Before Time by Dorothy Davies

EXTRACT FOR
Before Time 
(Dorothy Davies)


Introduction to Before Time

I am Ky-e-leron. It means: I am Ky, daughter of Leron, shaman and leader of our group. We were many and shared the place wherein we dwelt. Many places and many demands did we make of the place wherein we lived, whilst being careful to give back our thanks and our gratitude with sacrifice, praise and words. Therein we created our living and therein we grew to know the truth of the wild world outside the cave dwellings, where the monsters lived and where we would one day die if we did not pay heed to them, every one of them.
Here now will I speak of those times, those days, those lives and those monsters. You need to know for your society now has no comprehension of our living and our lives, no comprehension of our struggles and our ability to overcome. You write of us in ways which make us look foolish, like cavemen with no thought. We were cavemen but oh, we thought.

The history of Man is ageless and endless. We called this book Before Time, ‘we’ being myself and the person writing it, for when we lived there was no such concept as seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months or years as you live with now. We lived by the rising and setting of the sun and the span of the light during which we could work, hunt, build and gather. We had but two ‘seasons’, Wake and Sleep. Sleep was the time when we sheltered and prepared for Wake; Wake was the time when we worked to be ready for Sleep. Compared with your time, life was simple then.
Read this if you really want to know of Cro-Magnon life and society. We were not the way you perceive us, we were not naked, hairy and ever carrying clubs.
We were not ignorant of speech, of morals, of society.
We were everything you are but with more, much more, for you would not survive the life we lived. If your world collapsed, if your wonderful technology failed, could you carry on?
My channel and I have discussed our lifestyle at great length, my story is told; her story is told.
Read on!



BEFORE TIME

Chapter 1 - Cro-Magnon Life

My channel asks: Tell me of your life.

Ky replies:

All life was for one thing: survival. We were there, we were people and we wanted to endure. We wanted to expand, go to newer lands; become one with that world outside. But the world outside was full of dangers, seen and unseen. We had to learn to fight, defend; go against that which we thought right if it was for the good of all rather than the good of one. We made ourselves one, one people through dance and song, combined work and sacrifice, breeding and dying and respecting all of it as part of the life we lived.
It was a life lived with spirits – of the caves where we lived, the earth which supplied all that we needed, the animals on which we depended, the afterlife, for we knew it existed, the great stars that we saw from our home on the dark nights when the moon hid herself from our view and left the glory of the glittering skies for us to gaze on and wonder at. Then the Shaman would visit those far distant places and bring back wisdom and advice to help us to live, knowledge of herbs and bark and grasses to heal our sick, taught us rituals and dances and chants to make us one people.
Ask of my life, dear one; I will tell what I can. You cannot know it all for you would not understand it all but we will see how far we can go.

My channel asks; what did you look like, what did you wear?

Ky replies:

Let me say first we were not the hairy, naked, grunting club-carrying caricatures I see in your books! In fact, this is an insult to our Clan and all other ‘early’ people, for we all had our own structured societies, ways of living and abilities.
So let me say first we were of medium height, we stood straight; we had very good eyesight and hearing which enabled us to hunt successfully. We had long hair, mostly dark, which some tied back with thongs made from sinews or strips cut from hides. Sometimes that went round their heads, sometimes it went round the hair itself. The men, when they matured, were somewhat hairy of body but that was concealed most of the time, concealed under the clothes we made. They grew beards and hair on their upper lip because to cut or shave it would mean spending time away from our many essential chores. There were other more important things to do than indulge in vanity. The men were mostly handsome, in my eyes anyway, having strong cheekbones and firm noses.
The women developed earlier than you do now, growing breasts and having wide hip structures from quite an early age. They let their hair grow and learned how to twist it up on their heads with wooden skewers when they were cooking, washing or tending the sick and wounded, so they did not annoy the patient. We women were, on the whole, dark eyed, soft of skin and seemed to be appealing to the men, judging by the amount of bonding which went on in our Clan, bonding that lasted for the lifetime of both persons. It was rare for a bonding to break, once made.
Women, from an early age, were taught the skills of cooking, sewing, tending the sick, the newborns, the animals and the young ones. They were taught the skills of what we must call love to be polite to your readers, dear channel; these were taught without embarrassment. They were a part of life, as much as the cooking and sewing and tending the sick were a part of life. We knew no other way.
All men, from an early age, were schooled in the art of weapons. They used throwing sticks, clubs were used only to finish off a kill; they had spears with which they practiced endlessly to ensure a clean kill if possible. They were all adept at using flint and stone to carve and cut, they trimmed bone to make combs and implements we could use in day to day living in our cave environment. They were very precise with their work, they made needles for us to sew with; it took great skill to make the hole for us to thread the sinews through. By ‘us’ I mean the women, for the men had other work, including their practice with spears and throwing sticks and teaching the younger ones the art of using these implements.
They were also good at stone throwing, something else they practiced all the time when they could leave the cave.
We wore tunics without sleeves in Wake, when the weather was warm, and tunics with sleeves and hoods when Sleep came, bringing its coldness with it. We wore long trousers and boots, mittens and long capes when the weather was very cold. All this we made, labouring over the sewing by the light of torches during the long dark hours of Sleep.
We will talk more about this later.
Does this paint a different picture to the ones you see in your books?

