the Wanderling

"He told me the old man in the pick-up was a Maya high priest, a spiritual elder, and, even though it wasn't at any governmental or official level, he had given me, at the tribal level, sanctuary to access the Tulum temple complex at night for the equinox, that I would be entering the compound through a little known entrance escorted by specially chosen tribal members."



I was on my way to the ancient Maya walled temple complex of Tulum to observe the spring equinox when I detoured my travels several days before the oncoming celestial event in order to visit a small Maya site in Cancun called Yamil Lu'um. I had a certain fondness for the little temple because in September 1988 I sat out Hurricane Gilbert all-night-long inside her walls, Gilbert being a full on category 5 when the center of the eye slammed into the Yucatan a few miles south. Interestingly enough, it was two Cat 5 hurricanes that hit the United States seventeen years later that brought me back. That and the six mile wide asteroid that slammed into the Earth nearby 65 million years ago.

In September, 2005, a hurricane that crossed over Florida into the Gulf of Mexico after having been given the name Katrina continued to gain strength with all possibilities it would slam into the heavily populated area in and around New Orleans. Not knowing if I would be good at anything relevant, I volunteered with the American Red Cross for hurricane duty. Because of the lack of qualified volunteers on a quick and timely basis as well as the sheer numbers of personnel needed on such a short notice, after completing a non-stop series of one-after-the-other back-to-back specially initiated abbreviated crash courses, ensuring all vaccinations were up to date and a personal interview (where it came out I had extensive training and hands on experience working with individuals with severe disabilities plus being an honorably discharged veteran with a security clearance background) I was assigned to Red Cross National, becoming a part of their Disaster Services Human Resources system, more commonly known under the acronym DSHR. Just as quickly, after being shoved out the door and pushed onto a plane, I was deployed into the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina's main path of destruction and put to work without even having been issued a Red Cross identification card or even receiving a Disaster Services credit card to cover expenses --- with most of the early costs coming out of my own pocket.(see)

No sooner had I earned my sea legs as a semi-productive volunteer when Hurricane Rita hit. Because of the on-rushing of Rita, already in place Katrina shelters in her potential path were evacuated and shut down.

A good portion of the shelter crews from the closed sites near the area I was deployed were sent to Austin, then reassigned. Some went to the mega-shelters in Houston and Austin, others like myself put into crews starting and running short term emergency shelters north of Austin near Round Rock then, when they were no longer needed, on to new shelters being set up in the hurricane's inland destruction path along the Texas side of the Texas-Louisiana border.

Eventually my original three week deployment was edging toward six. After working three shelters putting in 18 hour plus days with no days off for Rita, I was about to be sent to Houston when I was assigned to a Red Cross Service Center in Austin. I had just come out of shelter duty from what the Red Cross calls a "primitive area" because it had no running water, electricity, phones, air conditioning, showers, or gasoline. When I told the person at the assignment desk in Austin I could really make use of a laundry mat and a shower before I was reassinged, rather than send me to the mega-shelter in Houston he assigned me to the Service Center --- I mean only nine hour days with Sundays off! Talk about plush. Anyway, as more and more of the Red Cross efforts were being re-shifted back toward Houston and the gulf coast, the areas inland found themselves with an excess of no longer needed shelter equipment. Since no new hurricanes seemed to be brewing on the horizon and the Service Center had a bob-tailed truck at its disposal, it was loaded with a whole slew of cots, blankets, pillows, and other miscellaneous stuff and returned to the Dallas-Fort Worth area where it apparently came from.

After helping load the truck I was assigned to ride shotgun to Dallas. I had never met or seen the driver prior to climbing into the cab of the truck so neither of us knew anything about each other. We took I-35 north and along the way we began to indulge in small talk and BS, mostly circulating around the Red Cross and hurricanes. During one portion of our conversation, talking about the destruction caused by storm surges I mentioned it must have been something when the sea rushed over the top of much of the same territory we were driving across in the aftermath of the meteor impact reputed to have killed off the dinosaurs. With that his eyes lit up. He said when we get into Waco we will be crossing the Brazos River. He told me downstream from there is a series of small waterfalls that mark the end of the tsunami's race inland and that it was clearly visible by ancient sea floor deposits.


I had to see it. In that we arrived toward the end of the work day we had been authorized to spend the night in Dallas. The driver and I, with some assist from other Red Cross volunteers, unloaded the truck as quickly as possible. Then, instead of staying that night in Dallas on the Red Crosse's dime, we turned around and headed toward the small town of Merlin, about 30 miles south of Waco and, having kept back a couple of pillows and blankets, slept in the back of the truck for free.



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After seeing where the tsunami ended I wanted to see where it started. When I was finally able to catch a break in my deployment and be sent home, instead of flying I chose to be a co-driver on a 2000 mile trip returning what the Red Cross calls an ERV --- an Emergency Response Vehicle --- from Houston to it's home base in northern California. The results of that trip included of all things a face-to-face meeting and a nearly whole day interview with Margaret Runyan, the ex-wife of Carlos Castaneda, outside of Phoenix, Arizona.

