In these writings the zone has come to mean to something like spaces that suggest either previous human occupation or continual human occupation except only at a level of vagrants or similar. Dilapidation and detritus are zonal indices. The eerie feeling of zones (in rough line with Fisher’s sense of eerie) is postulated as making them attractive to inhabitation by various entities of unknown origins. These my be pneuminous accretive left overs from previous habitation, purely pneuminous entities that have not been accreted by earthbound Narps, or physical cryptids of some kind -presuming there is more than a heuristic sense in making these divisions.
One problem in making the zone definition is always the issue of natural spaces that feel zonal. Wild desolate places that still emanate eeriness. These natural zones are sometimes identified as fairy homes, though many aspects of countryside can exhibit this characteristic and still have no history (that we know of) to link them to such associations. For this reason we feel the term natural zone is acceptable to the endeavour here and may prove useful in forging further links as we go on.
Lewis-Williams’ famous book on the origin of Palaeolithic art hypothesises that there is likely a shamanic root to the various cave paintings found. Images produced in alternative states of consciousness as induced through sensory deprivation (dark caves) have been pinned onto walls to preserve the pneuminous form. The wall or membrane as it is often referred to in the text often serves as a guide to where the image will fall. There is a reciprocity between the appearance of the animal and the cave wall. A hole, an outgrowth, a stalactite may suggest some part of the creature and in the absence of the possibility that an image is anything other than magickal such a partial manifestation is to be paid special attention to. For the people of this time the suggestion is that the cave wall is literally the membrane to the other world. The cave is a natural zone of suggested partial inhabitance by pneuminous beings.
Lewis-Williams actual ontology is very much of the ‘this is all hallucination that we can understand by modern neuroscience’. All the experiences of his ancient artists are housed firmly inside the discrete consciousness of his cave dwelling homo-sapiens. In this way he chooses firmly and does not even acknowledge the lurking agnostic disjunction. Yet even in his discounting, his description of the membrane is powerful one.
The pneuminous theory as endlessly touted here, states that everything is understood conceptually in some sense (like in phenomenology). This conceptual understanding however is like a substance (pneuma) that acts upon the hiding umbratic solidity. This is the pneuminous accretion, an agglomeration of concept stuff that can stick to regions of the what-is-shown to us (the vector field). In most instances the accretions make a simple agreement with the solidity, but sometimes they do not. The accretion of a bison that escapes from the seen animal into the purely pneuminous world is what we call the spirit animal, or even the platonic form. We think such a thing is just an abstract universal and neglect the fact that they can be seen and engaged with. Before it was transformed into a universal this was the only version available. Down there in the cave, the cave wall has lost its sense of there being endless rock beyond the rock. There is only the pneuminous membrane, upon whose dark surface the accretion appears. The membrane is the membrane not through to the umbra but to the pneuminous world. In the pure dark, as close to the umbratic as we can be, the pneuma, freed from its solid shackles manifests its accretions freely. The spirit body of our own is of course the same thing, it is the concept of our embodiment released from the vector region we call body. The shamanic ‘other’ world is constructed of pure pneuma, of pure concept-stuff. Of course Lewis-Williams has no problem with this, for this is all perfectly possible within the discrete consciousness.
Yet the other side of the disjunction gives us the option that the pneuminous world is not just hallucination, but rather it does have the ability to actually do things. The zone, natural or not, is not necessarily a fantasy. These powers press against on all sides. The membrane is everywhere if you wish to see it. We live perpetually in face of its possibility. But now we have sided with the shaman and must withdraw to the disjunctive pivot.
The experience is one of multiple ontologies that face us everywhere, yet fundamentally split down this line. Has the escaped pneuma-concept actual potency outside of what we call our selves or does it just operate in projections inert, cast upon a world of solid passivity to it.
“Then this line drawn is a key…”