Here is yet another video of me not knowing what I’m talking about while showing you magnificent, historic archaeology.

Marlo Morgan talks about walking the desert, naked, with the Australian aborigines, in her book Mutant Message Down Under.

“The people then began to smooth out places in the sand, and each took from the common bundle carried earlier a round roll of hide or skin…”You can put it under you on the ground, or cover yourself or comfort your head.”…The first night I used my allotted skin as a mattress, but when the cold nights set in, it got transferred to a blanket.  Most of the people lay on the bare ground cuddled in someone’s arms.  They depended on warmth from another body rather than the nearby fire.  On the coldest nights, numerous fires were made.  In the past they had traveled with domesticated dingos that provided help in hunting, companionship, and warmth on cold nights, hence the colloquialism ‘three-dog night’.”

Such sleeping circles remain on the desert pavement throughout the American Southwest.  In the Anza Borrego desert, some of the sleeping plateaus are rocky and abrasive.  Circles were cleared in the desert pavement and sometimes surrounded with larger rocks, possibly as something of a windbreak, possibly as a prayer for protection during sleep.  A lot of us in North America grew up being put to bed inside a “protective stone ring prayer”.  Ours sounded like this:

Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
Keep me safe all through the night,
And wake me with the morning light.


If your family was more of the fire and brimstone persuasion, your prayer may have taken a darker turn at the end:

Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
Should I die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

The gist is the same.  A protection prayer.


Since sleeping circles like these were carved into the crust of the desert pavement, they are not subject to much of any erosion.  A sleeping circle will stay in great shape like this for hundreds, even thousands of years.  A tribe could return to the same camping spot generation after generation and find it unchanged.  We can return generation after generation and remember the hunter-gatherer way of life of the natives of our continent.


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