NOTE: If you would like to see a giant 18000 pixal size image of the above NASA satellite photo click HERE. After it loads, which takes a few seconds click image, then scroll.


A few years later found me on the Yucatan peninsula on the way to the Chicxulub crater to visit the center of the impact and see the outer ring, timing my travels so I could end up at Chichen Itza for the spring equinox in order see first hand one of the most amazing visual phenomenon from the ancient Mesoamerican world, the so-called Descent of the Serpents.

Arriving in Chicxulub before going to Chichen Itza and standing as close to the center of the impact site as I could get, I gazed skyward and wondered what it must have been like 65 million years ago when the object first broke into the atmosphere heading toward its eventual doom and that of an entire species. Later, in a small boat I was taken to what I was told was exactly over the spot and from there, on the open sea I could imagine the waves in an ever expanding circle rushing outward toward Brazos on the north and who knows how far to the east and south. The moment took me back to the following:

"Sometime back I was along an isolated section of the Meteor Crater rim in Arizona practicing a deep meditation method sometimes referred to as Jishu-zammi, Samadhi of Self Mastery, a variant of sorts on Dogen Zenji's Shikantaza. The crater is an immense impact-hole pounded out of the Earth thousands of years ago by a huge bolide that crashed through the sky...and something about the place holds a deep fascination for me since early childhood."

Meditation Along Meteor Crater Rim

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It was from the exact same childhood fascination with Meteor Crater, the kid-like awe, the in-depth interest, and the jaw dropping imagination, that drove me as an adult to seek out Chicxulub. As a young boy my uncle bought a reflector telescope ordered through the mail that required me to not only build, but to also shape and hand polish the mirror. The first time I turned the telescope towards the moon and could see in real life the surface pockmarked from top to bottom with impact craters, one after the other, many often overlapping previous already there craters, I couldn't figure out why the earth wasn't, especially after having stood along the edge of the Meteor Crater rim in Arizona. When I heard about Chicxulub, and since it was virtually in my back yard I had to see it. Also, in that I always wanted to see the eqinox inspired visual phenomenon descent of the serpents at Chichen Itza, and since an equinox doesn't happen every day but the crater wasn't going anywhere, I timed my trip around the equinox.

In Merida, after asking around, I located a Mayan guide that had a workable ability of Mayan dialects and English, a somewhat sketchy semi-operable vehicle, and a somewhat more sketchy background. Whiling away the afternoon sitting in the shade of a tree drinking beers bullshitting, he had a couple of well endowed local girls join us. Showing him pictures and explaining what I was up to between perfectly executed on-and-off glimpses of women's clevage, breasts, darkend areola and even darker nipples, it was clear he knew nothing of the crater per se', but he did however, know the geographic layout of the Yucatan and the people who inhabited it. After a huge homemade dinner prepared by his mother and a bevy of sisters that evening, followed by the two of us hitting a few of the local night spots and agreeing on a sum between us for his services, around six the next morning we were off to find crater rims and Chichen Itza. Although I have to admit, after our night of reverly, I didn't fully recall our set upon sum.

On the way to Chichen Itza as planned we stopped, marking the first time in an exploration mode I formally sought out and crossed the nearly indiscernible outer ring-edge of the dry land portion of the crater's boundary on purpose. Searching out the crater's western arc I walked some distance along it's edge in a number of separated locations, going down into it's trough, which counter intuitively the crater's rim is actually more of a geologic depression than a raised wall or berm as one might expect. The curved trough sweeps roughly 56 miles in radius from the city of Puerto Chicxulub running ten or fifteen feet deep from the general surroundings and three to five miles across. When I left Chichen Itza I sought out the eastern side of the rim's arc, however, like the land portion of the full half circle arc, only more so, human habitation, millions of weather-worn years and thick local vegetation has taken its toll, most people would not even notice it if not looking for it. Below is what NASA has written about it from the source so cited:

The Yucatan is a plateau composed mostly of limestone and is an area of very low relief with elevations varying by less than a few hundred meters (about 500 feet.) In this computer-enhanced image the topography has been greatly exaggerated to highlight a semicircular trough, the darker green arcing line at the upper left corner of the peninsula. This trough is only about 3 to 5 meters (10 to 15 feet) deep and is about 5 km. wide (3 miles), so subtle that if you walked across it you probably would not notice it, and is a surface expression of the crater's outer boundary. Scientists believe the impact, which was centered just off the coast in the Caribbean, altered the subsurface rocks such that the overlying limestone sediments, which formed later and erode very easily, would preferentially erode on the vicinity of the crater rim. This formed the trough as well as numerous sinkholes (called cenotes) which are visible as small circular depressions.(source)

Starting 56 miles west of the coastal community of Puerto 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, as the above graphic so illustrates (each dot representing a cenote location). 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, in itself known as a major Mayan equinox site with it's Temple of the Seven Dolls, located about 10 miles from present day Merida with the other being the last Maya capitol following the fall of Chichen Itza, Mayapan, which sits roughly 10 miles inside the southwestern portion of the ring. There is one first-ranked site, Uxmal, and six second-ranked sites immediately outside the basin.