My channel asks; how did you speak to one another, what language did you use? Is it one we would recognise today?

Ky replies:

Your clever people insist that we had no language; that we grunted at one another. We know this, we see your books; we see your programmes. It is from these we – those of us who have chosen to communicate with you in your time – learned your language. We also use telepathy, so we are able to lift from you that which we need to communicate.
And there is your answer. We used what you call telepathy for the most part. We had language, not one you would understand but we had words for everything we used and ate and possessed and were. We had words for all emotions. We had words for every spirit we revered and worshipped. What we could not convey by words, we used our hands. Not sign language, but you can be expressive with your hands when added to words, you agree? And we conveyed much by thought.
So we did not grunt, we spoke. We did not use sign language but used our hands to add to the words we possessed. We had names and we used them. We had minds and we used them well.
We had our hierarchy, our society, which was rigid and held us together as a Clan. We were not the loosely associated group of hunter-gatherers, as you call us, roaming around naked, carrying clubs, hitting people over the head, dragging women around by their hair, grunting as we tore at lumps of meat over a fire. If I am truthful, and this book is designed to be just that, I have to say to you that we are all offended by this stereotyping of a complete race of people. The comment made to my channel, that ‘’they had nothing to do all day’ shows the complete lack of understanding of ‘prehistoric’ life. We worked harder than you have ever done and still found time to worship the spirits, which is more than you do.

My channel asks: How did you divide your lives? We are used to days and weeks and seasons.

Ky replies:

We had two times. We had Wake and Sleep. Wake was warm with gentle rains and winds that did not destroy. Sleep was cold with violent storms and winds that tore everything apart. We devoted the whole of Wake to preparing for Sleep and devoted the whole of Sleep preparing for Wake. There was nothing else in our lives. Everything was done in those times and because of those times.
We were led by the Shaman, named Leron. He was my father. My mother I did not know: my life, her death. I was the first and only child of the Shaman, he took no other to wife; such was his love for my mother. He talked to me of her but what he said was for my ears and heart and none other. I will say only I look like her.
Leron would go into trance often; I will speak of this later. It is hard to know how to arrange the information so that you can absorb it and understand it. Suffice it to say for now he went into trance and in trance he was shown many things, many places, not all of this world. It was always in one such trance at the end of Sleep that he would be given the time when Wake began.
We must, of necessity, start somewhere so let us begin with



