The Sacred City: Chich’én Itzá
‘Technology’ was first used in the 1610s in a discourse on the arts. It is a word derived from the Greek, tekhnologia, which means a systematic treatment of a art, craft, or technique referring to grammar. It was first used in the context of mechanical and industrial arts in 1859. Going back to the original meaning, grammar is a verbal framework which is used to order our words to a higher order, which we use to describe observations and ‘experiences’ thus becoming a systematic treatment of the living arts and crafts for what else do we use grammar for but to relate and communicate our worlds. In this light, there is no greater perfection of that grammar when applied to sacred art and architecture for these represent objective art, which unlike modern day subjective art has the capability of having the same effect on all those who come into contact with it by means of an intrinsic purview.
Those conditions are shaped and guided by sacred geometry, which our brains/DNA are able to read without the process of learning, and those conditions are reflected in great works of art like that of the Temple of Kukulkan in the city of Chich’én Itzá (Chee-chen-eet-sa). The Temple of Kukulkan is an ancient Maya pyramid situated a few miles from Cancun where the 2010 climate talks took place on the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico where a pre-Mayan nomadic civilization once lived.
Unlike much of modern architecture (excluding some places of worship) that lacks the kind of poetry in composition that emanates balance within the environment, the Temple of Kukulkan is poetry in design, function, philosophy, mathematics and geometry; and as we know, poetry expresses the emotions, the subconscious, and the formless.
Chich’én Itzá means in English “the mouth of the well of the Itza.” It is the original names that survive Spanish conquest. The well is the sacred to the Mayan and is known as Cenote or as it was at the time, Wuk Yabnal (Abundance Place). It was given the name “El Castillo” by Bishop Landa. Other names are Uucil-Abnal (seven bushes) or Uucyabnal (seven great owners). These natural wells would of course be treasured in an area where there are no rivers, and no streams.
The Temple of Kukulkan in the city of Chich’én Itzá is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. The pyramid that is the Temple of Kukulkan encasing an inner pyramid is founded on a squared-base, rising into a step pyramid, of which many exists around the world, not least the Step Pyramid of Giza, Egypt. Not as huge as the Step Pyramid of Giza, it rises to height of 30 meters and is crowned with a temple. The main entrance to the temple is located to the north, with two serpent heads positioned on the ground either-side of the great stairway with what could be taken as their bodies forming the entire length of the great stairway that leads to the temple.
On three sides of the temple are vaulted chambers with doors opening to the East, West, and South. Each face of the pyramid has a steep stairway consisting of 91 steps, which are in turn divided by nine levels or terraces.
The inner pyramid has a stairway under the northern stairway which was discovered by a Mexican government excavation in the 1930s. By digging from the top, they discovered the inner pyramid a Chac Mool statue, and a painted red jaguar. After excavating a tunnel from the base of the northern stairway to the hidden temple, the Temple of Kukulcan was opened to tourists..
The inner temple consists of an outer room and an inner room which contains a lone jade jaguar inlaid with jade spots, and pyrite teeth away from the Temple of Jaguars in the Great Ball Court in the plaza of the city of Chich’én Itzá
The Temple of Kukulcan is purposely positioned like the Ramses Temple in Abu Simbel, Egypt, that every year without fail both the solstices and the equinoxes play a game of light and shadow as the sun casts a shadow on the northern steps of the pyramid. With Ramses Temple the play occurs only during the solstices. The illusionary affect is that of a feathered serpent in motion slithering down the western side of the northern stairway to the sculpted heads of the serpent that lie at the base as a result of the shadow casted by the terraces. The snake is meant to represent Kukulcan (Quetzalcoatl to the Aztecs) before vanishing into the earth adjacent to which is the doorway to the inner staircase that stops at a small shrine.
Depending on where one is in relation to the pyramid, whatever sound one makes travels/echoes but the returning sound is differs from the original sound made. e For example if one sits at the bottom of the stairs, the footsteps of those above sounds like raindrops falling into a bucket as the original sound skims the surface of the stairway. If one claps, in the courtyard the returning sound is as if a strange bird is replying repeating the original sound as a flutter echo. It has been said that the temple was designed this way so that priests far from each other could communicate. Even a whisper travels a great distance! The same acoustics exists in the Ball Courts, where a whisper at one end can be heard clearly at another.
One wonders if a particular language was spoken if it is possible that the returning sound/language would deliver a different message?
In the city between the sacred well, Cenote and the Temple there is a Platform of Venus with a ceremonial causeway that leads north to the Cenote which is a natural well. Skeletal remains of adults and children have been found in this well, and it has been assumed and purported that this well was used for human sacrifices, but given the aggressive nature of those who came after the Mayan, the Aztecs, it is equally possible that they carried out the massacres which might explain the sudden disappearance of human life from the city in 1200AD. The skeletal remains were found by Edward Thompson, the American consul in Mérida along with a fortune in gold and jade all of which given to Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.
