KAKALKAKALPA - vague, delirious; used of a staggering, sick person

 

KAKALKAKALARRINGU - become delirious, vague, disoriented

 

In the case of a sick person near death the strong presence of ka in doubled and quadrupled form may indicate that this person will soon become part of the spiritual world, and the passage from this to the other world is troubling. Also those who mess with the spiritual powers during their life may get into troubles.

 

Another group of ka-words I left out concern tools and weapons, mostly sticks and spears. Many words designating tools and sticks and boomerangs are KA--- words, all over Australia, as far as I can tell from the books I mentioned. This may indicate that we humans who are living in the AK world are getting inspired by the Great Spirit of the KA world ...

 

 

 

4)  Let me recommend a further book: Australia's Living Heritage, Arts of the Dreaming, by Jennifer Isaacs, Landsdowne 1984/92, with beautiful photographs by Reg Morrison and others. A quote from page 143, concerning rock engravings that belong to the oldest art in Australia: "Very little information about the meaning of these engravings has been gleaned from Aboriginals. However, in the 1840s, an elderly woman named Gooseberry, a wife of Bungaree of Broken Bay, spoke of the engravings. She said they were done 'a long time ago' by the karajis, the clever men with knowledge of magic, and that only these and initiated men could go to the sites." (Ka-word karajis)

 

On the double page 138/9 is shown a pecked rock engraving of two figures wearing rayed head dresses from N'Dhala Gorge, Central Australia, Northern Territory. The right figure, probably female, has 14 long rays going out from her round head, while the left figure, obviously male, has no head but 14 long rays going out from his neck. This pair may well represent ancestral heroes, while their rays may be read as a calendar: a long week or double week of 14 days; add 12 and 14 and you obtain 26; a solar year has 26 long or double weeks of 14 days; add the circle of the female head for New Year, thus you obtain a year of 365 days  N’Dhala

 

In the book People of the Stone Age, Weldon Owen 2000, I found a Kalkadoon figure from south of the Selwyn Ranges, Central Australia, showing a male, painted with red ocher and surrounded with a rim of yellow ocher, on his head a tall feather or tree, showing 14 red branches, in between 13 yellow ones. 14 would be the number of days of a long or double week, while 13 long weeks yield half a year.

 

Headdresses might have been references to the spiritual world Ka, some of them indicating calendars.

 

In the same book I find a hand painted on a wall, western Arnhem Land, Kakadu National Park. The fingers are given as feathers, while 2 3 3 plus 3 3 dots mark the wrist and back of the hand. All in all 14 dots, corresponding to the days of a long or double week. Add the dots in groups of 3 dots each and you obtain 26, the number of long weeks of a year.

 

More on the above rock engraving and paintings in later chapters, when explain the Crowned Crane as Ka-bird of the Blombos people, emanation of the Great Spirit, whose flapping brought the world into being and may be symbolized in the engravings on the ocher pieces from a Middle Stone Age level of the Blombos Cave, and when I explain the cockatoos as Ka-birds of the early Australians.

 

 

 

5)  The book Archaeology and Linguistics, Aboriginal Australia in Global Perspective, edited by Patrick McConvell and Nicholas Evans, Oxford University Press 1997, contains a contribution by Ruth Gruhn: The Peopling of the Americas. A quote from page 102: "A viable alternative to the Clovis first model is the coastal entry model, first proposed by Knut Fladmark (...) Fladmark proposed that the optimum route of entry into North America, in terms of abundance and ready availability of food resources, was the North Pacific coast. He argued that people with simple watercraft could have traversed the coast even at the height of the last glaciation, by following a chain of biotic refugia on the outer coast." Ruth Gruhn, contrary to Fladmark, places the event about 50,000 to 60,000 years ago, when the climate and vegetation were similar to the present, and when a simple technology would have sufficed for successful adaptation to the rich marine and litoral resources of the north Pacific coast.

 

If so, the descendants of the Blombos people who left Africa 65,000 years ago for Arabia, India, Asia, Australia and Europe, would also have reached the Americas, and would have brought their language with them, and if the word KA was of such a paramount importance as I believe, we should find it not only in Australian but also in American languages.