Chapter 2 - Wake

When the Shaman declared Wake had come, we took down the barrier at the cave entrance and burned it on the fire. We danced the freedom dance, freedom from darkness and cold, freedom from winds that blew too hard, freedom from snow that kept us locked inside. We all danced, every one of us, those who could just walk for they were newborn, those who could just walk for they were sick or wounded; those who could just walk for they were many Sleeps on this earth. We danced in rhythm round the fire which burned the old barrier and ended Sleep. We danced to the sound of the drum and the beating of hardened wood against the floor, a pounding rhythm that made blood grow warm and breath come fast and faces open in smiles that said we were newborn into Wake.
Then we dropped down where we were and mourned those who were not newborn into Wake, those whose journey had ended in Sleep, those who rested their bones in the sacred cave where they waited for us to join them. Those who we venerated for all they had done for us and for their protection during Sleep. For this was a dangerous time when the dark came early and stayed late, when the sounds from beyond the barrier were more than just hungry animals and rushing winds. The sounds were the hungry cries of restless spirits who sought the souls of man and woman to satisfy their craving to become human once again. We fought them with ritual and paint; we fought them with sigils, with chants, with herbs and with fire. And we fought them with the knowledge we gained through the Shaman’s trance communications. We would sit in silence, no drums, no chants, waiting for the shaman to fly to other worlds, other times, other places and bring back the knowledge we needed to keep us safe. He never failed us. At times like that he was not my father, though we shared a part of the cave shelter and day to day living.
The sunrise after the great burning we all went out of the caves. Some went to cut fresh branches, new-grown and soft, and wove a new barrier which was left to dry and become hard. This we would put in the entrance through Sleep to keep out the wind, rain and snow. It had a small gap in one corner for bats to come and go. We shared our home with bats; they were our messengers, carrying our wishes and thoughts to the spirits of the trees and plants, of water and of earth.
Some began to search for new wood for the fire for it would be mostly gone. Sleep was always cold and hard and we needed much heat. New wood was needed to dry and be ready for the next Sleep as well as for cooking throughout Wake. The search for wood went on all through Wake. Whoever was out gathering, hunting, clearing, tending, looked for wood, bringing back small and large pieces which were stored and left to dry. We needed fuel all the time, to cook food, to provide firelight, to get ready for Sleep. Every person in the Clan worked to keep wood stocked up and we were never without.
Much food had to be found, food for all, rich food for those who were breeding, good food for those who danced the spirit dance and spoke with the spirits around us and guided us on our way, food for those who hunted, food for those who stayed and worked, for the caves had to be cleaned and purified, had to be cleansed and sanctified and our little ones, our new ones, kept safe from predators for they were our future.
Those who spoke with spirit were few, they were usually the very old, in our terms anyway, not yours. Those who had survived more Wakes and Sleeps than the rest of us had gained in wisdom and ability and could hear and speak to the spirits of the caves, of the trees, of the plants and all the other spirits we worshipped and worked for. We tried always to give these treasured people the finest cuts of the meats, the warmest hides, the first water drawn from the spring each time we went there. I had never given this a thought until now for it was so much a part of life it was never questioned.
The breeding and birthing animals were taken out to pastures of fresh new growth which helped them grow strong for the coming Sleep. The animals would almost run from the cave, such was their need to feel the sunshine and drink fresh water from the river, to graze the newborn grass and nibble at newborn leaves on bushes and trees. The young were carried out and placed with their group, the better to bond them for the long Sleep ahead. When the days became sharp and chill at the end of Wake, the animals would turn their heads to the cave entrance as if to ask if it were time to go back inside, even though once inside they were ill-natured and we had to take turns in guarding them against fighting and hurting one another. No matter that one of us would be hurt in the fight, horns can do damage, our stock was precious. Without them to provide milk and fresh meat during Sleep, we would be in difficulties. Some of us had the gift of talking to the animals and calming them when they wanted to fight. Once breeding started, much of their animosity calmed, it was the young ones who wanted to breed but who weren’t ready which gave the most difficulty to us. It was then I would go and whisper to them, along with two young men who could talk them into quietness.
We will talk more of the animals later, when you ask other questions, as I know you will.
We spent the time of Wake outside as much as we could, hunting, fishing in the river, finding grasses and plants for us to use. The stronger men would gather honey and honeycombs from wild bees. I say stronger for it took courage, even with a thick hide covering on, to approach the nest and take the honey from the angry bees. We knew not who might die from a sting until it happened. The honey and the comb was stored and used in many different ways, to cook, to soothe and be part of salves and potions or just as a treat sometimes. It was much needed and the men knew this, so they got it for the rest of us.
Wake was a time of rains, of sunshine, of births of animals and our own newborns, of fun and laughter in the work we had to do, for there was always time for tricks and things to make us laugh. The old ones benefited from the sunshine, from the warmth and would spend time in the entrance to the caves, busy weaving baskets and sewing clothes and watching over the little ones who ran hither and thither, enjoying the freedom that they could not have in the time of Sleep.
The men worked at their skills with throwing sticks and spears and the throwing of stones.
The women also wove baskets and sewed to help them out during Sleep, when there often seemed more to do than Wake, if that be possible. Yes it is. I just realised – we tended to take so much for granted. During Wake the animals were free to wander and feed, during Sleep we had to tend to them and were endlessly carrying water for their needs or to clean the caves where they lived, to keep them supplied with torches so they could see. Yes, there was more work during Sleep. In Wake we could sit outside and sew as well, no need for torches.
Wake was freedom.

Before Time by Dorothy Davies

EXTRACT FOR
Before Time 
(Dorothy Davies)


Introduction to Before Time

I am Ky-e-leron. It means: I am Ky, daughter of Leron, shaman and leader of our group. We were many and shared the place wherein we dwelt. Many places and many demands did we make of the place wherein we lived, whilst being careful to give back our thanks and our gratitude with sacrifice, praise and words. Therein we created our living and therein we grew to know the truth of the wild world outside the cave dwellings, where the monsters lived and where we would one day die if we did not pay heed to them, every one of them.
Here now will I speak of those times, those days, those lives and those monsters. You need to know for your society now has no comprehension of our living and our lives, no comprehension of our struggles and our ability to overcome. You write of us in ways which make us look foolish, like cavemen with no thought. We were cavemen but oh, we thought.

The history of Man is ageless and endless. We called this book Before Time, ‘we’ being myself and the person writing it, for when we lived there was no such concept as seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months or years as you live with now. We lived by the rising and setting of the sun and the span of the light during which we could work, hunt, build and gather. We had but two ‘seasons’, Wake and Sleep. Sleep was the time when we sheltered and prepared for Wake; Wake was the time when we worked to be ready for Sleep. Compared with your time, life was simple then.
Read this if you really want to know of Cro-Magnon life and society. We were not the way you perceive us, we were not naked, hairy and ever carrying clubs.
We were not ignorant of speech, of morals, of society.
We were everything you are but with more, much more, for you would not survive the life we lived. If your world collapsed, if your wonderful technology failed, could you carry on?
My channel and I have discussed our lifestyle at great length, my story is told; her story is told.
Read on!



