BUY THE ‘BEFORE THE MAYA’ DVD here, or Download the Video to your computer.
Mexico is famous for its Mayan and Aztec architecture that stretches from around the confines of Mexico City, hundreds of miles into Guetamala and Hondurus and up to the Yucutan Peninsula. I visited this sacred landacape in 2003 and visited mainly Mayan sites, but this time is different, because since then I have discovered evidence of much earlier cultures, that were of “megalithic” origin and were the inspiration behind the Mayan emergence. For an unknown reason the Mayans have been credited with introducing a sophisticated calendar, agricultural practices and incredible stonework, but it is now thought that a pre-mayan civilization existed linking Teohuitacan, Oaxaca, Veracruz, stretching down into southern Guetamala, with influences spreading into the world of the Maya, the Zapotec, Toltec, Mixtec and Aztec peoples.
However, numerous tribes, cultures and political changes have shaped the landscape, and although I don’t want to think about it too much, “sacrifice” was a big part of almost every ancient civilization in Central America. The one person/god who changed all that was the “white god” – Quetzelcoatl, also called the plumed or feathered serpent, going under numerous names, depending on that area. Kulkuklan is a Mayan term for instance. The story of Q is a fascinating one that has startling similarities to Virococha of the pre-Incan tradition in Peru. Bringing the arts of civilization and banishing all sacrifice, except for “flowers and plants”. Graham Hancock wrote extensively about these similarities in ‘Fingerprints of the Gods’, and although his theories were slammed by the academics, he somehow unlocked a route into prehistory that had not been trod upon before, by examining the remaining myths and legends that were systematically exterminated by the Hernan Cortez and the Spanish in the 1500′s. We shall look more deeply into the incredible story of Quetzelcoatl as we delve into this journey around Mexico.
PART ONE – Cuilcuilco, Anthropology Museum, Tula and Teotihuacan
Genie and I flew into Los Angeles on 14th December, checked into a hostel on Venice Beach and pretty much chilled out and planned our trip round Mexico. We landed in Mexico City two days later and had prepared to stay with a trusted ‘Couchsurfer’, Octavio and his brother Leonardo. They lived in Coyoucan, a very cool part of Mexico City, in the arty and bohemiun area, which was a bonus for us as Genie wanted to visit the Frida Carlo museum and we were relatively close to our first ancient site – Cuilcuilco, a momentus rounded pyramid south of the City.
This remarkable monument first came to my attention through the work of Archaeocryptographer Carl Munck, who deduced that Cuilcuilco was a geodetic marker on a grid of ancient sites across the planet. He claimed that the number of layers and steps were mathematically derived and encoded its own coordinates in a global mapping system. However, his number crunching ways do not sometimes work as he had hoped, but from the sheer size and placement of this site, his argument is convincing. The site is also covered with an ancient lava flow and the pyramid was first excavated by Mexican Archaeologist Manuel Gamio in 1917. The dating of Cuilcuilco has made the site famous. Although the site is officially dated to around 100AD, the lava flow that covers much of the pyramid was dated to 5,000 BC. Back in 1923 National Geographic were the first to report on this incredibly ancient date. The author of the piece was archaeologist Byron Cummings, who became fascinated by the site because Geologist George E. Hyde estimated the age of the flow to be 7,000 years old at least, suggesting that the pyramid must have been even older than that. A strange blue light even appeared above the pyramid when they began to excavate it. Apparently the workers were delighted, thinking it must contain ancient Aztec treasure. None was said to be found.
Carbon dating of sediment on the paths around the pyramid, gave a date of around 2000BC, which is still 2000 years older than the official date. This kind of fact-abusing is prevalent at many other ancient sites in Mexico, as we will discover later. We visited the museum that was on-site and saw some unusual artifacts including what looked like figurines with oriental eyes and some with big sunglasses on! A geological map of the area may explain the blue lights that were first witnessed during the excavation, due to it being on a fault line and aligned with other volcanoes in the region. I did some dowsing at the site and came across a double crossing point in a strange ‘kiva’, or circle of stone that looked like a meditation space.
After Cuilcuilco, we went to the Frida Carlo musuem and were suprpised to find that she was an avid collector of ancient artifacts from the area. On disply were a number of Mayan, Aztec and Teohuitacanian pieces. Apparently, in her heyday in the 1920′s, they were of no interest to archaeologists and were readily available to the highest bidder.
The following day, we decided to have ‘the museum day’. It was such a large museum that it needed at least one day to explore – Mexico City’s famous Anthropological Museum. It has sections on all the different periods of ancient Mexico and I was chuffed to see two full-size Olmec heads and some of their incredible rock carving. There is simply too much to describe, but some highlights included the multi-racial Olmec peoples who had rock figurines of what looks like Chinese, black African and Caucasian faces. This is an area we will explore later when we visit the sites along the Gulf Coast of Mexico, but this taster was a scintilating introduction to this mysterious civilization of ancient Mexico. The Aztec sunstone was enourmously impressive – see pic.
We went to the town centre the following day to check out Diege Riveras murals in the Palace on the main square and noticed Quetzelcoatl flying in a weird spacebuggy in one of them.
Interestingly this was the palace of the Aztec ruler, Montezuma, then became the residence of Cortez, the guy who defeated the once mighty Aztec empire. We saw the remains of Tonichitlan, that are still next to the palace, where it is said that 80,000 people were sacrificed in one session. This sacrificing thing keeps popping up at most sites, and seems that the built-up Karma of so much bloodshed was echoed in the actions of Cortez and his bloodthirsty army.
Tula was next on the agenda, the Toltec capital with the mighty Atlanteans presiding over the complex. Joel took us there with his girlfriend. Before we even got in the entrance I noticed several megaliths in a kind of circle. I spent 30 minute filming, photographing and sensing why they were here. Again, I believe, these may well have been here before the site itself and inspired the construction of Tula at this particular location.
The Atlanteans are 30ft tall statues that immediately reminded me of Tiwanaku in Bolivia. The stonework was similar, they had similar head-dresses and they had that same look in their eyes. Zacharia Sitchin had noted that the archaeologists description of what they were holding in their hands was questionable. Officially described as knives and incense bags, Sitchin believed they may have been something quite different, an idea that was later picked up by Hancock. They were metal devices that looked like plasma-guns from a sci-fi movie. Sitchin believed they were used to quarry and cut rock (which makes perfect sense), and Hancock backed this up when he remembered that ancient legends had armed themselves with ‘Xiuhcoatl’ or ‘fire serpents’. These were said to emit burning rays capable of piercing and dismembering human bodies, as well as cut, quarry and carve stone. I remembered that the statues at Tiwanaku held similar devices in their hands too. One of many comparisons to Virococha and ancient Peru that will be expanded upon as we pursue the ancient mysteries of Mexico and see similarities and influences that suggest that globalisation was evident in prehistoric times, that was heavily influenced by these ‘white gods’. .
After the best dinner I’d had in Mexico, we went back to Joels and planned our trip to the enigmatic Teotihuican, northeast of Mexico City for winter solstice. I’d been here before back in 2003, but with a new outlook I was interested in certain aspects that I knew nothing about in 6 years ago.
First of all we visited the Temple of Quetzelcoatl – the first structure you come to. It had some murals inside apparently, but current excavations stopped us getting a peek, however there were depictions of him and other plumed serpent effigies on the outside of the small pyramid. The Pyramid of the Sun was the next stop and I’d read in Peter Tompkins ‘ Secret of the Mexican Pyramids’ book about a subterranian tunnel that was discovered early last century. Like the tunnels under Giza that Andrew Collins has recently discovered, this tunnel was a nartural formation and inside it were found large megalithic roof slabs, ceremonial figurines and blocking walls that seem to have been constructed as though the builders were blocking the tunnel as they left it. Very weird. What grabbed my attention was the fact that the layout resembles Newgrange in Ireland and immediately reminded me of Andrew Collins (again)work on Cygnus, because the 4-leaf clover design was very similar. Was the tunnel there before the pyramid?
Tompkins had also pointed out several ‘geodetic markers’ that were carved into the floors on various areas of the complex. I managed to find two of them, but they are now very worn down and don’t even come out very well in the photographs. Other similar markers had been found on the US/Mexico border and at Uaxactun, north of Tikal, that aligns perfectly east with the Teotihuacan marker. These markers line up with the pyramids, hills and mountains on the horizon and other megaliths spread out into the local landscape. They help record the rising and setting sun at solstices, equinoxes and zenith passages.
Genie easily climbed the Sun Pyramid during my ‘gedetic marker’ hunt and we met upon the Moon pyramid at the far end of the complex. On the way to the Moon pyramid, there just happeed to be a large megalith sitting in the middle of the plaza. I immediately sensed this was there before the rest of the complex and was a global geodetic marker, as part of a great survey of the planet. It is also similar to numerous megaliths in the local landscape of the area and I suggest that these were the original surveying points that enabled the pyramid complex to be built. Quetzelcoatal was the culprit I believe, as wherever these stones are, his name keep popping up, as we shall see as we go to other sites too.
PART 2 – Cholula – The worlds largest Pyramid
We had a final restful evening with Joel, before heading to what is believed to be the largest pyramid in the world, Cholula. Surrounded by fascinating earthworks, megaliths and a sunken city, the pyramid was built in honour of their peaceful god Quetzlcoatl. They must have liked him alot because the base of the structure covers 45 acres with a height of 210 feet, that makes it three times the size the Giza pyramid and nearly twice the size of the Bosnian pyramid. It has several layers to it that are believed to go back well over 2000 years, but the height has apparently always remained the same. The first structure was like that at La Venta, Veracruz, an Olmec site that has a conical pyramid. I agree with Hancock when he says it seems like they were working to a master plan over many centuries.
Hernan Cortez arrived at Cholula in 1519 when it was long past being used, but the famous German naturalist Alexander Von Humbolt in 1803 saw a large jade statue of Quetzolcoatyl that was once upon it. A report from 1905 gave this account of the Cortez story:
“The historian Herrera states that six thousand victims were yearly sacrificed in their sanguinary Teocalli or temples, and Bernal Diaz, soldier and chronicler of Cortez’ march to Mexico, says he counted in a city taken by the Spaniards one hundred thousand skulls of human victims piled and ranged in methodical order. When Cortez, on his way from Vera Cruz to Mexico, fought and won his famous battle with the Tlaxcalans, a deputation of the caciques and prominent men of Cholula waited upon him and extended to him and his army the freedom and hospitality of their city. Already a deep-laid plot was formed to entrap and slaughter the Spaniards; and to propitiate the favour of their gods, a great sacrifice, mostly of children, was offered up that morning in Cholula. Suspecting no treachery, Cortez, contrary to the advice of his Indian allies, accepted the invitation of the caciques, and when he and his men entered the city they were received with demonstrations of joy and welcome.
At this time Cholula was, after Mexico, the most flourishing and populous city of the New World. According to Torquemada, its walls enclosed a hundred and fifty thousand souls. It was famous for its gold and silver filigree fashioned into flowers, humming birds, and butterflies of such exquisite finish and accuracy of detail that when specimens were exhibited in Toledo the Spanish metallurgists admitted they were equal to anything of the kind done in Europe. The Spaniards visited the great market, and were astounded to see the exhibit of delicately fashioned pottery, shawls, and rugs of brilliant colours woven from the maguey and agave fibre, and the unheard of and wonderful feather cloth. It was in this city the mysterious white man —deified as Quetzalcoatl—the god of rain—dwelt in the remote past, and taught the Cholulans the higher virtues and material civilization. Here, too, he foretold the coming of a bearded race of men from beyond the sea. In the days of the conquest there was a tradition that in his honour the temple on the summit of the great pyramid of Cholula was raised.