 

Consulting Richard Fester's book on the Ice Age I find many examples among red Indian languages, for example these (NA North America, MA Middle America, SA South America):

 

Caanuk (MA) think / kaanda (MA) dream / kallu (SA) sly, cunning, crafty / chaal (MA) mouth / kallu (SA) laugh (?) / kain (MA) hymn (?) / kal (MA) neck, throat / callpa (SA) vital energy / kallachi, kali hailli, kankana (SA) healthy (?) / kallana (SA) stand up / cala (MA) unhurt (?) / ka (MA) woman (?) / kan can (MA) like (?) / chala (SA) luck / kailla (SA) be close / kallu (SA) man, human / calal (MA) leader / kal (MA) house / calolan (MA) khalti (SA) light / kan kaan, kahan (MA) kallal alai, chancha akah (SA) shine / khanaki (SA) clear / caul (SA) gods / karok (MA) cult of the dead / calocan (MA) beyond / canca (SA) ritual food / cantu (SA) sacred tree / chantiko (MA) fire goddess / kayna (MA) God / chalchiutlicue (MA) water goddess / katchina (SA) – cult figurines

 

Many or most ka/ca/cha-words mentioned by Richard Fester fit in the hypothetical Blombos philosophy as explained in the previous messages. The list may even be better when corrected. As far as I know, the kachina are from North America, and not just cult figurines but deified Hopi ancestors.

 

 

 

6) Amazingly, there are still many ka-words holding a religious meaning: ka ka'ba kabala kachina qadar Kaddish Kalam Kali calix Kama Kamadhenu cantata cantor capitulor Kapelle (chapel) Karaite cardinal karma cathedra cathedral katholikos catholic catechesis (for comparison: Lakshi lama Lamaism - only three la-words).

 

The ka-soul of ancient Egypt was of human shape and returned the the Other World when someone died; ka was the principle of vitality, also present in food, and of creativity. Ka'ba: pre-Islamic and Islamic House of God. Kabala or cabala comes from Hebrew qaballah for tradition, lit. something received, i.e. handed down; if qa means down, it has the same meaning as ancient Greek kata, which is present in catholic from kata holou, according to the whole, in katechesis, literally din down, in cathedra and cathedral from sit down, always implying that God in one form or another comes down from heaven in order to teach us. Qadar: fate in Islam. Kachina: ancestral spirits deified by the Hopi Indians.

 

Ca is present in Latin caelum, later coelum for sky, heaven. Calendar comes from Latin calendae, first day of a tributary month, which I derive from Magdalenian CA for sky. Catalog may also have a religious root, from Magdaleniann CA-DAG-LOG, sky-four-saying, four heavenly sayings as derived from the curious composite animal near the entrance of Lascaux Cave: an aspiring leader of a Magdalenian tribe must be strong as a bull, decided as a feline, caring as a pregnant mare (or a mare caring for her fowl), and make wise use of his weapons (which is why the lances grow as horns out of the head of the composite animal with the bearded face of a man). Ca would also be present in the hypothetical Magdalenian form of Lascaux as LAD-CA-UR, hill-sky-color/colour, hill of the painted sky within - the horse representing the sun, the bull representing the moon (Marie E.P. Koenig).

 

 

 

7)  The hypothetical Middle Stone Age word and philosophical concept of KA was of such an importance as I believe, ka-words should also have survived in other languages, for example in the Ainu language. I found this book: Trends in Linguistics, Documentation 15, The Collected Works of Bronislaw Pilsudski, 3 volumes on the Ainu Language, edited by Alfred F. Majewicz, Mouton de Gruyter 1998. Volume 2 contains a dictionary, and much to my pleasure I found similar Ka-words as in Pintupi/Laritja and other aboriginal Australian languages:

 