BEFORE TIME

Chapter 1 - Cro-Magnon Life

My channel asks: Tell me of your life.

Ky replies:

All life was for one thing: survival. We were there, we were people and we wanted to endure. We wanted to expand, go to newer lands; become one with that world outside. But the world outside was full of dangers, seen and unseen. We had to learn to fight, defend; go against that which we thought right if it was for the good of all rather than the good of one. We made ourselves one, one people through dance and song, combined work and sacrifice, breeding and dying and respecting all of it as part of the life we lived.
It was a life lived with spirits – of the caves where we lived, the earth which supplied all that we needed, the animals on which we depended, the afterlife, for we knew it existed, the great stars that we saw from our home on the dark nights when the moon hid herself from our view and left the glory of the glittering skies for us to gaze on and wonder at. Then the Shaman would visit those far distant places and bring back wisdom and advice to help us to live, knowledge of herbs and bark and grasses to heal our sick, taught us rituals and dances and chants to make us one people.
Ask of my life, dear one; I will tell what I can. You cannot know it all for you would not understand it all but we will see how far we can go.

My channel asks; what did you look like, what did you wear?

Ky replies:

Let me say first we were not the hairy, naked, grunting club-carrying caricatures I see in your books! In fact, this is an insult to our Clan and all other ‘early’ people, for we all had our own structured societies, ways of living and abilities.
So let me say first we were of medium height, we stood straight; we had very good eyesight and hearing which enabled us to hunt successfully. We had long hair, mostly dark, which some tied back with thongs made from sinews or strips cut from hides. Sometimes that went round their heads, sometimes it went round the hair itself. The men, when they matured, were somewhat hairy of body but that was concealed most of the time, concealed under the clothes we made. They grew beards and hair on their upper lip because to cut or shave it would mean spending time away from our many essential chores. There were other more important things to do than indulge in vanity. The men were mostly handsome, in my eyes anyway, having strong cheekbones and firm noses.
The women developed earlier than you do now, growing breasts and having wide hip structures from quite an early age. They let their hair grow and learned how to twist it up on their heads with wooden skewers when they were cooking, washing or tending the sick and wounded, so they did not annoy the patient. We women were, on the whole, dark eyed, soft of skin and seemed to be appealing to the men, judging by the amount of bonding which went on in our Clan, bonding that lasted for the lifetime of both persons. It was rare for a bonding to break, once made.
Women, from an early age, were taught the skills of cooking, sewing, tending the sick, the newborns, the animals and the young ones. They were taught the skills of what we must call love to be polite to your readers, dear channel; these were taught without embarrassment. They were a part of life, as much as the cooking and sewing and tending the sick were a part of life. We knew no other way.
All men, from an early age, were schooled in the art of weapons. They used throwing sticks, clubs were used only to finish off a kill; they had spears with which they practiced endlessly to ensure a clean kill if possible. They were all adept at using flint and stone to carve and cut, they trimmed bone to make combs and implements we could use in day to day living in our cave environment. They were very precise with their work, they made needles for us to sew with; it took great skill to make the hole for us to thread the sinews through. By ‘us’ I mean the women, for the men had other work, including their practice with spears and throwing sticks and teaching the younger ones the art of using these implements.
They were also good at stone throwing, something else they practiced all the time when they could leave the cave.
We wore tunics without sleeves in Wake, when the weather was warm, and tunics with sleeves and hoods when Sleep came, bringing its coldness with it. We wore long trousers and boots, mittens and long capes when the weather was very cold. All this we made, labouring over the sewing by the light of torches during the long dark hours of Sleep.
We will talk more about this later.
Does this paint a different picture to the ones you see in your books?

My channel asks; how did you speak to one another, what language did you use? Is it one we would recognise today?

Ky replies:

Your clever people insist that we had no language; that we grunted at one another. We know this, we see your books; we see your programmes. It is from these we – those of us who have chosen to communicate with you in your time – learned your language. We also use telepathy, so we are able to lift from you that which we need to communicate.
And there is your answer. We used what you call telepathy for the most part. We had language, not one you would understand but we had words for everything we used and ate and possessed and were. We had words for all emotions. We had words for every spirit we revered and worshipped. What we could not convey by words, we used our hands. Not sign language, but you can be expressive with your hands when added to words, you agree? And we conveyed much by thought.
So we did not grunt, we spoke. We did not use sign language but used our hands to add to the words we possessed. We had names and we used them. We had minds and we used them well.
We had our hierarchy, our society, which was rigid and held us together as a Clan. We were not the loosely associated group of hunter-gatherers, as you call us, roaming around naked, carrying clubs, hitting people over the head, dragging women around by their hair, grunting as we tore at lumps of meat over a fire. If I am truthful, and this book is designed to be just that, I have to say to you that we are all offended by this stereotyping of a complete race of people. The comment made to my channel, that ‘’they had nothing to do all day’ shows the complete lack of understanding of ‘prehistoric’ life. We worked harder than you have ever done and still found time to worship the spirits, which is more than you do.

