Inner voices, inner spaces
Last night, I had an internal dialogue I looked into the mirror of my soul and asked "who really am I? “ And it led me back to the Americas, South, Central, and North. I have always known I am tied to those regions in so many ways. The dialogue gave some specifics that I cannot verify yet. But it also brought up Teotihuacan. Again.
Teotihuacan -- literally "city of the gods" -- is an ancient city, long abandoned, just 30 miles northeast of modern Mexico City. It thrived between say 100-700 AD. By the time the Aztecs made that region their home, the people of Teotihuacan were long gone. What remained are enormous pyramids, the pyramids of the sun and the moon, considered to be some of the greatest wonders of the word – just as those in Egypt. The ones in Egypt were tombs, still sacred, but these here were monuments built for ongoing religious rites.
At one time, it is believed there were up to 200000 people living there. Teotihuacan was once one of the biggest cities in the world, as big and important as Rome. Only, we know very little of these people. We know they believed this city was the center of the universe. It had great spiritual meaning. But who were those people? We don't even know their name. Why was that city built? Why was it so important?
This morning I wrote up another internal dialogue, and it was not surprising to me that Teotihuacan came up again after last night. Especially, since it had special meaning for me in this lifetime already. It was part of my quest, and changed the course of a grand journey.
And maybe there is more to it. You see, I once visited there, and had a huge adverse reaction. Not all lives in that city ended well.
So this morning, I am talking to myself, and I am getting: "Teotihuacan is an answer. And where did you get sick? At the temple of sacrifice. Go back to that moment."
A near collapse at the temple of the feathered serpent
And so, before I can go on, I must give some background.
20 years ago I went on a quest, in search of me and a past life. This included a journey through Mexico, but that was not the destination. We drove up from the Gulf of Mexico to Cholula, and from there followed a little dirt road few venture on, which goes along the route that Cortez and his men took over the mountain range between two majestic volcanoes. That night, we camped up on that ridge, at 17000 feet, flanked by the two enormous volcanic mounds, mighty Popocatepetl to our left, proud Izaccihuatl to our right. 17000 feet (or was it 14? I can't remember) is quite high, so I learned. That night, I suffered severe altitude sickness. I could not breathe anymore, let alone sleep, and spend the better part of the night sitting up and sucking in air as best as I could. Today, I know what I should have done: get down to a lower elevation.
So the next day we drove to Mexico City, and on to Teotihuacan, the next sight on the list. Everything seemed fine, I was feeling well.
The following morning, we go to visit the site. We got up early to get a jump on the heat. The site is huge. So up and down the pyramid of the sun, the pyramid of the moon, walking down the avenue of the dead, all the way to the other end to the "The temple of the feathered serpent". In my little guide book, it said, this is where they found remains of human sacrifice.
So I am standing there and looking up on this smaller pyramid. I look at the gargoyle heads of the feathered snake. And I feel dread. A feeling I feel to this day when I see images of Mayan or Aztec artifacts – which is a completely different reaction to items from, say, South American cultures.
And a heaviness comes over my chest. At first, it is subtle, but in a short time I can't breathe well anymore. My chest starts hurting really bad. And I am starting to get dizzy, and have problems coordinating movements. It was all I could do to prevent me from collapsing.
We have some lunch in the restaurant, but I don't feel better. We drive back to the hotel. I am writhing in severe pain. I can't lay down on my side or chest. I am terrified. What just happened? Am I having a heart attack?
To make a long (and fascinating) story short, I did get better. But it took me weeks to fully recover. It was not a heart attack. The medical explanation that I got was that possibly those two days before up on the volcanoes, I was trying to breathe so hard that I may have stretched the ligaments in my chest. Somehow they got inflamed and hurt. And going up and down the pyramids, in the heat, smog, and altitude of Mexico City did not help.
However, I always wondered. Because I did feel completely fine the two days prior, once we came down from the volcanoes. Could there be more to this? Why did it happen at this place? At the temple of the cosmic serpent? A place here human lives were sacrificed.
