Sites Aligned to the Sun

Equinox Light Serpent Animation at Swansea Petroglyph Site in Eastern California

swansea--petroglyphs-ownes-valley-inyo-mountains-align-to-equinox

A photo from the general area of Mojave North.
Photo by Dcrjsr (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Swansea is a petroglyph site in Mojave North, California. The site’s exact location has been mostly kept secret due to the extreme vandalism that the site has suffered since the early 80s.

An example of symbol found in rock art all over Chaco Canyon

It contains engravings of rayed circles and suns, spirals, and other patterns marking the equinoxes, and summer solstice. The engravings on site are estimated to be between 2000 – 3000 years old. The site has been likened to the Fajada Butte at Chaco canyon (New Mexico).

Solar Alignments

Dr. Barry Fell (1917-1994), a professor of invertebrate zoology at Harvard University, was a widely acclaimed figure in demonstrating, through his research of inscriptions, that the pre-Columbian Americas had been visited and influenced by other Old World cultures, particularly those of European origin. In his controversial-for-its-time book America B.C. (published in 1976) he presented substantial evidence as such, and his work was arguably the first of its kind to tackle and examine this evidence of at length.

Sadly, his work received much criticism due to it not falling in line with the commonly accepted dogmatic view of the history of the Americas, though he persevered and let the evidence speak for itself.

In 1979 Dr. Fell published a book called Saga America, in which he detailed a decoded Arabic inscription at the Swansea petroglyph site in California, translating to say:

“When the Ram and the Sun are in conjunction, then celebrate the New Year”.

Based on his findings he believed the site to be solar-aligned. His research was widely rejected simply based on the assertion that Arabic inscriptions should not have been detected from that period in antiquity in the Americas, dismissing the irrefutable fact that there they were carved in stone.

Some took an interest in the subject and within six years carvings had been found on site with references to the sun, as well as to the equinoxes, thereby validating his assertion. A marker was found for the vernal equinox, and later markers were located for the whole solar year.

Equinox Alignments at Swansea Petroglyphs

The primary equinox markers on site are six vertical bars pecked into the rock that predict the time of equinox with the accuracy of few hours.

swansea-petroglyph-california-equinox-alignment

An illustration of the Light Serpent “Animation” petroglyph, that takes place at the equinox. Illustration created by Jenny Resnick based on original photography on site shared by Equinox Project, viewable here.

Another very interesting feature of the site is a Light Serpent heliolithic animation that occurs in the morning of the spring equinox, where an image of a snake with open mouth, made of sunlight, slowly proceeds towards a spiral petroglyph and starts “eating” its inner ring, also referred to as “an egg”.

This discovery was observed by Mr. Vincent Yoder, who at first noticed a set of circles carved into the stone. He then described how an intelligently crafted pointer shadow entered the circle. After studying this petroglyph further, an interesting equinox scene emerged.

During the process, the “Light Serpent” expands, until it fully merges with the other illuminated part of the site — the sun (or the symbolic “egg”). The illuminated parts in the circle perfectly align with the top and bottom of the carved rings, leaving the rest in shadow. This heliolithic presentation begins shortly after sunrise and lasts about an hour and comes to an end when the circle is entirely devoured and light envelopes the whole display.

You can see a simplified diagram of this on the top right of this section (note in the original petroglyph, the serpent is entirely made up of light, illuminated with sunlight to form its shape from the shadows), and see the fascinating original documentation of this solar event depiction from The Equinox Project here.

Correlation to Other Ancient Sites

Serpents are a common symbolic motif in many ancient sacred sites around the world, particularly ones aligned to the equinox.

Chichen Itza Equinox

The Serpent of Light descending down the pyramid at Chichen Itza at the equinox. Photo By ATSZ56 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

For instance, one of the most common sites that comes to mind is the Kukulcán pyramid at Chichen Itza in Mexico, where a light effect creates an “animation” of a serpent descending down the pyramid.

Several ancient serpent mounds around the world depict a serpent swallowing an egg.

Serpent Mound in Ohio for instance, is a giant earthwork shaped like a serpent with an oval in its mouth (aligned with summer solstice).

In their book, The Path of the Spiritual Sun, Belsebuub and Angela Pritchard draw a parallel with similar sites in other parts of the world, such as the ancient serpent mount of Loch Nell in Scotland (aligned to summer solstice). They share that:

Serpent Mound summer solstice

An aerial view of the Ohio Serpent Mound, with the oval in its mouth. Photo by Timothy A. Price and Nichole I.; uploaded by the authors. (Part of the archive Image:Serpent Mound.jpg) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

There are other serpent mounds in Scotland and Ireland. At least one dated to around 2,000 BC used fire burnt stones, which were also apparently used in the building of the serpent mound in Ohio. The oval at the heads of these serpents may have represented the sun, thus forming the same symbol of a serpent with a sun disk on its head found throughout Egypt.

