Thursday, December 27, 2012

Winter Solstice at the Mayan Ruins

There was a great deal of hoopla and some unfortunate fears about the "end of the Mayan calendar" on the winter solstice this year. There were people who believed that the world was going to end on that day. Actually, the winter solstice marked the shift from one Long Era of the Mayan calendar--over 5,000 years--to the next, and it is predicted that this new era will  be influenced and guided by more feminine and beneficent energies. May that be true.

The Castle pyramid at Chichen Itza in the Yucatan area of Mexico
Well, left to my own devices I never would have dreamed up going to Mayan ruins at the time of the winter solstice. Thousands of New Agers were headed there to celebrate.  It promised to be a real dense crowd and that would mean a lot of concern among the local police. Not appealing.

My friend Serena invited me to come on the trip as her guest, all expenses paid. Serena went to Woodstock and she imagined that visiting the Mayan ruins at the solstice might be just like Woodstock minus the mud.

I thought her invitation was quite generous and it seemed a good idea to get out of the winter cold for a few days, see some Mayan ruins, spend some time with Serena (whom I had not seen in over 25 years) and see what there is to see, learn what there is to learn.  I agreed to go.

The enormous Carnival cruise ship held over 2,000 people and our Mayan Galactic Shift (don't you love that?) group on the ship numbered 200. There was a roster of speakers who talked about the Mayans, spaceships in ancient times, past life regressions, prophecies, intuition and psychic knowing and various other metaphysically oriented topics.

I went to several of the presentations. I especially liked one by author Robert Sitler, who has spent many years with various Mayan groups. I liked his focus on the cooperative lifestyle of the Mayans, the positive ways they raise their children, their connection with Nature, the value they place on respect, humility and gratitude.

I also sat in on a talk given by Newton Kondaveti, an MD from India who led us in a past life regression. (I have done past life regressions many times. I am of the opinion that whatever pops up in my mind is useful information for further growth, whether I believe it is "actually" a past life experience or not.) My experience was being a 14-year old native American boy, going on a vision quest, growing into a healer, living a long life and then dying. When I died in that lifetime, people said "His life was a blessing."   I would be happy if that were said about me at my death in this current lifetime.

From that experience of a healer who was powerful and humble, I recognize the value of humility. In this next year, I want to place my attention on cultivating humility in myself.

We spent a couple of hours at the Chichen Itza archeological preserve. It was far too short a time to relax into visiting that site.  The movement of the serpent can be seen  on the steps of the temple at the time of the winter solstice. I did see that movement.

It is a beautiful place, and I wanted to spend more time there, but being part of our cruise group herd, I had to move along.

Columns of ancient temple at Chichen Itza

I have been decompressing since I returned on December 23rd. The experience was so different from what I would have chosen on my own. That was good in the sense that it took me into new territory, where I had a chance to view the world from a different perspective.

When I got back, I had to work through some serious disappointment about spending so little time at the sites and about some of the behaviors of members of our group, whose "offerings" at the sacred sites seemed so disrespectful and full of ego. Embarrassing.

I can only imagine what the Mayan elder who led our group into Chichen Itza thought of us, people who could not or would not follow the simple directions he gave about forming two lines, walking in rows of four or making a nice round circle.  Instead, I heard a lot of grumbling and irritation about following the directions. Oy vey.  More work to do here, people.

It was marvelous to be in the sun and balmy sea air. I loved sitting on the balcony outside our cabin and looking at the nighttime sky. I am drawn to Mexico, and often think of moving there, so I enjoyed those days we spent in Mexican waters and on Mexican land.

At Chachanaab, a site of the goddess Ixchel

From left to right, Serena, Quicksilver, me and Shima

Serena and I met in the 70s--we are both part of the Church of the Gentle Brothers and Sisters, a group of healers now dispersed in various geographies. There were two other GBS members on the cruise--Quicksilver, who played a major role in organizing our Galactic adventure and Shima, who works with him. It was delightful to reconnect and to spend time with each of them.

I could say a lot more about why I am severely disinclined ever to go on another cruise. How about a summary? Too many noxious chemicals, too much loud noise and music, too much alcoholic inebriation, too many dumb activities, plus the glitzy awful decor. You see, I am a gal who thinks a journey in a gypsy wagon on summer back roads  is just the thing.

I am glad that I had that time to spend with Serena. As she noted, "Who knows when we will ever see each other again?" At this time in life, every meeting is flavored with the fullness of time.

Now I am back in my home ground. Back in my sweet cottage. Back to completing some wonderful creative and conscious aging projects. I'll share more about these in a future post.

Today, I am going to Skylark Assisted Living, where my dear friend Kate lives, and I will be offering a circle gathering. When people are in assisted living facilities, they often have very little or no opportunity to reflect on the inner tasks of this time of life, to be playful, to make deeper connections with themselves and others. They grow accustomed to diverting themselves or to resigning themselves. They become isolated, even in the midst of living so closely with others. I already did two poetry events there, but this event will be a bit different. I have a variety of tools at the ready, but I will have to play a lot of it by ear, and by heart.

I know there are at least two people there at Skylark who are open to what I have to offer. Perhaps it's like performing for an audience. Focus on those two, and bring the others along. Wish me luck.


  1. Your description of your experience going on a tour like that validates what I always thought I'd feel if I did such a thing. I know tours have advantages for those who don't want to do research and I guess for some they feel safer but it would never be my choice.

    A lot of what people 'know' about the Mayans today is what was created by the same ones who gave us Atlantis wisdom, etc. It's very New Age but how accurate about the real people is debatable. My niece has 6 children by a man who came to America from that region and his face does look Mayan but whether his ancestors were part of the elites there or the ones who got sacrificed and used, that's more up for debate ;)

  2. Hi Rain, I am cured of cruises, at least those by FUN FUN FUN providers like Carnival with its over-the-top atmosphere.

    The New Agey stuff is often quite superficial I agree. I felt as if I was back in the early 70s.

    If I were going to visit the Mayans for real, I would do it in a very different way. I am glad I was able to see the Chichen Itza site, and welcome new adventures that are more aligned with my travel style. Sending you warm greetings and new year wishes. Hope that 2013 is a marvelous year for you.

    1. Hi Gaea. I was also on the Mayan Galactic Cruise and, like yourself, I was underwhelmed by the experience. So I'm a writer (many different national magazines) and I'm currently working on a book of non-fiction essays, and one chapter will devoted to the 2012 Galactic Cruise. I'd love to ask you a few questions about your experience with the whole seminar at sea. If you're interested in sharing your thoughts, please email me:

      Thanks in advance.