In March 2015 Rudi Wienand, Max Brumberg and Guido Falco, made sound recordings in Cueva de la Pileta, a cave in the Serrania de Ronda that has rock paintings dating back to Paleolithic times. A week later they returned with a group of people to sing in the cave.
The cavities of Cueva de la Pileta extending over 2,5km long.
Karmit: You say going into the cave with the intention of playing music was very different from any other visit. Can you say something about how it was different for you?
Rudi: I'm sure that if I went to the cave with my mother for example and her hiking group, I would go in there and walk around and see the beauty of the cave, but there would not be much more than that. I think the difference was in the intention we had as we went in. Our intention was defined and concrete, it was to go in and become silent to be able to listen. The intention that was to connect with the energy of the cave and offer ourselves, the instruments and our voices as a gift to the cave.
Karmit: Did you ask for permission?
Rudi: Yes before we left the house we took the time to ask for permission to go there and play. We silently made a connection with the cave. When we got there, Thomas (the guide) was just entering with a group and he suggested that we come in and do the normal tour and get to the Sanctuary (Sala de Pez) and then we'd stay there while he went back out with the group. That was a very good suggestion as he helped us carry the heavy gong (!), and also as he stopped every few minutes to talk about the cave we really had time to arrive properly. He walked for ten meters and talked for five minutes, about the lake and the stalagmites and stalactites, his great grandfather who found the cave and how old the paintings are. So it took nearly an hour to get into the Sala de Pez, the sanctuary. We had time to go in. Very slowly and very deliberately, speaking to the cave without words, every time we looked at each other we breathed deeper and feeling that we're really entering and that the cave did give us a warm welcome.
Karmit: When you say we looked at each other and breathed out and we felt a warm welcome can you describe this feeling a bit more.
Rudi: I think it was very subtle, everything was very subtle, not intense, not harsh, not ‘here I am and this is my energy’, but it was something very soft in the air. Opening up to what's surrounding you. And carrying all the instruments was very important as it was all very heavy, we were sweating and it wasn't easy to get it all I there in one go, this was also very good as we not only offered our intentions but also made a physical effort that was hard. Like we ‘earned’ our entry.
Karmit: Can you describe a special moment for you during the recording or singing sessions.
Rudi: In the voice session there was a moment when I just 'dropped down' with my eyes closed. It was totally dark and nobody actually knew which sounds came from where. Sounds started to emerge and whirl around the space as the acoustics are so special there, and suddenly I felt like I was falling down, going really deep down into the earth. The sounds were carrying me down. But it was not a scary feeling, but it was soft and smooth and comforting and healthy. I have had in the past certain ‘underworld’ experiences through music and movement but it was always dense and this was exactly the opposite it was light and without heaviness. At a certain point the sounds called me up again to where the animals are and the life on the surface of the earth. The animal sounds, wind and birds, were all part of coming back up again. Then it was over and it was quiet and blissful.
The surface I came back to is inside the cave so it not actually a surface in the land but rather a feeling. Being inside the cave I was able to go down. I was going further and further into the cave orinto the womb. Into earth, into the mother. It felt somehow Iike the soft tissue inside of the womb, the warm lining where the nourishing comes from.
Karmit: Do you see any connection between this womb space and the cave paintings that are there?
Rudi: Yes definitely. One of the most beautiful paintings in the cave is the pregnant mare painting which is obviously speaking about fertility, new life and so on. There is the Venus (woman) paining in spirals, the many vulva and phallus symbols, and the woman giving birth painting. There is a strong relation in the paintings to the feminine, fertility and the principle of giving birth. The feeling of the cave is very feminine, soft welcoming and embracing energy (not everywhere there are different spots with different kinds of energy).
Karmit: Do you think it's plausible that in ancient times people were aware of the regenerating energy present in the cave and made rituals in order to connect and honour the regenerating forces to bless them with fertility with animals for the hunt, with Life?
Rudi: Yes I can perfectly imagine so. I think that the more people are in touch with nature, with their own nature and nature that surrounds them, the more they know that things are just are as they are and this is a sacred prayer, this is part of ritual. I have no idea how much the people in those days were doing things with intention or whether it was all just parts of cycles they were part of and they just did it. It seems to me that it would have been part of the communion with all that surrounded them.
Karmit: Maybe the forces were seen and communicated with as part of what is done for this cycle to continue to flow. There are places like temples or shrines where the divine energy is kept in a very alive and pure form and when you come into contact with it you are touched in a way that is very impactful. And if you go in with the right intention you can walk through a veil and meet something that is the divine essence within the earth, the divine essence that lives within all things.
Rudi: Yes, In the cave for the first time in three or four years something happened that was very subtle and delicate. It was Iike a very thin curtain, like air that you can touch. There was a connection with the earth, with inside of the earth and with the rocks, with the humidity in the cave through a very subtle perception. It is a feeling I haven't felt for years as my attention was on the here and now and getting on in my life.
There was no need for any particular spiritual practice or a certain ritual, the connection just happened, it was very healing for me. We were three different people (the musicians playing) who don't even know each other very well. And we come from different styles of music and different lifestyle. We came together and didn't talk about what we would play. What happened in the cave was very subtle but very profound. I feel it is still working within me. The way I touch the earth, the way I breath has changed a little bit from this moment on, from this experience.
Karmit: What about ritual in our day and age. Do you think that there is any relevance for us as modern human beings to come into contact with this particular force that can be felt in this cave? Rudi: Yes definitely. It's very necessary to keep the energy moving and to keep the energy in places like this alive. I mean that by going to these kind of places with the intention and focus of inwardness and listening feeling inside - things start to happen by themselves and this is very important to do this in sacred places because they need to be kept alive. It's not that they need us to be alive but if there is interaction with humans it's important that this kind of ritual is done. Karmit: So that it’s recognized?
Rudi: Yes, So that the place can interact with us. It's important for consciousness of all beings to be in relationship, an active relationship. In places like this cave the place does something with us.
Karmit : Do you mean like take us through an initiation?
Rudi: Yes. Renovating, regenerating, shining a light on an aspect on yourself. You get to see something about yourself that you didn't see before. It opens something in you. It is interesting to communicate with the subtle energies of the cave through music, singing, coming in with an intention to interact.
To read more about Rudi's work - http://www.rudiwienand.com/
*** Cueva de la Pileta is one of the caves we visit on Gonsis of the land course.