Could Ohio’s serpent mound be part of a lineage of people and knowledge that ran from Egypt, through ancient Britain and Europe, and is now barely traceable in North America?

Could the Swansea Light Serpent petroglyph be a mini testament to the same?

Conclusion

The site contains many more petroglyphs, the meaning of which remains unknown, including several star-like glyphs, winged arch-shaped carvings or even ancient zodiac carvings. In his book Secrets of Ancient America, Carl Lehrburger shared the following about his explorations of the site:

“I was also to learn that at Mojave North there was nothing simple about any one petroglyph, alignment, or even a grinding hole. What appears as a basic petroglyph image often turns out to be complex and multidimensional, requiring astronomical knowledge to fully grasp the meaning or meanings. For example, there are at least thirteen sun or star symbols at the site, and many are known to be associated with archaeoastronomical events, but all of them are very different in form and function.

Unfortunately much of the rock art in this area has been destroyed by human activity.

The video below shows some of these glyphs and gives you a sense of the area (though unfortunately it did not capture the ones mentioned above):

sun-entering-womb-of-earth-swansea-inyo-petroglyphs

A petroglyph at Spook Canyon depicting the Sun/Sky Father entering the womb of the Earth/Mother. Image re-drawn by Jenny Resnick based on this diagram.

Interestingly, the site is located relatively close to Spook Canyon (a very narrow slot canyon), the area where a petroglyph has been found depicting the rays of the sky father Sun entering the womb-like labyrinth of the Earth Mother.

Judging by the presence of so many solar aligned petroglyphs and depictions of the cycle of the year, it appears the ancient culture of the sun has had a strong presence in these regions in bygone days, demurely leaving only an enigmatic trace of the vast spiritual history of the Americas now largely unknown to us — one that can be explored by reconnecting with the solstices and equinoxes.

inyo mountains california equinox solar alignments at Swansea

A photo from the mountains of Eastern California. Beveridge Hike Inyo Mountains, CA. Photo by thomas.prichard [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Article written and researched by Lucia Beznik and Jenny Resnick

Sources:
Carl Lehrburger. Secrets of Ancient America
Belsebuub with Angela Pritchard. The Path of the Spiritual Sun
http://www.equinox-project.com/analy.htm
http://www.equinox-project.com/analy2.htm
http://www.equinox-project.com/v23071.htm
http://www.equinox-project.com/v21268.htm
http://www.peregriff.com/wanderings/swansea-petroglyphs/

6 Comments

  • So Dr Fells book comes out in 1979 and the vandalism starts in the early 80’s; that sounds about right.

    Looks like an amazing site; that photo from Thomas Pritchard is fantastic. Thanks for putting this article together, it’s greatly appreciated.

    • Hi. I encourage the authors to delete reference to the location of the Equinox Light Serpent Animation article. Protection of these fragile sites and vulnerable locations warrant that researchers not provide location details. Previous authors,including Roderick Schmidt, did not take this into account on his website, article titles or publications, which I think was an error. In my book, Secrets of Ancient America, I refer to the site as Mojave North and provide no details on how to find it. I continue to suggest this course of action until site protection and preservation measures are in place.

      • Hello Carl. Thank you very much for stopping by! And thank you for the note. I made some adjustments to the article as per your suggestions. While researching we realized that the location was vulnerable to vandalism, but (incorrectly) assumed the location descriptions publicly provided were sufficiently vague — thank you for offering the correction, and we would definitely not want to see the sites further harmed in any way.

        Thank you as well for sharing your work on the subject — your book has been invaluable for learning and understanding more about these beautiful sites in America.

  • Lovely find Lucia. So many mini-testaments to this wide spread ancient religion, as you say.

    I didn’t give much notice to rock art before I realised it interacted with the solstices and equinoxes. I also recall listening to John Burke, a physicist who goes around these sites with gadgets that read their electro-magnetic level. He wants to use accepted modes of scientific enquiry to show that there’s more going on at these sites than meets the eye. Anyway, I remember him saying that somewhere in America he found the highest readings of a certain energy and this was also the place with the highest concentration of rock art anywhere. I can’t find where I read that again, but will post when I do!

    Thanks for adding to the picture!

  • An amazing site, and great to see the drive up to it. It seems like there are so many different ways to align a site to the solstices/equinoxes, and the uniqueness of each one is a source of inspiration. The simplicity and depth of the ‘multidimensional’ rock carvings here are really amazing.

    • Agreed 🙂

      It seems a common method in the carvings at these ancient sites to somehow create something very multi-dimensional that looks one way in a certain light, another way when the sun shifts slightly, another way from a different angle, and so on, utilizing optical illusions, mathematics, and the interplay of light and shadow. Not to mention the embedded astrology and astronomy… Incredible how a carving that appears simple at a glance can contain so many “mysteries”.

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