11 September, Guatemala, Tikal (Mayan sacred site)
Our bus driver arranged for another local bus to pick we four travelers up and take us to Tikal which is the ancient Mayan Pyramids in the heart of the jungle. It took like what felt like hours to get there. I was conscious of time running out on the bus. They picked up local people, they got off, then children as vendors got on to sell food and water. It seemed to go forever. It was 5pm by the time we got to Tikal.
It cost 150 Q to get into Tikal but I was able to negotiate 50 Q with the guards as we only had one hour. They agreed. We walked through a dense forest, lots of old growth forest, with several canopies and roots growing out onto tracks, some forming part of the path. We walked up through the forest to Temple IV which I thought must be the main one. I had my camera at the ready but to my amazement the temple had scaffolding all over it. I just took pictures and then we went up the wooden scaffolding at the side of the temple. It was built on what seems like a mountain. I did observe there were lots of mountains in the forest, to me they seemed man made but having driven on through Guatemala it could be that they are natural, they are quite high but narrow, not a gradual slope. Anyway, we climbed to the top and had the most amazing view of the forest, what a vista. It was endless forest. You can understand why spirituality and living in the forest is heightened, the very nature is filled with energy and life. You can imagine the Mayan’s feeling the flow of life energy and life force in these places. They also have crystal rocks and large ones, everywhere. Very high energy places.
Then the rain started and to my surprise the most wonderful and complete rainbow formed over what looked like temples poking over the tree line in the forest. I could see two. I found out later that the temple was the main one. I am not surprised nor do I think it coincidence that I saw this rainbow. For me, rainbows are a sign, always at significant moments I have seen them. So I said to the others, it is a sign. Wow I said this is incredible, and indeed it was. We started to think about going down but the other guy was not there, he went round the other side. I thought, why didn’t I think of that. The other side was more vastness of forest and the sun setting. I actually took a photo of a monkey, I was very excited had been wanting to see one for a long time. Later on when I looked at my photos I saw a bright luminous light in the sky that was not the sun. The sun was behind the clouds, I wondered if a UFO was there. Perhaps have a look and let me know what you think.
We came down the mountain and walked through the forest marveling at the girth of some of the trees, must be hundreds of years old. We then found our way to the main grand temple. I was struck and can you believe my camera ran out of juice at that point. I was amazed. There were two temples facing each other, huge like Chichen Itza but two of them and the many more around the forest.
To the right of the pyramid were little village like huts with thatched roofing. I got the sense of community. There were so many stones around a range of sites in the jungle some looked like grave stones rounded at the top and others were completely round probably connected with the Mayan Calendar. Some were under little shelters, it was interesting. Others were enclosed by stone wall enclosures. I took some photo’s of the etchings and felt them. I find it fascinating and was deeply aware I am in a place of great power. I contrast this to our society so connected to television without any sense of the sacred in our daily lives. It doesn’t have to be religious it is the smallest of moments were gratitude is found for life. We take so much for granted yet we haven’t even touched the edges of the real and meaningful life. I found myself reflecting on the many magnificent churches I’ve seen all the murals and designs of worship. In the Mayan it is like they realized the power of god and were seeking direct experience. They saw themselves as part of the divine not separate. Much of our unhappiness in this life is this feeling of not knowing where we belong and insecurity through disconnection from our tribe or family/community, the real security of knowing who we are and our purpose in life. I only had a short time literally to absorb this place and didn’t have the emotional response that was overwhelming in Chichen Itza, but I found myself turning inwardly to feel the energy. I walked around and felt I’d like more time, but we had to go, that is fate. I tuned into the power of the forest and the mystery that surrounded me. I accepted I had come to connect with such a magnificent place and its connection with the cosmology that is around us every day. So I have to be satisfied with simply that. So my friends and I started to run out of this dense forest to catch the bus. I didn’t think I had that fitness in me but we ran for ages and the little red bus was waiting. We were the last out of the forest. We collected our luggage.
As I pulled my luggage over the grass a small rock got caught under my wheel. It seemed to have some writing on it. I decided to keep it and add it to my rune collection. My runes will be around REAL HOPE.
I am starting to reflect on writing a book about peace in this world. Today was September 11 the day that created the myth of terrorism. I say this as this became a word used constantly by the media to describe any resistance. I do not support armed resistance by any means but keeping the world population in fear of terrorism does not create a consciousness of peace. My interest is true peace in the world and like the Mayans I do feel 2012 is significant. This is why I am looking into their world. So far I am connecting to what I feel is real. More and more I feel to go home and for me, that is truth.
Historical overview of Tikal (Wiki)
Tikal (or Tik’al according to the modern Mayan orthography) is one of the largest archaeological sites and urban centres of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization. It is located in the archaeological region of the Petén Basin in what is now northern Guatemala. Situated in the department of El Petén, the site is part of Guatemala’s Tikal National Park and in 1979 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Tikal was the capital of a conquest state that became one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya. Though monumental architecture at the site dates back as far as the 4th century BC, Tikal reached its apogee during the Classic Period, ca. 200 to 900 AD. During this time, the city dominated much of the Maya region politically, economically, and militarily, while interacting with areas throughout Mesoamerica such as the great metropolis of Teotihuacan in the distant Valley of Mexico. There is evidence that Tikal was conquered by Teotihuacan in the 4th century AD. Following the end of the Late Classic Period, no new major monuments were built at Tikal and there is evidence that elite palaces were burned. These events were coupled with a gradual population decline, culminating with the site’s abandonment by the end of the 10th century.
Tikal is the best understood of any of the large lowland Maya cities, with a long dynastic ruler list, the discovery of the tombs of many of the rulers on this list and the investigation of their monuments, temples and palaces.
The name Tikal may be derived from ti ak’al in the Yucatec Maya language; it is said to be a relatively modern name meaning “at the waterhole”. The name was apparently applied to one of the site’s ancient reservoirs by hunters and travellers in the region. It has alternatively been interpreted as meaning “the place of the voices” in the Itza Maya language. At any rate, Tikal is not the ancient name for the site but rather the name adopted shortly after its discovery in the 1840s. Hieroglyphic inscriptions at the ruins refer to the ancient city as Yax Mutal or Yax Mutul, meaning “First Mutal”. Tikal may have come to have been called this because Dos Pilas also came to use the same emblem glyph; the rulers of the city presumably wanted to distinguish themselves as the first city to bear the name. The kingdom as a whole was simply called Mutul, which is the reading of the “hair bundle” Emblem Glyph seen in the accompanying photo. Its precise meaning remains obscure, although some scholars think that it is the hair knot of the Ahau or ruler.