For two nights the city was illuminated to do honour to its guest, and to disarm suspicion presents were exchanged, fetes held, and banquets given. Hidden in the forest a few miles north of the city were twenty thousand of Montezuma’s warriors sent from Mexico to assist the Cholulans in the annihilation of the Spaniards. Cortez, through his female interpreter, Marina, learned of the murderous conspiracy. Satisfying himself by further enquiries of the base treachery of his hosts, he invited the caciques and principal men to meet him. After accusing them of shameful treachery to their guests, he charged them with conspiracy to murder him and his men, and when they denied the accusation he produced his proofs and his witnesses. The Cholulans were silent and confused, and before they had time to frame a reply Cortez gave the signal to his men, who fell upon them, slaughtering, according to Oviedo, three thousand of the citizens, sparing, however, women and children.”
Being written by one of Cortez’ men, this account puts him in a fairly good light and makes the Cholulans appear as sacrificing maniacs, but another version gives a different side to the story. Remembered by one of the elders of Cholula, they may well have been totally innocent victioms of the Spanish rampage, and like with so many other towns that were ‘beheaded’ by Cortez, they genuinally thought it was the return of their god. However, if that many sacrifices did take place, it was certainly something Quetzelcoatl was not agreeable with, and as the Spanish arrived at the time Q was predicted to return, it appears that Cortez was the karma guy who just happened to ‘Have a long beard, black hair and of white appearance’, who had to teach the bloodthirtsy Aztecs a thing or two. The fact that he returned on the date the Aztecs were expecting him is too much of a coincidence to let go of. We’ll discuss this further later.
Some of Cholula has been reconstructed and around its outskirts were several mysterious megaliths. One looked like an Olmec head (the Olmecs could well have built this place), two large megaliths, one with inscriptions and around the main entrance an enigmatic quartz-rich standing stone with a square hole cut out of it. A Mexican Men-an-Tol. Again, I got a sense that these megaliths were here first and then the Olmec built the pyramid in honour of ther great god. The mystery deepens. We headed back to Puebla and got a bus to Oaxaca, where two sites were on my agenda – Mitla and Monte Alban. But before that, Christmas, the beach and Papaya smoothies every morning in Mazunte.
PART 3 – Oaxaca, Monte Alban & Mitla
So, Christmas on the beach with Genie was lovely and I got to know about 100 mosquito’s very well – so well that they even took a pint of my blood between them. After a superb massage from the enigmatic Rosa and trekking round to the most southern part of Oaxaca, I had an urge to get to some more sites. I go on an overnight bus to Oaxaca and checked into the ‘Banana Magic’ hostel. Well, with a name like that, who wouldn’t check in! Genie, meanwhile stayed in Paradise to get on with writing and enjoy the amazing beach and Bohemium vibe.
Monte Alban was my first destination around Oaxaca and was considering not even going to it because I had heard this site was not that interesting. My gut feeling told me something different and I was incredibly blown away by the megalithic nature of this hill-top temple complex. It is known as the Zapotec capital, but it has been rebuilt and reoccupied over the centuries from oficially 500BC. There is evidence of early use of the dot and bar calendars in some of the inscriptions, but it was the megalithic slabs in the southwest corner that I was really there for.
These slabs depict negroid and caucasion people and some of them were built into the ‘corners’ of later pyramids that can still be seen. On the central temple there were less well executed carvings that seemed to show the downfall of the Olmecs and the mysterious white men. It is if they were defeated by another group and this new group wanted to make sure that was written in stone.
Like at many other sites I’d visited, there were large monoliths of unknown origin. Some were 30ft tall, whist others were stelea with interesting inscriptions. The tallest one was used as an astronomical instrument to help measure (with shadows) the changing of the year. It wasn’t until I left the complex and was eating fresh ice cream, that I noticed on the other side of the car park, an unlisted part of the site. I trundeled over there, dripping ice cream on my only clean shirt and observed a sight that immediately reminded me of Tiwanaku in Bolivia.
It was a magnificent megalithic doorway with the largest stones I had seen at the site. It was surrounded by other large stones and was a prime spot for viewing the valleys below. I had not expected to see a Stonehenge-like trilithon at a Zapotec site, but was aware that tomorrows visit to see Mitla was of a similar megalithic design. Question obviously arose such as: Why use such large blocks of stone? How did they quarry and transport them? Was Quetzelcoatl involved? Hmmmmmm….
After a Papaya breakfast I headed out of town travelling east to see Mitla. I had only seen photos of the huge megalithic columns that are present at the site, but again, I was stunned by it’s palace-like nature, reminding me once again of Tiwanaku, I wondered whether Quetzelcoatl was involved in this place too.
The sheer size of some of the columns and lintels put that thought in to my mind, because this was not anything like any Mayan, Zapotec, Toltec or any other kind of site I had ever seen (apart from Monte Alban). The incredibly intricate mozaics (some with swasticas/Hunab Ku symbolism) and stonework were those of master masons, who were obviously peaking at Mitla with their skill and ingenuity.
I also discovered that much of the stone had been quarried from about 6 or 7 miles away and had to be transported over mountainous terrain. I dowsed a powerful energy line through the main temple and wondered whether this was a ‘plumed serpent’ site that Robert Coon had mentioned goes through Mexico, particularly Palenque. it went through the main temple complex and through the large pillars, that must have once held a roof.
On the way back to the bus stop in a Mexican rickshaw, I spotted another megalithic temple in the village. We stopped and I got a few photos and after a disgusting energy drink made by Coca Cola (that made me sick) I headed back to the ‘Banana Magick’ hostel for a rest and planned the next part of my Mexican megalithic journey, to somewhere I had been wanted to visit for a long time – the heartland of the Olmecs.
Before I caught a bus to Xalapa in the state of Veracruz I visited a small museum that had some interesting artefacts discovered around Oaxaca. What particularly caught my eye was the Chiuawawa effigies. They looked like my old friend from Hollywood – Earl. It was great to see him in a museum! I then read the label on it and realised they used to be eaten as a delicacy. Sorry Earl.
PART 4 – Xalapa Museum, Tres Zapotes, San Lorenzo & Coatzalcoatas
The Museum at Xalapa, (west of Veracruz) hosts an awesome collection of Olmec artefacts, including seven colossal heads. The megalithic nature of some of the other pieces was staggering and immediately convinced me they knew the secrets of the ancients. The dating on the Olmec finds were originally in the official dating poster (at the museum) as beginning in over 3000BC, however, they changed this to only 1500BC a few years later, for no satisfactory reason.
Olmec finds had indeed been dated to this greatly earlier period, contemporary with Stonehenge and the Pyramids of Egypt, the beginning of the worldwide megalith building boom…and of course the beginnings of the Mayan/Olmec calendar (circa 3114BC).
The Olmec altars were like watching a man crawl out from the rock. The sheer size and superiority of the stonework suggested a sophisticated technology, forgotten by scientists and engineers today. Some of the sculptures looked Oriental, some looked European and others looked obviously Negroid. It seem the Gulf Coast of Mexico was host to a cosmopolitan culture that spread all the way down to Guetamala and pre-dated the Maya by about a thousand years at least. I also noticed some elongated skulls that reminded me of the ones discovered at Nazca, Peru.
As you walked through the almost-perfect Museum, you noticed that as the years got nearer to today, the size and precision of the stonework gradually decreased, as though the indiginous cultures were either getting Lazy or ‘forgot’ how the ancient Olmec originally worked with stone. This Museum is well worth a visit, as it is the only place that gives such a monumental overview of the Olmec enigma. It also had archaeology from El Tajin, a later Maya site around 100km north of Xalapa. The style at this site looks decidely Chinese, with the curled up platforms and multi-layred style, but I was in the footsteps of the Olmec, so headed back to Veracruz to meet up with my connection there, to plan the eastward trail of mysterious sites.
After getting lost in the centre of Veracruz, I eventually made it to Javiers house in the south part of town. He had informed me he would not be there, as he had family parties to attend to, however, he left the key with another guest called Aleck from Russia, a tall, pale blond twewnty-something who had been staying with Javier for a month. It was the last day of 2009, so Aleck, two of Javiers friends and I toasted a new year and a new era. However, after sevaral shots of Mexican vodka (I think!), I had other things on my mind, so went to bed at 12.05 to get prepared to visit one of the three main Olmec sites, Tres Zapotes.
After nursing a day of being hungover, to reach Tres Zapotes, I had to get a bus to Santiago Tuxtla, because I had heard there was the biggest Olmec head ever discovered and it was displayed in the central square, plus an Olmec Musem nearby. This was also my connecting bus to get to the Site. Tres Zapotes is a 40 minute 2nd class bus ride and the museum is at the far end of the village and not very easy to find. It is often quite a trek to get to these Olmec sites as they are not on the tourist trail, but to the Antiquarian or Megalithomaniac, there are essential places to visit. The site museum contained one Olmec head, plus it also showed an early form of the Mayan calendar, with the dot and bar system with a date mentioning 37BC.
This small piece of evidence is the ‘smoking gun’ of who really invented the so-called ‘Mayan Calendar’. This is simply the earliest date recorded in stone in this part of the world. I went searching for the mounds that still existed at the other end of the village, and photographed what I believed may once have been a great earth mound, however it had been carved out and incorporated into the village. Skeletal remains are non-existent along the Gulf Coast, due to the tropical humidity, so scientifically testing the bones to deduce where these chinese/Black/European looking really came from has become an impossible task. I got several buses back to Javiers place in Veracruz, to actually meet my host and catch up on writing and researching the Olmec mystery.
The next day, I got an early bus to try and reach the enigmatic site and Museum of San Lorenzo, a small ancient town that the Olmecs first inhabited. After a first class bus to Acayucan, a chicken bus, a taxi, then trekking with all my luggage through a mud road where a truck had got stuck in, to hopefully get another taxi the twenty miles to San Lorenzo, i wondered why the hell am I doing this just to look at some big stones?! Within seconds I was in the back of a pick-up truck and on my way to my desired destination. During the bumpy, but beautiful ride, I remembered that it my mission and my destiny to explore, experience and document these incredible sites, that many tourist would never dare to tread. I got dropped off at gates to the museum and wandered in with my full luggage quota, partly covered in mud. The wet season was coming to an end soon…apparently. A colossal head welcomed me to the site and after giving the guards a tip (its a no fee museum), i quickly explored the two small rooms and three larger megalithic carvings outside, under corrigated roofs. I was impressed by the boulder with a sprawling man intricately carved on it. There was a massive altar with a priest-looking dude emerging from it and a super-large boulder made of volcanic black stone that I could not work out what it was atall. However, it was at the museum, so they must have moved it there from the main San Lorenzo site 3 km away.
The Olmec head was in good condition and I noticed a weird cat effigy that looked like he had a personal scratching block. Anyway, after less than an hour, I was ready to move on, so the museum guy got me a lift to the taxi stop in town and dreading the drive back, including the mudbath that was ahead of me, a welcome sigh of relief came over me when the driver started taking a detour to another town altogether, but at least I could get my bus to Coatzalcoalcas that evening, the place where Quetzecoatl was said to have left the country on “a raft of serpents”.