My channel asks: How did you divide your lives? We are used to days and weeks and seasons.

Ky replies:

We had two times. We had Wake and Sleep. Wake was warm with gentle rains and winds that did not destroy. Sleep was cold with violent storms and winds that tore everything apart. We devoted the whole of Wake to preparing for Sleep and devoted the whole of Sleep preparing for Wake. There was nothing else in our lives. Everything was done in those times and because of those times.
We were led by the Shaman, named Leron. He was my father. My mother I did not know: my life, her death. I was the first and only child of the Shaman, he took no other to wife; such was his love for my mother. He talked to me of her but what he said was for my ears and heart and none other. I will say only I look like her.
Leron would go into trance often; I will speak of this later. It is hard to know how to arrange the information so that you can absorb it and understand it. Suffice it to say for now he went into trance and in trance he was shown many things, many places, not all of this world. It was always in one such trance at the end of Sleep that he would be given the time when Wake began.
We must, of necessity, start somewhere so let us begin with



Chapter 2 - Wake

When the Shaman declared Wake had come, we took down the barrier at the cave entrance and burned it on the fire. We danced the freedom dance, freedom from darkness and cold, freedom from winds that blew too hard, freedom from snow that kept us locked inside. We all danced, every one of us, those who could just walk for they were newborn, those who could just walk for they were sick or wounded; those who could just walk for they were many Sleeps on this earth. We danced in rhythm round the fire which burned the old barrier and ended Sleep. We danced to the sound of the drum and the beating of hardened wood against the floor, a pounding rhythm that made blood grow warm and breath come fast and faces open in smiles that said we were newborn into Wake.
Then we dropped down where we were and mourned those who were not newborn into Wake, those whose journey had ended in Sleep, those who rested their bones in the sacred cave where they waited for us to join them. Those who we venerated for all they had done for us and for their protection during Sleep. For this was a dangerous time when the dark came early and stayed late, when the sounds from beyond the barrier were more than just hungry animals and rushing winds. The sounds were the hungry cries of restless spirits who sought the souls of man and woman to satisfy their craving to become human once again. We fought them with ritual and paint; we fought them with sigils, with chants, with herbs and with fire. And we fought them with the knowledge we gained through the Shaman’s trance communications. We would sit in silence, no drums, no chants, waiting for the shaman to fly to other worlds, other times, other places and bring back the knowledge we needed to keep us safe. He never failed us. At times like that he was not my father, though we shared a part of the cave shelter and day to day living.
The sunrise after the great burning we all went out of the caves. Some went to cut fresh branches, new-grown and soft, and wove a new barrier which was left to dry and become hard. This we would put in the entrance through Sleep to keep out the wind, rain and snow. It had a small gap in one corner for bats to come and go. We shared our home with bats; they were our messengers, carrying our wishes and thoughts to the spirits of the trees and plants, of water and of earth.
Some began to search for new wood for the fire for it would be mostly gone. Sleep was always cold and hard and we needed much heat. New wood was needed to dry and be ready for the next Sleep as well as for cooking throughout Wake. The search for wood went on all through Wake. Whoever was out gathering, hunting, clearing, tending, looked for wood, bringing back small and large pieces which were stored and left to dry. We needed fuel all the time, to cook food, to provide firelight, to get ready for Sleep. Every person in the Clan worked to keep wood stocked up and we were never without.
Much food had to be found, food for all, rich food for those who were breeding, good food for those who danced the spirit dance and spoke with the spirits around us and guided us on our way, food for those who hunted, food for those who stayed and worked, for the caves had to be cleaned and purified, had to be cleansed and sanctified and our little ones, our new ones, kept safe from predators for they were our future.
Those who spoke with spirit were few, they were usually the very old, in our terms anyway, not yours. Those who had survived more Wakes and Sleeps than the rest of us had gained in wisdom and ability and could hear and speak to the spirits of the caves, of the trees, of the plants and all the other spirits we worshipped and worked for. We tried always to give these treasured people the finest cuts of the meats, the warmest hides, the first water drawn from the spring each time we went there. I had never given this a thought until now for it was so much a part of life it was never questioned.
The breeding and birthing animals were taken out to pastures of fresh new growth which helped them grow strong for the coming Sleep. The animals would almost run from the cave, such was their need to feel the sunshine and drink fresh water from the river, to graze the newborn grass and nibble at newborn leaves on bushes and trees. The young were carried out and placed with their group, the better to bond them for the long Sleep ahead. When the days became sharp and chill at the end of Wake, the animals would turn their heads to the cave entrance as if to ask if it were time to go back inside, even though once inside they were ill-natured and we had to take turns in guarding them against fighting and hurting one another. No matter that one of us would be hurt in the fight, horns can do damage, our stock was precious. Without them to provide milk and fresh meat during Sleep, we would be in difficulties. Some of us had the gift of talking to the animals and calming them when they wanted to fight. Once breeding started, much of their animosity calmed, it was the young ones who wanted to breed but who weren’t ready which gave the most difficulty to us. It was then I would go and whisper to them, along with two young men who could talk them into quietness.
We will talk more of the animals later, when you ask other questions, as I know you will.
We spent the time of Wake outside as much as we could, hunting, fishing in the river, finding grasses and plants for us to use. The stronger men would gather honey and honeycombs from wild bees. I say stronger for it took courage, even with a thick hide covering on, to approach the nest and take the honey from the angry bees. We knew not who might die from a sting until it happened. The honey and the comb was stored and used in many different ways, to cook, to soothe and be part of salves and potions or just as a treat sometimes. It was much needed and the men knew this, so they got it for the rest of us.
Wake was a time of rains, of sunshine, of births of animals and our own newborns, of fun and laughter in the work we had to do, for there was always time for tricks and things to make us laugh. The old ones benefited from the sunshine, from the warmth and would spend time in the entrance to the caves, busy weaving baskets and sewing clothes and watching over the little ones who ran hither and thither, enjoying the freedom that they could not have in the time of Sleep.
The men worked at their skills with throwing sticks and spears and the throwing of stones.
The women also wove baskets and sewed to help them out during Sleep, when there often seemed more to do than Wake, if that be possible. Yes it is. I just realised – we tended to take so much for granted. During Wake the animals were free to wander and feed, during Sleep we had to tend to them and were endlessly carrying water for their needs or to clean the caves where they lived, to keep them supplied with torches so they could see. Yes, there was more work during Sleep. In Wake we could sit outside and sew as well, no need for torches.
Wake was freedom.

