Tuesday, April 28, 2015

#Synchronicity Surfeit

. . . . or, a Mayan Date, a Bird and a Dying Tree.  Post II – The journey and the story continues (see Post I)

 “Synchronicity is the simultaneous occurrence of two or more meaningful but not causally connected events.”

We flew out of Mexico City and on to Oaxaca. It was our plan to visit the famed El Tule Tree, situated in the courtyard of a 17th Century church. (El Tule has the largest biomass of all the trees in the world and is 2000 to 3000 years old.)
Before dawn the next morning, we took a cab to Santa Maria del Tule. The little village was just waking up, with small set-ups in front of houses for coffee and breakfast breads. We sat at an oilcloth table, amidst the smell of meats and breads being prepared for morning breakfast, and sipped our coffees while waiting for dawn and the day’s gathering around the El Tule. It was one of the designated power places for people to congregate during the two days of the Harmonic Convergence.
We were drawn to join the strangers that were gathering around the huge tree, mostly Americans and Europeans.  As these things often happen when the energy is high, we organically fell into an easy communion, eventually holding hands while trying to surround the tree with our shared energy. There were not enough people to completely circle the tree while holding hands, and I remembered being profoundly saddened by that.
As I focused on sending loving energy, I opened my eyes to see a bird hovering in a crevice at the roots of this huge tree. No one else seemed to notice. I suddenly sensed the bird was dying, and had the thought that the tree was dying as well. Was this a metaphor for a dying world? The world as we know it in the last chapter of its existence? (Three years later, in 1990 it was announced that the tree was indeed dying)
The original hippie movement was founded on the belief that the ‘age of Aquarius’ was dawning and the Picean age was dying out--based on astrology and the indigenous beliefs from around the world. The Maya marked this through their time/cycle keeping skills—a bookmark in history. Their baktun of 5000+ years was ending while the new cycle was about to begin. Going forward, nothing seemed to happen, but looking back we see how many changes there have been since 2012.
So much hype surrounded the end date of the Maya’s end cycle of Dec. 21, 2012, confusing the world. The Maya never predicted catastrophe (no matter how many self-styled prophets said they did), it was simply the ending of a very long age, and on the following day, the start of a new one.
At some point it became too sad for me to stay and focus on this dying energy of the bird and the tree, so we walked to another part of the courtyard where we found a man and woman kneeling and planting a new seedling tree. Were they shamans, I wondered?
No one was standing around them holding hands, feeding this positive action. Only my husband and I stood and watched them plant and bless this new tree that would grow to shelter and shade those who would come much later.
Here was the hope that even though our world might be dying, a new one was being born—hopefully one of inspired creation. The Maya marked this time for us to know it was an important event—but we lost the Maya writings and the secrets they held that might have revealed more. Or did we? 

We wandered over to the church. Outside, an old blind man, and young boy we assumed was his grandson, stood at the doorway. The man was singing Las Mañanitas (a song often sung to women on their birthdays), his veneration ritual performed daily to the Virgin Mary we were told.  And a synchronistic happy-birth-day for the new cycle?
Here is an excerpt from the past life in Dance the Dream Awake—the Old One speaks to young Ixchel about the changes that are coming to the Maya….

The fire flared and I closed my eyes. I saw through Ixchel’s eyes. . . .
Ixchel sat in front of the Old Itza. He carefully reached into the folds of his garment and pulled out a pouch of softened hide.
“Here,” he said, while pouring out three stones onto the earth before them, “are the powerful gifts from the Nine Lords of Xibalba. Long ago, they left the earth to guard the Nine Hells. They gave these to the sacred priesthood of the Feathered Serpent. The other priests have all gone. I am the last priest of both the Feathered Serpent and the Were-Jaguar.”
Ixchel fidgeted, hearing the familiar story. He closed his eyes. Ixchel quickly sat up straight and placed her hands back on her knees in respect.
He continued, “Now, the priests of Ah Puch rule. There is blood and death everywhere. The exalted gods no longer heed the prayers of our people. The end is coming soon.”
He paused and looked at her. She knew that look. He was about to tell her something important. She tried to sit straighter. . . .
When I opened my eyes, I lay on my side watching the embers give off their last few spurts of flame before sinking into a dying glow. The fine sand of the cave floor felt cool beneath my cheek. Louisa’s shawl was still around my shoulders. The morning light had squeezed through cracks high in the ceiling and shone into my eyes. How could it be morning? It felt like I’d only just closed my eyes.
I pushed myself up on my elbows and looked around. Louisa and Marta were gone. Juana lay sleeping nearby. I lifted my hand to brush away the sand on my face and found the beads entwined around my fingers. So it had been Marta and Louisa who took the beads. But why? And even more strange, why had they now returned them?

Next week, I'll share a little bit of history of the Maya, and since the novel is a romantic suspense, I'll have an excerpt of the budding romance between Tessa and Nick, an archaeologist working a dig at one of the ruins in Coba.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Trips, Treks and Teotihuacan

Sometimes we think life is random, making no sense; that things happen to us out of the blue. But I can trace my start as a writer and the beginning of my first book—and my own personal development, to an event that happened in 1987.

Jose Arguelles launched a word-of mouth campaign, called the Harmonic Convergence, asking for ‘Sun Dancers’ to gather near sacred sites around the world at dawn on the 16th and 17th of August, 1987, to hold a global peace meditation—to ‘open the doors’ to the final 26 years of the 5125-year Great Cycle of the Maya (A cycle which began in August, 3114 B.C. and ended on December 2012 A.D).

