Happened on the 2006 Autumn Equinox at Chichen Itza. Here is the journal from that time.
Wednesday 20th September 2006: The journey began with my rededication to Isis on the Pyramid of the Moon at Teotihuacan this last lunar eclipse.
I have done ceremony and gathered strength at every major Mayan site on route to the Sacred City of Chichen Itza. It is time for the Great Feathered Serpent to make his bi-annual appearance. The Goddess has not told me what my role in this is to be, but I have been well prepared, and I am ready.
This morning I spent three hours in meditation before going to the Caves of Balamkanche where ancient initiates went to cleanse themselves before arriving at the sacred city.
I walk the 1.5km to the caves to arrive for the 1pm guided tour in English. I am the only person there, and am told they don’t do tours for less than six people, there is no way I can enter the cave.
“I must enter, I am a Shaman, here to purify myself before going to Chichen Itza for the Equinox, the Goddess has called me to this place, a way will be found.”
The guide is summoned, he tells me he can’t do the tour for less than two people. I must pay for two.
“I completely understand that it isn’t worth your while to do this for less than two people but I only have the money for myself. I am not here as a tourist but to travel the route of the Initiate in this sacred place to purify myself for Ceremony on the Equinox.”
He looks understandably skeptical so I ask him to hold out his hand and hold mine above it, letting him feel who I am.
“Are you Mayan? Yes? Then you know that the Earth Mother needs healing now more than at any other time, and now you know I am here to help her, so now you must search your heart and decide what is right.”
Still looking wild eyed at the energy he felt in his hand, he leads me to the caves.
The italicized text are excepts are taken from the book Chichen Itza The Cosmic University of the Mayas by Miguel Angel Vergara C.
The Throne of the Jaguar Serpent
Beginning of the Initiation
Here was the beginning
The entry door to Initiation
‘The student descended to the Cave of BALAMKANCHE, lowering his head for the narrow passage mouth to the caves. Crawling like a serpent through the darkness, in order to be humbled to the existence of dread, of fear, and of the conquering of these….’
After gaining permission from the spirits of this place, I descend slippery steps following my guide who walks quickly and silently, without looking back at me.
I have to follow the path created for tourists, and there are no English explanations, but I need none to know when I have arrived at the throne of the Jaguar. His might extends out in every direction, and I am magnetized to His mighty head, seated on a precarious slope away from the path.
The guide knows enough not to try and stop me,
I stand bowed before Him, He won’t let me touch him but he shows me the mouth of the cave I should enter. I know I will not be allowed to go this route physically. I also know that I have already been ‘humbled to the existence of dread, of fear, and of the conquering of these’ many times. My initiates path has simply taken a different route.
I send my spirit down into the narrow opening and set my body back on the wider path.
‘Passing among the stalactites and stalagmites that hung on all sides of the Caves. Step by step he approached the sacred place’
The stalactites and stalagmites grow larger as we progress down into the heart of the earth, through a narrow doorway and into the next stage of the journey.
‘The Great Mother Ceiba, IMIS-YAXCHE, ceremonial place, represented symbolically the Skies and the underworld where he was to be instructed into the mysteries of BOLONTIKU (the Fire Worlds) and the OX-LAHUMTTIKU (the 13 heavens).’
‘In the trunk of the Great Mother Ceiba, there appeared engraved black hands that with their fingers indicated to us that in order to “ascend one must first descend” Nothing can ascend, reach the Light, without having had the hardship of descent, of descending inside oneself and to the New Sphere”. Sameal Aun Weor
This magical place is overwhelmingly beautiful and like the rest of this journey, impossible to capture with my camera. I stand in awe of Great Mother Ceiba laughing with delight at the immense grace and welcome of Her. She is the reward at the end of the initiates path, Her presence the shrine at which one willingly offers oneself in gratitude for the completion of the journey through darkness.
‘Around the ceiba there seem to be numerous offerings of stone and clay but there is one of them that is special and bears mentioning. It is an empty heart of clay, symbolizing the aspirants disinteredness to all the illusion of the material world.
There his heart neither has attachments nor guards illusions for with himself it is all the same. To lose his ancient personality he wishes only to die to himself.’
Suddenly the numbness of the past weeks makes sense, and I release the illusion of it as numbness. I should after all, know this feeling by now, I Am Phoenix.
‘Finally one reached the great Lake or subterranean River, where one was baptized with the Water and instructed by the priestess in the principals of the great secret’.
The great Lake is so clear and pure that I don’t initially realize it is water, I just feel the sanctity and know it is a place of purification. When I realize I know I have to bathe in those waters. And I know why I am the only person on this tour.
I don’t know if my guide is horrified or delighted, it doesn’t matter, what matters is the ritual cleansing. Ignoring him I strip off my dress and submerge completely in the sacred waters of this ancient baptismal.
“Father Mother Creator God I Am Phoenix bringer of JOY! I give thanks for the cleansing and the blessing of this place and release all that would prevent me from being a clear and perfect channel for Divine Will. Make me ready for this task tomorrow, Thy will be done.”
Then without another word I put my dress back on and lead the way back out of the cave.