One of those sites is the little heard of and seldom visited ruins called Oxkintok. Although Oxkintok should be more famous than it is if for no other reason than it's dates of occupancy, having started as far back as 500 BCE - 300 BCE and occupied to as late as 1500 CE, only twenty years before Cortez. Other Mayansites may have started before, but didn't last as long while others my have edged later into the Spanish conquest era, but any that may have didn't put down roots of initial occupancy until much after Oxkintox.

Although long overlooked in the overall scheme of things, now days Oxkintok is beginning to be recognized as being one of the few in not the only Maya site built right on top of the very outer rim of the Chicxulube crater. Of course, when the Mayas began building it clear back in 500 BCE the Chicxulube crater, let alone the event that created it, was unknown. However, in my particular case and in much more recent times Oxkintok played a huge personal role in my life, as found in the two paragraphs below from the source so cited:

"It was then the first of two odd things happened. After visiting the half dozen or so ruins leading up to Oxkintok we ended somewhat south of Mayapan, said to be the last of the ancient Mayan capitals, 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.

"Thirty-plus years passed without ever experiencing anything remotely close to what transpired that day on the road into Mayapan. Then, on one of my travels through Europe many years later, I stopped at the World War II Nazi death camp of Mauthausen. I had been to Europe several times, but I had never gone to such a place. Since this portion of my travels took me so close I decided otherwise. A very close friend of mine who visited Mauthausen told me that immediately upon entering the former death camp she was overwhelmed by nausea and uncontrolable body tremors. My interest was in seeing if such a thing would happen to me. It did. When I crossed onto the grounds of the camp proper I was overcome with intense chills, nausea, and bodily sensations. Only once before had I experienced such a sickness, in the Yucatan."

The Maya Shaman and Chicxulub

As for Chichen Itza, my first time there I was a couple of years out of high school traveling all over Mexico on a road trip with a buddy. We had bought a used six-cylinder 1951 Chevy panel truck that was in pretty good shape and over a period of a few months we outfitted it like a camper with fold down bunks, table, sink, stove, and portable toilet. Early one Saturday morning we crossed into Mexico at the Tijuana border with no idea how long we were going to be gone.

"After traveling east a short distance to Tecate we turned south ending up on the Baja Pacific coast near Ensanada. We continued south on some pretty crummy roads eventually turning eastward across the peninsula to the little town of Santa Rosalia, taking a ferry across the Sea of Cortez to Guaymas. Continuing on we passed through Guadalajara, turning toward the mysterious ancient ruins of Chicomostoc with an interesting set of results, then back toward Lake Chapala, San Miguel Allende and a bunch of other places ending up seeing the pyramids in Mexico City and Maya Ruins in the Yucatan. We stopped whenever we wanted and stayed as long as we wanted. Compared to most of the people in the countryside we came across, as well as the locals in the towns we went through, we had all the money we needed to spend on anything we wanted including gas, food, lodging, girls, and beer."(source)

During the time of that first visit the whole of the temple site was still fairly isolated and pretty much leaned toward that of a working archaeological site nearly as much as it did a tourist attraction. I don't remember if we even had to pay to get in, nor do I recall any type of security or guards to speak of. You could climb the pyramids and go into most of the structures as I recall. We arrived sometime after the summer solstice, but left the Yucatan headed north before the fall equinox, crossing over the Mexico-Arizona border sometime late in the summer.(see)

Back in those days I had never heard of the descent of the serpents caused by the sun's position during the equinox on the staircase of the Pyramid of Kukulkan --- and I am sure not many other people had either. But, after I did I always wanted to see it. Unlike as found in other major monuments of the ancient world such as the Great Pyramids of Egypt, the Pyramid of Kukulkan was not built to align with the four cardinal points. Instead it was built so that twice a year, on the spring equinox and the vernal equinox --- and to some degree a few adjacent days --- there is a play by the sunlight and shadows so it appears there is a snake on the edge of the staircase with the carved serpent head at the base of the stairs becoming the head of the snake.

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The whole Pyramid of Kukulkan, also known as El Castillo, from top to bottom was built with a master design. For example, each of the four sides has a staircase. Each of the staircases has 91 steps, of with all four added together equals 364. If you add the top platform it makes 365, the number of days in a year. You could go on and on, but I'm sure you get the point.



(for larger size click image then click second time)

(for larger size click image then click a second time)

It was the year following that second visit to Chichen Itza that I was on my way to Tulum for the Spring Equinox as mentioned at the top of the page.