EXTRACT FOR
Before Time 
(Dorothy Davies)


Introduction to Before Time

I am Ky-e-leron. It means: I am Ky, daughter of Leron, shaman and leader of our group. We were many and shared the place wherein we dwelt. Many places and many demands did we make of the place wherein we lived, whilst being careful to give back our thanks and our gratitude with sacrifice, praise and words. Therein we created our living and therein we grew to know the truth of the wild world outside the cave dwellings, where the monsters lived and where we would one day die if we did not pay heed to them, every one of them.
Here now will I speak of those times, those days, those lives and those monsters. You need to know for your society now has no comprehension of our living and our lives, no comprehension of our struggles and our ability to overcome. You write of us in ways which make us look foolish, like cavemen with no thought. We were cavemen but oh, we thought.

The history of Man is ageless and endless. We called this book Before Time, ‘we’ being myself and the person writing it, for when we lived there was no such concept as seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months or years as you live with now. We lived by the rising and setting of the sun and the span of the light during which we could work, hunt, build and gather. We had but two ‘seasons’, Wake and Sleep. Sleep was the time when we sheltered and prepared for Wake; Wake was the time when we worked to be ready for Sleep. Compared with your time, life was simple then.
Read this if you really want to know of Cro-Magnon life and society. We were not the way you perceive us, we were not naked, hairy and ever carrying clubs.
We were not ignorant of speech, of morals, of society.
We were everything you are but with more, much more, for you would not survive the life we lived. If your world collapsed, if your wonderful technology failed, could you carry on?
My channel and I have discussed our lifestyle at great length, my story is told; her story is told.
Read on!



BEFORE TIME

Chapter 1 - Cro-Magnon Life

My channel asks: Tell me of your life.

Ky replies:

All life was for one thing: survival. We were there, we were people and we wanted to endure. We wanted to expand, go to newer lands; become one with that world outside. But the world outside was full of dangers, seen and unseen. We had to learn to fight, defend; go against that which we thought right if it was for the good of all rather than the good of one. We made ourselves one, one people through dance and song, combined work and sacrifice, breeding and dying and respecting all of it as part of the life we lived.
It was a life lived with spirits – of the caves where we lived, the earth which supplied all that we needed, the animals on which we depended, the afterlife, for we knew it existed, the great stars that we saw from our home on the dark nights when the moon hid herself from our view and left the glory of the glittering skies for us to gaze on and wonder at. Then the Shaman would visit those far distant places and bring back wisdom and advice to help us to live, knowledge of herbs and bark and grasses to heal our sick, taught us rituals and dances and chants to make us one people.
Ask of my life, dear one; I will tell what I can. You cannot know it all for you would not understand it all but we will see how far we can go.

My channel asks; what did you look like, what did you wear?

