The San & The Eland
Figure 3: A row of dancers entering trance, from Fetcani Glen, Barkly East, Lesotho. Note the nasal flows and the hooves instead of feet in some instances.
Through looking at this culture, and its relationship to the eland, I’ve tried to examine an example of what the West lost long ago: an intimate, sophisticated bond with the animal world, one in which the rigid separation of the ‘sacred’ and ‘mundane’ spheres of existence has not yet manifested. It’s telling that when Lewis-Williams asked some San people how they go about hunting animals, they “began to describe hunting techniques and rituals as if there were no difference between the two.” Change “as if there were” to “because there was”, and I think we’re a step closer to understanding these people’s world.