Remembering Pictures in a Cave

In Deehabta’s Song Krissa and Jo are roommates who live in Krissa’s apartment on the planet Roon. One day Jo was surprised to see an animal on her bed. I suppose if this particular animal suddenly appeared on my bed I would be surprised too. But I would immediately recognize this creature and wonder why a rabbit was on my bed. But Jo’s surprise was on a deeper level than mine would be because she could not identify the creature on her bed. Her first response was to misidentify it. “Oh it’s Krissa’s skritcher.” (Author’s note: a skritcher is a cat.) But then Jo realized that this creature looked very different than a skritcher.

Unraveling the Mystery

Jo now was not just surprised. She was completely mystified. Not only had she never seen this kind of animal in her life, as far as she knew there was no such animal in the animal kingdom. The mystery deepens when we examine why Jo saw this animal. She saw it because Krissa was singing. When Krissa stopped singing the animal disappeared. The mystery then was on several levels:

  1. Jo saw an animal appear on her bed.
  2. The animal seemed to be of a nonexistent species.
  3. The animal was a hallucination.
  4. The hallucination was caused by Krissa’s singing.

The key to understand this mystery is that Krissa, even though she did not realize it, was singing verses of an epic poem (The Epic Poem). An epic poem, like the Iliad or Beowulf, tells a story of heroic or epic events of the past. It keeps the memory of those events alive. So memory is key to understanding Jo’s experience. This epic poem, we learn, is a tradition among the Onye people. Whenever the epic poem is properly recited (or sung) people have visions of animals. As Drey explained to Ilyani, “No one sees animals native to Caderyn or the other planets. … And only certain animals are seen.”

This brings us to an idea that people have theorized about in different ways, whether it is inherited memory, past lives, or collective unconscious (Collective Unconscious). The inhabitants of the planets in Deehabta’s Song are descended from the original settlers, but the current inhabitants have no written history to tell them where these settlers came from or how they arrived. Certain memories of that history, however, were contained in the epic poem.

Animals of a Forgotten World

The poem therefore was a virtual cave painting. Cave paintings on earth have pictures of what our ancient ancestors observed in their daily lives. And mostly they depict animals, including animals that are now extinct, animals that do not exist in our era. When Krissa sang this poem, Jo entered a deep cave in the subconscious realm where animals are displayed—animals that only the ancient settlers knew.

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