KAMUI, KAMUJ - 1. god, goddess, spirit, deity; 2. devil, evil; 3. divine; 4. being, creature; 5. beast, animal, esp. seal; 6. very big, great, good, nice, beautiful; 7. body, dead body; 8. talisman / IBENE KAMUI - food (remember Egyptian ka in food) / KAMUI-UN - divine / KAMUI-UN KOTAN - Underworld / KANTO, KANDO - heaven, sky / KACO (shaman's) drum

 

KASKE, KASKEHE, KASKENE, KASKETE, KASKEVA, KATA, KASI - upon, on top of / KASURE - surpass, be superior, stronger

 

KARA - 1. do, make; 2. act, accomplish; 3. build; 4. verbalizer

 

KAS - help / KAMESU - help, save / KAMPA - carry

 

KATU - figure, shape, appearannce, likeness / KATUN RUHE, KATUNTUHU - appearace, manner, way of (doing)

 

KA - thread, string, cord / KAXTA - strike light from a flint / KAPU, KATU - skin, bark / SIRI KAPU - form, appearance / KAURI - twig, stick / KAJE, KAJTE - break / KAMANATA - long knive / UM KANZI - rudder / KAMU - cover / KAJA - fish-skin dress

 

KAJKI - (emphatic particle) as far, as far as ... is concerned, indeed, even, thus, however, although, nevertheless

 

 

 

8)  It happened what often happens when I go for a new piece of work: I fell in love with Australia and the Aboriginals, Easy with the fine book Australia's Living Heritage, Arts of the Dreaming by Jennifer Isaacs, Lansdowne 1984/92, with marvelous photographs by Reg Morrison and others.

 

Illustrations and explanations in this book led me to the assumption that the cockatoo might have been Australia's Ka-bird. Which bird, then, could have been the Ka-bird of the Blombos people? There is only one possibility: the beautiful Gray Crowned Crane, Balearica regulorum. Let me invent or re-invent a creation myth around this bird.

 

In the beginning there was nothing but empty space. Then the Ka-bird came a flapping, thus creating sky, sun moon and stars, earth, rain lakes and sea, plants, animals, and human beings. How did the Ka-bird create the sky? by means of the blue * feathers of the neck. How did the Ka-bird create sun, moon and stars? by means of the yellow crown. How did the Ka-bird create day and night? by means of the white and black feathers of the face and wings. How did the Ka-bird create Earth? by means of the brown feathers of the body. How did the Ka-bird create plants? by means of the feathers that resemble plants with a stem and branches. How did the Ka-bird create water? by its love for water places. How did the Ka-bird create blood? by means of the red wattles and gular sac. How did the Ka-bird create animals? by being an animal itself. How did the Ka-bird create human beings? by means of its elaborate and attractive courtship dance - don't human beings love to dance? How did the Ka-bird create time? by flapping the wings, which is why the Blombos calendar symbolized wings in motion, and if such a pattern was engraved on a piece of red ocher, it meant a new life, a new body, fresh blood, and another lifetime for a worthy deceased in the Other World named KA.

 

* actually, the neck of the bird is gray, but appearing blueish on my photographs, and on a picture I found on the web, the feathers at the low end of the neck are of a deep blue

 

 

 

9) I got my information on the Crowned Crane, Balearica pavonina regulorum, from the book: Birdlife in Southern Africa, edited by Kenneth Newman, Rufus and Joubert Johannesburg 1971/79. On the website www.ecotravel.co.za I found information on the Gray Crowned Crane, Balearica regulorum, by Janis O. Grady: "The Grey-Crowned Crane is globally restricted to Africa (...) Within South Africa, this ancient crane has been sighted in the moist, higher rainfall regions of the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the North-eastern Free State, as well as the Eastern regions of Mpumalanga. They require a mixture of wetlands and grasslands for summer breeding and foraging (...) Unlike other crane species, this crane roosts in trees - its voice has considerable harmonic development and can be heard for miles - cranes use many different calls to communicate and can be very boisterous upon returning to the roost (Cooley 1993). Non-migratory, they do move around locally and in the winter months, large flocks of non-breeding Grey-Crowned Cranes can be found dancing and calling before the summer breeding period. (...) Grey-Crowned Cranes (...) usually lay 2 - 3 large smooth eggs in a wetland nest surrounded by tall reeds (...) These spring and summer breeders incubate their eggs for about 30 days (...) Chicks (...) leave their parents when almost a year old (...) The Grey-Crowned Crane now has a price on its head South and Southern Africa due to its extreme beauty and sacred status in the Eastern Cape of South Africa and Uganda in Southern Africa (where it is the national bird). [grammar seems a little messed up to me, FG] (...) With only some 4 000 Grey-Crowned Cranes left in South Africa today, conservationists are increasing their efforts to under- stand the bird better, both biologically and geographically."