Part of the taxi ride included a short boat trip and the view from the back seat window surprised me because it looked like the sarcophagus lid at Palenque – although it wasn’t Lord Pacal taking a rocketship to heaven, but a simple boatman driving his boat. Look at the pictures to see the immediate similarity.
Coatzalcoalcas means “Serpent Sanctuary”, so hoped there may be more clues to the Olmec and Quetzelcoatl connection, plus it was my stopover town between San Lorenzo and La Venta, the only surviving Olmec site that you can still visit. I stayed with a couchsurfer called Farid, who welcomed me into his family home, fed me and wished me farewell the following morning as I headed to the legendary beach that the great white god boded farewell to the country he had so heavily influenced. Unfortunately it was raining, the beach was scattered with rubbish and I said a few words, left an offering and remembered the higher virtues Quetzelcoatl had bought to this land, before hailing down a taxi and jumping on a bus to La Venta.
PART 5 – La Venta, Villahermosa & Tortuguero
The bus drew into La Venta, a paradoxical town that was partly still remembering its Olmec roots, but amid a growing oil industry. Whereas the Olmecs were the first people to use rubber from the tress that grew in this area, the modern Mexicans had struck oil, that has been to the detriment of all Olmec sites along the Gulf Coast. Carlos Pellicer Camara stepped in when he realised the drilling was getting dangerously close to the site and lobbied the Tabasco government to step in and save the megalithic sculptures. Over 50 were moved to a park in Villahermosa, suitably called ‘La Venta Park’, a place I was going to visit the very next day. However, since that happened, several other artifacts had been discovered at the site, which is about half a mile north of the bus terminal. Two of the main discoveries were two potential colossal heads, that were badly weathered, but add to the other 17 heads that have already been discovered. The small site museum hosted many of the large basalt columns that were originally in the centre of the ceremonial part of the site, that were quarried from several miles away. There was also a sitting, forward-leaning, life-size statue that had negroid features – a design I had seen at many other Olmec sites.
With the British weather following my every move and wishing I had an umbrella, i walked into the site of La Venta to explore its remarkable earthen structures and fibre-glass copies of many of the megalithic heads and altars. The tropical climate had reduced the site to curved mounds, platforms and causeways, but the great, seven-sided ‘fluted’ pyramid was a sight for sore eyes. Before that though i trekked to the north end of the site to check out the ‘ceremonial’ area where three of the colossal heads had been discovered, all facing east. My makeshift dowsing rod found three great energy currents going through the all of the heads into the centre where the pillars had been discovered. It was as though the columns had been protecting a ‘sanctuary’, that was guarded by the frowning Olmec heads. The three energy lines met there and created a vortex of energy. I had strong feeling this may also be a ‘plumed serpent’ site that Robert Coon popularised over twenty years ago. The last time I found the ‘plumed serpent’ line was on the island of the Sun in Lake Titicaca, so was delighted to have re-traced its path. Coon had mapped the energy line going through Palenque, but La Venta was on its path too. This made perfect sense, because the Olmecs were known to have worked with earth energies, thanks to the groundbreaking work of John Burke and Kaj Halberg in their book ‘Seed of Knowledge, Stone of Plenty’. It also gave some credence to the cosmopolitan nature of the Olmecs, because these great energy lines go right around the world – both the Plumed and Rainbow Serpent.
I rememberd back in the site museum, small jade effigies of humanoids were all standing together surrounded by what looked like megalithic columns. Was this a model of what went on at this particular part of the site? It must have been important because why else would you carve these jade figures and make sure they were rediscovered in this exact configuration?
I traced the line across the site all the way to the ‘fluted pyramid’, which I swiftly climbed. The design of the pyramid was very similar in style and size to Silbury Hill – could there be a connection? Well yes, because the Plumed Serpent goes through La Venta and the Rainbow Serpent goes through Silbury Hill. More research on this will be carried out soon, but the initial discovery has now been made. The energy atop the pyramid was strong and gave an excellent view f the tropical landscape (as well as the oil refinery). La Venta had once been an island surrounded by the waters that infest this swampy area. Over the other side of the pyramid were more megalithic (fibre-glass) stones that were like huge monoliths, but with beautiful carvings on. There was also another colossal head, this time facing north. As I walked deeper into the swampy jungle, there were more stones, altars and other interesting sculptures. Mounds and raised platforms lined the outer edges of the site, but it was a particular altar that grabbed my attention, which was at the far end of the site. As well as an ‘emerging priest’, it had a woman around the left side of it, who’s arm turned into a serpent and travelled round the base of the large rectangular megalithic altar. The priest was holding onto the serpent with both hands and four other serpents were present, coming at him from all directions (see pic further on of original piece from La Venta Park). I dowsed the area and found four crossing energy lines, al going through the altar. Although this was not an original piece, it was exactly where it had been originally discovered and one of these energy lines was the Plumed Serpent.
It has also been argued (by John Major Jenkins) that La Venta was partly designed as an astronomical observatory. The pyramid alignment is exactly 8 degrees from North, which left many people confused by this apparent 8 degree error. However, La Venta could have easily hve been aligned to the polar area of the sky (which is very near to the horizon at that latitude) and the Big Dipper, so within a lifetime would see the changes in the sky. The effects of precession would eventually cause the alignment to go out of sync and they had to re-orientate the pyramid periodically to get back the alignment.
After a long wet day of dowsing and discoveries, I caught a bus to Villahermosa, to meet up with Ivan, who was also an avid Olmec follower and was looking forward to having a night off before the next installment of my mission. It was not only La Venta park I had come here to see. Geoff Stray had informed me that Tortuguero was in the vicinity and four parts of the ‘prophecy stone’ were at the Museum in town, as well as the site being less than twenty miles away. That night it was a traditional bread/cake eating ceremony that marked the last of the twelve days of Christmas, so I hung out with ivans friends, got chatted up by some beautiful mexican ladies, ate cake, got drunk on proper Tequila, whist Ivan and I planned tomorrows trip to La Venta Park, Villahermosa Museum and the site of Tortuguero, that we had heard had possibly been completely demolished, but alas, we’d go and have a look anyway.
La Venta park was a beautifully laid out outdoor museum with over 50 of the original artifacts from where I had visited yesterday. The one sculpture that grabbed my attention was the strange looking, but perfectly executed piece that seems to depict a man operating a machine serpent. Look at the graphic and decide for yourself. It looked like an earlier, less sophisticated version of the lid of Pacals tomb in Palenque. The beautiful park had a trail of original Olmec heads and carved megaliths that had been moved from the site of La Venta years earlier. Ivan and I both started ‘touching’ all the stones to see if we could feel any energy coming off them. I saw all the fibreglass copies I had seen the day before, but in their original stonework.
As we approached the altar with the four serpents on and the woman with the serpent arm, both Ivan and I felt strong surge of energy go through us, a feeling I often get when a revelation occurs, as though an angel is stroking you with feathers and you get goosebumps. It appeared that this stone still contained ‘power’ and we had the privelige to feel that power within our energy bodies. It was a startling experience for Ivan and confirmation for me that the Olmec understood the forces of nature to a high degree.
The fact that this energy was still present in this stone altar bemused me, but suddenly felt a connection to this sophisticated culture that dominated the Gulf Coast three thousand years ago. Other large megaliths had carving of flying people, caucasian men wearing turbans and upturned shoes and other weird iconography.
After a coconut, we went in search of the only Stelea in the Mayan world that actually has the 2012 date engraved on it. The stone had come from Tortuguero, a site that had been eaten up by cement works and was just a big white blotch on Google Earth. After having trouble finding Villahermosa Museum, due to a dodgy map, we finally arrived to find that it was being rebuilt and that the four parts to the original t-shaped stone were in storage and were too dangerous to see in person. However, Ivan agreed to revisit the museum as soon as it reopens to photograph the stones (between three months and a year we were told).
So with that slight disappointment under our belt, we headed east towards Palenque to find the enigmatic site of Tortuguero. After an amazing fish lunch from roadside shack, we reached the cement works and after swift negotiation, we were directed back to a road that went the closest to it. We parked up in a famiiies driveway and their son agreed to take us through the various sections of private farmland to see what was left of the ruins. We spent an hour walking over marshland, sliding between barbwire fences and got confused by what we thought may have been the megalithic remains of the site. As we ascended the rocky grassland, up the hill we started getting glimpses of rubble, pottery fragments and little else. We went dangerously close to the cement works, as we were told that explosives go off at 6pm every day. It was 5pm and we wanted to see more, so headed round the hill to the exact location we had plotted on the GPS at an elevation of 62 feet, but there was simply nothing left.
We chatted to a worker of the land who told us that twelve years ago, the army had come into the site, looted it, then demolished it! Nice. Our second Tortuguero disappointment did not put us off. It clarified what we had originally thought, but at least we had checked it out and confirmed that. We chatted with the owners of the house where we had parked the car and they confirmed the same story, but also told us that two hours walk away from he original Tortuguero site were caves and stonework that artifacts had been discovered in some years ago. That would have to wait, we thought as we cleaned our muddy feet with their outdoor tap. We wished them farewell, generously tipped our guide and headed back to Ivans house to prepare my trip to Palenque.
PART 6 – Palenque, Izapa & the Olmec Calendar theory
I was on my way to the enigmatic Palenque & meeting back u with Genie at the Mayabel Hostel. I had quite a non-eventful experience when I originally visited Palenque in 2003, so was not expecting too much. Dave and Annie were with Genie, whom I was sure I had spotted in the street in Mazunte two weeks earlier. We hung out explored the site and swung by Palenque town to pick up my washing, get another fish dinner and head back to the hostel to chill out for the evening. I was supposed to turn up one night earlier, and as we returned to our hostel laughing and joking, we felt the dark mood that was overhanging the place. Strangely, a night worker had been stoned to death and the cash till robbed. Murder at Palenque. How strange! Genie had also had a weird experience in the Palenque jungle the day before, when a man was flashing her!! Freaked out, she quickly exited back to the site.
Anyway, we got up early and first went to the museum to see if I could find a certain small artifact that I had read about in David H. Childress’ book ‘Lost Cities of North & Central America’. Apparently the 9ft tall (!) Lord Pacal was holding a small effigy of a bearded white man – quite possibly Quetzelcoatl, but also could have been Votan, another great teacher in the ‘white god’ guise who had profoundly Palenque in its early days. Unfortunately the piece was missing, but we saw a close up of Pacals lid with the rocket-riding dude getting ready for take off – well, according to Erick Von Daniken anyway! Other interpretations suggest he is going to the underworld, but the machine-like design and the huge megalithic tomb suggest different. Was Von Daniken right? The similar piece at La Venta Park showed similar characteristics. I had seen machine/plasma gun type technology carved on stone at Tula, Monte Alban and several Olmec sites. What was going on? Lost technologies of the ancients is a theme that Childress had excelled at and suggest you look at his book on the subject for further info on this fascinating enigma of prehistory.
Unfortunately you can no longer go in the actual tomb – something I had the fortune to do 7 years ago, so the museum was the only way to see a very good replica. I spotted a glyph that was a serpent on the side of the great lid. We left the museum after checking out the varying pieces and climbed the jungle stairway into the site. Palenque is merely a shell of what it once was, as though it has been stripped of its character. It really does feel dead.
The only part of it that grabbed my attention was the Warrior Temple that had steps made up of huge megalithic blocks, large 9ft effigies of the nine gods and two massive limestone monoliths leaning on either side of set of steps. It seemed like this crucible was much older than the rest of the site and three great energy lines I traced through the area. I had an inkling of the Plumed Serpent energy line again and dowsed it going through Pacals tomb and the megalithic area I was impressed by.