Ky replies:

Let me say first we were not the hairy, naked, grunting club-carrying caricatures I see in your books! In fact, this is an insult to our Clan and all other ‘early’ people, for we all had our own structured societies, ways of living and abilities.
So let me say first we were of medium height, we stood straight; we had very good eyesight and hearing which enabled us to hunt successfully. We had long hair, mostly dark, which some tied back with thongs made from sinews or strips cut from hides. Sometimes that went round their heads, sometimes it went round the hair itself. The men, when they matured, were somewhat hairy of body but that was concealed most of the time, concealed under the clothes we made. They grew beards and hair on their upper lip because to cut or shave it would mean spending time away from our many essential chores. There were other more important things to do than indulge in vanity. The men were mostly handsome, in my eyes anyway, having strong cheekbones and firm noses.
The women developed earlier than you do now, growing breasts and having wide hip structures from quite an early age. They let their hair grow and learned how to twist it up on their heads with wooden skewers when they were cooking, washing or tending the sick and wounded, so they did not annoy the patient. We women were, on the whole, dark eyed, soft of skin and seemed to be appealing to the men, judging by the amount of bonding which went on in our Clan, bonding that lasted for the lifetime of both persons. It was rare for a bonding to break, once made.
Women, from an early age, were taught the skills of cooking, sewing, tending the sick, the newborns, the animals and the young ones. They were taught the skills of what we must call love to be polite to your readers, dear channel; these were taught without embarrassment. They were a part of life, as much as the cooking and sewing and tending the sick were a part of life. We knew no other way.
All men, from an early age, were schooled in the art of weapons. They used throwing sticks, clubs were used only to finish off a kill; they had spears with which they practiced endlessly to ensure a clean kill if possible. They were all adept at using flint and stone to carve and cut, they trimmed bone to make combs and implements we could use in day to day living in our cave environment. They were very precise with their work, they made needles for us to sew with; it took great skill to make the hole for us to thread the sinews through. By ‘us’ I mean the women, for the men had other work, including their practice with spears and throwing sticks and teaching the younger ones the art of using these implements.
They were also good at stone throwing, something else they practiced all the time when they could leave the cave.
We wore tunics without sleeves in Wake, when the weather was warm, and tunics with sleeves and hoods when Sleep came, bringing its coldness with it. We wore long trousers and boots, mittens and long capes when the weather was very cold. All this we made, labouring over the sewing by the light of torches during the long dark hours of Sleep.
We will talk more about this later.
Does this paint a different picture to the ones you see in your books?

My channel asks; how did you speak to one another, what language did you use? Is it one we would recognise today?

Ky replies:

Your clever people insist that we had no language; that we grunted at one another. We know this, we see your books; we see your programmes. It is from these we – those of us who have chosen to communicate with you in your time – learned your language. We also use telepathy, so we are able to lift from you that which we need to communicate.
And there is your answer. We used what you call telepathy for the most part. We had language, not one you would understand but we had words for everything we used and ate and possessed and were. We had words for all emotions. We had words for every spirit we revered and worshipped. What we could not convey by words, we used our hands. Not sign language, but you can be expressive with your hands when added to words, you agree? And we conveyed much by thought.
So we did not grunt, we spoke. We did not use sign language but used our hands to add to the words we possessed. We had names and we used them. We had minds and we used them well.
We had our hierarchy, our society, which was rigid and held us together as a Clan. We were not the loosely associated group of hunter-gatherers, as you call us, roaming around naked, carrying clubs, hitting people over the head, dragging women around by their hair, grunting as we tore at lumps of meat over a fire. If I am truthful, and this book is designed to be just that, I have to say to you that we are all offended by this stereotyping of a complete race of people. The comment made to my channel, that ‘’they had nothing to do all day’ shows the complete lack of understanding of ‘prehistoric’ life. We worked harder than you have ever done and still found time to worship the spirits, which is more than you do.

My channel asks: How did you divide your lives? We are used to days and weeks and seasons.

Ky replies:

We had two times. We had Wake and Sleep. Wake was warm with gentle rains and winds that did not destroy. Sleep was cold with violent storms and winds that tore everything apart. We devoted the whole of Wake to preparing for Sleep and devoted the whole of Sleep preparing for Wake. There was nothing else in our lives. Everything was done in those times and because of those times.
We were led by the Shaman, named Leron. He was my father. My mother I did not know: my life, her death. I was the first and only child of the Shaman, he took no other to wife; such was his love for my mother. He talked to me of her but what he said was for my ears and heart and none other. I will say only I look like her.
Leron would go into trance often; I will speak of this later. It is hard to know how to arrange the information so that you can absorb it and understand it. Suffice it to say for now he went into trance and in trance he was shown many things, many places, not all of this world. It was always in one such trance at the end of Sleep that he would be given the time when Wake began.
We must, of necessity, start somewhere so let us begin with