I had been told that is was not until the 1950's that non-Mayas were truly permitted into the ruins of Tulum on a regular basis. As late as the 1940's, you would have been killed. I also heard that only those of full Maya descent are allowed INSIDE the walls of the complex on the morning of the equinox. Nobody I talked to seemed to know if it was true or not. However, if such was the case, it could mean that accessing the complex might present a problem. If such WAS the case, and, although I could invoke other options, it still remained that my Uncle, who was well accepted and well respected by most spiritual members of the indigenous people of the desert southwest he interacted with as a person at one with the Earth, had instilled in me at a very young age that it was an impropriety to usurp for ones own gain or any other reason the traditional spiritual beliefs and realms of others. So, my plan, if need be, was not to actually be in the complex proper, but as a lone figure and in the dark, position myself on the wall directly opposite of the Temple of the Descending God on the day of the equinox. I figured it was possible for someone to access the temple grounds by just coming up from the beach sometime after midnight but well before the pre-dawn hours if one was so inclined. However, it is not that it could be done or that you might be intercepted by authorities, but that for the Mayas it is a sacred time at a sacred place.

To get from Cancun to Tulum I went to the downtown main bus station and, across the street, boarded a colectivo going to Playa Del Carmen. It wasn't long before the van was filled and we were on our way. The passengers consisted of a mix of Mexicans and Mayas of which a couple were women traveling with a couple of kids. I was the only gringo. When the main highway south out of Cancun crossed the road that goes from the airport to the Hotel Zone the Mexican man next to me pointed out what appeared to be a small Mayan-like structure. He told me it was't an old ruin but a new, recently built temple. He said right after the offramp between the roads was built it started to sink, so the road builders shored it up. But, despite all their efforts the offramp continued to sink. They were told it was built on sacred Maya land and that it would continue to sink unless they paid homage to the gods. So they built the temple to Maya specifications given them and a Maya priest blessed the whole thing and the offramp stopped sinking. I don't know how accurate the story was one way or the other, but I liked it, so I told him of my experience at Yamil Lu'um, the sound of the clacking stones, the scorpion, and the sunrise. An older Maya man sitting in the seat in front of us turned and asked the man in Spanish what I had said. Seems he had overheard Yamil Lu'um and scorpion. When the man I was talking with told the Maya about my experience he looked at me for the longest time, then asked the man what I was doing or where was I going. I told the Mexican man I was going to Tulum for the equinox. He in turn translated what I had said and the Maya man shook his head ever so slightly as though he understood. Along the way a few people got on and off. The Mexican man got off sometime before we reached Playa Del Carmen, but the Maya man stayed clear through. I noticed after he was told about Yamil Lu'um that he had turned to a couple of other Maya men and by his hand gestures apparently retold the story to them.

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In the city of Playa Del Carmen, as well as the surrounding area, are a series of small Maya ruins spread out up and down the coast just into the tree-line over a couple of miles that are, for the most part, centered directly across from Cozumel. The general collection of ruins are called Xaman-Ha, which means "waters of the north." Although not a tied-together town or city in the classical sense, it was more of a place where people gathered to travel back and forth from the mainland to Cozumel. It also served as a stop off point for the Maya commercial sea route that extended from present day Veracruz in the north to what is now Honduras to the south and beyond. One of those small temple areas, which is an actual working archaeological and restoration site, is right in the middle of Playa Del Carmen with access off Quinta Avenida between Calles 12 and 14, the main tourist area above the beach. After visiting the site and returning back to street level I saw a man wearing expensive dark sunglasses sitting at a table across the way who seemed to have been following me over a period of a couple of days. As I started to approach the man, he stood up, handed a folded piece of paper to a young boy standing nearby, and pointing to me, sent the boy my way. In the few seconds that transpired between the time he gave the piece of paper to the boy and the boy handed it to me, the man in the sunglasses was gone. I unfolded the paper and written in English was the word "WAIT." With that I went to the same table the man had been sitting and made myself comfortable. Instantly upon having done so and without me saying a word, a young female server put an open bottle of cold Victoria on the table in front of me. And there I sat. After a modest amount of time elapsed without anything happening I decided to move along. Just as I was getting up a man I had never seen before sat down at the table and asked me in Spanish if I remembered the old Maya man on the colectivo who asked about Yamil Lu'um. When I nodded yes he told me the old man would like to talk with me. I waved over the young boy who had given me the note and who had been sitting in the shade across the way as long as I had been sitting at the table, most likely paid to follow me if I left, and handed him two five peso coins. When I turned to pay the server for the Victoria the man that wanted me to go with him waved her off with no money being exchanged.

A number of blocks later, after going down several backstreets and turning a few corners the two of us came upon the old man from the bus standing in the shade from the eve of a doorway along a brightly colored building. Thinking we would be going inside I turned toward the door but was quickly redirected toward an old pick-up truck parked along the curb. Inside the truck on the passenger side was a man that truly appeared to be much, much older than the man on the bus. The much, much older man looked at me for what seemed like an eternity, but was really probably not much more than a few minutes. Then looking past me, he spoke in what I presume was some Mayan dialect to the man from the bus. The much older man signaled the man I walked down with to get in the truck and the two of them drove off. When I turned to ask the man from the bus what was going on, he too was gone.

