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A holistic approach to archeology in Palenque, Mexico
Often times when we enter a sacred site we feel separate from it, as it is from another time and place. We think in terms of "that was then but this is now." Our feelings of separateness are far from the actual truth. We can become deeply connected with the ancient wisdom of past cultures. Oddly enough the precious wisdom of the past is NOT in a "then" moment, it is in an eternal one. So if this ancient wisdom is eternal… what do sacred sites and the wisdom of ancient cultures say to us now? How can we understand the whole picture of what these ancient cultures where saying to us with only a few pieces of a very big puzzle? How can we learn to hear the messages they preserved for us? How can we apply this wisdom in our lives?
We could try to understand what the ancients are saying to us the way modern archeologists do, by jumping to many conclusions. Famous guide to Palenque, Mexico for over 4 decades, Moises Morales, said "Archeology is not history, Archeology is assumptions."Morales boldly states that 90% of archeology is based on understanding of the Maya that is wrong. Morales believes we are not much closer to the truth of the ancient Maya than we were when the site was uncovered decades ago. A new picture is of the Maya is arising, most specifically a new understanding of Palenque. Maybe it is time that our understanding changes into a holistic approach to archeology… a Spiritual Archeology.
Many archeologists assume that these past cultures thought, felt, and acted as we do today and base their assumptions on western perspectives and programming. We could do the same OR we could approach the limited remains of any sacred site as a doorway into a living energy where no information has been lost. The past is not separated from us by the passing of time as we might assume. All the wisdom of the past is still available to those who listen. Over the years I learned from Mayan Elders how to listen to the present, to understand the past. The present is a reflection of the past, a ripple of history washing upon the present shores of our consciousness.
Learning to hear the wisdom and history of a sacred site is as simple as getting out of our over active minds and get back to listening with open hearts. This is easier said than done, especially if we have studied a lot about a site. When we enter a sacred area thinking we KNOW things about the site or culture or have expectations about what we might learn there, we become closed to a multitude of messages. Also what we hear may directly contradict what authorities have been telling us. To hear a sacred site we must enter a site in a state of not knowing, innocence with childlike curiosity.
The best way I can convey this idea about this new approach to Archeology is though a few key points I’ve learned over the years.
Let go - don’t try…
I am not asking you to dump everything you know about a site, a people or history. I am asking you to put it aside just for a while to learn/understand a different way. Enter the sacred site with no expectations to outcome. Enter in a state of innocence, wonder and curiosity. Let go of what you have had learned about the area. Let go of any spiritual expectations you have. Know that you do not know. Walked into the site in a state of BE-ing, relaxed and uncomplicated. Don’t TRY to hear… allow the message to come to you.
Pay attention to how you feel
Allow all your feelings to flow through you and take notice of what they are. The sites speak to us as soon as we enter… but are we listening? Don’t judge what you feel. Don’t try to understand it. Remember there are no right or wrong ways to feel when entering a sacred site. Just be honest with yourself. Messages embedded in feelings are very subtle and intertwined with the energy of the site, who we are and how we feel.
On my latest trip to Palenque Mexico my group felt a profound emptiness as we entered the site for the first time. We felt like there was no energy. As we continued to feel our emptiness we also noticed that the only thing we felt was us. This was our first interaction with the site but we didn’t recognize the value in it. The site had helped us empty our minds and hearts and let us know that the message was already inside of us. Even with our commitment to arriving empty we unconsciously expected to FEEL powerful energy and we expected the site to reveal ancient wisdom. The this first message was not what we expected, so we twisted up the message with our expectations.
Pay attention to what goes through your mind.
Because of our first experience in this site, we did not expect to feel anything the second day, so we were able to enter the site in a state of no expectation. Little did we know that we had been literally set up by the ancients the previous day to enter empty. The group headed to the Temple of the Grandmother. After some exploring and photo taking, we congregated on the temple steps. We began to chat. What seemed to be a simple conversation began to take form. I noticed that there was connective tissue between the seemingly different topics we were talking about. We began to realize that the site was talking though us in the present but from a time in the past. Peace had been on our minds as the war in Iraq had just begun. One group member mentioned that she saw a pair of doves mating outside her hotel window. Another group member shared that Palenque is considered the head of the Dove in a book called Keys of Enoch. So we begin to speak about what the Dove meant to us. We all agreed that Peace was the symbol of the dove, but also the mind, as this site was called the head of the dove. The subtle message helped us realize that we were beginning to hear.
You don’t get the entire message at once… Allow the story to build…
Further into the trip we received special permission to enter Pacal Votan’s tomb. The tomb has been closed since 1999 with no visitors allowed. This was an unexpected gift. When we descended into the tomb, it was hard to not have expectations. The air was thick and damp, and full of energy. We began to meditate.
Soon Pacal, an ancient ambassador of peace, began to share a message. He shared a new definition of peace that is simple neutrality, perfect balance, BE-ingness. He shared that our language is dualistic by nature. When we think "peace" then there is a place when there is not peace. He shared how the people of Palenque could live in a world of duality without being subject to it by living in an awakened state of neutrality. It was important to Pacal to give us a new understanding of peace and how to begin to live it. His message added to the prior message we received at the temple of the Grandmothers about the dove and peace.
