“The symbols of shamans were potentially dangerous because of their material spirituality connecting them to the sacred…The vulva itself was considered unusually perilous. For example, a Northern Paiute account indicates that the worst from of sorcery a man could endure was a twitching vulva during intercourse: Female orgasm was thought to represent uncontrolled sexual, and therefore supernatural, power. Similarly, even the sight of a vulva could pose a particularly dangerous circumstance…The vulva, a potent and dangerous object, was an appropriate shamanistic symbol for supernatural power, perhaps pertaining to sorcery.”
— David S. Whitley A Guide to Rock Art Sites: Southern California and Southern Nevada (1996)
A client of my wife’s discovered this petroglyph about two years ago. We believe it was previously unknown about in contemporary times, as the folks at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History were unaware of its existence when notified.
It is thought that the artifact was revealed after the torrential rains that followed the Thomas Fire and which caused the deadly Montecito Debris Flow.
When I first saw the petroglyph I was surprised by its size. It’s no small piece of work.
I was also struck right off by how unusual it is relative everything else I have ever seen in Santa Barbara County with respect to Chumash rock art and petroglyphs in particular.
Has anybody out there ever seen a petroglyph like this around this neck of the woods? I’m not asking for location information, just curious if something else like this exists out there in the county.
I consulted a professional expert on the matter who visited the site shortly after it was discovered and it is not known if this is the work of a Chumash individual in prehistoric times or of it was crafted by somebody much later in modern times, Chumash or otherwise.
Interpretations of the rock art include a possible whale or a vulva-form motif.