That evening, well after sundown and the twilight faded into dark, the man in sunglasses came to my room. He told me the old, old man in the pick-up was a Maya high priest, a spiritual elder, and, even though it wasn't at any governmental or official level, he had given me, at the tribal level, sanctuary to access the Tulum temple complex at night for the equinox, that I would be entering the compound through a little known entrance escorted by specially chosen tribal members. However, he said, there were a few things I should see on his laptop first, and in order to connect online asked that I meet him at Starbucks the next day. Which I did. The man in the expensive sunglasses, who also wore a Rolex and Prada shoes by the way, had three pages bookmarked to show me. The first was a picture of the official entrance to the complex. The second was a Map that showed where the official entrance was located, where the exit was, and where along the walls several other openings were. He then pointed out which opening I was to use to access the complex, saying a man would be there to guide me across the temple grounds at night. To secure myself somewhere out of sight during the day close by, take water, and meet the guide at the designated time.

Although the Tulum temple complex is often cited as a major Mayan equinox site, it isn't. The biggist problem with it being so, although it is never expressed as such elsewhere, is that unlike other Mayan equinox sites and equinox-solstice viewing sites around the world in general, is that the Tulum site has a huge missing component in order to make it work. For example, the two other major Mayan viewing sites, Oxkintox and Dzibilchaltun, both shown below, while they approach marking the equinox in a somewhat more general, wider fashion, are quite clear in discriminating how they are designed to work and delineate the equinox. Even the thousands of miles away and much earlier Stonehenge site abides by similar conclusions. Not so with the Tulum site. If it ever did or never did or if the major component required to make it viable as an equinox site is simply missing is something that is not clear from the Tulum archaeological records, at least how they have come down to me or how they have been interpreted.

The first two photos below show th seldom visited Mayan ruins of Oxkintok, unknowingly built right on the crater rim. Although Oxkintok should be more famous than it is if for no other reason than the dates of occupancy, starting as far back as 500 BCE - 300 BCE --- one of the earliest beginnings for a Maya site --- to as late as 1500 CE, only twenty years before Cortez and the Spanish conquest not to mention the continued ability to withstand the heavy hand of Aztec tribal raiders. While it is true other sites may have started before, but didn't last as long while others my have edged later into the Spanish conquest era, but any that may have didn't put down roots of initial occupancy until much later than Oxkintok. Most importantly though, albeit nearly lost in the history of time, Oxkintok was the site of one of the Maya's earliest attempts at figuring out and marking the equinoxes, and done successfully. Notice how the light cast by the rising sun shines across the courtyard onto the square platform, marking the equinox. The same is true with the third photo showing Dzibilchaltun, again, known for it's Temple of the Seven Gods. On the morning of the equinox the sunlight shines from due east straight through the doors of the Seven Dolls temple to the marking stone or stelae. The two photos and graphic below that are of Stonehenge in England and how it works using a heel stone as a marker.



What's missing at Tulum is what is found or known to have existed at all equinox or solstice sites. Missing, nor does it appear to ever have been, any platform, marking stone, stelae, heel stone or resasonable facsimile that would clearly mark or deliniate the equinox.

The first photo below shows El Castillo from the air with it's backside facing the Caribbean. The smaller temple just above and slightly to the left is the main equinox viewing site. El Castillo is often trumpeted as being an equinox viewing site, but it is done so primarily to entice, increase, or satisfy large numbers of visitors. Any equinox penomenon related to El Castillo is purely coincidental and shoehorned into being viable while not even being secondary in nature to the primary of main equinox viewing site. The problem lies in three factors. First, the small temple cannot accomodate large numbers of viewers on the designated time, day or date, and secondly it is not marked in how it works, being known, rather anybody likes it or not, only by a small catchet of Mayan priests and spiritual elders and even then, questionable at best. Third, El Castillo wan't constructed or built in such a manner that it specifically marked the equinox.


The second of the four photos above shows the backside of El Castillo, the third shows the front as it is seen from within the Tulum compound. The fourth depicts a close up of El Castillo's main tower structure. By clicking that fourth photo then clicking it a second time what comes up is a huge photo clearly showing the structure's windows. Any light entering the main tower structure through those window openings would be blocked because of a wall with a single central door just inside the three doors. To see click HERE then point the cursor on the three doors and click a second time. Returning to the third photo above, depicting the front side, it clearly shows, if you double click to enlarge it, on the left of El Castillo's main tower, one of those windows with light from the sky coming through from behind. That specific window is a typical representitive of the other windows you can see on El Castillo and are stragically located around the tower for defensive purposes, most likely an invasion from the sea. In other words, they serve no purpose relative tp euinoxes.