After a collectivo toSan Cristobel, we got on an all night bus to Tapachula, a town near the Guetamala border that was the nearest stop off to Izapa, a site I had heard much about from John Major Jenkins and knew it was a crossover site between the Olmec and the Maya. It was a very hot day & we were very tired, but I dragged Genie along to check out Izapa, to see the Olmec symbolism there, then we would go to Tapachula museum to see the better preserved stelea and artifacts.
The Ball court area was are first port of call that is aligned to the Winter Solstice sunrise. Izapa was a place of the Kings. The throne on the west end of the ball court. The throne gets illumnated on Dec 21st. Jenkins sees it as a portrayal of the creation mythology, rather than a sport. The throne depicts the birth of the Sun. Originally under the throne was a monster mouth with a solar ball and a stone goal ring. So was the ball game throughout the Mayan world really a symbolic sport of Galactic Alignment!? Will scholars in 2000 years time see current football in the same way. Hmmmm. Although there is no actual proof of the Long Count being discovered at Izapa, Jenkins analysis is quite convincing, but it is written in stone that the earlier Olmec were using dates within the Long Count, suggesting that they actually invented it and was later shared then adopted by the Maya at Izapa.
The Haab calendar that records the solar year was made up of eighteen months of twenty days each, with five ‘extra’ days at the end. It is known as a secular calendar because it is thought it was used primarily as a farming calendar to allow the planting and harvesting of maize to be done. The Tzolkin and Haab were tracked simultaneously, each scheduling its own ritual or agricultural agenda. Mayan scholar Munro Edmonson believed that by the 7th century BC both these calendars were in full effect and being used by the Olmec in the Gulf Coast region.
The earliest Mayan inscription is 228 AD, whereas Long Count dates from ‘Cycle 7′ (354 BC – 41 AD) have been found at the Olmec site of Tres Zapotes (31BC), plus similar dates at Olmec/Mayan sites at El Baul, Abaj Takalik and Chiapa de Corzo in Chiapas. This strongly suggests that they devised the Long Count calendar and the Mayans later adopted it probably at Izapa around 100BC where there is evidence of both Olmec and Mayan influences. This 31BC date discovery by archaeologist Matthew Stirling in 1939 – 40 at Tres Zapotes caused a shockwave through the academic world of Mayanists, who simply could not cope with the idea that their academic paradigms were under threat .
Earlier dates such as 355BC, 550BC and 236BC have also been suggested by scholars regarding the invention of the Long Count – all contemporary with the Olmecs, but considering that it actually starts back in 3114BC, was the origin actually then? Possibly by the enigmattic Quetzelcoatl and his followers turned up then and started recording what was going on in the stars?
The infamous Bufa toad that excretes 5meoDMT existed in this area and all these early Long Count dates and sites are associated with Bufo toad symbolism. Hundreds of Bufo bones were found at San Lorenzo for instance, suggesting calendars may well have been inspired by powerful psychedelic experiences. So with all this in mind, was the 2012 date already known by the ancient Olmec, therefore should the Mayan Calendar then be renamed “The Olmec Calendar”?
Anyway, Izapa has three main areas and you have to walk along the main road to get to them all. It is basically mounds that were once pyramid structures, megalithic stelae and strange stone columns with spheres on top around 7ft tall in all. These are scattered through various parts of the site. The Bufa frog carvings were there too but I did not easily see any mushroom carvings I had been told were there. This changed when we visited Tapachula museum. Along with several well preserved stelae, the mushrooms stood out in he upstairs part of the museum, which also contained numerous Olmec-like artifacts and statues, bringing more credence to the theory that the Olmec were the mother civilization of that area. Yet more Bufa toads were on display, that the DMT is easily extracted from. Mayan design and art looks very psychedelic anyway, and reminded me that perhaps both the Olmec and Maya were using these sacred plants on a regular basis within their cultures. It baffles me that the profound compassion and awareness that these plants can contribute to consciousness, was happening at the same time as bloody sacrifice and wars with neighbouring tribes.
Part 7 – El Baul, Bilbau & La Democracia, Guetamala
The next day we crossed through the border and went to the Guetamalan town of Santa Lucia and landed their from our bus around 10pm. Without a hotel booked and no ‘Lonely Planet’ to guide us, we had no idea what to do. We eventually made it to a hotel, but in the foyeur I spotted the local newspapers front page headline and graphic photo of a tourist bus that had been robbed and passengers mudered! Hmmmm. Where the hell were we? We told the hotel guy why we were there – to see the sites of El Baul, Bilbau and other small museums in the local area, so we negotiated with a friend of his to take us to all the sites for 500 Quetzals (£38) & a free trip to Lake Atitlan in the evening, our next destination.
After Huevos Rancheros for breakfast, we got picked up and headed first to Finca El Baul – the outdoor museum that hosted many of the megaliths and stelae that were discovered at the nearby El Baul site, where only two stones were still left insitu. Right next to a large industrial sugar factory, the museum was guarded by yet more guns – just like at the hotel. We got chatting with our three guides; the hotel guy, his friend and his dad, and they told us that Santa Lucia was the most dangerous town in Guetamala and that they refused to visit the El Baul site because muggings and even killings had taken place there. Apparently it as when the sugar cane was over head height (which it now was), the bandits would jump out, take all your stuff, but if you had no stuff they would murder you. Oh well, too much stress to see just two megalithic stones perhaps. Genie was not impressed by my eagerness to see megaliths in extremely dangerous situations.
Anyway, Finca El Baul had an awesome display of pre-classic Olmec/Mayan stones and stelae, some looking Egyptian, some looking Oriental, whilst others were just bizarre. We had a free guided tour by the curator of the museum & admitted thy were unsure of the dates, although some looked very ancient. Again, the stonework was awesome and incredibly sophisticated, suggesting there must have been a major centre of the ancient world in this area, but the archaeology does not agree, although a few mounds are still situated at a nearby site called Bilbao.
We drove through town to sugar cane plantation with mounds scattered throughout the fields. We also discovered that a stone path joined Bilbao and El Baul that had many engravings on it, perhaps an early Sacbe, or sacred road that exist within the Yucutan area of Mexico.
We drove up in the car and parked in a place we thought may be safe and got chatting with a local boy who agreed to take us to the massive stone slabs with carvings that were still in the field. The magnitude and quality of carving was sublime and was surprised that they were still in such amazing condition. They were obviously still used by the indigineous locals, because dead chickens and fires had been sacrificed and lit there. Unfortunately, oil or petrol has defaced one of the stones slightly, but no actual damage to the designs was apparent. We walked further around the field and discussed safety issues with our guide. He then told us that most people on that particular street had pistols!
We checked out two other similar stones, then the one that was only just discovered that week, by an unfortunate plough that had scratched the part that had then become exposed. We got some photos of that and wondered why this site had not been properly excavated. There could be much more there to be discovered, but I guess its on a sugar can field and everyone has guns. Probably not an ideal place to set up an archaeological dig I realised. We met the boys family and he showed us some artifacts that they had personally found there – a stone crucible and some other bits of worked stone and pottery. After a go under the cold hose, we were on our way to another Finca, (or museum) that houses some remarkable finds. In the garden of the museum and surrounding area, were similar megalithic carved stones that we had seen at Finca El Baul. In fact some were exactly the same, suggesting they used them on the entrance ways into the original sites or on opposing walls. The air-conditioned museum was cooling treat and I was shocked by what I saw there – yet more incredible Atlantean megalithic statues and carvings.
We headed to the town of La Democracia next, to see some Colossal Olmec heads that were in the central square. The town is around 4 miles away from Bilbao/El Baul, but is well worth a visit. We were the only gringos in town upon our arrival and whilst the locals were relaxing around the heads, I was avidly climbing them, photographing them and touching them. The square also housed some obese Olmec style statues, looking a bit like Central American Buddhas.
The Olmec heads looked different to the ones up on the Gulf Coast, but they were equally colossal, yet had a more sublime, relaxed and Oriental look to them. We grabbed some fish soup for lunch that included a full crab, unpeeled shrimps and fish flesh of unknown origin, before taking the last few photos of these unusual megalithic sculptures.
PART 8 – Lake Atitlan, Pacaya Volcano & Copan, Hondurus
We then got a lift to Lake Atitlan that evening and got dropped off at Santiago Atitlan and checked in to a run-down, but well positioned hotel/restaurant near the main square. I had wanted to visit this indigineous town six years ago when I was staying around the lake, but never got the chance. The Mayans who still live here were studied by author Martin Pretchell, who wrote a book about his experiences called ‘Secrets of the Talking Jaguar’. We strolled round the town, got some chips from a street vendor (Genie even ate some fried chicken – which caught up with her badly in the middle of the night). We snacked our way round the town, got impressed by the blokes in their stripey trousers & cowboy hats – a Santiago fashion by the look of it. I also found out that off the shore of the town, Mayan ruins had been discovered some years ago, apparently because the lake level is rising gradually over the years. Scuba diving had been banned six years ago unfortunately, so there was no chance of getting down there to do some underwater explorations.
After a Papaya breakfast and nursing Genie back to health, we got a boat to San Marcos, the hippy village with numerous new-age and healing centres. A place I had been to on my previous trip and thoroughly enjoyed. There were no ruins to explore here, but a modern pyramid had been built on the island, resembling a roof of a house, that was now used for a meditation centre. We spent a few days chilling out in ‘Hotel Unicornio’ – an aptly named place for us! We quickly met some amazing people and Genie at last had another chance to do a chocolate ceremony with someone she had been trying to find all around Guetamala – Keith. After getting two wonderful massages from Nadia and Sophia (yes, two massages!), I met Mark Elmy, who we quickly realised that we actually knew each other. He was part of the Mayan group who included Carl Friar and Nadia, his girlfriend used to go out with Simon Penton. We hung out for a whole day, exchanged lots of films, discussed our theories and projects and were his guests in his pub – the only one in San Marcos, where he plied us with several drink each!
So after a cool evening with Mark and his friends, we got a shuttlebus to Antigua, as a stop off point between Lake Atitlan and Copan in Hondurus, but also to check out a live volcano close up, something both Genie and I agreed would be a special non-megalithic thing to do. Antigua was a nice colonial town and apparently nearby, a Mayan jade mine had been rediscovered, so there was boom in Jade production in the area, just as Amber is to the town of San Cristobel, Jade is to Antigua.
The trip to the Volcano top included a bus, a strenuous walk and a horse-ride up. As you got higher up the volcano, you realised that it was like taking a stroll on another planet. The smoke combined with the clouds and then you started to get a glimpse of the lava, a substance that had so excited me as a child. The view of the setting sun behind the smoke, combined with the spitting lava was a sight I will never forget. As we walked back down, one of the most amazing views we had ever seen, opened up before our eyes. The sun had set, but the mist, smoke and subtle light showed three other mountains/volcanoes in the distance – check the photo.
We got to bed in a noisy hotel, only to wake up for our 4am bus to get to Copan, as well as going through the Hondurus border. It was the most easy going border I had ever crossed and even had sme El Baul style megalithic statues sitting there in the path next to the street. I could not work out if they were authentic or not, but took this as a good omen as we headed on our shuttlebus to Copan Ruinas – the town next to the main Mayan site that was famous for its incredibly intricately carved stelae. We stepped off the bus directly into a recommended hotel but we were so tired from serious lack of sleep, we only got to the site by 12pm, so had to rush around the museum, then get into the site in a rather dazed manner. The museum housed some of the huge stelae and strange looking men encased within them.
