On our way, on a bus heading north out of Mexico City. I know in my mind that I will be surrounded by people living and working – we aren’t that far from Mexico City. But I can’t shake the feeling that I’m stepping into the past. The air is light – we’re 7,000 feet above sea level – it’s dry. Everything seems to be coloured in different hues of beige and pink and grey-green.
Temple of the Moon – Teotihuacan
In no time we are here. It is indeed in the middle of civilization, and the biggest ancient city I’ve seen. I get out of the bus, and step into the ancient past.
Teotihuacan is believed by some to have been influenced by the culture and teachings of the Olmec people, who predate this site. They were a powerful influence in so many ways: in the beauty of their creation myth, the grandeur of their cities, in their close connection to the life surrounding them, and in their reverence for that life. They thrived up to about 3000 BC.
The Olmecs didn’t leave much behind – giant heads in basalt that have magnetic ore at their third eye – a spot on the forehead between the eyes believed to be sacred. They also left carvings depicting dolphins teaching humans.
In a similar way, I see stone carvings and mural paintings of seashells and fish on and in the temples. I feel a connection in our mutual myths of how life began and evolved. I love how they honour their beginnings in their building and in their art, and want
Seashels and Feathered Serpents – Temple of QuetzelCoatl – Teotihuacan
to take that away with me… place this inside me to ground with in times of worry or upset. To gain perspective and know I am part of something much bigger.
Teotihuacan is special. There is a story that Teotihuacan had been a very sacred place for 10,000 years – the place of emergence. The legend is that it was originally a place of reeds, and that the fish people emerged onto the land and came into this world by way of a cave, the sipapu. There is a cave at the base of the Temple of the Sun at Teotihuacan that represents this place of emergence.
I spend my first day walking from one end to the other of the exposed area, visiting every temple, from QuetzelCoatl in the south to The Temple of the Moon in the north. It’s hot, very sunny. I pass many vendors selling trinkets, obsidian, beautifully painted pottery, and silver of all kinds. It takes me the better part of the day to make my way to the Sun Temple and then the Moon Temple. The Sun Temple is a giant and dwarfs
Temple of the Sun – Teotihuacan
everything in the site. As I gaze up to its summit, I feel its power, the power of the priests who spoke from its heights and performed their rituals and sacrifices to the sun. I can imagine it covered in mica – blinding and brilliant , humbling and powerful, filled with the intense masculine energy of our solar engine.
Next to it, almost as its consort, is the Temple of the Moon – the second-biggest temple on the site, reflecting the natural mountain behind it. 13 human people are buried in its depths, some bound and at least one free. I sit down, take a breather, and gaze at her. She reminds me of a giant turtle, rounded, lower to the ground than her mate. 13 is the symbol for life, death and rebirth.
Being here, whatever was worrying me way back there, at home, fades. I take in the grandeur and integrity of Teotihuacan, and wonder at my sense of being and purpose mirrored here, among these monuments, among the people who live here now, and how it’s changed me.
What is a powerful influence in your life? Do you tap into something deeper and stronger than yourself that moves you and changes you?
Maryanne Nicholls is a Toronto based, certified Psychotherapist offering a balanced approach to mental health. Please visit www.joyofliving.co for information on her services, or contact her directly to find out how she can help you reclaim the joy of living.