There are nine partially enclosed areas known as Ball Courts, with the largest, the Juego de Pelota (Main Ball Court) as host to the national Mayan ball game northwest of the The Temple of Kukulcan. The wall depicts carvings of Mayan ball players cladded out in the Mayan version of the American baseball kit. It is obviously as dangerous as baseball, with some figures more than nearly headless! If there is any consolation, and it depends on what really occurred, small temples are situated at each end of the ball court with the northern temple containing more sculpted pillars than the southern pillar. There is also a mural. The temple in the south east known as the Temple of the Jaguars (Templo de los Guerreros) with serpent columns and carved panels that depict warriors and jaguars, with a mural depicting a battle in a village while Chaac-Mool sits atop the temple surrounded by columns carved to look like enormous feather serpents. Broken fragments remain of what was a thousand columns have been going through a process of restoration.
Tzompantli (Temple of the Skulls), is not a Mayan name, but a name from central Mexico is named after a row of skulls carved into the stone platform along with eagles attacking humans.
The Platform of Eagles is next to Tzompantli showing eagles and jaguars with human parts, and a head from the mouth of a serpent. In Mayan lore, a feathered serpent with a human head in its mouth is a symbol for Venus.
These are just some of the features of the city of Chich’én Itzá, but for me the gruesomeness of some of features depicting human sacrifices, and animals dismembering a human body is not congruent with the type of mind-set behind and ensuing technology of the Temple of Kukulkan, which is indicated by the observatory. The observatory referred to as El Caracol by the occupying Spanish was built over centuries. This minor detail implies that more than one generation was involved in the building of the city, each depicting what was important to them. Mayan scholars Linda Schele and David Freidel tell us:
“After over a thousand years of success, most of the kingdoms of the southern lowlands collapsed in the ninth century. In the wake of this upheaval, the Maya of the northern lowlands tried a different style of government. They centred their world around a single capital at Chich’én Itzá. Not quite ruler of an empire, Chich’én Itzá became, for a time, first among the many allied cities of the north and the pivot of the lowland Maya world. It also differed from the royal cities before it, for it had a council of many lords rather than one ruler.”
So Chich’én Itzá arose out of a kind of democracy, with many rulers, amidst the tradition of a single ruler who may have had little to counter-balance his control over his dominion.
El Caracol refers to the spiral staircase inside the observatory reflects the image of the Mayans that has been projected the most. The tower consists of slits through which astronomers of the time made their astute observations of the celestial bodies, the movements, the time frame, positions, solstices and equinoxes. The windows themselves are positioned to be in alignment with the key positions of the planet Venus, especially when Venus is the extreme north and south. This precision is also reflected in the Temple of Kukulcan
– External stairways = 4 x 91 (steps) + 1 (step of the temple) = 365 = days of the year.
– Terraces = 9 x 4 (sides of pyramid) = 18 = 18 months of the Mayan calendar
As well as a synergistic encoding into the structure for time immemorial the procession of the equinoxes, and solstices, the Mayans have become well known, and sometimes infamously so by a culture that interprets the Mayan knowledge of time, in the context of its own limitations.
Out of a people who without nails, or beasts of burden built a city, were skilled farmers, had a well-developed social system, and traded with cities as far as Panama, they developed a sophisticate written language, were expert mathematicians of a higher order, and were the first people on record to use the number ‘0’.
The Awaited Countdown
They had 22 calendars, the main ones being the Long Count, the Tzolkin (divine calendar), and the Haab (civil calendar), only Haab has a direct relationship to the length of the year.
The Tzolkin calendar is still used today in the Guatemalan highlands and is called Ajilabal q’ij and Cholq’ij. It is a round of 260 days in the 365 day solar year of Haab.
The Haab is a 260 day calendar is based on the 26,000 year cycle of the Pleiades with the Tzolkin and the Haab repeating exactly with no left over days/hours every 52 Haab years. This 52 year cycle is known as the Calendar Round.
It is the Long Count that has been misinterpreted using the lower consciousness of one era to interpret a calendar which derives from a higher consciousness of another era. The Long Count does not speak of the End of Time as the Christian notion of Doomsday/Armageddon. However, if one was to refer to what is expected as The Apocalypse, one might be closer to the truth, as ‘apocalypse’ is Greek in origin for ‘the lifting of a veil/revealing what has been hidden’.
What has been hidden from us is ourselves, our true selves, the soul from the ego, and within that the true meaning of life and our purpose. With the God given gift of choice, we have chosen to hold onto our outer expression devoid of our inner meaning, as such we have shaped the world into dimensions that is beneficial to no one in the long term. As the Mayan cycle of Baktun comes to a close, it represents the passing of one time, (End of Time) to another time or the passing of one way of doing things, which many of us tire of, to another way of doing things.