However, the stelae were very impressive and showed clear Oriental features, combined with various Olmec influences. The site also housed the longest know Mayan glyph sequence on a very high stair case that went up one of the main pyramids. We chilled out, took some medicine and reclined around certain areas of the site. Another thing that we both noticed at Copan was the interaction of trees and massive stones. It was like the trees had slowly lifted the stones into place in certain deliberate ways. We found what appeared to be a massive megalithic throne facing one of the pyramids, so reclined on it, meditated and watched tourists explore the pyramid in front of us. It felt like the ‘throne of Pan’, as though it was an otherwordly portal that had been put their (by the trees!?) for initiates to experience the other side.
I noticed the central palace area had some serious megalithic blocks that made up the staircase and two serpent heads popping out from its higher eschelons. It looked like a ‘serpent temple’ and I sensed a strong energy line going through this part of the site. I dowsed it and picked up what I believed was the ‘Plumed Serpent’ again, combined with another line that ran parallel to it. It was above the tomb that had been opened to the public, a space that had a powerful energy that blasted me as I entered this sacred space. Genie took some time down there to meditate and had a very powerful meditation experience.
The site had a beautiful feel to it and we could easily have spent several more days there, hanging out and exploring. We drifted back to the hotel via a couple of Stelea next to the road back into town. We took some more photographs and reclined almost immediately after a quick dinner and multiple beers.
PART 9 – Return to Tikal
We awoke the next morning planning to go to Tikal, but Genie had got ripped off by the tour company and we ended up waiting for hours at a dodgy bus stop with all our luggage. The bus journey took 7 hours to get to Flores, the nearest large town to Tikal and turned up at midnight in the island-like town of Flores.
Anyway, we put that aside and enjoyed the second class bus trip up to the Peten jungles. Tikal is a profound place I had fond memories of from my week-long visit here I made six years ago. During that week all those years ago i had met Erland and two girls whom we all met at the site and remembered we had all been here before. I recount this experience in my book about the Psychic Children, so it was a treat to return there and feel into the place again.
Tikal is a pre-classic site whose dominance stretched into the post-classic era. Early archaeological evidence puts early settlement back to 600BC, but there may well have been several megaliths there long before that, as a marker on a planetary survey. The Lost World pyramid was supposed to b the oldest pyramid at the city-size site and was mentioned in John Burkes research on earth energies and fertility. His team tested seed on this particular pyramid and also on the two pyramids in the main plaza, that were built much later. The test results were interesting because the Lost World pyramid seemed to be teeming with energy that charged the seeds, plus orbs were photographed there too. The results were significant because the seeds had a 3 fold increase in yield and grew faster than the controls. Whereas, with the two later pyramids, seeds placed upon them showed no significant change to the controls. This suggested that the older pyramids held this ancient earth energies knowledge and the later ones were built for political purposes. Interstingly, it is thought that the city-state was run by a single lineage of rulers from this early epoch.
Genie and I moved swiftly through the site and climbed every pyramid we could. I was impressed by the series of megaliths that formed an avenue through the main plaza. Again I believed that perhaps the stones were there first and the pyramids and other structures were built around them. Some of the carvings were beautiful and the general vibe of the colossal site was a breath of fresh air. The views over the jungle reminded me of the opening scene from ‘Return of the Jedi’ and the roars of the howler monkeys sounded more like dinosaurs than medium sized carnivores. The site was almost empty and it was easy for us to hide in the jungle whilst the guards left and we waited for darkness to fall. I hid behind a phallic shaped stelae, whilst Genie meditated behind a circular carved stone. The obvious male/female symbolism was duly noted.
We then started seeing lights zooming through the jungle an up the pyramids. We thought they were park rangers who could move superfast and levitate themselves upwards, but alas it was the fireflies coming out from their slumber. We reached the main plaza without a guard in sight and were welcomed to a starry night lightening up the two pyramids in the main plaza without another person anywhere near. It was exhilirating to be back ‘home’ and feel a certain nostalgia and warmth about this sublime and ancient sacred city.
We made ourselves invisible and quietly walked out without being spotted by a guard, In fact, we saw a guard leave his post and walk the other direction as we were coming out of the main site. We got back to our tent in the grounds of the Jaguar Inn Hotel and reclined, relieved our invisible trick worked.
After a long sleep we awoke to rain outside our tent. We stayed in bed for two more hours and surfaced to a beautiful day. Again we proceeded into the ruined city and firstly made our way to the museum to check out the megalithic statues on display. There were some cool items on display, especially the originals of the two we were hiding behind the night before! We checked out the statue that looked like a tattooed body, with calendar glyphs and alien weirdness inscribed on it.
We then made our way to the palace area that had remarkable megalith/tree combinations. I was also guided to an ancient room that had a candle burning in it, so took an opportunity to meditate. Within 3 minutes someone was shouting at me! The Mexican dude was back for his candle. He started accusing me of this & that in Spanish and gestured for me to leave now. I eventually gave in, but felt slightly shocked by his anger.
We checked out another steep pyramid, which had a sophisticated but ultra-steep ladder to get to the top. I met Genie up there who was already worrying about the climb down. I even found three ready-rolled tokes of wonder in a plastic bag on top of the pyramid. That shifted our perspective of Tikal somewhat for the remaining few hours. We made our way to the northern group and headed back via the grand plaza, wishing a fond farewell to a site I would no doubt revisit in the future.
Th following morning we were on our way from paradise heading to the Mexican babylon, the tourist centre that is Cancun. We got slightly ripped off by a tour company again, so if you book anything from Flores, do it from the proper San Juan travel, near the entrance to the town. Don’t use the local agents, they do not know the correct bus times! With that warning unknown we were ready at 4am and waited til 7.30am to actually get on the bus that had to take us through two slow and hot borders before getting us into Mexico and way up to Cancun. The Belizie scenery was of a dreamy caribbean flavour and I felt a calling from deep within as I left its laid back, but enticing ways. However, the Prophets Conference in Cancun was happening over the proceeding week.
PART 10 – 2012: The Tipping Point Conference & tours to Mayan Sites
The conference we were involved in was organised by ‘The Prophets Conference’, called 2012: The Tipping Point. Cancun was a strange place to do it but the hotel was one of the finest hotels I had ever had the pleasure to stay in. It was designed like a massive clubs chill-out room, with sacred geometry in mind and was right next to a wide fine sand beach. Quite a dreamy place.
I have followed the 2012 story for the last seven years so was intrigued by what would come out of the following few days. After a day of adjusting myself to a super-posh hotel, no longer having a girlfriend and the addition of sublime breakfasts, I was ready to face three days of 2012 related talks. Dana from Positive TV, Genie, Ben Cole and the ‘Earth 2.0′ team were there to make a documentary about 2012. I got interviewed befiore the conference began, to give my version of the how I think the Olmecs invented the “mayan” calendar and knew about the 2012 end-date, plus an outline of the Psychic Children theory and my earth energies research relating to how the ancients built these sites after a catastrophe, and how this high-knowledge could come in useful in a post-2012 world.
The conference opened with John Kimmey (above), who gave a three hour summary of the various Hopi Prophecies, including an examination of the ‘prophecy stone’. He described how the four worlds were destroyed: 1st world: Created the world with all creatures apart from Humans. Life on other planets attracted to earth. The creator needed stewards. They were tested, so only were in spirit form for one cycle. The 2nd world was purified by fire. The 3rd world purified by water. Next we have the physical cycle. Purification day is coming – 24 hours long! Those that have prepared themselves will know what to do. Although 2012 was not mentioned in the Hopi prophecies, perhaps 2012 is the date of destiny. It took til 1945 for Hopi clans to all come together & collect all prophecies. He continued by saying “Intelligence in the heart is the thing to do, not our heads. The syntax in our heart equals that of our blood, so can be trained properly & it doesnt lie….We must claim our new way of life to create the tipping point of salvation/enlightenment for humans. Ask for assistance from all the spirits that are hanging on the fence willing us along. We are all Warriors & we must vanquish the two-hearted way of life to end and live in the one heart. Massau will meet us with his stick of lngivity & guide us into the fith world. – The final part of the prophecy”.
At the very end of the talk he discussed a bizarre prophecy: “Our transformation will come in a form. Mercury & Venus will go into the Sun & the planets will move inwards one planet. The core of Earh is a dynamo made of Iron attracting more metals like a magnet & will weigh more that the crust & Gaia will give birth to another Moon that will be a new moon for Mars. The old core of Venus is our Moon !!! Stay with Mother Earth, dont go into nother dimension because we will be slaves to the extra dimensional entities – they are two hearted. We are Earth – we are one together”. Nuff said – see you there in 2012 John.
That night Mark, Hannah, our new superfast friend and I took a walk to the beach to soak up the negative Ions. Hannah was a big healing influence and bought masses of joy into our lives over the next few days. We started paddling in the water which was amazingly warm and before you knew it, Hannah was down to her knickers. Me and Mark laughed, simply because she did not care one bit. We’d only met that day! Ha ha. Anyway, we entered to strong waves of the Atlantic and laughed until midnight, trying to not drown in the very choppy water. Hannah told us her plans for world domination – a festival in May, a magazine and a book she had been working on for two years, Watch this space.
The following day, John Major Jenkins gave a summary of his Galactic alignment theories and his Izapan research & how it relates to 2012. He didn’t have enough time to go right into his detailed and quite brilliant research, so I collared him the next morning and discussed how I think the Olmec invented the Long Count calendar, because they were known to be using it during the ‘Cycle 7′ era – with a date of 31BC on one of their stelae at Tres Zapotes. He danced around the question I posed, because it seems the Olmec must have known about the start date (3114BC) and obviously the end date (2012AD) to have been using the calendar atall. John wanted to keep Izapa as the place of the origin of the Long Count.
However I told him I had been to Izapa and El Baul and he gave me some clues about other sites and artifacts in the area that related to the same era. We discussed Tortuguero, as I had been there too and we agreed to share photographs and even get him over to Megalithomania as soon as possible.
Russel Targ was a legend. He gave a simple talk about his experiences with remote viewing and some insights into the program that the CIA were working with. Although not a foolproof model, RV has opened up the possibilities of what can be seen not only in ‘other’ places, but also in other ‘times’. He had to make “a deal with the devil” to get 25 years of funding, but the CIA backing was not all bad. For example, the American government had been tipped off that China were going to do an atomic bomb test, so a remote viewer got called in and projected several days into the future. He saw what he thought were strange fireworks or a July 4th celebration, but no one was sure what this meant. It later came out that the uranium had not ‘taken’ and when that happens it looks a bit like fireworks. Basically it was a failed bomb test.
We the had to settle ourselves to be led through a remote viewing exercise. He held up a bag and told us to sketch the first thing that came into our mind. I immediately drew a circle/sphere with six points coming out of the edge, as though they were thorns. It felt like it may be metallic. I then added, or what Russel called an “analytical overlay” and made it look like a star tetrahedron. This was one of the classic mistakes of remote viewing. One must go with the first thing that comes into the mind. Anyway, eventually he showed us what was in the bag. It was a large gold/metallic Shiva goddess. Yes it was circular and it had thorns around the edge. A victory me thinks.
