Tastes from the Maya
Heading to the Mayan ruins on the Yucatan seemed like a fitting bookend to the 2012 journey which started at Kailas in Tibet. The Mayan culture were unique in the attention they paid to the answer – “where is the center?” – and I was looking forward to returning to Chichen Itza as well as the beaches of Tulum. Last time I was there with Catalina and we climbed the pyramid of Kulkulcan on a dark night. At the top I was paralysed by a deep sense of fear and heart pain as well as being struck by the image of the Gt Bear and the Southern Cross in the same sky. Sharon and I had spent a week or so exploring and waiting for the right time to head to the pyramid. We were on the ‘island of the women’ planning on going swimming with whalesharks when we heard a hurricane was approaching so we headed inland and holed up in a hotel right next to Chichen Itza. Some time during the evening the ‘eye’ passed over us and we were caught up for several hours in a combination of esoteric research and love making.
We had bought a copy of John Major Jenkins’ book Maya Cosmogenesis and I was periodically dipping into it, opening it at random and the synchronicities and energies kept piling up. Here are a few tastes.
“In Maya thought gods represent intangible forces which can manifest in different events at different times. The Lightning god for example is present in thunderstorms but also present when a human being has an orgasm”.
“The fire drill symbolises the cosmic axis and Tezcatlipoca, the one footed deity spins upon the Pole star. The Mayan counterpart is Hunrakan or Hurakan, the twisted one-legged god of the Quiche. He is famous in the Popol Vuh for bringing down destruction on the age of the wooden people. He wipes the slate clean by sending a universal flood. Interestingly, the English word ‘hurricane’ derives from Hurakan.”
Are you kidding me? I am reading ‘this’ at Chichen Itza in the middle of a hurricane in 2012!
Now I really began to pay attention. It seems as if the people who ended up in Mesoamerica came over in great migrations from northern polar regions. The great god of those regions is the polar god of the Siberian shamans, the Sampo of the Kalevala, the white island, and Shamballa of the North. Its primary symbol is the Great Bear (or wild white boar), but also the swastika and the firedrill. It was the obvious answer to the question “where is the centre?” if you lived in the north, one could see all the stars rotating around it at night. As they migrated further south however, the ‘god of the poles’ was not so reliable. The constellation of the Great Bear fell away from the centre of the sky and in long cycles of time it also fell away from the pole. In the Popol Vuh (Mayan cosmology) there is the myth of the shooting down of the Seven Macaw by the Hero Twins (Gemini) and the gradual transfer of the ‘centre’ from polar to solar. This happened in many places around the world as migrations moved south and the path of the sun through the sky on the ecliptic became more important. This is often seen in mythology as the ‘mapping’ of the seven stars of the Gt Bear on to the seven stars of the Pleiades – the transfer from polar to solar. The pleiades are on the ecliptic and in Mesoamerican culture the ‘centre’ was marked by the passage of the zenith sun across the Pleiades. The Toltecs – also called the people of the Pleiades – introduced the ‘new Fire ceremony’, which was bought to Chichen Itza and performed right up until the time of the conquistadors (who ironically they may have thought of as the return of Quetzacotl, the feathered serpent gods).
They did this ceremony every 52 years to make sure the lesser world ages were rekindled. 52 years marked the cycle of their combined sun and moon calendar and also the approximate age of a generation. On the night before the new calendar round was to begin, all fires were extinguished and all dwelling places swept clean. A warrior was taken to the summit and when the Pleiades passed through the zenith at midnight his heart was sliced out. The fire priests then immediately kindled a fire in the warrior’s chest cavity and anointed his still beating heart in the flames of the new fire. The new fire was then used to kindle all the fires throughout the empire. The ceremony had an astronomical, mythological and cultural function. I turned the page and read that the last time it was performed was on November 13 – my birthday – so suddenly I had a personal connection and the experience I had on top of the pyramid in the middle of the night last time came back in full force.
So we now have two answers to the question – “where is the centre?” – corresponding to the personality as identified with the polar god – and the soul as identified with the sun passing through the zenith. The Pleiades are an interesting marker to use for they lie on the galactic anticentre and sometime in the development of Mayan astronomy the interest in the galactic centre became prominent as a marker for precession, and in particular as a marker for the end of the long count calendar when the solstice sun would conjoin the galactic centre. In those latitudes the galactic centre is obvious and huge in the sky, and a number of South American cultures have extensive mythology about it. A complex game on huge ball courts was played as a ritual – the object being to get the ball (the sun) through the ring (galactic centre). There were seven players in each team and the winning captain was ceremonially beheaded by the losing one. Out of his neck six streams of blood issue in the carvings, with the seventh becoming a vine or tree of life symbolising renewal. The crocodile and toad were both associated with the centre of the galaxy and it is believed that the shamans took dried toad venom at the ceremony, which contains a powerful hallucinogen that allowed them to make the journey in consciousness. The parotid gland on the neck of the toad is depicted in Mayan sculpture as a circle containing three dots exactly like the Roerich symbol.
Again personal synchronicities – before heading to Mexico we had been offered toad venom in a ceremony (which we weren’t able to do at that time).
The crocodile or alligator story from the Quiche is also illuminating and essentially involves a man who is swallowed by a reptile and cuts himself out at the place where the sun shines between the ribs. He finds himself in a strange country where people do not eat but only smell their food. They dont have anuses so he devises a way to perforate them and then he escapes across the ocean on a deer. “Haven’t you done anything to your anuses? If you like we could find a way to perforate yours like we do in our town. There everyone has been perforated.”
I find this particularly interesting as anyone who has seen my Swami Bumananda video will know, because of the link between the black hole and the asshole, or base chakra. Beyond the duality of consciousness lies the black hole of the monad. Beneath the duality of sexuality lies the singularity of the base chakra. I have often joked that the fastest way to transform society is to ‘anal sacred spot’ all our politicians on a regular basis.
The Mayans had a glyph that could literally be translated as ‘black hole’ and it was associated with the rebirth of the world, the womb of the great mother and the mouth of the toad-jaguar-crocodile galactic centre.
The next day we visited the monuments and the cenotes, meditated, and spent hours processing the many inner and outer experiences and synchronicities – only a few of which I have touched on here.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Mayans were aware of all three centres – polar, solar and galactic – through shamanic state experience. In our time we are able to integrate them in consciousness and just in time for the end of their calendar and the rebirth of the world.
I am left struck by the power of the images of decapitation and of the heart sacrifice. The old solar consciousness succeeds in bringing itself to the galactic centre – the central spiritual sun. The ‘head’ or old cultural identity and governance systems are removed (pluto in Capricorn doing its work) and a new fire – this time electric fire – is kindled in the chest cavity of the modern spiritual warrior. This fire is at the core of all the fires in the new civilisation – the fire of Life. And it is not a solo warrior and a small empire but the Aquarian warrior made up of millions of hearts and the kingdom is the whole planet. This links to the image from Kailas of the risen soul, down from the cross and an unstoppable light flooding into the world.
I am also left humbled by the hidden purpose that inspires human civilisation – rising and falling throughout the centuries and millennia, slowly forming the bones and flesh and spirit of a being that rises now in our time into its heritage and its destiny.