Chapter 2 - Wake

When the Shaman declared Wake had come, we took down the barrier at the cave entrance and burned it on the fire. We danced the freedom dance, freedom from darkness and cold, freedom from winds that blew too hard, freedom from snow that kept us locked inside. We all danced, every one of us, those who could just walk for they were newborn, those who could just walk for they were sick or wounded; those who could just walk for they were many Sleeps on this earth. We danced in rhythm round the fire which burned the old barrier and ended Sleep. We danced to the sound of the drum and the beating of hardened wood against the floor, a pounding rhythm that made blood grow warm and breath come fast and faces open in smiles that said we were newborn into Wake.
Then we dropped down where we were and mourned those who were not newborn into Wake, those whose journey had ended in Sleep, those who rested their bones in the sacred cave where they waited for us to join them. Those who we venerated for all they had done for us and for their protection during Sleep. For this was a dangerous time when the dark came early and stayed late, when the sounds from beyond the barrier were more than just hungry animals and rushing winds. The sounds were the hungry cries of restless spirits who sought the souls of man and woman to satisfy their craving to become human once again. We fought them with ritual and paint; we fought them with sigils, with chants, with herbs and with fire. And we fought them with the knowledge we gained through the Shaman’s trance communications. We would sit in silence, no drums, no chants, waiting for the shaman to fly to other worlds, other times, other places and bring back the knowledge we needed to keep us safe. He never failed us. At times like that he was not my father, though we shared a part of the cave shelter and day to day living.
The sunrise after the great burning we all went out of the caves. Some went to cut fresh branches, new-grown and soft, and wove a new barrier which was left to dry and become hard. This we would put in the entrance through Sleep to keep out the wind, rain and snow. It had a small gap in one corner for bats to come and go. We shared our home with bats; they were our messengers, carrying our wishes and thoughts to the spirits of the trees and plants, of water and of earth.
Some began to search for new wood for the fire for it would be mostly gone. Sleep was always cold and hard and we needed much heat. New wood was needed to dry and be ready for the next Sleep as well as for cooking throughout Wake. The search for wood went on all through Wake. Whoever was out gathering, hunting, clearing, tending, looked for wood, bringing back small and large pieces which were stored and left to dry. We needed fuel all the time, to cook food, to provide firelight, to get ready for Sleep. Every person in the Clan worked to keep wood stocked up and we were never without.
Much food had to be found, food for all, rich food for those who were breeding, good food for those who danced the spirit dance and spoke with the spirits around us and guided us on our way, food for those who hunted, food for those who stayed and worked, for the caves had to be cleaned and purified, had to be cleansed and sanctified and our little ones, our new ones, kept safe from predators for they were our future.
Those who spoke with spirit were few, they were usually the very old, in our terms anyway, not yours. Those who had survived more Wakes and Sleeps than the rest of us had gained in wisdom and ability and could hear and speak to the spirits of the caves, of the trees, of the plants and all the other spirits we worshipped and worked for. We tried always to give these treasured people the finest cuts of the meats, the warmest hides, the first water drawn from the spring each time we went there. I had never given this a thought until now for it was so much a part of life it was never questioned.
The breeding and birthing animals were taken out to pastures of fresh new growth which helped them grow strong for the coming Sleep. The animals would almost run from the cave, such was their need to feel the sunshine and drink fresh water from the river, to graze the newborn grass and nibble at newborn leaves on bushes and trees. The young were carried out and placed with their group, the better to bond them for the long Sleep ahead. When the days became sharp and chill at the end of Wake, the animals would turn their heads to the cave entrance as if to ask if it were time to go back inside, even though once inside they were ill-natured and we had to take turns in guarding them against fighting and hurting one another. No matter that one of us would be hurt in the fight, horns can do damage, our stock was precious. Without them to provide milk and fresh meat during Sleep, we would be in difficulties. Some of us had the gift of talking to the animals and calming them when they wanted to fight. Once breeding started, much of their animosity calmed, it was the young ones who wanted to breed but who weren’t ready which gave the most difficulty to us. It was then I would go and whisper to them, along with two young men who could talk them into quietness.
We will talk more of the animals later, when you ask other questions, as I know you will.
We spent the time of Wake outside as much as we could, hunting, fishing in the river, finding grasses and plants for us to use. The stronger men would gather honey and honeycombs from wild bees. I say stronger for it took courage, even with a thick hide covering on, to approach the nest and take the honey from the angry bees. We knew not who might die from a sting until it happened. The honey and the comb was stored and used in many different ways, to cook, to soothe and be part of salves and potions or just as a treat sometimes. It was much needed and the men knew this, so they got it for the rest of us.
Wake was a time of rains, of sunshine, of births of animals and our own newborns, of fun and laughter in the work we had to do, for there was always time for tricks and things to make us laugh. The old ones benefited from the sunshine, from the warmth and would spend time in the entrance to the caves, busy weaving baskets and sewing clothes and watching over the little ones who ran hither and thither, enjoying the freedom that they could not have in the time of Sleep.
The men worked at their skills with throwing sticks and spears and the throwing of stones.
The women also wove baskets and sewed to help them out during Sleep, when there often seemed more to do than Wake, if that be possible. Yes it is. I just realised – we tended to take so much for granted. During Wake the animals were free to wander and feed, during Sleep we had to tend to them and were endlessly carrying water for their needs or to clean the caves where they lived, to keep them supplied with torches so they could see. Yes, there was more work during Sleep. In Wake we could sit outside and sew as well, no need for torches.
Wake was freedom.

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