 

Will it help when I say that the Gray Crowned Crane was the hypothetical Ka-bird and emanation of the Creator Spirit of the Blombos people in the Middle Stone Age?

 

[I prefer Gray Crowned Crane to Grey-Crowned Crane, which, to me, suggests a gray crown, while it is yellow / golden.]

 

Especially interesting are the about 30 days of incubating the eggs, which correspond to a lunar year or lunation, and the year the young ones spend with their parents - a solar year. As the Gray Crowned Crane breeds in spring and summer, New Year might well have been in summer.

 

 

 

10) In the book Birdlife in Southern Africa (op.cit.) the Crowned Crane is given as Balearica pavonica regulorum, while on an ornithological website I read that the pavonina is from Westafrica, but sometimes lumped together with the South African Gray Crowned Crane Balearica regulorum.

 

The Gray Crowned Crane is a non-migratory bird. Its dance is more than just a mating dance but has wider social functions much as human dance. Watussi girls, I read, imitate the crane's dance, and lovely so. The main call of the Gray Crowned Crane is grao-auu, possible origin of 'my' hypothetical KA.

 

The Blombos culture came to a premature end, presumably due to a precipitous temperature drop. May it be that the Ka-bird, the Gray Crowned Crane, left South Africa for a northern part of the continent, and was followed by the Blombos people? When their hypothetical descendants left Africa 65,000 years ago, and reached Australia some 60,000 years ago, they would have had to look out for another Ka-bird, which, I believe, was to became Australia's cockatoos.

 

In the zoological museum of Zurich are kept a big black and a small white cockatoo. The black bird, Calyptorhynchus magnificus, has silver arcs on the breast, and stripes the hue of red ocher on its tail feathers. In Jennifer Iasaacs's book (op.cit.) I find a photograph of a "Tiwi black and red feather headdress made from black cockatoo tail feathers. These are fastened to the hair as part of the pukumani ceremonies." The pukumani ceremonies are mortuary rituals. The black feathers may represent death, while the red ocher hue may represent a new life in the Other World ... Now for the white cockatoo in the zoologial museum of Zurich, cacatu leadbeateri, white rose feathers on the breast and crest, which remind me of the ancient Greek goddess Eos, or Latin Aurora, blush of the morning. So this bird may represent day and life. Kakadu is the Portuguese spelling of the bird's name, hence Kakadu National Park (Arnhem Land). Alexander Wyclif Reed mentions among other names kaar and cockalella for the white cockatoo, and, as only name of the yellow-crested cockatoo, kaneky. A white bird with a yellow crest: symbol of day and sun.

 

 

 

11)  North of the Blombos Cave lived the now extinct /Xam Bushmen; /Xam-ka !ei, People of the Dust; indigenous people of South Africa's Northern Cape province. / is a dental click (put your tongue against your top teeth and withdraw it with a loud suck). ! is the guttural (alveolar-palatal) click.

 

I rely here on two books: The Broken String, The Last Words of an Extinct People, by Neil Bennun, Viking / Penguin 2004; and The Bushmen of Southern Africa, Slaughter of the Innocent, by Sandy Gall, Chatto & Windus London 2001. Looking out for Ka-words, and for legends involving cranes and similar birds, I compile information from these books, using the authors' words and my own words (mistakes are mine).