It is New Ageist Dawning of Aquarius. It represents the awakening of a higher consciousness, and greater humanity within mankind, and an ending of the materialistic male dominated epoch that so many of us have grown so accustomed to i.e. take instead of give psychologically, emotionally, spiritually, and of course physically. Just as we assume that all the people with real knowledge belong to the past (within all faiths) Mayan, Carlos Barrios, of the Eagle Clan of the Mam Maya in Guatemala proves otherwise when it comes to a tradition that has been so badly misinterpreted:
“The world will not end. It will be transformed… Everything will change…Change is accelerating now, and it will continue to accelerate…If the people of the earth can get to this 2012 date in good shape, without having destroyed too much of the Earth, we will rise to a new, higher level. But to get there we must transform enormously powerful forces that seek to block the way…Humanity will continue, but in a different way. Material structures will change. From this we will have the opportunity to be more human…”
“This is the time people need to know what is the purpose of their own lives. This is a dangerous time because we can go to the next step, to the transition, to the fusion of the polarities, or it is a time when we can be destroyed. This materialistic way of life, all this business about economic and social position in the world, it needs to change and the people need to go inside themselves in order to know what they are and to find harmony with the mother earth, with human beings, with their brothers, with the animals, with the plants. It’s an important time because we are in the moment of the prophesies and humanity can be destroyed or we can be saved, all together.”
Even if we do not believe, we have a choice, hope over fear, and hope can move mountains!
As we walked through some of the structures within the city of Chich’én Itzá, there are repeated themes.
Kukulcan/ Quetzalcoatl for the Mayan symbolizes the conjunction of the Pleiades and the sun. The illusion of a descending snake embedded within the Temple of Kukulcun is a record of that meeting between the sun-Pleiades conjunction which occurs over the city Chich’én Itzá every 360 days. This is believed to be due again in May 2012 along with a solar eclipse.
Kukulcan/ Quetzalcoatl was symbol of paradox, an innovator, a preacher of love and compassion, with the snake as a symbol of the personal will, rising to a state of higher consciousness like the kundalini to the crown chakra– the head. Representing the day of the Divine Will as symbolized by the sun (not as in sun worshipping), and the night when Venus is most visible unless she appears as the Morning Star – in other words the transmutation of man’s desire…
Venus – Just as in pharoanic Egypt, the rising of the constellation of Sirius heralded in the flooding of the Nile – thus Sham Naseem/New Year, the transition of the Pleiades signifies the birth of Venus as Venus ascends in the sky the astrological symbol of which signifies the empowerment of spirituality over materialism by living through love. The key words that help define expression are: values, love, beauty, sociability, and cooperation all of which formed the basis of the lessons of Kukulcan/ Quetzalcoatl.
The Pleiades – represent the Seven Dancers/Sisters. Seven is represented in the illusion of the descending snake during the solstice, bearing the reflected pattern formed by the terraces and the sunlight of seven triangles. Again seven is represented in the Mayan names of the sacred well Uucil-Abnal (seven bushes) or Uucyabnal (seven great owners). Seven in numerology represents the number of man, which combined with the motion of Kukulcan/ Quetzalcoatl represents the journey man must make from his lower self (represented by the tail), to his higher self represented by the crown. The paradox is with the head of Kukulcan/ Quetzalcoatl being on the ground, to which the entrance to the stairs of the inner temple are annexed – symbolizing the journey to our true nature (the earth) without corruption, before we can make the Ascension to the inner sanctum of ourselves and each other. Physical act alone cannot make this possible, hence the repeated theme of the North – representing the place of learning, our life lessons, and as such a place of tempering, the result of which is wisdom.
These are just a few of the themes, more of which one can discover for one ’s self. True or false?
Recent discoveries via a tiny robot equipped with infrared scanners that enter paces humans cannot is the finding of hundreds of gold coloured spheres in previously unexplored tunnels. Discovered by archaeologists from the Mexico National Institute of Anthropology and History, the clay spheres vary in size. The gold covering is from jarosite (oxidized pyrite) or Fools Gold. What the spheres are/the purpose they serve is open to debate, but the chamber they were found in is as covered in pyrite. The bas are about 1,800 years old.
As the earth is clearly shifting its magnetic poles, and thousands of sea and air animals wash up on land dead with no known cause, and as the forces of nature becomes more volatile at a time when all of man’s material exploits and inventions have only reaped suffering for many either physically, psychologically or spiritually, with mental health disorders topping the global health problems, not heart disease for example, it is time to go to the inbetween place of ourselves and ask is this just a phase, or an opportunity to do justice to ourselves and each other? If we wait for the answer rather than expect the answer, we will find that all that we see is suffering too!
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