Note from Carla Woody: Lori Clarke is a Canadian who traveled with us on the Winter Solstice 2012 program. She has generously offered impressions of her travels and a day she’d been anticipating for many years.
The anticipated climax of my trip was to be the day of the end of the Mayan calendar, December 21, 2012. I have been following this day since my mid 20’s, copying the date into each new years calendar. In my 20’s, the date seemed a life time away but now in my mid 50’s, the date is actually here… right now…
I decided several years ago that when this date arrived, I didn’t want to be home. I wanted to be able to say where I was on that date, when whatever happened…or didn’t happen…on the Winter Solstice of 2012. The end of the Mayan calendar and by some peoples’ interpretation, an accurate prediction of ‘the end of the world.’
I left Canada on Dec 8. Our ambitious itinerary kept us busy traveling and participating in healing and fire ceremonies, dinners with traditional families, textile and art gallery tours with our guides, visiting churches, museums and sacred sites. Meeting our guides, hearing their stories and feeling their passion was inspiring, lifting. It is very encouraging to learn that there is quite a collective movement cultivating the Mayan culture–the archaeological and historical richness, and striving to find the balance between maintaining tradition and economic growth in an increasingly modern world. Pride in their ancestral lineage, increased understanding between the many language dialects and unity are essential components for their future. The Maya were not defeated but very much alive. Coming together.
Our group of 12 arrive in Palenque on Dec 19. We spent the day touring the ruins and hear about Maya cosmology. Upon returning to our lodging after a long, hot and humid day, I laid down before having dinner. I increasingly didn‘t feel well and ended up vomiting. After all these years of anticipating this date, how could I be sick and miss Dec 21, 2012. I didn’t eat dinner that night. Then, as night fell upon us, it began to rain. We have not seen any rain on our trip and now, on the eve of Dec 21, it is not only raining but we are having a torrential downpour. I began to worry if we were even going to the site in the morning if this rain continues.
To my astonishment, I woke up in the morning feeling fine. It was a one-time appellation, no diarrhea, no headache. Very strange. But it does continue to rain. We gather, eat breakfast and catch a cab to the Palenque ruins. Along the road we pass a large group of walkers. Maybe a 100 people, all soaking wet, singing and dancing on their way to the site. Mostly young people, long hair, oddly dressed and obviously free-spirited. At the gate, we are the first people in line and wait to get our tickets. While we are waiting, we notice that the rain has stopped. How timely. The large group of walkers then arrive and fill up the entrance area. Moments later, our group was allowed in 15 minutes before the park was officially open. We quickly walk to the selected area and climb the steps up to the temple (The Temple of the Sun). To our amazement, we have the place to ourselves, only one security person and us. The rain has stopped but the grounds are wet and slippery making the climb rather tricky. We look out over the jungle canopy and observe the low level of clouds, hanging heavy and providing a misty, mysterious mood to the morning. We had a beautiful period alone on top of the temple looking down at the altar and up over the treetops. It was a sacred moment. The rain began again and groups of people started to arrive on site. How truly special it was to experience this quiet and private time alone in the heart of Palenque. No distractions from completely being present and absorbing all of its splendour.
However breathtaking this moment was in space and time, it wasn’t what we were expecting. It had been our plan to see the sun rise above the jungle canopy at 8:36am. The anticipation of being there to see the first peak of the rising sun on Dec 21, 2012 was exhilarating. As much as it was disappointing that it didn‘t happen that way, it had to be realized that, unseen to us, the sun certainly did rise that morning. A very powerful acknowledgement.
It continued to pour. We all were varying degrees of wet and a little annoyed with all this rain. But then I had another realization. Water is life. The rain is cleansing and water inspires growth, like the planted seed.
My eyes were then attracted to the altar in the centre of this area. It was great to see it this morning without people sitting on or hanging around it, as was the case yesterday. The altar is stone in the shape of a cross. The centre of the cross is also marked, marked with another raised stone. To me, this represents the heart. From the heart, energy flows out in all four directions. Each direction having it’s own strength and character. Standing at the top, I could see it clearly.
I decided to go down to the altar and stopped for a moment at each of the four directions. I then noticed that the rain falling on the temple steps was pooling and then cascaded over and down the stairs creating the flow of a waterfall. I had glad I decided to wear my sandals this morning so I didn’t have to worry about my shoes getting wet. I chose to be childlike and walked through the puddles. I intentionally walked up the steps of the highest temple, following the cascading waterfall. I imagined, feeling like a spawning salmon climbing upwards against the flow. Reaching the top, I noticed my heavy breath. After a few moments, I made my decent following the same path down.
As I left this area, and walked between the two sets of major ruins, I felt a strong wind. As I learned in Peru, I stopped, opened my arms and greeted the energy. I stood still for a moment breathing in the breath.
Dec 21, 2012 is the beginning of a new era. What was profound to me on this date is what I already know to be true. Believe in the unseen. I saw very clearly, that when we are aligned with a higher power, and are connected at the heart, we will be nurtured and guided so our energy will flow outward in love and be of service to the universe. Through our own free will, each one of us as individuals will live our life and learn the lessons through our authentic souls.
©2012 Lori Clarke. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.