 

The /Xam-ka !ei believed in a First World populated by the Early Race. However, the Ant-eaters turned the First World into the world we know. Some persons remained people, others became animals and rocks. Two supernatural entities survived the passage from the first to our world: !Khwa, rain, water, and /Kaggen, creator, trickster, pathetic fool, tragic hero, coward, clown, above moral and responsibility - yet he did all for his sister the Blue Crane, and was a protective uncle  to her daughter Kattau, a small springbok. On the first night, he created the moon by throwing up a red shoe filled with dust. /Kaggen also created the People of the Dust /Xam-ka !ei. He gave names to all places. He created the Eland and rode sitting between its horns. His name means Mantis, yet he was an old man, and he could grow feathers and wings and flow away. One of his sons was !Gaunu-ts'axau, !Gaunu's Eye, named for the great star who sang the names of the stars. /Kaggen was present in the yellow of the rainbow. He brought fire, clothes and tools to human beings through the power of his dreams alone.

 

The Gwi Bushmen from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve tell a story of the sun's origin: Pisamboro, a lesser god, spotted a red-hot coal under a wing of the Ostrich, a legendary being, stole it, from it gave fire to the people, then threw it high in the air. Twice it fell back to earth, but the third time it stayed in the sky and became the sun.

 

 

 

12)  Two further books on the Bushmen - Bushman Folktales, Oral Traditions of the Nharo of Botswana and the /Xam of the Cape, by Mathias Guenther, Franz Steiner Wiesbaden Stuttgart 1989 / Specimens of Bushmen Folklore, collected by Wilhelm H.I. Bleek and Lucy C. Lloyd, Daimon Verlag Einsiedeln 2001, facsimile of a reprint of a book published by George Allen London 1911 - provide more words that fit in my concept.

 

Clicks: / dental, ! guttural, // lateral, -/ palatal

 

Nharo of Botswana (my interpretations in brackets):

 

/kam - two (the Ka-world and our world are two worlds)

 

!ka.ka - separated (our world separated from the Ka-world)

 

/Xam of the Cape (my interpretations in brackets):

 

//kabbu - dream (the Early Race of the First World was able to dream things into existence, and to sing them into being,  much as the Australian Aboriginals of the Dreamtime)

 

!kaken .kaka /aui - a small bird; /ka-kau - a small bird, Saxicola castor; .kaui - egg

 

//kaiten - to ascend; //kao or //kau - be mounted, upon

 

!kaoken - stone; .karru - bushes, perhaps also blossoms

 

//ka - to be wet (.khwa - water, rain)

 

!kauken - children; .(k)auuken - body; .kaxu - breast, chest

 

-/kakka - speak, tell; ka - to think that

 

/karra - to bask in the sun

 

!ka!kauru - moon, shoe of the trickster /Kaggen thrown up in the sky. The shoe of /Kaggen was speaking, and so the moon was speaking. The moon told the hare to console the ill people: they will live on, as the moon waxes again when it had vanished. Yet the hare made a mess of the moon's words and told people they will die and vanish. Thus death came into the world. The moon protected game and by doing so led bushmen into arid zones, being sort of a "Kalahari- Lorelei." (The speaking shoe turning into the speaking moon refers to the telling marks feet and hoofs leave in the ground and "speak" to a hunter. Emu tracks are most frequent among Australian Aboriginal rock art.) A prayer to the Young Moon goes: "!kabbi-a yonder, Take my face. Thou shalt give me thy face yonder." The praying person begs the moon for its face that comes to live again (hence asking for a new life). The word !kabbi-a was not understood in 1911, and I don't know whether it is understood by now (if not, I propose a connection to a life in the Ka-world).

 

The main informant of Bleek and Lloyd was a /Xam shaman by the name of /Kabbu, Dream, and he was mainly interested in /Kaggen, The Bleek and Lloyd Collection comprises more than 12,000 pages and has become part of UNESCO's "Memory of the World" Register for Documentary Heritage. Microfilms available from the University of Cape Town. The Evans Library of Texas A&M University has a microfilm.

