A Thousand Years of Indian Pictographs at Paint Rock. Solar and Stellar Observatories Still Work Centuries Later.
Visit Paint Rock on December 21 to see The Winter Solstice Marker
I first saw the pictographs in December of 2002 when I brought my cedar flute to play at the winter solstice observance. My flute playing was a big hit and I kept getting invited back and now have sort of become a fixture on winter solstice days. On the solstice we gather at the appropriate marker and wait for the ray of light and I play my flute for a while leading up to the event, a triumphant song during the event and a nice long closing song. They're not songs you've heard before, they're things I have made up, but the crowd loves them and I get lots of compliments and even a few requests for a CD. Who knows? one of these days I may record some of my flute music and make a recording available. It is unique.
There are hundreds of paintings spread out over about a thousand feet - it's a great way to spend a day that you won't forget anytime soon.
I also played the Choctaw cedar flute at almost every Winter Solstice since 2002 at Paint Rock, Texas.
Fred and Kay Campbell have done everything they could to preserve and protect this place and these rock paintings. They lead personally guided tours at $5 for adults and $3 for children but they encourage the observance of the solstices and equinixes; however, so there's no admission or other charges at all for the solstice celebrations. Call them at 1 - (325) 732-4376 and make a reservation for a tour and plan to spend some quality time in a special peaceful place on the banks of the cool Concho river. You'll learn some things about the Indians who lived here long ago that will surprise you. Feel free to bring a picnic basket and leave nothing but footprints in the dust and take nothing but memories and photographs. You'll come away with a peaceful feeling that might even change your life.
I hope this does not sound like a commercial; it's not. Paint Rock is not for entertainment like a powwow, but is a special place where one can commune with nature and meditate in a place that lets you feel an uncommonly strong connectedness with Mother Earth and all her other children. It feels as if some part of the spirits of those who were here before are still here. It is an invitation to open the eyes and ears of your soul to hear the stories of those whose innumerable campfires dot the night sky and whose names can never be said again. One comes away with a feeling of spiritual fulfillment and personal contentment. There are some places that just seem to have some kind of spiritual electromagnetic attraction. This place is one and so is "the Garden of the Gods" rock formations in Colorado.
I have played my Choctaw cedar flute enough years at the Paint Rock Pictograph site during the winter solstice and also explored the other paintings and have discovered the meanings of some of the pictographs. Some of them seem ritualistic, such as the paintings that apparently honored the Green Corn Moon and the Ripe Corn Moon, two of the biggest celebrations of the year among corn growing Indians and perhaps a summer solstice marker.
Some of them were of astronomical significance, such as those depicting the supernovae of 1054 and 1572 and one that was a beautiful map of the winter/spring sky. Another was already known to be a reliable marker for the winter solstice. It's a real "Aha" moment when you finally figure out a pictograph. What was a mystery for centuries is suddenly clear and lucid. Sometimes such moments can be emotionally overpowering as you realize that someone from long ago left a written message on a wall and you just figured it out even though you don't speak the same language. That's the power of symbology. Sometimes it made me feel really giddy to finally figure out what was said in paint so long ago. Each of these things will have its own page in this Paint