The purpose of this website is to document and share some of the spiritual communications of the Kumeyaay and Tipai Native Americans portrayed in their pictographs and petroglyphs. We are fortunate that these paintings survived the cultural genocide of the Kumeyaay way of life. This art reflects a state of intimate, natural resourcefulness and respect, that mankind rarely achieves. Some expressions are seemingly simple and others are quite elaborate. Nearly all of them have never been previously published and most have not even been observed by professionals who specialize in this field. A good portion are no longer visible with ordinary vision or digital photography. They are rapidly disappearing, mostly from natural causes. Others may not have been seen in hundreds of years. We welcome you to walk through prehistory and ancient history with the Tipai Shaman and artists who created a remarkable culture in which they and their habitat thrived harmoniously.

Our book was featured on the award-winning series that carefully and compassionately explores the Kumeyaay culture past and present. Elsa Sevilla reviews the rock art in our first book in conjunction with commentary by Kumeyaay elders. Also, various archaeologists in our group provide a scientific context as to what we know about these Shamanistic communications. Elsa's review of many aspects of Kumeyaay life is completely engaging and all programs in her series, Historic Places, are educational and highly recommended for anyone interested in Native Americana.

To view the episode, please click here: https://www.pbs.org/video/government-and-family-structures-fts2qk/

The pictures command your attention.

These photographs of ancient American rock art bleed off the pages and into that place in our minds where the shamans once lived. The draw of Don Liponi’s La Rumorosa Rock Art Along the Border reaches beyond modern archeology and ethnology, which provide a mere hint at the ethos of the prehistoric artists who painted these powerful images. The Kumeyaay were Native Americans who lived on the Baja-California border from about 500 AD to contact times. Their descendants are probably the Yuman speaking Tipai. The striking red, black and white pictographs were painted in caves and on rocks along the southern California border, up the Gila River and along the Colorado River, ranging from the lower Grand Canyon to the Sea of Cortez. This tradition of ancient art is called La Rumorosa, after a site in northeastern Baja, Mexico.

The writer Edward Abbey once said the rock art of the Southwest constituted a classic art tradition, which would someday be recognized as important as the Paleolithic wonders of Lascaux and Chauvet Cave in Europe. I believe this book presents a compelling argument for Abbey’s viewpoint. Here we see paintings of animals and sun bursts, circles and dots, human figures that morph into birds who fly to the other world. Liponi records painting never observed before—because the images were very faded by age or vandalized—rock art captured by a photographic method that amplifies small pigment traces. No one knows for certain who painted the pictures or carved the images, nor can any modern human tell us exactly what the rock art is portraying, though interviews with Native Tipai point to the realm of the spiritual—a shamanistic tradition.

Don Liponi agrees with that indigenous assessment; he recognizes that the value of preserving of archaeological sites and saving wilderness draws from the same well. The most intriguing and complex artistic motifs suggest the crossing of human boundaries to meld with wild nature—that wilderness which has always been our home. 

Douglas Peacock, author of In the Shadow of the Sabertooth, Grizzly Years, Walking it Off, The Best of Edward Abbey,
In The Presence of Buffalo, etc.

So you understand Shamanistic Rock Art? You do? Then what do you see here portrayed from another one of many Malcolm Roger's sites in Arizona Kofa's Wilderness. The Kumeyaay lived on this land. A beautiful area with water and mountains; plants to eat or grow along the banks of the Colorado River. The many tinajas drew larger desert game animals in. So what is the main defining characteristic of Northern Shamanism? It is Trance or Altered States of Consciousness [ASC] where the shaman enters into another stream of reality. People who have taken LSD or Psilocybin will know what I am talking about. Hallucinogens or more appropriately called Entheogens, when taken for Spiritual purposes is that amazing visual and cognitive sources of information are encountered from normally supressed areas of the brain. Here in ASC one "trips" of travels to another world and there one meets a guide. Our term for them is "Spirit Helpers". These guides can be a person, an animal or a combination of both called a therianthrope. The shaman is then guided and often feels like they are flying above the landscape. The guide takes them to a placed where they are able to see there problems in a new light. A new source of wisdom to see one's problems and unresolved conflicts by accessing knowledge that was not previously available to them. In this way the shaman was able to bring wisdom to his group. You might say, well that is just a drug trip. Maybe, the drug took you to this place, but what you envisioned and what you learned was in your own mind. Bob Marley once said, who many believe was a wise shaman or prophet - "Herb reveals yourself to you". This is what he was talking about. Is it any wonder that the Native Americans were impressed with Bob as they are with any spiritual person. This is the heart of shamanism. So how does that help us with our painting here? A normal man walks [trips] towards his guide - a Lizard Man or half man and half animal. When he meets the guide, he has a conversion from the physical to the ethereal, and becomes the white floating figure you see between the two. This may not be the only explanation, but one fully compatible with Trance Vision and Cognitive Alterations. What do you think? This is one slide from my upcoming presentation were we can discuss these pictographs and manty others. ...
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We are giving a new presentation on August 6th at 7pm PCT on shamanism and how it relates to La Rumorosa rock art. This presentation is sponsored by the Sierra Club of San Diego. Each time I give a talk to the Sierra Club I learn a lot. John Muir once said it is not enough to know, you have to act. That is what they do and it makes for an informative interaction. Everyone is welcome, there is no charge. You go to their Facebook Page as the grows near and you will see an announcement. Their Face Book page is: [www.facebook.com/sierraclubsd/] If you are reading this page then you know La Rumorosa is the dominant rock art style of southern California and northern Baja California and is attributed to the Kumeyaay Native Americans who lived here in harmony with ecosystem for more than 10,000 years and perhaps much longer. We only have archaeology back that far. They practiced a form of spirituality which is still in use today in this area. Shamanism has been with us for 50-70,000 years and is thought to have originated with the San people who are still alive in Southern Africa. There is evidence of ritual going back [in archaeological evidence] for 70,000 years at a site in Botswana. In any case, it was an effective form of spirituality. Our Native American shaman have given an abundance of proof that they can bend reality. It is not fiction or fakery. Think about a “religious” system that has endured for 35 times the duration of Christianity or 12 times that of Judaism. Would people have followed that if it was not effective. Survival without modern technology was much more difficult. It worked. We will talk about these things. For more on La Rumorosa – take a look at our book site: [www.larumorosarockart.com], or our books. We have a few left if you want one. See you there. Below is a deep cave more than 100 feet below the surface of the ground in Yuman territory (the Kumeyaay are in the Yuman language family). Below the earth these multicolored images portray spiritual flight by having avian characteristics like bird feet and wings. Some forms are human and some other worldly. This is a metaphor we see in La Rumorosa called binary or twin beings. The shaman’s spiritual self. We call this the God within. ...
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