MEXICO January 2007

"Son Of Hunab The Creator God, Mayan Sky God and their most powerful Diety. The carving symbolises the rising of the Ancients from the ashes to once again go forth in the world with their knowledge of how to live in peace and harmony with the planet."

“This upcoming journey is creating some apprehension in us both. It will be the first time Paul has been back to the place where it all began..where the symbols and the knowledge was “downloaded” into his being, it is the first stone to go to its resting place on a dark moon and want to be photographed…… we have no idea what is in store but know without a shadow of a doubt that it will be a truly awesome experience.”

We thought we were to be going to Mali, Africa in January 2007 and began to make arrangements for just such a journey. Not far into our research an email arrived from our good friend Carla Woody who excitedly told us that her dream of many years to take a group to the Lacandon Maya jungle in Mexico to meet with the spirit keepers and travel through sacred areas, was about to come to fruition…..that was to be our destination after Africa and the Dogons.

The symbol had not come through for Africa and the feeling to change our arrangements and join our journey with Carla’s was overwhelming.

And so we arrived in Mexico.

We have said it many times and so will say it again…soft, sensuous, mysterious, magical Mayan Mexico…..we slotted right into the rhythm of the land and the people the minute we sat in the restaurant Don Muchos drinking a cold local beer with Carla and another of our group Ed (he would later change his name to Lalo…the Spanish form) at El Panchan. There was to be thirteen of us.

Once the group was assembled and settled in we took off over the next few days revisiting Palenque, with Alonso telling the stories of the city and how and why the structures were built, their true astronomical alignments (he being the discoverer) and how their society functioned at a spiritual level. We were to hear these stories at all the wondrous sites we visited:

Piedras Negras: – accessed by boat from the swirling, rushing Usumacinta River…on the one side Mexico and the other Guatemala and the entrance marked only by a small beach that rose vertically from the shore and in the river, a stone carved with intricate and ancient symbols of the Mayans who once lived there. We met Willy Fonseca at his “Velle Escondido”…Hidden Valley and he transported us and the boat on a large truck that bumped through the jungle and small villages for two or more hours to our launching site. Getting to the river is a whole story in itself.

“If the boat sinks swim for the Mexican side” was Alonso’s advice especially as guerrillas had only just left the ruins that week. The primeval call of the howler monkeys echoed around us and we wouldn’t have been surprised if King Kong himself had come crashing out of the Guatemalan biosphere.

Bonampak: Here there were paintings still vivid with colour and scenes of life and death in the temples that sat at the top of flights of steep stone steps…the same theme in all these sites..just calling out to be climbed. The ever encroaching jungle now covering what must have once been expansive views over the cities from the top of these stairs.

Yaxchila’n; was especially so..Alonso led us through a pitch black labyrinth within a stone wall and out into the main courtyard. As we all emerged the howlers put on an earsplitting display of calls and for a second or more you could imagine it as it was hundreds of years ago.

A short while after arriving and setting up camp at Nahá not far from the lake named after the village, Carla and Alonso came back to collect us as we were to visit and do ceremony with Don Antonio. It was he whom we had to ask permission to place the stone symbol in the lake there and if he would give it his blessing.

Don Antonios’ God house had been moved down from the top of a mountain to behind his home as he was now in his 80’s (this is a guesstimation only) and had not recovered fully from a leg he had broken some time ago. He led us through ceremonies that called in a couple of the Gods to be with us, using copal in God pots..one a little shy at first, then he told us about the God house and the God pots and how they were used, about the Balche,’ an alcoholic drink made from the bark of the Balche’ tree and the Balche’ ceremony which we were too early for this year.

It was an honour to be in the presence of this sacred being who is the only person left with the knowledge to properly perform the ceremonies and rites. When he is gone they will be no more and a way of life once held sacred will have disappeared. We only hope that he has found someone to pass this knowledge to and that the visits of Carla and her groups will inspire some of the young Lacandones to once more be proud of the old ways and want to learn them.

Alonso spoke to Don Antonio about our stone journey and asked for his permission for us to place the stone in the lake. He was hesitant and actually said no, our hearts sank… Were we permitted to place the stone in Lake Naja?

You will have to read "Set By The Ancients" Book 2 to find out.

Paul and I would like to thank Carla for her dreams and contacts, Alonso for his guiding, stories and jokes, Cathy for her cooking, Joaquin and Antonio Chan Kin for their excellent rowing… boat handlers and guardians, a special thanks to Willy Fonseca who we affectionately re-named Jungle Jim and to CindyLee, Cindy, Lalo, Marianne, Nancy, Frostie, Julianna, Penni and Sandi a special thank you for your presence and your sharing….you all made it so special.

Olmec head

Huge carved stone Olmec head in La Venta, Villahermosa.