Two weeks ago, I climbed El Castillo at Xunantunich with two dear friends. We took a small plane from Ambergris Caye in the Caribbean Sea to Belize City where we met our guide, Andre, who drove with us to the ancient Mayan archaeological site in the Cayo District of Belize, near Guatemala. The Stone Lady, as locals call her, was a major ceremonial site in Mayan culture and built on a natural limestone ridge.
El Castillo stands at 130 feet above the main plaza and is known for its frieze, a banded stucco decoration representing celestial phenomena, Gods of creation, a tree of life and more. I became especially keen on learning about the Cieba tree, a tree the ancient Maya of Central America believed stood at the center of the earth, connecting the underworld, earth and the heavens.
Andre, our soulful, spirited, and knowledgeable guide, lead us to the top of it all, embracing the Mayan belief of life cycles. So many folks have been anticipating today, 12.21.2012, as the end of the world, when really, it is the beginning of a new world cycle. Today is the inspiration for the next phase of our collective humanity.
Image Credits: Jenny Graham