For those that are just joining my journey now, the last couple of posts have been taking my readers with me through my medicine journey in Mexico. It was an incredible journey that I am still benefitting from. And I feel it is important to share those benefits with anyone who wants them. To catch up to this post you can read “Digging for Sacredness” , “Powerful Influence” , “Honouring the Ancients” and “Ceremonial Imagery“.
After Teotihuacan we travelled south to Tula, and then to Xochicalco (pronounced So-shi-kal’-ko). Tula is believed to be Tollán, the legendary Toltec capital, which flourished between 850AD and 1150AD. It was surmounted by a temple dedicated to the Toltec hero-god Quetzalcoatl. Surrounding the temple are sculptured columns in the form of warriors – flower soldiers – that were sculpted from the likeness of actual warriors. They have flowers on their sandals, and as far as I know, it represents their reverence for all life, and in their dedication to serving life.
Their statues are at least 20 feet tall, and each has distinct features – one looks ruthless and passionate at the same time, another looks learned, another stoic, and the last one pitiless. It’s a hot and sunny day, and they are hot to the touch where the sun
touches them; cold otherwise. All four wear the flower sandals, the ritual ceremonial dress and headdress, and each carries a mirror on their back representing their connection to a higher realm.
Flower Soldiers were skilled warriors, and skilled healers (including self-healing). They had to be willing to do battle in their daily life, and to live life daily to it’s fullest. The highest level of heaven was to die as a flower soldier (the lowest – hell – was to have successive lives of lots of noise and nothingness). It was critical in their training to learn how delicate life was and that life must be respected. Their motto, if they had one, might have been akin to: Today is a good day to die!
They were leaders, and yet the war for a flower soldier was an internal rather than an external war; their quest in life was to walk their talk in beauty, with honesty and integrity; emotionally balanced, physically capable, a voice for their community, and connected to spirit. I look at their faces and wonder what each of these soldiers were like when they lived. I imagine what one
of them might say to me, and I sit for an hour leaning against one of the columns and feel the energy of the columns at my back. I want to make him my ally, and I want to remember the feeling of him when I need physical and emotional mastery and power; when I feel the need of a strong presence in times of doubt.
The next day we traveled further to the ancient city of Xochicalco ( pronounced So-shi-kal’-ko). This city flourished between
200AD and 900AD. It means “House of Flowers” and was the city of the flower soldiers. It was here that the Mayan calendar was codified, and is depicted on the walls of the temple of QuetzelCoatl on the grounds.
It is the culmination of my medicine journey that began in Mexico City. Throughout my journey, I wanted to feel the sacredness of these spaces and connect with them. I wanted to feel that life must be respected. I wanted to find allies from the past and present to help me on my own path.; allies that would strengthen my vision and clarify my intent as I wrestle with the everyday challenges I meet along my way. What I discovered is that I met myself along the way. And I really felt a connection with the generations of men and women who have lived, struggled and triumphed before me.
Have you ever taken a journey that has deeply impacted you? How would a flower soldier lend meaning and purpose to your life? If you were able to spend an hour with a flower soldier, how would you spend your time?
Maryanne Nicholls is a Toronto based, certified Psychotherapist offering a balanced approach to mental health. Please visit www.thejoyofliving.co for information on her services, or contact her directly to find out how she can help you reclaim the joy of living.