Paleolithic cave art was painted in midst of geological chaos, the cave's fissured jutting walls alive with dancing gods animated by shifting shadows, stalagmites and stalactites growing from floor and ceiling like nightmares of dragons' teeth. Indigenous rock art seems to be slumbering in the comfort of a rolled-down mineral bed, enchanted by numinous symbols of technicolored dreams.
In Western hagiography, horned humans can be traced back to an iconic Moses, who descended from his mountainous encounter having grown horns on his balding head. St. Jerome's translation of the Latin cornuta [the original Hebrew, geren, could mean "horns;" but also "rays of light," or "shining"] for the official Catholic Vulgate, inspired Michelangelo to see a Moses with horns waiting in a block of Carrara marble for the artist's chisel to free the curves of his fiery mind.
though, "today, horns sprouting from a person's forehead suggest
the devil, the cuckold,
or at best a pagan god," perhaps Jerome didn't make a mistake,
but had dreamed into a deeper imaginal pool, in which horns represent
divinity and incorruptibility; also
virility, where the horn
was seen as the rebirth of the moon.