I stop at the Jaguar, and this time He lets me come right up and touch him. I lay my head against His, it is three times bigger than my whole body, and weep without knowing why.
As we ascend the stairs I see light and jungle above us, suddenly there is the sound of a great heartbeat and birdsong as I am re-birthed into the day.
The timing is profoundly impactful after the silence of the caves and the depth of the experience, I can’t figure out how God has managed it until I see the next tour group descending and realize it is the touristy beginning of their tour as well as the end of mine. Nicely done, goodonya God.
I welcome this re-birth into this next phase of my life. Bring it on!
Sept 21st 2006 Autumn Equinox; at the gate to the sacred city of Chichen Itza.
I am staying at the Dolores Alba Hotel; a popular spot for esoterics because it is built on the exact location where cosmic energy enters Chichen Itza. It is situated right between the Balankanche Caves and the ruins, across the road from the magnificent Ik Kil Cenote.
It is also the best deal around at $45 a night. Decent rooms, good food, great service, air conditioning and two swimming pools; one round like the sun and the moon, the other a unique natural reef of limestone and seashells made by Mother Nature millions of years ago when it was covered by the ocean. It’s believed to have healing properties.
Tony, the owner, reckons it’s like swimming in the Fountain of Youth, I don’t know about that, but it’s certainly one of the few swimming pools I’d go in to. I prefer natural running water.
My request for release in the subterranean river of the Balankanche Caves is granted. That night there is a tremendous storm, and Dolores Alba takes a direct lightning hit. I am quick enough to save my computer but the power supply is fried.
I have nothing to distract me from my task tomorrow. Will I ever learn to be careful what I wish for?!
This task will indeed take all of my attention. I am to enter the city and place a very special stone at the base of the Great Pyramid at midnight. Chichen Itza is better guarded than Fort Knox on the Equinox, and I am not exactly renown for my stealth.
New friends Sharona and Marco who are staying at the Dolores Alba on holiday from their hotel in Tulum try to change my mind.
“Is there anything I can do to talk you out of this?” asks Marco “Chichen Itza is like Tulum, there is 24 hour security and if you are caught after hours they will bash you on the head and drag you off to jail no questions asked, we’ve seen it happen. Have you at least spent your time here figuring out how you are going to do this?”
“You know, that probably would have been a good idea. I tend to adhere to the Mexican method of jump in feet first and work out the details as I go. I’m doing God’s work, He’s got my back.”
Bless them they spent barely a moment in eye rolling before starting on alibis for me in case I get caught “Rinse your mouth out with tequila so you have it on your breath. You can say you had too much to drink, your friends left you and you fell asleep, here is our number… and the number of the hotel if you can’t reach us they can.”
Then Marco gives me two feathers for protection and Sharona does a ritual cloaking for invisibility, twice.
“May your Goddess walk with you and protect you as you do what you have to do!”
“Don’t worry I walk with BIG angels, but I am VERY glad to have your support as well.”
Dressed in the darkest clothes I have, I hop in a taxi and head for the ruins, timing it so I will arrive as the crowd from the light show is leaving.
The taxi drops me off in front of two security guards.
I have a fleeting moment of wanting to ask him to take me back to the hotel, then take a deep breath and ask him to come back for me at 12.30am. It is 9pm.
The guards look inquiringly at me
“Hola! Have the people come out of the show yet?”
“They are coming out now”
“Excellent, thank you” I take off toward the crowd, walking briskly, not looking back, passing people in 2s and 3s and groups until I am alone on the spot lit path.
Ahead of me are glaring lights and break down noises as the set for the light and sound show is packed away.
‘What now?’ I ask Upstairs Management.
‘Sit quietly and wait.
I turn down a dark, barely visible track and find a stone to sit on, slowing my breathing, reinforcing my shields, waiting for my heart to stop pounding, comforting the logical part of myself that is totally convinced I have lost my mind: ‘You are risking a Mexican jail and a broken neck for what?!’
I take out the strange crystals Gayle gave me in Sedona, Spirit had been clear that I should bring them to Mexico, there are two that make up the head and the body of what looks like a bird, they vibrate in my hands.
‘I don’t know exactly, but these have something to do with it. Relax, God is our lookout, He has a good view.’
My logical side remains unimpressed, but it is true, I am told when to move, when to seek cover and where, and when to run, or at least walk very quickly across the huge open expanses surrounding the pyramid. There weren’t nearly this many trees!
It is an essential advantage considering the well manned, brightly lit security station is right next to the pyramid and I am stumbling about on a moonless night in completely unfamiliar territory.
I thought that the trickiest part of sneaking into Chichen Itza would be avoiding being seen.
I was wrong.
It was avoiding being heard.
Mayans are famous for their amazing acoustics; a cracking twig can be heard all over the grounds, crunching footsteps are a dead giveaway. I put psychic mufflers on my feet and creep tree by tree toward the security area, which I have to pass to reach the pyramid.
I am doing fine, then the logical part of me panics in the middle of a wide expanse and doesn’t stay put in deep shadow. Two guards are approaching and they can’t fail to see me!
My personal moral code won’t let me tell a direct lie but I can dance with the truth if I have to.