Three of the four photos below are of the small temple just adjacent to El Castillo taken from a couple different viewpoints at different times, those times being before the equinox and during the equinox, the temple being Tulum's main equinox viewing site. None of Tulum's major buildings or structures are built on a north-south axis, including as well, the equinox site, meaning they don't have nor does the temple have any due east or due west facing walls, instead following an angle paralelling the slanted coordinates of the coastline. See Map. The second photo below shows the sun rising due east on the morning of the equinox. Notice how the sunlight pattern crosses the temple grounds straight to the camera. Compare that east-west pattern to the acute angle of the temple and temple platform. To beat the dilemma of marking the equinox, in that the temple was so far off due east, the Mayan came up with a clever mind bending solution. They simply leaned the whole temple building 20 degrees southward from 90 degrees straight up and down compared to the distant horizon line and the level platform, that way it matched the rising sun's angled path, intersecting the sun's full global but flat appearing disc partway up sometime after sunrise.


So said, all of the above notwithstanding, as has been pointed out preiously, what's missing and missing big time at Tulum is what is found or known to have existed at all equinox or solstice sites. Missing, nor does it appear that any have ever existed, is anything resembling a platform, marking stone, stelae, heel stone or resasonable facsimile that would clearly mark or deliniate the equinox, theoretically leaving then, only a small group of Mayan priests and spiritual elders, then questionable at best.

The whole outside perimeter of the Tulum complex is surrunded by a huge wall. Inside the complex, surrounding El Castillo and adjoining buildings, is a second wall creating an inner courtyard. The main equinox viewing temple is just inside that courtyard, barely. The wall had to be built with a bend in it to include the temple. What is interesting, and what the two photos below show, is if you were not standing on the temple platform per se', to see the equinox being marked, you would have to be over the wall and outside of the inner courtyard to oberve it. To see the wall more clearly in the darkened equinox photo, click the photo on the right below.


For your own edification, the graphic below more clearly shows the place-location-relationship between the equinox viewing temple on the left (with the wide single door) and the more recognizable much taller three door El Castillo on the right. To increase the size click image then click a second time. To see photos of how the temple-equinox phenomemn actually works on the day of the equinox click the temple sunrise photo below right.

(for larger size click image then click a second time)



All photos and graphics used herein to explain how the Mayan peoples solved the problem of marking of the equinox at their various sites, including Tulum, are intended for educational purposes only. Except for those photos or graphics in the public domain or otherwise noted full rights are retained by their respective owners or the author and every effort has been made for full authorization and privileage of use.










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Fundamentally, our experience as experienced is not different from the Zen master's. Where
we differ is that we place a fog, a particular kind of conceptual overlay onto that experience
and then make an emotional investment in that overlay, taking it to be "real" in and of itself.







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All Red Cross disaster volunteers are encouraged to become part of the Disaster Services Human Resources (DSHR) System. Through this system, which is coordinated at the National level and using bar-coded photo IDs, the American Red Cross can quickly and efficiently move highly trained and experienced Red Cross disaster volunteers into affected areas at home and all across the Nation. The DSHR System also provides both new and veteran Red Cross disaster volunteers with career-development paths within Disaster Services.

A DSHR volunteer is usually classified as ready to serve in one or more group functions such as Mass Care, Individual Client Services, Disaster Health Services, Disaster Mental Health, Partner Services, Material Support (Logistics), or Organizational Support.  In addition, a DSHR volunteer is likely to specialize in a specific activity within one of the major functions, such as Sheltering, Feeding, Warehousing, Staff Support, Welfare Inquiry, etc.

To Participate in the DSHR Program a Volunteer Must:


"After we returned from our trip to Mexico my buddy and I basically went our separate ways. He got married and bought a hardware store and I returned to work sanding brightwork on a yacht come marlin boat owned by multi-millionaire David Halliburton Sr."

The above quote is found at the Carlos Castaneda and the Nogales Bus Station Meeting. Our "separate ways" didn't happen instantly in the matter of a second overnight, but more of a slow drip, drip, drip widening of interests --- i.e., girls --- as we each began concentrating and narrowing more and more of our efforts on single specific members of the opposite sex over a several months to year or so period. Then, with one of those specific girls, in the January of the following year after our trip he got married. The year after that I was drafted. By the time I returned from the military he was expanding his family with newborns and my focus had diverged to such a place we just never reconnected.

I write the above because it has been brought to my attention that my travel in Mexico buddy, who I was so close to in those days but lost contact with upon our return and never reconnected, out of nowhere a couple of years ago suddenly and unexpectedly died of a massive heart attack. I never met his wife, at least after they were married, or any of his kids. Nor do I know if he ever related to them of our travels together or if he ever knew himself how important those travels were to me and my life. In later years I saw him dining with friends or family across the room in a restaurant one night, but never went over to talk with him. If he saw me or not I don't know.

My buddy was born in Iowa the same year I was. A few years after he was born, around the start of World War II, his family moved to Redondo Beach, the same town I lived in. The two of us started elementary school together but never really knew each other. Fifteen years later, after I moved back having lived with a number of foster couples during the intervening years, the two of us graduated from Redondo Union High School. Around our junior year, but more so during our senior year, we discovered we had a lot in common, especially jazz, and started hanging out together, --- enough so that a few years after high school and with both of us, especially me, sort of just languishing, we headed off to Mexico together for the whole of the summer of 1960.