 

 

 

13)  KA is my hypothetical Middle Stone Age name and philosophical concept of the Other World, which may survive in the mythical First World and Early Race of the San or Bushmen in Southern Africa. The First World is still present, accessible through waterholes and cracks in rocks - however, only for shamans, who wear antelope antlers and undergo the painful death of an eland hit by a poisoned arrow, but only a half death, inflicted either by a drug or by a monotonous dance combined with hyperventilation.

 

Ka, as a world behind the world, a life behind life, would have been a powerful concept, still valid in our time, and perhaps better understandable if I spoke of the Other Aspect.

 

Sigmund Freud was the founder of psychoanalysis, which he called a metapsychology, lit. a psychology above psychology, but one may also call it a psychology behind psychology, as it explores mental structures behind the obvious behaving. Richard Dawkins found his Ka in the Selfish Genes that explain our behaving in a surprising new way, shedding light on animal and human life from a new perspective. Or consider mathematics, which, Albert Einstein said, is exact as long as we don't apply it to our world, but inexact when applied to real problems; mathematics, then, may be called the spirit of an ideal world, intertwined with our world, and yet apart from it.

 

Where are the scientific laws that will be discovered one hundred, one thousand, a million years hence? They are part of the Ka-world …

 

Considering the world as two worlds, and looking out for other aspects to the known ones, not just accepting the obvious but asking for the hidden phenomena, was a powerful concept, and is still working. So, for the time being, we may date back the origin of philosophy and the sciences to the Middle Stone Age in Southern and South Africa.

 

 

 

14)  Neanderthals were perfectly well adapted to the harsh and very cold climate of Europe 100,000 years ago, of a compact build, with protruding chests, no waist, full of muscles. Their brain was by twenty per cent bigger than our brain, and casts from the inside of  Neanderthal skulls reveal that their brain was organized in the same way as ours. Their voices were high and melodic. The tribes had contacts among each other over far distances. Having such a muscular body, they needed plenty of meat. They were hunting along the edges of woods, holding their spears with both hands, guiding it with the left hand, pushing it forward with the right arm.

 

When the climate began to change some 40,000 years ago, warm and cold periods following each other within decades, the woods receding into ever smaller insulae, the once so very successful Neanderthals lost the basis of their life to the modern humans, who were adapted to run in the open field, and who made use of the throwing spear. So the true reason for the extinction of Neanderthals, it is believed now, have been the dramatic climatic changes occurring 40,000 years ago.

 

Neanderthals were far from primitive, they had a language, they adorned some of their deceased with flowers and ocher, which testifies to a belief in the Other World, hence a form of early religion. Experimental acoustic studies of Neanderthal skulls may one day inform us about the sounds they produced with their vocal cords. Until then we can only muse about their language. It may well be, however, that they were imitating animal calls, and if they should have considered birds to be messengers between this and another world, KA for the Other World may already have been a word of Neanderthals, of Homo heidelbergensis, of Homo erectus ...

 

 

 

15)  Let me say a word on the origin of religion and begin with personal experiences of mine concerning the passing of my parents.

 

My father died in February 1996. On the morning of the funeral I went to the cemetery. Upon passing the door I saw father walk some twenty paces before me. I knew it can't be him, yet I saw him with my own eyes. Also my brother Steve, coming another way, passing another door, saw father walk before him. Our visions were easily explained: we saw two men of the same age and stature as our father, wearing the same hairdo and the same type of mantle and probably having worked at the same place our father did. Later on, it happened a couple of times that I saw father in crowds at places he frequented - someone who resembled him, and whom I "recognized" as father.

 

My mother died in June 1993. In the subsequent months I had the feeling that she helped me from above, a couple of times, a nice illusion. And again: my brother Steve had the same impression of getting helped by her from above. Also this feeling can easily be explained: we remembered our mother in the way when we were boys, when we looked up to her, and when she really helped us from above.