I throw my cell phone in the direction of the stage area and call out to them seconds before they bust me. “Disculpe amigos, please can you help me find my phone? I know its here somewhere”
They kindly help me look and when we find it I ask the way to Hotel Mayaland, wave my thanks and walk in that direction, the theme music from Mission Impossible playing in my head, apologizing profusely to my angels, vowing to do exactly as I am told forever more, or at least for the rest of the night.
Meantime I have to double back and pass the security area again. Every stumble brings searchlights my way. One loud crack gets an answering squark from the pyramid’s acoustic guardian Quetzalcoatl, he is designed to alert ancient – and modern guards to a clap in His vicinity!
My heart nearly leaps straight out of my chest of its own accord! The sacrificial disk in the Temple of Warriors is directly in front of me waiting!
I melt into a friendly tree and calm myself as the searchlights pass, they look quite beautiful playing over the columns around the Warriors Temple. I don’t let myself think about what will happen if I am caught in those lights. I just follow instructions and give thanks that I am not the one in charge of this insane adventure, I’m just the incarnate vehicle for these stones.
At least I reach the shadow next to the head of the great plumed serpent.
‘Do I climb the pyramid?’
No, you place the stone head between the heads of Kukulcan at midnight.
‘That’s it? You don’t want it at the top? I could do it, this is the dark side of the pyramid; the search lights are mostly on the other side.’
No, it is to go between the heads at the base.
I don’t know whether to be relieved or disappointed.
I sit quietly preparing myself, and the stone, for this final step. The Milky Way is dense overhead, so close and clear in this unfamiliar sky. Peace descends like angel wings, crickets the only sound, loud in this magic night of equal length to day.
Quickly I walk to the center of the stairs, dive under the rope barrier, present the stone and place it.
‘It’s to stay here?’
‘Oh well, it’s been good traveling with you. Blessings”
And it is done.
I make my way toward the Mayaland Hotel with laborious care. I have almost made it out when a flashlight beam catches me right in the eyes and a hostile male voice barks a question.
“Oh thank goodness! I am so lost, please can you show me to the Mayaland Hotel?”
And two armed security guards accompany my angelic host and I back to the waiting taxi.
Back at the hotel I strip off and jump into the healing waters of the reef pool. It takes about 20 minutes for the shaking to stop and the tension of the last four hours to leave my body.
I float under the stars too wound up to sleep, and that’s when Melissa and Andreas arrive with a bottle of rum and a bottle of coke.
They are outstanding company once convinced that I am not the Chichen Itza version of the Loch Ness monster, they hadn’t seen me floating in the dark but had nervously heard me splash toward them.
I finally get to bed around 3am to snatch a few hours sleep before heading back for an authorized jaunt through the ruins.
On this day the great plumed serpent will – if there are no clouds – be seen snaking down the staircase of the pyramid on his bi-annual visit to mortal man. He will bless and fertilize the land before traveling with the setting sun through the Platform of Venus and down the long serpentine path to the sacred well, where he will return from whence he came until the next time night equals day in the solar calendar.
My task this day is to prepare the path and place the body of the stone at the edge of the well at his exact point of entry.
The trick will be getting past the guards again, there is no way they can miss me this time, and they are EVERYWHERE traveling in groups of 5 and 7.
Fortunately my invisible security team is bigger.
I walk slowly around the pyramid stopping at each corner, and the center of each staircase, to pray and present the body part of the stone to Kukulcan. Then I walk purposefully down the path chanting and sending healing into the earth with every step.
I know I am in the right frame when not a single one of the vendors that line that long path approaches me.
When I reach the well I am shocked to see more than 20 security guards enjoying the shade – there isn’t a whole lot of shade at Chichen Itza so I realize it is never going to get less crowded.
I will have to go under the barrier and past a stone structure in full view of every one of those guards. They have already seen me; this is not a stealth moment.
I nod formally to them and carefully, obviously, trek the path Kukulcan will be taking. I stand at the barrier facing the well, arms raised, stone in one hand, peacock fan with its many eyes of God in the other.
“Haere mai, Haere mai, Haere mai! Father Mother Creator God I have come, as summoned, to prepare the path for Kukulcan!”
At the cry two enormous vultures flap out of their home in the well wall directly opposite me and spiral up into the sky, impressing the guards, and me, no end.
Reassured I turn and sternly meet every wide eyed gaze “I Am Shaman, here to place this sacred stone for Kukulcan. It is very important that it not be touched. Understand?”
Without waiting for an answer I duck under the rope, walk out to the edge, and place the stone with gratitude and a pang of regret that I have to leave it too.
I have long since learned I am just the legs for the crystals that accompany me, but sometimes it’s easier to give them up than others.
I bow to the Vulture Guardians and walk back under the barrier, nodding solemnly at the gaping security men, then go and have a well earned bottle of fanta. I am so much better at being up front than sneaky.
And with that thought I go back to the area around the pyramid and thank every tree that sheltered me that terrifying night.
No clouds mar the path of the great plumed serpent as he makes his appearance at 5pm. It is the perfect light and shade show, a rare occurrence for the notoriously rainy Autumn Equinox.