Not long after we returned from Mexico he moved to the small beach city just north of Redondo eventually buying a hardware store --- the same hardware store he had worked for part time while in high school --- becoming a distinguished member of the community. As my buddy was becoming more and more distinguished I was doing other things.



After crossing out of Mexico and ending up in the bus station in Nogales at the end of the summer of 1960 for a short time and convincing myself that two men among the other passengers sitting on the other side of the room were Carlos Castaneda and William Lawrence Campbell I got up to pay my respects and ask what the two of them were doing in Nogales. Before I was able to get up someone put their hands on my shoulders from behind, gently inhibiting my ability to stand. It was my buddy. He basically picked me up under the arms and dragged me out to the truck, all the time me trying to tell him I had two friends in the depot I needed to talk to.

Later on, waking up after sleeping in the back of the truck while motoring north I moved to my usual spot in the front seat on the shotgun side. I asked my buddy why he didn't let me see my two friends at the bus station. He said I couldn't have been at the bus station long enough before he arrived and figured there was no way I could have any friends of any stature in such a short time. Taking it upon himself he simply took me out to the truck, threw me on the on the bunk in the back, and headed home.

The thing is, up until the time of his death circa 2011 --- and most likely unknown to his wife and family and almost everybody else even up to this day --- my buddy was one of only two people in the world that had within themselves the ability to answer a perplexing question considered by many to carry a certain amount of great significance. Other than me, but especially so thanks to my specific identification of such, he was one of the few people in the world who would have seen Castaneda and his Road Trip friend Bill in the Nogales bus station at the same time and on the same day he met Don Juan Matus.




Just beneath the two larger graphics below are two smaller graphics. The smaller graphic on the left shows the location of the Chicxulub crater on the Yucatan Peninsula relative to it's location to what is known as Albion Island in Belize, located roughly 224 miles southeast of the crater's center.

Albion Island holds a major distinction for being important relative to the 65 million year old Chicxulub impact.


The graphic just to the above left shows the location of the Chicxulub crater on the Yucatan Peninsula relative to it's location to what is known as Albion Island in Belize. Albion Island, although called an island is not an island in the classical sense such as say Jamaica or Catalina, both of which are surrounded by large bodies of water. Albion Island is, as the above graphic on the right depicts, totally shall we say, landlocked, formed by the Rio Hondo or Hondo River where some distance upstream from where it discharges into the Caribbean the river splits in two for approximately 12 miles before coming back together and continuing it's journey to the sea. It is that 12 mile or so piece of land between the upstream split and the downstream rejoining that has come to be called Albion Island.

In the above larger graphics the very top, top one shows the impact center, the impact crater's 110 mile diameter rim called the Ring of Cenotes, and finally the out-and-out diameter-reach or limit of the 225 mile fallout-edge of debris known as the ejecta blanket. The second graphic just below the top graphic is basically a blow-up of all of that. It just so happens that what is now known as Albion Island lies just within the asteroid's ejecta limit.

The black and white line drawing below dramatizes the effects of the impact and how the results incorporate Albion Island. Roughly in the center of the graphic, albeit not to scale, is a depiction of the Chicxulub crater showing waves created by the impact rising up on both the right and left sides of the center. The waves on the left are shown falling into the Gulf of Mexico taking that side's ejecta debris into the sea with them. On the right of the crater in the same black and white line drawing is a similar depiction except on the right the ejecta debris is piling up on dry land. Just to the right of that piling up on the dry land is faulting and through the normal processes of geomorphic transition (not shown) it is eventually covered over.


That covering over leads us to the bottom graphic below, an area on Albion Island know as the Albion Island Quarry, a more-or-less semi-active quarry in the active quarry sense. It is highly important relative to the Chicxulub impact and ejecta fallout, as the quarrying that goes on there during their normal digging operations exposed quite graphically the ejecta layering. Albion Island Quarry is less than 35 miles northwest from the ancient Maya ruin site of Altun Ha. While it is quite apparent that the Albion Island Quarry is inside the Chicxulub impact crater ejecta circle because of the ejecta, no one is sure by how much. It could be by just a few feet to several miles. No matter how much further, it still pushes it closer to Altun Ha, Altun Ha being extremely important in a near continuation of what transpired between me and the old lady that is so prominent in the above main text.

There have been ejecta traces found in exposed sediments along a highway near Santa Teresa in Belize 355 miles due south of the center of impact, 120 miles south of Altun Ha. If 355 miles is taken as a radius for ejecta fallout that would push the fallout edge well over 120 miles east of Altun Ha meaning the location where Altun Ha stands now would be well within the range of any impact effect. Interestingly enough Santa Teresa just happens to be on an exact direct straight line due west from Utila Island by 140 miles, which also comes into play with the events related to Altun Ha.

