Today I went to a fascinating exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science on the Mayan people. This civilization, as you would guess, was very closley related to the earth, sun, moon and stars. They observed and recorded planetary alignment every day for hundreds of years, ultimately determining the calander that would serve as guide for when to plant, when to harvest, when to retreat and be silent and when to sacrifice. Everything had a lesson and they built a civilization around these teachers. They not only accepted life, death and re-birth, they worshipped the cycle.
One aspect of their beliefs that I found fascinating, especially at this point in my life, is a dark ‘cave’ called Xibalba.
Xibalba, “place of fear”, is a mythical cave where kings, warriors, troubled or tried people would go to speak to the underworld and seek answers. It was a place of transformation, a refining ground that would either kill or advance The Seeker to a new level. It was believed that in order to advance to a higher level of being – or for kings, healers, seers to give service, one must first, dare to enter the dark cave and second, survive.
Inside Xibalba existed rivers of scorpions, rapids of blood, fires, despair, confusing crossroads and very little light – all of which tested the Seeker, until death, defeat or an ‘awakening’ occurred. If and when they emerged, a new perspective awaited with holy insights and new perspectives. The Mayan strongly believed that without death, life would not exist. With out darkness, there would be no light. According to them, everynight, the sun would travel in to the Dark Cave to be tested. IF it rose the next day, it was that much stronger and wiser, presenting new lessons for all.
This idea resonates deeply with me, especially now as Winter embarks on it’s journey south and Spring begins to sprout. It is a time to open ourselves to new life. The darkness of winter, like Xibalba, brings with it introspection and confrontation – an often scary combination for many. In that space, things are happening whether we realize it our not, new patterns are being born, old behaviors dying and, like seeds in the soil, new ideas, patterns, behaviors are taking root, preparing for their debut when the light of the sun returns.
As we surface to Spring, we often find discomfort with the new awareness that is illuminated, particularly if you tune into the transition. As you know, I’m a bit of a flower child and I tend to tune right into these natural cycles – it’s sick sometimes. Like personal torture, but thanks to those mighty Mayans, I am reminded once again, that from darkness comes light and that the journey inward, though rough sometimes, is always worth it upon coming back to light. We are stronger, smarter, better looking (yup!) and overall more connected to what’s real.
Like a butterfly emerging from it’s dark cocoon. If you’re uncomfortable right now, (like me) remember Xibalba. You will prevail and soon you will be seeing everything with a brand new perspective.
Now Go Ski Some CORN (the Mayans worshiped that stuff….)