"Sixty-five million years ago a giant, six-mile wide extinction-level object crossed into the Earth's atmosphere at an incredible high rate of speed. So huge was the object that rather than burn up or disintegrate as it raced toward the Earth's surface it basically held together with no more than a little shedding and dissipation of heat. Within seconds of entering the Earth's thickening lower atmosphere it slammed into a shallow sea in what is now the north coast of the Yucatan, Mexico with a force comparable to 100 million megatons of TNT. The resulting impact created a crater 112 miles across and a tsunami wave two thousand feet high that swept as far north inland as the middle of present day Texas. The results of the impact caused the demise of entire species, including, it is said, the dinosaurs. Ground zero for the asteroid is pretty much considered now days to be centered near the small Yucatan city of Chicxulub."
Starting 56 miles west of the coastal community of Chicxulub and following in a circular half-circumference inland directly along the crater's outer ring until it turns north and touches the coast again 56 miles east of Chicxulub, are hundreds and hundreds of cenotes, but very few inside of the ring. So too, even though quite a number of small archaeological sites indicating the presence of casual or regular human habitation exists throughout the general northwest region, there are really only two so called first-ranked sites and five second-ranked sites located within the Chicxulub impact basin, of which one is the Maya city of Dzibilchaltun, located about 10 miles from present day Merida with the other being the last Mayan capitol following the fall of Chichen Itza, Mayapan, which sits roughly 10 miles inside the southwestern portion of the ring.
Immediately outside the crater basin rim there is one first-ranked site, Uxmal, and six second-ranked sites with Oxkintok sitting right on top of the rim. Because of that sitting right on the rim, Oxkintok played a huge role in my life as found in The Maya Shaman and Chicxulub, of which from the above opening quote is found.
That huge role in my life occurred years before this trip, actually not many years after I graduated from high school. At the time I was traveling throughout Mexico with a high school buddy, the two of us eventually having made it as far south as the Yucatan on our way to Chichen Itza. Well before reaching Chichen Itza, but after we had visited a half dozen or so ruins leading up to Oxkintok, we ended somewhat south of Mayapan and had to turn north to get there. Two or three miles outside and south of Mayapan I was overcome by an all engulfing, continuous series of clear-to-my-bones cold chills rippling across my body, the abeyance of which really did not subside as much as they slowly melded into mild convulsions similar to dry-heaves then fading into a general lasting malaise all the time I was there, re the following:
"We had selected an isolated spot along the road in the middle of nowhere to stop and prepare our evening meal and crash for the night. The weather, as it had been most of the time since leaving the highlands of Mexico City, was and remained, extremely hot and muggy. After eating and cleaning up, my buddy climbed on the top of the truck to try and catch a few Z's and at least some sort of a breeze while he slept. In the meantime, not being able to sleep myself, with no real artificial light nearby or any being produced around the horizon polluting the night sky, I pulled my telescope out of its box and, turning on the headlights for a few minutes so I could see, proceeded to set it up. Then, before shutting off the lights, looked at my circular sky chart I invariably carried with me in those days to find the best time to view M31, otherwise known as the Andromeda Galaxy."
On this trip I decided to make an attempt to find the location of the spot, so identified above, that my buddy and I stopped for the night. Needless to say, in the short time I had allotted myself together with the number of years that had elapsed transforming the local geography since my initial visit, I was unable to really locate the exact same spot along the road toward Chichen Itza.
After traveling some distance eastward on the highway, and with no similar or recognizable signs or landmarks showing up as to the location I was seeking, as well as running out of time, I decided to make a U-turn and head back. On that return portion, set back in a small foliage free dirt turn-off along the side of the road I saw what looked to be a rather old, dilapidated and weather beaten three-sided open at the front roadside vendor's stand, basically put together out of sticks, a stand that I'm sure I hadn't seen on the way east. Since nothing had been along the road for miles in either direction I decided to pull over and see what the vendor had to offer.