He went on to say that we had been there before and we had come back to remember. It was each one of us that was important, not the ruins we were exploring. We were carriers of the truth and wisdom. This message directly linked to the first feelings we had when we entered the site on the first day and felt nothing inside the site except us. The emptiness within had created a space inside of us to hear that we already had the truth. Spiritual Archeology can be just as much about hearing the site, as it is listening inside ourselves.
Expect the unexpected - Truth is not always what it seams.
By the time our group traveled to Bonampak, a site near Palenque, we had been honed to hearing with the heart. We knew how to question what we knew, what we saw, and what we felt. Bonampak is greatly misunderstood. Surviving murals in the site have a lot of visual information that add to many misinterpretations. The murals portray what seams like scenes of war and sacrifice that feel heavy and violent. Bonampak has always left me very confused due the huge contradictions between what I feel and what I have been told. This trip was no different. I sat down with a couple of group members and again began to question why does what I feel, and what I have been told about by this site feels so contradictory.
In a matter on moments I heard the answer. My mind had drifted to Tibet, where the temples that are also filled with a lot of visual information. I wondered why I was thinking about Tibet. Then I heard the answer… the information in the murals in Bonampak are no different than the information in the paintings and art in Tibet. So I asked why… The difference is Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism has survived their ongoing conquest. We know what is meant by the seemingly angry Gods and underworld images in their temples. But Mayan Tradition did not survive. There are no living Maya that fully know what the writings or the murals mean. They have retained some of the traditions but a huge amount has been lost.
So I was asked to look at the murals a different way. What if all knowledge of Tibetan Buddhism was lost. What if we entered an ancient Tibetan temple and just on visual information alone we would have to decide what it all meant. We would jump to the conclusion that Tibetan Buddhism was a very dark and even devil worshipping based tradition. But we know differently. We know the images in Tibetan Buddhism share teachings based on mastering the dark side inside ourselves, and mastering the ego etc…. The murals at Bonampak are sharing the same ideas. When you see a warrior standing over a supposed victim about to slice off his head … could this be a image of killing the ego or rising above the ego? Even today we see images of Archangel Michael standing over the devil, sword drawn in victory over evil. By the end of the day I was able to tell a new story in each mural in a much different light, contradicting what modern archeologists assume based on visual investigations alone.
Sometimes Modern Archeology can point to the truth.
Now in support of present day archeologists…. some times their assumptions can echo or point to the truth. This was true for our group when we visited the main palace in Palenque. In the main palace’s center point is a small plaza. The surrounding temples had a honey combed wall atop the roof. Archeologists say that these comb like walls were musical instruments in which the wind could create music. As our group sat and pondered this idea and a lot of information came forth.
Through dialogue and questioning we began to understand the combs operated on the same principal as a harmonica, yet I heard this music in Palenque in 1990 and there was no wind. Curious. We questioned the rising interest in sound healing and how sound can transport one into other states of consciousness, heal and awaken the consciousness. We talked about the howler money, present in the surrounding jungles of Palenque, and how meditating with their howl (that oddly sounds like the wind) can also transport you into other states of consciousness. In the confining limitations of this short article I can say the center message of this plaza is related to awakening initiates with sound and how they went about doing it. This sounds like another article for another time.
Remember to question everything; listen to everything; know nothing; assume nothing; expect the unexpected; to know all life through all time is connected, and know without a doubt that nothing has been lost. But most of all remember we are a present reflection of the totality of our many amazing lives … and you know… we haven’t forgotten a thing!
Aluna Joy Yaxk'in . . . A Star Messenger - Earth Oracle - Soul Reader - Sacred Site Junkie was literally born awake and in the company of her guides, the Star Elders. Today she has evolved into an author, spiritual life coach, sacred site guide, alternative historian, ordained minister and modern mystic. In the Inca world, Aluna is considered a Qawaq (cow-wak), a clairvoyant or seer of living energy. Aluna acts as a spiritual archaeologist using her clairvoyant / clairsentient gifts to excavate current messages from the masters of ancient, enlightened cultures to uncover what affect this has on humanity and the collective consciousness. She is well known for her down to earth, accepting attitude that makes each one feel like they have come home. She inspires and encourages others to recognize and accept their own authentic divinity and connection to the Creator. "Our groups are family, and each one is a teacher and also a student. We work together as a team to unravel the sacred mysteries of life." Aluna coined the term "sacred site junkie" because she is one herself. After her first trip to Tulum, Mexico, her life changed dramatically, and she was sent on an entirely different path in life. Since this time, her work has been influenced by uncountable shamanic experiences in sacred sites of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Peru, Bolivia, Egypt, Greece, England, Australia and New Zealand. Aluna has been leading groups in the Maya world since 1986, the Inca world since 1996, and the Egyptian world since 2008, and the mystical world of Avalon (England and Scotland) since 2007. Aluna offers Star Elder Sessions, formulates Sacred Site Essences and a free newsletter. She is the author of "Mayan Astrology" and her articles have been published worldwide. Website: www.AlunaJoy.com
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