 

Relying on these personal experiences, which also occurred to my brother Steve, I dare say that the origin of religion is the inevitable death of the individual being, relieved by mild illusions and hallucinations. Imagine an early human who lost, say, his wife. Seeing her walking away into the reed one morning, or hearing her whisper in the rustle of leaves one night, may have told him that she was still alive in some way, perhaps in another world, and not really dead and gone. And such a relief and consolation may even come to animals, for example to elephants that mourn their dead, or ape mothers that mourn a dead young for days. An illusion or a hallucination or a dream bringing back the dead and telling they are not really dead would be some comfort for the soul of the animal as well as for the human soul.

 

 

 

16)  Among the /Xam folklore collected by Wilhelm H.I. Bleek and Lucy C. Lloyd (op.cit) is a report of an apparition of a deceased woman:

 

'We buried my wife in the afternoon. When we had finished burying her, we () returned to the home of my sister Whai-ttu, and the other people, whence they had come forth. They had come to bury my wife with me; and we went away, crossing over () the salt pan. / And we perceived a thing which looked like a little child, as it sat upon the salt pan, seeming as if it sat with its legs crossed over each other. / And my sister, Whai-ttu, spoke, she () questioned us: "Look ye. What thing sits yonder upon the salt pan? It is like a little child." And .kweiten-ta-//ken (another sister) spoke, she asked us: "Look ye. Why is it that this thing is () truly like a person? It seems as if it had on the cap which Dja.kwain's wife used to wear." And my sister Whai-ttu spoke: "Yes, O my younger sister. () The thing truly resembles that which brother's wife was like." It did thus as we went along, it seemed as if it sat looking (towards) the place from which we came out.'

 

A man buries his wife. Upon returning home, his sisters and he himself see the woman they just buried sit as a child on a salt pan. They reach home. Then the man returns to the salt pan, to look whether the apparition was a bush. But no, it was no bush. "And I agreed that () it must have been a different kind of thing."

 

Such apparitions - or mild hallucinations, as I call them - might well have been the origin of the belief in a survival of the deceased in the Other World, or in the Ka-world, which was separate from our world and yet present in many ways: in the sky above, inside water holes, inside the rock, accessible via cracks in the rock to shamans in a trance. The Bushmen consider the graves of their ancestors places of healing, so the deceased must live on in the beyond (in my "Ka-world") and help the living via the mediation of the healer shamans, who must have some of the Ka within themselves, as every living being must have some of the Ka inside their body and soul.

 

 

 

17)  A long time ago, preparing myself for the official art school of Zurich, I made a series of drawings at the lake. When I looked for a long time on the surface of the water, wavelets at a distance turned into a swarm of leaping silvery fish ... A beautiful illusion. The early hunters and gatherers, living in nature, must have made plenty of similar experiences, which may have told them that life emanated from nature. In Alexander Wyclif Reed's book Aboriginal Stories I find the charming legend Why Frogs Groak and Lyre Byrds Sing. A little stream on the western slope of the Blue Mountains which feeds the Murray River, cooled by overhanging trees, warmed by sparkling sunlight, tickled by the friendly breeze, sang an unending song of joy. Wherever it raced over pebbles in its bed or tumbled from one step of the mountain to another, thousands of little bubbles came popping to the surface. One bubble with a water spirit longed so much to play with the floating twigs and the dancing sunbeams that it wished and wished until at last it turned into a living creature: a tiny little green frog. And the Great Spirit asked the Lyre Bird to sing that little creature into life, so that it came forth from the bubble ...

 

Mythology clearly says that life comes from nature, which is absolutely correct in the view of modern biology. As the first lines of the Genesis at the begin of the Bible are nothing else than an anticipation of evolutionary theory.

 

If life came from nature, it may return to nature, and this belief, supported by the consolation of mild hallucinations (visions of the deceased, alive and well again, or hearing them whisper in the rustling leaves at night, as explained in the previous chapters), would have been the origin of religion.

 

Is that belief so wrong? Many if not all religions are telling us about the same: Live a decent life, contribute to the common good, and your life shall not be in vain. We are leaves on the Tree of Life, spending a brief time on a branch, then falling down, withering, turning into dust, yet every leave contributes to the growth of the tree, and although each leave goes lost sooner or later, the common life, or Tree of Life, to which we contribute what we can, lives on ...