Although she didn't move nor talk much the proprietor as such appeared to be a little old lady assisted by a more animated young girl around six years of age with long, unkempt, to the small of her back straight black hair, wearing a simple even with her knees one piece button-back dress and a pair of black, dusty, one-strap Mary Jane flats two sizes too big --- a pair I'm sure she just slipped on as I drove up. The old lady sat there in the shade, eyes closed, hunched over holding a bark-free stick straight up and down by her side that was longer from well above her grip to the ground. After I pulled an orange colored Jarritos out of a bucket of water sitting in the shade the girl came around to the front of the table, popped the lid off and started to assist me looking at the various offers on the table.
Seeing nothing specific of interest I paid for my drink and started to leave when the old lady spoke to the the girl in Spanish to have her show me the contents of a little hand-weaved box on the table. Inside, after removing the lid, was a smooth rock about the same size as a chicken egg that looked all the same as almost any other rock. The old woman stood up slowly walking across the cleared ground the lean-to was on toward the thick foliage behind the structure. She slightly turned her head speaking Spanish to the girl as I was dumping the rock in my hand. As I did a small crumpled piece of paper under the rock fell to the ground. As I was reaching for the paper, which had something in Spanish scribbled on it and a line drawing that looked like a comet, the girl said the woman said I should recognize the rock as a piece of a meteor.
I turned as quickly as I could to catch the old lady, instantly reaching the edge of the foliage and the point where I was sure she had entered. However, the foliage was so tangled, thick, and briar-like in most places it was impossible for passage any distance anywhere along its edge. When I turned back to the lean-to the girl was gone as well.
Finished with both Oxkintok and the search for the camping spot I returned to Merida, taking a flight to Guatemala City and from there to Tikal. In Guatemala City customs had me open my bag. Seeing the little weaved box I was asked if there was any food or live insects in it. When I said no only a rock, the man wanted me to open it. Removing the lid and tipping it toward him he wanted to know what I meant by a rock. Inside, instead of a rock, was the Barlow lens to my telescope I lost on my first trip to the Yucatan just out of high school. Written on the slip of paper, in Spanish and of which the young girl was unable to read, but customs man translated read:
"Why look up there when you are standing where other worlds came to ours?"
As for the above mentioned Maya city of Dzibilchaltun, I had been around and close to it on a number of occasions, but was never able to work out going there specifically, especially associated with the Spring Equinox, until one day I made an actual concerted effort to do so. It seems that I had included any number of Maya sites, ruins, and temples in my repertoire of travels wrapped around Spring Equinoxes and such --- and of which doing so, as almost anybody can figure out, makes it very difficult to include more than one site on any given equinox. However, as the quote below attests, I made a specific effort to be in Dzibilchaltun on a planned trip to Tikal completely designing my timing around being there for the equinox.
"The first half of my plan was to eliminate any long distant ground transportation when I left the U.S., going as quickly and as efficiently as possible to Tikal after a slight detour flying into the Yucatan Peninsula city of Merida in order to be at the Temple of the Seven Dolls in Dzibilchaltun at the moment of the Spring Equinox."
As mentioned, with the Seven Dolls equinox having passed, I took a flight from Merida into Guatemala City then from there to Tikal. It was only after I reached Tikal that I truly switched to ground transportation. From Tikal I made my way to Carmalita then in a circular route hiked through the jungle four or five days to the Maya ruins of El Mirador and a handful of other Maya sites both to and from. After returning to Carmalita I dropped down to Flores - Santa Elena headed toward the Guatemala Belize border, using the only real basic available options, junk-pile dilapidated former U.S. school buses, crammed from one end to the other with people, chickens, and one gallon plastic jugs filled with kerosene. At Melchor de Mencos I walked across the border into Benque Viejo del Carmen and took a bus to San Ignacio returning at my own pace to Belize City and home. My own pace however, was impacted by a whole series of high profile events from ancient asteroids to Maya shamans, all of which, for those who may be so interested, are pretty much covered in Travels in the Yucatan.