Christine Page was an eccentric English woman who is also a gifted psychic and has written a book entitled “2012-Return of the Great Mother’. Her talk was based upon her book and she woke everyone up with her energetic delivery. “Remember who you are – dont fall asleep, this only occurs every 26,000 years! Illness is not the enemy, its the solution – to help heal messages from the soul manifested in the bodies. Earth is a library of consciousness & every soul wanted to be here at this time…..Look at family history of illness – this tells you what to recieve (Ie: Heart problems – enjoy life, be happy, be loving)…..We must move ino the Soul Body & gives sees complete picture. Invite you to step back – don’t be in emotional grid, be in the soul/christ grid. Dont believe that someone else knows where we are going. 2000 years of messiahs & gurus are out of date. The time of the Guru is over”.
She continued: “So many people are scared of change. Crisis’ will occur, but we must go with the flow. Increase in mental illness & keeping feet on ground. Without veils we will immediately feel the actions we make upon another person & feel what they feel. Wars will probably stop. February 2012 Neptune (dissolving) enters piscies (unlimited possibilities). Until March 2025. A move into unity from seperation – anxiety, sleep/awake state, vivid dreams, emotional, dizziness etc. Time to face our fears – but its all ok. Piscean age – as it dissolves so watch the Magicians & full of ritual. Ignore them & look forward. We are here to birth a whole new world. Unity through acceptance of diversity – slowly moving into Aquarian age. Ask yourself in every situation, how can I help you be all that you are?”
She posed the question – What will happen when the the Veil dissolves. This was her answer:
Everything is available to us, its unlimited. We are wiping clear what was there before.
40% will immediately recreate the old
40% will fall asleep because they cant handle the unknown
15% will be confused
5% will be ready to move forward
Jacques Fresco of the Venus Project in Florida, was a mini-dynamo, still going strong at 93. After the bizarre 50′s Sci-Fi film of the Venus Project, he launched into a ranting, bittersweet account of various parts of his life and ancounters, but didn’t ever really touch upon the Venus Project, a subject I was eager to hear more about. However, after 20 minutes I had had enough and went for a lie down.
Daniel Pinchbeck sat up on stage and within minutes I knew he had not prepared his talk. I had seem him do this a few times, notably at the Crop Circle conference in Devises two years ago. However, sometimes he hits a high note and rides it well, and tonight, after twenty minutes he found his groove. He discussed shamanism, the use of psychedelics relating to 2012. “Our generation has a role of healing that and bringing a visionary way back to the world”. A self-confessed skeptic, he used these plants to test his inner nagging. “We don’t know what’s gonna happen basically. “How is our consciousness really influencing 2012?”
It was funny when a rather conservative delegate hassles him over the use of ‘drugs’ that turned into a drug-user versus drug-hater debate. He handled it well and reminded the guy that for thousands of years drugs have influenced advanced civilisations, been major healers and without them, music would be just plain awful!. Well said, Daniel.
Mark Heley was given ten minutes to outline the new ‘Peace 2012′ project, that was being put together by him and the guys who organise Earthdance. It was a concise delivery, discussing the need for Elders and indigenous knowlege-keepers to have a space on the internet to share what they know and prophecise about the enigmatic 2012 date. He also talked about a global peace meditation that is planned for 11.11am on December 21st 2012, to send a shockwave of love and consciousness around the planet.
Jose Arguelles I was interested in seeing as I had followed his work on and off for the last seven years, but within minutes, I was getting lost in his ramblings. However, heres some of what he said : “Were going into a telepathic noospheric reality. Blending with the mind of the earth. Harmonic Convergence 2012 with a Rainbow Bridge. By Jan 1st 2013 we need to be a unified orgnism of ants, not bumping into each other, but working together. Braincells are just capacitors of conciousness, not consciousness itself”. Jose seems drunk, slurrin his words, but at least he was not as rambling as Pinchbeck. vague as Frasco or new-agey as Page. Self proclaimed “Biospheric dropout, noospheric drop-in” Jose had the presence of a Guru, the style of a Californian drop-out and the knowledge of an old soul who is way ahead of his time.
“What’s everybody gonna get out of this conference?” he asked.”We have to leave here knowing that we can create a telpathic matrix of peace and love and blanket the Earth with it, & make it so powerful that it will change other peoples minds. Stabilising the Earths field with peace and love. Meditation, clear your mind, do it every day, submit yourself to the higher forces or called the Unified Field. Submit wholeheartedly & you’ve done it. Dont panic, were heading for an evolutionary shift”. He showed the banner of peace, that I noticed was the Ahua symbol of Bufo frog!! We then had to all hold hands & sing ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon together, led by Jose Arguelles and his Templar Freemason friend – how disturbing! My cringe-factor went on overdrive, so I filmed some of it and took photographs to avoid singing along and holding hands. Yes, I know, I’m a cynical Englishman! Big respect to Jose for all his great work and being a cultural genius none the less.
Daniel Pinchbeck joined Jose on stage to do a Michael Parkinson style interview. Here are my notes about that: “Wipe out of electrical grid for 3 months. Get yourself spiritually prepared! Sun as conscious process affecting us? Mutation of one species”. Ramblings about the Sun, the 2012 movie, creating a different script, making rain in tribal societies, – “we have a counter-force to the apocalypse that we are working on. If we had 144 million beings, we could do that”. Plasma phenmena – Dimitriev: All one system, realising we are one organism. Jose to Daniel – “go on a Vipassana retreat!!” when Daniel said he loves the chaos & the wildness. It felt like a Parkinson interview, discussng Jose’s life & awakening. Buckminster Fullers ideas of redesigning nature/architecture etc etc.
The next talk I attended was by Miguel Angel Vergara, who was once the chief of Chitzen Itza, a controversial site that banned ceremony some time ago. This guy is a self-proclaimed shaman, who is also a tour guide. His talk was basically OK, covering some interesting ground on Mayan belief systems, apart from several factors. He claimed the Maya never did sacrifices, when there is strong evidence that many cultures of Ancient Mexico certainly did. There is so much proof of this I don’t know where to start. He claimed the skull on the bottom of the ball court was the crystal skull, which is unlikely to be the case as the Mitchell-Hedges Skull was found in Southern Belize, a long way from here, and it felt like a tenuous link to me. The other Central American crystal skull (a much smaller piece) was found in a grave at Monte Alban, and as that site was Zapotec/Toltec there may well be a connection there, but why was that not mentioned? He then tried to link the symbolism to ‘Crystal clarity” and thats how we need to be reaching 2012. His ideas were ‘nice’ but needed some substance to back them up.
At last, a true sleuth-scholar took the stage. The great Graham Hancock was a voice of reason (alongside John Major Jenkins) at this diverse conference. His talk was the same title that he had used at Megalithomania in 2009 and also a chapter title from ‘Fingerprint of the Gods’, entitled ‘A Species with Amnesia’. After a superb outline of the great civilisation that inhabited the Earth from 12000 years ago, he delivered some deep insights as to why it is so important to truly know our past: “We live at a crossroads, no doubt about it. How do we respond? Its not the first time mankind has been at this point. We live in society that keeps us asleep & looking at the past liberates us within the present”.
He finished by reading a passage from ‘The Emerald Tablets of Thoth’ that was a prophecy within itself, detailing where the world has come to and how we are on the brink of destroying our Mother. He even opened up and told the audience how he had been healing himself and taking note of his ‘ways’ and how he treats others. I really felt moved by his words and with that he received a standing ovation. Overall the conference was an interesting selection of diverse subjects and inspiring speakers, but the lack of indigenous elders was noted by many. Apart from that, well done to the organisers.
After hanging out with Hannah, Mark and Louis, we got ourselves ready for the four days of tours to Mayan sites in Quintana Roo. Our first trip was to Coba, which I had visited 6 years ago on my last trip here. It was an interesting site, that had been highly developed since I was here. That evening all the crew went to Tulum to get some dinner and drinks on the beach and while we were there Mark discovered a lost pyramid….made of sand and about 3ft high. Me and Genie went to see it and we were amazed by its ingenuity. It was a superb pyramid and one that we would attempt to duplicate at a later date.
The next day we went to the more beautiful site of Ek Balam, another classic period site with some interesting earth energies and features, but to be honest, these sites on the Yucutan Peninsula, don’t really do it for me, so didn’t even go to Muyil the next day. I stayed in the amazing hotel and caught up on work, had a swim and contemplated my life and how I was feeling.
The trip to Chichen Itza was interesting to say the least. The vibe there was entirely money oriented with no room to relax and enjoy the site without being harassed by sellers shoving their goods in your face. It is now highly controlled, but I walked around the massive ball court with Graham Hancock and John Major Jenkins, so I enjoyed my first hour there. Hannah and I took lots of photos, had some serious fun, then when Frank and co were interviewing John Major Jenkins in secluded area behind the Temple of Columns, it all kicked off.
Some officials came charging over and starting shouting and grabbing the equipment. It turned into a scuffle as Louis decided to get aggravated and push them back. Oh dear. I cheekily filmed them attacking Louis. Very funny, until they tried to get my camera off me. No chance of that so I quickly walked off and passed it to Hannah who kept it safely in her bag. Mark and I wandered over to the Cenote and I gazed at the incredible pyramid of Kulkuklan. A masterpiece of engineering by the Toltecs who had somehow designed it to create a shadow on the equinoxes that resembled a serpent, that joined the heads at the base of it. Six years ago you could climb the pyramid, but alas, because it has now officially become one of the seven wonders of the world, there are simply too many visitors to allow that. I remember that when I did go up it, I sat and meditated on all four sides and felt my heart centre opening in a beautiful way, as though the pyramid had been designed partly for that purpose.
Kulkuklan is another name for Quetzelcoatl, that the Mayans of this area used. Beneath the structure are several other layers that go further back in time, but access to them is now also forbidden. It’s such a pity, because this is one of the finest sites in the world, but it is now very controlled and you cant have a minute to yourself without seller hassling you. What really made us laugh is that Elton John is doing a concert there in early April!! I think that says it all.
We’d had enough of Chichen Itza by then, so decided w wanted to go to a Cenote and cool off. Within one minute a guy came up to us and invited us to a Cenote nearby. With a synchronicity that fast, how could we refuse. We jumped in the car and drove for a couple of miles, paid our 70 pesos entrance fee and walked into one of the most beautiful sights I had ever seen. It was a magnificent cenote, deep within a cave and greenery and vines all around. It had been renovated to allow people to go in it and steps had obviiously been added, but that did not take away its natural beauty. We dived, swam, laughed and cooled off before returning to Chichen Itza to pick up Simon, before heading back to Cancun.
We said our farewells the following morning and I felt I had let go of Genie somewhat and was ready to continue my travels without her, but instead with Mark, Louis, Luke Hancock (Grahams son) and the brilliantly funny Hannah were to join me over the next few days.
PART 11 – Isla Mujeres, Cozumel and Imbolc with the Goddess Ixchel
We got a shuttle-bus, then a boat to Isla Mujures, off the coast of Cancun, an Island that was dedicated to the Goddess Ixchel. We checked into to the only Hostel on the Island and settled in for a few days of chilling out. We sunned ourself on the white sand beach and Mark and I swam out about a kilometre, which was OK as we were still able to stand up at that distance! We then built a sand-pyramid, inspired by what we had seen in Tulum a few days earlier. It was a team effort that made us quickly realise how good the one we had seen in Tulum was!
