Camera Lucida: Journey

Julia at My Red Page has chosen Journey as this weeks theme.


Middle English: from Old Frenchjornee ‘day, a day’s travel, a day’s work’ (the earliest senses in English), based on Latindiurnum ‘daily portion’, from diurnus(see diurnal).

1 – An act of travelling from one place to another

1.1 – A long and often difficult process of personal change and development





” There is no water. The corn is dust. Coyote and rabbit have gone.  We follow the hawk, heron and antelope. When you return, find us.”







The above Pictographs are representative of the thousands you can find, or not find, that were created during the Archaic Period, and then by the Yavapai, Apache and Sinagua Tribes  that inhabited the Verde Valley. These are identified as Sinaqu in style and content, created between 650 AD and 1400 AD.

Created on rock panels the images are  made with  natural dyes from plants, minerals, and the human need for expression. Mystery and speculation surround their true meaning. Subject to individual interpretation they are commonly thought to depict through their connectivity lines the stories of the history of various clans, prayers and magic, boundaries, initiation rites,  migrations and water locations. They differ from Petroglyphs which are carved into the rock.

The tribes abandoned this area around 1400. Dendrochronology indicates that there was a period of wildly fluctuating weather followed by a pervasive drought.

I have spent many hours with these images, both at carefully public preserved sites, and searching the ley-lines for the undiscovered. They reveal themselves slowly and ever changing in varying lights and seasons.  Images come and go, often only revealed to me later by what the camera lens has captured. With my mind’s eye and heart I see them, and so their meaning to me changes, while the image does not.

As the Southwest U.S. currently becomes increasingly dry, and water increasingly precious, I wonder about those souls who returned home from a small journey, to find themselves left behind but not forgotten. The call to join their people, left written in  the rock.


I invite you to join us for Camera Lucida. Just knock on the door below to see what others embrace as “Journey”

Camera Lucida - Your Gallery


Today’s Music; Seals and Croft: We May Never Pass This Way Again

Peace and blessings to one and all.


  1. So interesting. My daughter and I visited The British Museum in London yesterday and it was fascinating to see the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and Assyrian wall art that hint of stories from all those years ago. Their art brings them closer somehow. We took a short day’s journey to London, but a long long journey back in time 🙂
    Enjoy your weekend. x

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Dear Johanna 🙂

    I am glad you visited my blog because it gave me a chance to visit your wonderful blog which has immense wealth of knowledge. I really loved reading this article. 🙂

    Do you traverse through Verde Valley( Arizona) or you get these pictographs from other archives?

    Also: What do you you call the language used to interpret these pictographs?

    The message you derived from the pictographs seems to have been written in a time when drought was hitting the tribe. Who were they expecting to come? Also what did they mean when they said “find us.” If they die they die. Isn’t it?


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    1. These are my own photos. I have photographed rock art for many years and in many places. One of my joys!

      I am not certain if there is a particular ‘language’ to call the rock art. I do know that particular time periods and tribes can be identified a the consistent style and subject matter, and carbon based dating of the materials used for the create the symbols.

      Yes, Dendrochronology, the study of tree bark rings, indicates that there was serious drought during the time period the post speaks of.

      As for who ‘they’ were expecting to come. Rock art always sets the imagination loose and free. I was playing around with imagination here, considering what it would be like to return from a short outing or trip and find that your entire tribe had moved on. Or be making preparations to leave and have a loved one not be on there. The artwork a way of leaving a message behind of where the tribe was heading.

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      1. Wonderful. Much appreciated. Now I am familiar with another branch of study. I was not aware of “rock art” as your introduction just has many beautiful images. I thought you were some researcher in pictographs. Thanks for clarifying–now I understand your work much better.

        Have a nice time Johanna


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  3. Johanna you always have such fascinating stories, I always love reading them and I learn new things. I have my own theory on these pictographs…I think they were the beginnings of blogs… 😉

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