Without getting into too much detail of the fascinating time keeping/math of the Maya (they calculated the cycles and progressions of planets, galaxies—and universes for all I know—all above the understanding of my math-deprived-brain), here’s the quick skinny:
  • A Tun is 360 days,
  • A Katun is a cycle of 20 Tuns.
  • 52 years (of 365 days each) is known as the Hunab.
  • The Baktun (note glyph on right is a symbol of Baktun) is a cycle of 20 Katuns
  • So, the *Great Cycle is made up of 13 Baktuns (or *5125 years).
(Oh and by the way, there are many more cycles, so if you love cycles and math and fractals, you should check out the Mayan’s astronomical skills.)

Arguelles marked the start of the last cycle of 26 years before the end of the Great Cycle, as a moment for collective synchronization to move the earth and the universe to spiral higher in consciousness. The idea of history repeating itself—either one step higher—or a descent lower in our evolution, would be a good analogy. He believed this event had meaning that extended into other dimensions and hoped we could synchronize to the higher level if enough of us got together and ‘dreamed’ it so.

Thus was the impetus that lay in my consciousness for a few years, seeding my novel, Dance the Dream Awake, which had nothing to do with this event, but ignited my imagination because of the trek I took that threw open the doors. I had several déjà vu experiences on that journey.

Here is an excerpt from my novel of the first déjà vu event on my trip that became part of my protagonist, Tessa’s fictionalized story: 

. . . By the time we arrived, it was hot. The air-conditioning had been only slightly cooler than non-existent. My expensive outfit was damp and sticking to me in all the wrong places. My purse seemed ten pounds heavier than usual. I felt unglued. It had been years since I’d last been to Mexico. I’d forgotten how humbling and hard it was to maintain any kind of sophisticated aloofness in this humid, earthy country. I made a mental note to shop for cotton dresses. At least I had remembered to wear sandals.

I shrugged off my jacket, twisted my hair up off my neck, and tucked it under my Panama hat. After pulling my blouse out of my skirt and tying it in a knot at my waist, I felt a bit cooler. I threw my handbag over my shoulder and headed for the ruins.

After walking to the top of the incline, I looked out over the breath-taking view of Teotihuacan. For a few moments, I saw fruit trees and bright flower gardens lining the central walkway between the great pyramids. Brightly painted houses and small temples sat on raised platforms. More modest houses sat on the edges of the fields of flowers, crops, and intertwining aqueducts. 

I blinked. The mirage disappeared in the shimmering waves of heat that rose up from the ruins. Weeds and rubble were all that surrounded the pyramids now. I tried to make sense of the vivid mirage and decided I must have seen an artist’s rendering of it somewhere and remembered it in that split second.

When I noticed a group of fifty or so gaily-clothed Indians, I blinked again but they were real. They seemed to be in the process of forming a huge circle. It was too early for the tour buses so I figured it wasn’t meant for tourist entertainment and started down the hill to watch.

Drums beat and feathers, rattles, and beads shook in syncopated rhythms. Those in colorful native costumes danced and chanted. I moved closer, drawn by some echo of familiarity. Feelings stirred from a place deep in my heart then rose to my throat, causing tears to well up. What was happening? Why was I reacting like this? I knew nothing of these people, these ruins.

The circle of dancers stopped in unison. For a few moments no one moved, as if transfixed in time. A man stepped forward and raised a staff with feathers on it. He vigorously shook a rattle, interrupting the trance-like silence, then broke from the circle and started dancing toward the direction of the Pyramid of the Sun. The drums began a slow, steady beat as he snaked back and forth up the steps of the huge pyramid, the others following.
I had an unbearable urge to join them and moved quickly down the hill. Most had gotten halfway up by the time I reached the base. The sun was already bright and the stone reflected back the heat. Once I began the ascent, I had to stop often to catch my breath. I changed from following them, as they weaved back and forth, to heading on a straight path up the center face. When I reached the last three steps, I was exhausted and light headed. The Indians were already in a circle around the center.

Damn cigarettes. I had to break the habit this time. And I needed to start exercising more. The rising frustration at my clothes, my health, my life back home being in shambles had built to a breaking point. No one noticed my distress.

The man leading the procession stood in the center. From his strong presence and apparent authority, I assumed he was a shaman. After a few moments of silence, he raised his arms to the sky and began singing a hauntingly beautiful song in an unfamiliar language that wasn’t Spanish.

The tears welled up again. Why did I feel so much from this gathering—as if I’d come home? Mother and I had moved around so much that I never had a chance to feel that connection with a place and feel like I had a history. In the busyness of city life, I never thought about it much.

Individuals started placing little gifts on an altar in the center, while others sang quietly. The gifts were symbolic objects, wrapped in cloth and decorated with crystals, feathers, flowers, colorful ribbons, and strings. On impulse, I reached into my purse for the wooden box and removed one of the three odd, lighter green beads. What was one less that didn’t quite fit with the others anyway? I stepped forward to place it on the altar, a gift to these beautiful people and this loving moment. I felt as if a door in my heart had opened.

The shaman stopped singing when he saw it. He raised his staff, said something in the unfamiliar language, and then motioned toward me. The others ceased singing and looked up in surprise.

Suddenly embarrassed, I succumbed to the stress of the heat, humidity, and low oxygen. I watched three white butterflies float above the altar as I sank to the ground in a faint.

Release date for Dance the Dream Awake from Black Opal Books is next month, May 9, 2015, but is available for pre-order on Amazon, Smashwords and Black Opal now.

Next week: the next step on my real journey and corresponding fictionalized excerpt from the book.

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