I would be remiss to not post on 12-21-12, given that the title of my blog is Evolving 2012. So hello from Valladolid, Yucatán, México and the heart of the “mundo maya”– the Mayan World! And Happy Solstice!
You may or may not be aware that the Maya never disappeared from this land. In fact, there are more living right now than at the height of the “Classic” period over 1000 years ago. I was reminded of this yesterday as I roamed the streets of Valladolid. I heard some form of Maya being spoken in the street almost as often as Spanish. Few of the men are my height — I’m 5’5″ — and the women are shorter than the men. A large percentage of those women — especially in their 30s and over — were wearing hipiles (seems the spelling is no longer “huipiles”) as they went about their day, and not just selling items to tourists, but also picking up kids from school and taking care of cell phone business at the Telcel office! Of course there were also a number wearing tops and short pants — or four-inch stilettos and skinny jeans! — and the men dressed in anything from guayaberas and dark pants to (for the younger ones) long shorts and t-shirts like in any U.S. city. The difference is that — with startling frequency — the brown faces above the outfits look like they could have jumped right off a carved stone relief at Chichén Itzá or Palenque carved centuries ago.
Even many of the Spanish speakers speak Spanish with an “accent” similar to the “accent” that many “Indians” back home in the U.S. have when speaking English. Sounds made in Mayan languages seem more similar to sounds in the Diné (Navajo) and Pueblo languages spoken in my home of New Mexico than English. And I was reminded there are more pan continental similarities. The music full of drums and flutes and various percussion instruments made from natural materials. The foods, based on corn and various local meats and local plants. And the ceremonies, honoring life’s transitions, the circle, the cycle of life, the community, sharing, and taking a moment to appreciate and ask for help.
I got to witness such a ceremony last night in the main plaza — “hetz mek.” Done for male babies at 4 months and female babies at 3 months, the family members go around the table 13 times for boys, 9 times for girls, say prayers (from what I gathered) to desire a straight path in life for the child, and then share various foods. I was offered some pepitas, some kind of thick tortilla, and a honey based sweet. There was a little boy in the ceremony, but the purpose was also symbolic. It was a ceremony for a new era, for baby humanity, for the Shift.
And it was a part of a week-long “festival de la cultura maya“(Festival of Maya Culture) which goes through Sunday. I guess the Maya don’t expect the world to end.
All kidding aside about the end of the world happening today, the mood around today’s historic solstice is decidedly anticlimactic. In a culture that has been around for thousands of years and lives in a cyclical reality, it’s only the linear gringos who seem to fear we’re falling off some kind of cliff (fiscal or otherwise!).
In fact, in quintessential Mexican tongue-in-cheek, creatively-capitalizing-on-the-moment, laughing-at-death, living-in-the-now fashion, the only signs I saw that anything might be different this December were literally written on the walls. It’s significant that these walls were in Playa del Carmen (a very touristy area) and that the writing is in English.
Here’s one, advertising a cool “Day Zero” concert festival on the 21st (mostly techno music I gather):
This “Time and Space 2012 Countdown Festival” boasts 3 days, 90 artists (more techno it seems), 48 hours of nonstop music on 2 stages in Tulúm and live painting by metaphysical artist Alex Gray:
Here were some cool t-shirts for sale (the top one says “awakening” and “awareness” …
…and a festive holiday wish:
In all of Valldolid, there was no reference to the Solstice (I actually had to ask around about events!) other than this one low-key sign in the Valladolid bus station, in Spanish:
Its headline is “We’ll take you even to the end of the world” and announces extra buses between Valladolid and Chichén Itzá (which is being spelled “Xichén” more often now).
Speaking of which, as you read this I am on my way to Xichén to hang out with 5,000 to 200,000 (yes, that is the range of estimates) of folks, mostly foreigners I’m guessing (although I don’t know where they’re hiding because Valladolid — the closest town/city to Xichén — is definitely not teeming with tourists nor feeling like a woo-woo mecca nor a party waiting to happen nor a hippie hang out nor a doomsday hideout).
I’m not sure what today holds. I don’t know if it’s true that we will be experiencing a celestial alignment that happens every 584, 283 years. I don’t know if the aliens are going to land. I don’t know if the world financial system or the U.S. government are going to collapse. I can tell you with some certainty that the sun will continue to rise, a 5200-year cycle of time predicted by one of the most advanced civilizations of its time will end, and it is the Solstice — the darkest day of the year, which also signifies the return of the light.
That’s my favorite part of the Winter Solstice – the darkest day is the return of the light. This is so profound and hopeful. I prefer the pagan seasonal calendar which marks the seasons on cross-quarters, which means winter began in early November and ends in early February. If you pay attention to the sunlight, the weather, and plant cycles, this actually makes more sense than the idea winter starts today. [Although you wouldn’t know it’s winter at all here in the Yucatán with its 80+ degree heat, intense sunlight, humidity and mosquitoes!]
Regardless of what does or doesn’t happen, or what is supposed to happen or should, I see today as the Return of the Light — and possibly a brighter one than in Winter Solstices past. I will be taking my own prayers and others’, and a few special objects (one of which was entrusted to me) to Xichén tomorrow. I will express gratitude for all the blessings of life, for the learnings of 2012, and for this opportunity for humanity to grow, learn, and progress in a way that brings us back to our humanity, to love, to our femininity, to our collective caring for each other and other lifeforms, and to the earth.
In Lak Ech — tú eres mi otro yo — you are my other me…
2012 and beyond!