Below is a series of photos related to the Spring Equinox and the Temple of the Seven Dolls located in the Maya archaeological site of Dzibilchaltun, so named as the Temple of the Seven Dolls because of the seven figures as shown at the top of the page that were found inside the temple during excavation.
(for the very moment of the sunrise please click image)
The Temple of the Seven Dolls as we see it today was discovered basically intact after archaeologists found it buried under a much larger temple. The buried temple, the Temple of the Seven Dolls as it has come to be called when seven ritual like clay figurine "dolls" were found within the structure, after careful evaluation, was determined to be the more important of the two structures because as the scientists studied the temple more closely it's layout seemed to suggest it was actually designed so it could and would mark the equinoxes, a highly significant measurement of time and a major coup for the Maya considering it's early age.
TEMPLE BUILDING IS BUILT IN A SQUARE WITH FOUR MATCHING SIDES
EACH WALL FACES DIRECTLY TOWARD A DIFFERENT CARDINAL POINT
The temple building itself is built dimensionally in a square and sits atop a much wider two terrace-high stepped square platform with each one of the four sides of the building facing toward one of the cardinal points. However, for reasons unknown, unlike the building that sits atop them, neither the platform nor the stairs are aligned with the cardinal points. To show how the early Maya architects struggled with their problem to capture the equinox in a permanent building like structure, the north-south axial line of the platform runs about 4 degrees east of true north, hence, for the building's four walls to face directly toward the cardinal points the floor plan had to be built on an angle relative to the platform. If you take notice of the architectural drawing below showing a top view of the temple building, the platform, as visually presented and taking the top of the computer screen as being north, it is tipped at 4 degrees.
THE GRAPHIC ABOVE SHOWS THE WEST FACING WALL. IF YOU WERE STANDING FACING THE WALL AS YOU ARE LOOKING
AT IT NOW, WEST WOULD BE BEHIND YOU WHILE EAST WOULD BE DIRECTLY THROUGH THE DOOR AND THE SKY BEYOND
In the drawing you can see how the temple is placed on the platform with each of the four flat walls and each of the four door openings separately facing toward one of the cardinal points. At the top of the drawing the door and the wall of the temple faces due north while the wall and the door opening on the bottom faces due south. The door opening on the right faces the rising sun due east. On the equinox the light shines right straight through the building, including the two inner structure's door openings, directly toward the west falling onto the stelae some distance west of the temple. A close examination and comparison of both the photo of the temple and the architectural drawing below you can see in the photo that the temple is not aligned with the stairs nor are the doors aligned with the stone architectural features directly below them. The drawing shows the misalignment quite clearly. So said, the Maya, after no doubt a whole lot of frustration and hard work, were still able to get the whole thing to function properly, something they could only check and fix twice a year.
"The equinoxes are often mentioned in tandem with the solstices, apparently because, for many Western-minded modern people sharing superficial but evidently ethnocentric astronomical notions, they represent the only significant moments of the tropical year. Nobody seems to care that, while the solstices are marked by easily perceivable extremes of the Sun's annual path along the horizon, the equinoxes are not directly observable and can only be determined with relatively sophisticated methods."
ANCIENT COSMOLOGIES AND MODERN PROPHETS
TRAVELS IN THE YUCATAN
ASTEROIDS, SHAMANS, AND THE HIDDEN MAGIC OF MAYA TEMPLES
ALTUN HA'S SACRIFICIAL ALTAR AND THE CHICXULUB IMPACT
(please click image)
HISTORY OF THE MAYA
THE SUN DAGGER
THE INCIDENT AT SUPAI
MAYA SHAMAN AND CHICXULUB
MAYA RUINS AND THE SPRING EQUINOX
THE SPIRITUAL ELDER AND THE SANTA FE CHIEF
DZIBILCHATUN: EVERYTHING YOU WILL EVER NEED TO KNOW
THE CURANDERO AND THE MAGIC OF THE DESERT CREOSOTE RING
TIME TRAVEL: MEETING YOURSELF
THE BEST OF
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