We continued chilling on the island and Mark and I realised it was Imbolc and that perhaps Ixchel was the Mayan equivalent of Bridie. We hired a golf cart and hossed it down to the south of the island to check out the temple that was dedicated to Ixchel. Ixchel is the Mayan fertility goddess, who also represents the Moon, midwifery and medicine. The island was frequently visited by Mayan women hoping for a fruitful pregnancy and offerings were made to her there. I wondered if perhaps this was an earth energy site that also enhanced and did indeed promote fertility. I got out the rod and checked for any signs of this. Although there is not much of the temple left, I found three strong currents running through the centre and a build up of telluric energies within the structure.
We walked around the caves that went underneath the temple and when we all met up to wish farewell to Ixchel, a beautiful rainbow appeared! Amazingly, Ixchel was also knows as a ‘rainbow’. A blessing from Ixchel was a beautiful experience to be a part of. After a day or two of big fun with my crew, I wished them bon voyage on their return to the UK. I, on the other hand, got a bus down to Playa del Carmen, to get a ferry to Cozumel, another larger Island, again with temples dedicated to Ixchel. I had arranged with a couchsurfer to stay in one of her houses for a few days. I had no Idea how many she had, but the one I got was small but beautiful and was a great base to explore the island from.
Isla Cozumel is also known as “The Swallows Island”. Women would travel from mainland to visit Ixchel, most probably at the Mayan site of San Gervasio, that was excavated in 1972 – 73 by Harvard University. After a long hot, midday bike ride with the wind against me, I hitched the final six miles in the back of a 4-whel drive and even got given a very cold beer. Nice. San Gervasio has small structures, but has many sacbe’s and the Ixchel temples were beautiful. The arched temple is where the archaeologists believe was the main place that Mayan women from the mainland would place their offerings and say their prayers. From an earth energies perspective, it was a very powerful spot and three great currents congregated on the altar. One of them continued precisely down the sacbe, so I followed it with my rod, until I reached another temple. The energy here was also strong and I went round the back of it to investigate and to my surprise, saw a recent offering that had been made. Some oranges, ‘pregnancy tea’ and a cigarette. An interesting combination I thought. Perhaps an expectant mother who is trying to give up smoking and using oranges for vitamin C…or maybe not!
The rest of the site was beautifully laid out and even had a Toltec-style temple of columns and some interesting carvings nearby. Overall, it’s well worth a visit if you ever go the Island. I got lift back to my bike with some redneck Americans, broke part of their car off (accidently) and cycled home with the wind behind me. When I got home I almost passed out from heat exhaustion and noticed a hand-drawn map on the wall of the Couchsurfers house. It was drawn in the early eighties from 20 years of research and here is some of the incredible information I gleaned from it:
There are several Mayan sites along east to north coast, but many are badly ruined now and are often just built over by developments. Jade deposits were also found on east coast near Chen Rio. There were also ruins at Punta Chiquerro. Ixchell figurines were found on West Caost when Hotel El Presidente was being built, but I visited there & only a few worn megaliths in lobby were anything I could find. Nothing else. Near there is Laguna Chancanb – where on Feb 1st 1973 (Imbolc / Ixcel / Bridgit etc), three blue orbs were seen hover over the east edge of lagoon for 15mins, then moved eastwards into the jungle – was it Ixchel again?? Interestingly nearby is a ‘Mound site” that has no further information. Do these orbs suggest a fertility energy as outlined in Burkes book?
Cozumel airport once housed a mayan site and possibly a cemetary in nearby schoolyard, but was destroyed in World War II when they built the airport. El Cedral is another site worth checking out, but unfortunately the blazing heat and my tired legs from the previous days cycling stopped that. Sacbe’s stretched everywhere on the island and there were strong energy signitures on the ones at San Gervasio. I checked out the small museum in town that had a couple of Ixchel statues, but the Mayan glyph of her looked like a witch-like old woman. If she was the goddess of fertility, shouldn’t she be younger? Anyway, I realised it may be because she was also the old wise woman, who all the younger Mayan women would come to for advice. I also remembered that in one local legend, it says that Cozumel is where Quetzelcoatl left Mexico – however there is noo more eveidence on this I could find anywhere.
Overall I had a great time on Cozumel, but Genie had been in touch with me and wanted to meet me at Calakmul, a superb and large Mayan pyramid site just north of the Peten Jungle. I hesitated, as my heart was nearly healed, but it was the last chance I would get to see her for over a month, so made my way to Xpujil, the town nearest all the Rio Bec style ruins in that area. I had also been highly recommended the site by a swiss woman I met on Isla Mujures and was planning on going there anyway.
After an amazing Vegetarian Burrito in one of the tourist restaurants in Cozumel, I got on the boat back to the mainland, missed my bus and contemplated that I would be turning up after 1am at a random village in the middle of nowhere to knock on a hotel door to wake Genie up. After a long bus ride, I was wondering why I was doing this. should I just stay clear of Genie and continue my healing? Hmmmm.
PART 12 – Calakmul, the ‘Rio Bec’ sites, Lake Bacalar and Tulum
I arrived in Xpujil peublo, after a long military checkpoint stop, where they checked several pieces of luggage for about 45 minutes. It was on the border of Qunitana Roo and Campeche, two states in the Yucatan area. I got a taxi to the hotel, but couldn’t wake Genie up after knocking on the door several times. I eventually woke up the person she was sharing with who rightly freaked out thinking I was an intruder! Anyway, we moved into a Cabana and talked about our experiences over the last few days before falling asleep. After a subperb breakfast of multiple eggs at the Calakmul Hotel, where we were staying, we got taxi to Chicanna, a Rio Bec site 10 km west of Xpujil.
Chicanna is a simple but beautiful Mayan site. Its showpiece is a super-massive serpent head that was so big it was actually a building with some rooms inside that you could walk through. I looked like a representation of Quetzelcoatl, with its plumes and serpent mouth. We then walked back to the highway and tried to hitch to Beccan, another site a km along the highway back towards Xpujil. Unfortunately our hitching skills had temporarily deserted us and a hot midday walk was the only way we were going to get there. And what a sight we were greeted with when we got into the central plaza, what looked like tens of thousands of small white butterflies engulfing a large Ceiba tree. It seemed our timing at Beccan was much better than our hitchhiking skills. We were bewildered by this and it was a beautiful and romantic experience. I had never seen anything like this before and I snapped away and filmed what I could. There were pyramids to climb also, so we got to the top of the nearest structure and had a magnificent view from above the great tree and butterfly parade.
We bumped into some people I was trying to avoid. A bunch of loud Mexican tourists, however we started chatting about the magnificence of the site and were quickly discussing masonry skills of the Maya and the Olmec. It turned out he was a Professor of History who had studied at Cambridge, was an authentic Mayan and was going to Calakmul the following day. Genie booked us in an early morning lift, as we had no other Idea how we would possibly get to the enigmatic Calkmul, that I heard was as breathtaking as Tikal, less than a hundred miles due South before the Guetamalan border, and a tourists nightmare to get to.
Beccan is a site that is well worth a visit. Its a classic-Mayan site, but has large pyramids which you can freely climb and has a sense of mystery and serenity about it, as though it was a Goddess site perhaps. We wandered through corbelled archways, around the back of the complex, through courts and plazas to a huge pyramid that I simply could not resist climbing. Genie was already up another pyramid, so I ran up to the top of the tallest structure in the complex and was startled by the panoramic view of the the Rio Bec jungles blending with the Peten Jungles of Guetamala to the south.
Genie eventually joined me and we hung out on there until well past closing time, but we also had to get a taxi back and the sun was starting to set. When we got back to the Cabana, I checked the map and realised Calkmul was rather close to El Mirador, a jungle dwelling Mayan site I had spent five days trekking to in 2003 from the Guetamalan side.
After a relatively early night of eating at our local in Xpujil, the Calakmul Hotel, we awoke in our new and much more rustic cabana, much earlier than we wanted to. It was dark, quite cold and I could see no way of getting a coffee down my neck before we got to the site (that was famous for having no facilities). Fortunately, our new friends, who also included two Mayan tour guides, who one of them was even at the 2012 conference, were caffeine addicts too, so there was a mandatory stop off at the hotel at the turning south to the ruins.
Calakmul is an awesome site, on par with Tikal, but what makes it stand out are the sheer size and quantity of Stelea – some carved, other not, as though they are remnants of a previous megalithic civilization. All around the site the stelae were scattered, often intertwined with trees and even halfway up some of the pyramids.The main pyramid was also colossal and must have taken years to construct. It just kept going further and further back, the more you climbed it and the hot, long walk to the top was worth every moment, because the view over the jungle was amazing. If you look carefully, you can make out other Rio Bec sites on the horizon and I’m sure if you have binoculars you may even be able to see El Mirador to the south.
Our professor friend was now wearing a colonial British army hat and looked like the main character in Family Guy. He was giving Genie a Mayan history lesson, discussing various aspects of their culture, but what he said about the reason sacrifices were made intrigued me. He said those that were being sacrificed were being sent to gods to give them a certain message – ie: please make it rain, or guarantee us a good harvest. He went on to say, they were rarely slaves, as slaves would not do as they were asked by the high priests, so it was volunteers and these people were highly regarded by the other members of the society. The priests believed the gods were ignoring them, so had to send someone to their realm to get their attention. Perhaps the gods were ignoring them for a reason, because they kept murdering innocent people!
Genie joined me at the top of the pyramid and we discussed the 2012 documentary and other ideas for movies and books, admired the view and made our way down the pyramid to another part of the site. Calakmul is so far away from anything than tourists rarely make the long trek, and if you do go, take water and supplies, because there are none at the site. I walked back via the main plaza and admired the huge megaliths that flow through the site. We met back at the people carrier, had some snacks and headed to our second Mayan site of the day, Balamku.
Balamku is a fairly small complex, but is famous for its astonishing stucco wall that was once on the outside of the main pyramid. Many of the glyphs were of corn and also pregnant bellies, suggeting this was a fertility site, or that fertility rituals were practiced on this pyramid. It was abundant with earth energies, so this may well have been the case. We grabbed some lunch with our new friends, although beware, because when you ask for a salad in remote areas, you will never know what you are going to get. Whilst everyone else feasted on large slabs of leathery meat, I tried my hardest to stomach some old rubbery cheese chunks, cabbage, soft tomatoes and refried beans!
The following day we went to the local site that was actually opposite our cabana area. It was a simple site and relatively small, but had a three tiered temple and some interesting stucco walling. no one else was there at all and the energies there were very pleasant.
After chilling out in Xpujil for another hour, we got our bags together and got on a bus heading east towards Lake Bacalar, a place that Simon Penton had recommended as an ideal chill out spot, with a nearby Cenote.
We ended up in a rough cabana, but luckily water was leaking everywhere so we got moved to a posher room with a tv and shower…phew. It was hot and humid and we spent the evening discussing our relationship on the lake whilst drinking Mexican beer. We reclined to our new room and got a taxi the following morning to the local cenote. The cenote was nothing like the one I had visited near Chichen Itza, but was more like a small lake. However, we had a cooling dip, did some serious sunbathing, ate a splendid lunch and made our way back to our hotel, before catching a bus towards Tulum, to spend the last few days with Genie.
We checked into a hotel in Tulum Pueblo, because the cool Hostel was totally full, exactly like it had been six years ago when I came here before. The hotel was three doors away from the Hostel and was comfortable and cheap. We had a beautiful evening together that involved indian music, incense and a large amount of coconut oil. Unfortunately most of the next day was taken up with Genie booking her flight to Cancun and sorting out details of the Conscious Life Expo she was attending in LA on the coming weekend. But I got a chance to check out the town, get a few pressies and of couse, get the Papaya for tomorrows breakfast. Eventually we made it to Tulum beach and checked in to a simple cabana on on a rocky part of the beach. It was beautiful.