The following cuts to the quick relative to Albion Island from the source so cited:

The Albion Island quarry in northern Belize has the best exposure of the "ejecta blanket" from the Chicxulub blast. Overlying the Cretaceous dolostone is an orange-colored layer of fine material that contains rounded carbonate particles called spherules. The spherules when cut show evidence of being formed by accretion very much like hailstones. It has been hypothesized that they formed in the atmosphere from the condensation of carbonate rocks vaporized by the impact. Above the spherule bed is a thick layer of jumbled rocks of all sizes in a fine matrix. This unsorted material is called diamictite. The diamictite contains large boulders, as well as numerous cobbles. Many of the rocks are polished, faceted, and striated and closely resemble rocks with similar features that can be found in the glacial tills of western New York state. Except they are found in tropical Belize! Instead of being transported by moving glacial ice, this diamictite material was pushed outward by the blast of the impact.

Expedition to Belize


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"Following vaccinations and some minor training I was shoved out the door of my local Red Cross branch, pushed onto a plane and deployed into the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina's main path of destruction. Without any consideration as to my expertise I was put to work without even having been issued a Red Cross identification card or even receiving a Disaster Services credit card to cover expenses."

As stated in the main text above, not knowing for sure if I would be good at doing anything relevant, I volunteered with the American Red Cross for hurricane duty. Since I had extensive training and hands on experience working with individuals with severe disabilities, many that ingress the K-12 educational system from group homes. Figuring New Orleans would most likely have group homes I might come in handy working with that population.

Although the above quote sounds hard edged with the whole thing being makeshift it was just that everybody and everything in the early stages were just overwhelmed with so much infrastructure destruction and numbers of people that needed assist. Everybody being brand new didn't help let alone the long hours. It was nothing to have 36 hours with no replacement shifts. Me and another volunteer actually in a standing up position leaned on each other back-to-back and fell asleep upright. Initially I thought my services was being wasted, but In the end, on the one-on-one bottom level where I operated it all worked out considerably well as most if not all the volunteers seemed to seek their own level getting done what needed to be done.

During those early stages, not feeling possibly as productive as I could be, and even though the whole place was a zoo I tried to catch up with a friend of mine, Dr. George Demos, to see if I could be put to use or participate at a higher or wider level hoping to provide or blanket individuals with severe disabilities on a more specific need-be basis. Demos, who had been my English teacher in high school had gone on to become the Dean of Students of the university I attended. After serving 30 years in the active reserve on the side he retired as a Colonel and Commander of a U.S. Army Medical Brigade. From there he moved to the rank of Major General in the US Service Command, a disaster relief organization that helps in disasters worldwide, and was at the time doing Katrina stuff the same time I was with the Red Cross. Before anything could be finalized Rita hit and I was siphoned off, only now as an "old hand" with the two of us, Demos and I that is, never catching up hurricane-wise.

EARLY YEARS-----------------------LATER YEARS
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Throughout my growing up school years, Dr. George Demos, as a teacher in that cumulative educational process, probably made the greatest, most singular impact on me personally. By high school, education-wise, I was in a downhill trajectory, circulating around the wrong crowd, lack of initiative, no help at home, when Demos stepped in and turned it around by bypassing all the bullshit.

Seeing I was doing well if not outstanding in all the creative aspects of art but not doing so hot otherwise, especially so English of which he taught and I was one of his students, he formed a "team" with himself, me, the journalism teacher, who was in charge of the school newspaper, and my number one art teacher. Once combined into one package I used my creativity to write for the school paper escalating me into a higher realm of "ingroup status" and without me even realizing it, the constant need for editing and re-editing of my articles and columns forced me to fall into a correct English mode if I expected to be published.

Although as a sophomore I wasn't a fully vetted member of the journalism staff, by the end of the school year I had been recommended by the journalism teacher, Miss Sinsabaugh, to become a member of the Quill and Scroll International Honorary Society for High School Journalists to begin at the start of my junior year. By the time I had reached my senior year I'd received the Society's highest honor, the Gold Key Award, me, the looser that I was.

To write what I am writing now I went back and researched the criteria be eligible for induction into the Quill and Scroll. Students are required to meet the following five requirements to be accepted:


Demos enlisted into the U.S. Army at age 17 just as WWII was winding down and assigned to the 187 Regimental Combat Team 11th Airborne Division. The division was preparing to parachute into Japan when the war ended. He spent 2 years in the occupation forces in Sapporo, Hakkaido, Japan.

He continued to serve in the active reserve for 30 years retiring as a Colonel and Commander of a Medical Brigade. He holds the earned rank of Major General in the US Service Command, a disaster relief organization that helps in disasters worldwide, having gone into Thailand to help with the aftereffects of the tsunami as well as to Houston Texas to assist with Hurricane Katrina. Demos is also President and CEO of the PTSD clinics that help US veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

For the record, the soldiers of the 187th Regimental Combat Team 11th Airborne Division, of which Demos was a part, were the first foreign troops to enter Japan in 2,000 years.




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