The following morning we walked to the Mayan temple of Tulum. Tulum was the first Mayan site that I ever visited. Six years ago I turned up here directly from my flight to Cancun and was whisked to this beach, where I spent about one week. Back to the present and Tulum seems to have lost some of it’s magic. This was obviously due to the fact that it was a major site and was controlled and overpriced and like Chichen Itza, you could not go into any of the temples or climb any pyramids. Six years ago this was quite different. The location of Tulum is breathtaking. It overlooks the sea and has a beautiful beach. Although it is apparently a late classic site, it has references to Quetzelcoatl in its architecture. It alsio has an Illuminate-style ‘all seeing eye’ on one of the structures. We decided to break the law and run into the various temples and scale the pyramids at our leisure. we got spotted by two different people and got told off and scorned at by the both. We even got told off by an American tourist. This was getting weird. We were not vandals, merely sight-seeers wanting to get a closer look. We took a walk to the cabana down the beach, took a photoshoot of Genie posing with a big log on the beach, then had shrimp burritos in a super-posh beach restaurant and chilled out for a while in our more modest cabana before returning to the super-posh resort to sneakily use their internet.
We met two northern British guys as we were leaving who were doing a club night there the following night. They invited us to join them, but Genie would be in LA by then and I would be heading into Belize. We drifted off after some time in the hammock and awoke the following morning to say our farewells. I jumped on a bus to Chetumal to check out the Museum before crossing the border into Belize and Genie got her bus to Cancun, to get a flight to LA. After a brief look round the museum, that was beautiful and had lots of Mayan reconstructions (although shortage of actual artifacts) and a superb metal cyclical Mayan Calendar, I checked into a hotel and contemplated my trip to Corozal in Belize here I was to stay with Chris, another trusted couchsurfer.
PART 13 – Belize: The Golden Tiger, Pyramids and meeting Jim, the explorer.
Chris and his family lived very near the intriguing, but semi-destroyed site of Santa Rita, that had free entry, but was now used by teenagers to hang about on their bikes and smoke dope. With all the graffiti and litter, it felt more like a play-park than an archaeological site. However, it had a magical quality and would have once been an impressive site. The local town had built up around very close to the main surviving pyramid. So much of the huge site had disappeared into the surrounding ‘development’. After an hours checking out Santa Rita, I took note of my dowsing readings and remembered that artifacts dating from 2000 BC had been discovered here, so had a deep rumbling of the sanctity and age of this site.
Chris and his family were amazing hosts. They welcomed me, we had a great laugh and was inspired to see a Mother and Son so in tune with the greater spiritual world. Big respect to them for that. I met Chris’s Grandad who became interested in my explorations, who told me that the local site of Santa Rita, had a back story no one else had realised. The 93 yr old continued to tell me of a book he had read in the fifties or sixties, where a guy had realised he had had a past life at certain ancient sites & that he knew where a gold tiger had been buried. In fact he was so convinced of this, he demanded a meeting with the president of Mexico, to get him to arrange the expedition. The president obviously ignored him and told his staff could assist him, but he refused to do that. After months of hassling the government, he eventually agreed to assist in the expedition. So after 6 days of trekking they found the site & alas, they dug up the gold tiger, exactly where he had dreamt it was.
Yeah that was interesting, but what really blew me away was the fact that there was also a female gold tiger, but that was not in Mexico, but in Santa Rita, the site in Corozal about half a mile away that I visited the day before. Metal detectors at the ready. I took a walk around the town along the coast. Eventually I spotted the Sea Breeze hotel and got chatting with Gwynn, who said he could take me to Cerros tomorrow, the enigmatic coastal Mayan pyramid site that was across the bay. So I chilled out with Chris and family and planned my boat trip to Cerros.
I arrived at the Sea Breeze hotel and Gwynn was promptly ready to get me to my destination, for a reasonable cost of $60 Belize dollars (about £20) – not bad for Belize. He warned me that my planned 4 or 5 hours on the island was a bad idea due to the relentless mosquito frenzy I could encounter there.
2 hours was agreed upon. I climbed off the boat, had quick look in the site museum and got on my merry way around the bay path to reach the first pyramid structure. Beautiful views greeted me and some Olmec style stucco masks faced the front of one of the smaller pyramids. Gwynn was right about the mosquitos, they went into attacking frenzy and I had to constantly whip myself with my hat to prevent getting bitten. It seemed as you headed further inland the mossies upped their game. I chilled out by the water until Gwynn picked me up and took me back to the mainland.
As I was getting a coffee at Gwyn’s hotel, I got chatting to an American guy called Jim, who was interested in what I was up to. I told him I was heading to Lubaantum to check out the site where the crystal skull was discovered. Jim suddenly perked up and explained that he used to live with Anna Mitchell-Hedges and was an explorer, who had made some fascinating discoveries in the Maya Mountains, which covered much of western Belize and Eastern Guatemala. For the last fifteen years Jim had explored the region every summer looking for lost cities and artifacts. He once discovered a cave shrine and managed to discover a wooden seated Olmec looking figure that had somehow survived for just over two thousand years, He got it carbon dated to check his initial guess at the dating. National Geographic took an interest and wanted to go on an expedition with Jim, but he refused to help keep the site intact and to keep it free for future explorations. He believes there is much more to be discovered there. He showed me photos (that NG took) and some beautiful sketches of the impressive artifact. It certainly looked Olmec and like myself, Jim believed the Olmec people were much more widespread than they are given credit for. I wondered if perhaps they had even built some of the sites in Belize?
The following morning I met up with Jim and Gwynn to visit the land that he owned, 12 miles up around the coast. It was a beautiful drive and as we drove into his homestead I could not believe my eyes. There were mounds and ruins stretching out through his huge front yard! We had also spotted a large Silbury Hill size mound a few miles back as well, that I was hoping to check out with Jim later that day. Jim’s place was stunning and he explained it was a Mayan burial site. It was on the edge of the jungle, had a good breeze that blew away the mosquitos and had three natural springs that look like mini cenotes. What an amazing place, a place that he wants to get projects and camps going on to use it effectively. I told Jim I was heading to Orange Walk the next day and he agreed to drive me down there, as he also had a small place there too in the main town. Before we got that far though, we had to check out the strange mound in a random field off the road between Jim’s place and Corozal.
We drove into the sugar plantation, got out the car and made our way to the structure and noticed hundreds of grey stones at the bottom of the mound. This must have been a pyramid. I continued climbing and as I reached the top, I heard a strange feline growling sound, that stopped me in my tracks. Slightly freaked out, I walked down to where Jim was and told him. Could it have been a jaguar? We both went back up and both heard it again. I was not going to stay to hear a third growl, so we headed back down, jumped in the car and in a bemused manner made our way to Orange Walk.
The area round Orange Walk is fascinating. Like the unexcavated pyramid I had spotted with Jim, there was much of the same at Yo Creek, a village a few miles past Orange Walk. I ended up staying at Kevins house, because Couchsurfer Jake was not contactable that day, so he showed me some ruins behind his village, that also had a flattened area that no one in the village knew who did it. However, on either side were some earthworks which suggest a possible ball court.
I hitched to Cuello, halfway between Yo Creek and Orange Walk. Its on private land behind a rum brewery, so I walked up the dirt road to the entrance, but considering it was late afternoon, I sensed I may have been too late to gain entry. Yes, I was informed that was indeed the case. So I started walking down the road, but realised there may be no cars for some time. However, after a bus that refused to stop and getting ignored by two cars, I got lucky and got that lift in the back of the truck I needed. Within the hour I was in Orange Walk, heading down to the Library to meet Jake, my original couchsurfer friend.
Jacob Halfin is a cool Israeli Peace Corps volunteeer,whos got a large dopey hound called Moses. He set me up with a trip the following day to Lamanai - “place of the submerged crocodile”. Interestingly the name Lamanai is one of the only place names of a Mayan site that has maintained its name. Slight changes in the last two letters have had it called “Submerged Insect” and more recently “Submerged Crocodile”, but the famous Stelae had inscriptions on it that actually had the original name on it.
I joined the boat at 9am and we got an overlong bird/crocodile/monkey watching tour that went on and on. It got to the point that I was craving pyramids so much I was sitting there reading my book about Mayan pyramids! Anyway, the spider monkeys were excellent though and even joined us on the boat walking up and down the length of it, trying to find the bag of bananas.
We arrived at Lamanai, and after an excellent lunch, we started to explore the site. The Jaguar pyramid was our first port of call and was a beautiful construction with a stunning orange tinted tree on top, with awesome views along the ‘New River’. It is highly recommended that you do not take the road to Lamanai due to is poor condition. The boat trip is well worth it (around $80 BZ), but you only get two hours at the site and a long time looking a small animals from a boat.
The pyramid was impressive and reminded me of Calakmul, but in a hotter, more tropical climate, surrounded by rivers, tributaries and an abundance of palm trees. The next stop was at the small ball court that had megalith markers sitting within it and a huge pyramid up one end of the Plaza. This one had been rebuilt more than once and had stucco /stone Olmec looking masks on the frontage. The view was amazing and made me realise what an incredible blessing it was to be in such a beautiful part of the world. I guess pyramids allow great views due to their height. Dur…..!
The final “pyramid of the masks’ was what I was really here to see. I heard that the masks on this one looked totally Olmec and were carved from stone, only with a light covering of stucco, which could have been added later. Underneath this structure, was apparently a much earlier structure with finds that go back 4500 years, the same era as the Egyptian pyramids and the megaliths of Britain. Belize seems to have more ‘ancient’ sites than anywhere else in Central America, with dates that exceed most other pyramid sites..apart from the Olmec on the Gulf Coast of course. So what connections are there between Belize and the Olmecs? We already know that Olmec artifacts reached the Atlantic coast with the finds in Cozumel museum, but Jim had also noticed the connections in Belize. Even his wooden statues looked decidely Olmec with startling Negroid features.
Jake had pointed out that there was a newly discovered one on the left side of the pyramid, which looked even more Olmec that the other one. Whilst the tour guide was distracted I nipped under the rope and got a close-up shot of the large face. The lips were negroid looking and with the proof of the anciet date of this site, evidence was gathering that they may have had a trading post towards the Atlantic coast.
I visited Cuello (again), a small site behind a rum distillery on the road from Orange Walk to Yo Creek. I got permission from the front gate and watched as armed soldiers turned up in a truck behind me! I swiftly went round the corner and through the gate to enter this unusual shell of a site. wrecked cars, garbage and millions of plastic bottles littered the site, with hundreds of skinny cows parading around the remnants of a once-thriving Mayan settlement that has dating going back to 2000BC. It was devestating to see the site in such a state, but the one small pyramid had been rebuilt, but was now under threat from lizards nests that are eating into the structure. The dowsing results were powerful, so I went looking for more structures and found some in a barbed wired area, that I wasnt supposed to go into. However, within that wooded realm, there were several small pyramids, earth works and notable, yet overgrown structures. I went up a pyramid at the furthest point away and discovered a tunnel that had been dug into it. Looters had obviously had a go at getting the treasure from this structure, so it was a pointless exercise to go don the spider/scorpion/ beast ridden hole, especially as I was alone and anything could happen! I managed to hitch back to Orange Walk and spent the last night with Jake discussing life, the Universe and everything.