And there is something else that always struck me as strange. We only took a few pictures that day. The first picture was when we walked early in the morning from the parking lot towards the gigantic pyramid of the sun. My wife took a picture of me with the giant pyramid behind me. When I first saw the printout (back then we still had to get pictures developed), it showed a huge ray of sunlight obscuring me. I felt kind of disappointed, because it could have been one of those images of a lifetime. It's just a lens flare. But then, I always wondered about that picture. Because, it is like the sun ray is cutting me in half. And later that day, I had these tremendous chest pains.
A coincidence? Maybe it really is the picture of a lifetime, a past lifetime, which possibly did not end so well -- you know they sacrificed to the sun god (as depicted in the movie “Apocalypto”). It does make you speculate.
Thus, Teotihuacan is a city that has great importance to me in this lifetime. Because of what happened there, I had medical problems and the larger trip had to be changed. It still turned out a great adventure. Just not as planned. Without this incident, too, Teotihuacan would have also been but one of an endless string of sights on this journey, and in my life. But because of this incident it has great significance to me.
And I always wondered: Could there be more to it?
Recent findings: inner spaces, inner worlds
That is the background. And now, this morning, my inner voice (or whoever) says: "Go back to that moment you got sick."
So I go read up on Teotihuacan a bit. I look at a map on google. Yes, the parking lot is on the west, you walk east towards the pyramid, so early in morning; the sun would have shined that way like in the picture. So far OK.
Then I read up on Wikipedia. And there is a big new section about new discoveries at the sight that were found after I went there. I had not known about them. Without my insight this morning, I may have never found out.
As Wikipedia explains, in 2003, 4 years after I was there, there was a huge rainfall and a sinkhole opened up in front of the temple of the serpent. This started a multi-year excavation. It may turn out to be one of the most important discoveries in Mesopotamian history. Specifically, it turned out, there is a shaft there, about 5 meters (15 feed) wide that goes down 14 meters (42 feet) into the underground, and on the bottom they found some tunnels that go underneath where the pyramid is. They found human sacrifices. They found strange small golden colored orbs littering the walkways. And they found this, and I quote from Wikipedia:
"One of the most remarkable findings in the tunnel chambers was a miniature mountainous landscape, 17 metres underground, with tiny pools of liquid mercury representing lakes. The walls and ceiling of the tunnel were found to have been carefully impregnated with mineral powder […] to provide a glittering brightness to the complex, and to create the effect of standing under the stars as a peculiar re-creation of the underworld. At the end of the passage, [they] uncovered four greenstone statues, ... leaning back and appearing to contemplate up at the axis where the three planes of the universe meet - likely the founding shamans of Teotihuacan, guiding pilgrims to the sanctuary... "
If you are interested, here is an article from the smithsonian on it.
And here is a video. I would wish to present one from a more respectable source, like the Smithsonian or Nova, but this is what I found upon a quick search. It is rather speculative early on (I cannot find any scientific report on mica), so I wound it up to where it starts to talk about the mercury at 0:53, and the great questions this poses.
And the strange part, to me and within the context of my own life, is that this was found basically within yards from where I nearly collapsed.
And I understood immediately. You have to know a bit about the cosmology of these people. Similar ideas extended from Central America down to South America, from the people of Teotihuacan to the Aztecs and Mayas, to the Incas. One of the main concepts was that there were three linked spheres of exists, the underground or inner world, our world, and the higher world. Only the underground was not like our hell. It was an inner world, the world of creation, where man and life came from. And if one lived properly, one would ascend to the higher realms. Thus, for example, to the Mayan cultures, caverns with pools of water were sacred. Life came from there. Similar ideas can be found with the Incas, thousands of miles to the south.
Insights: from inner worlds to celestial, figuratively and literally
To me it all made sense instantly. As in a flash of insight.
This is my interpretation, and of course I may be wrong. What was found here is the central place of Teotihuacan. Somebody, a long time ago, once found this cave. And it was a place of connection to the spirits. A place of insight and conjuring-- and I mean that word not in the modern sense of calling up demons. No, conjuring originally meant to solemnly call upon the law, or Being, of the universe, to call it into being, to become that greater cosmic Being and merge with it. I believe that in this cavern, the priests had insights. And they turned it into a literal representation of the inner world. With lakes of mercury. For the Incas, gold was the tears of the sun, and silver the tears of the moon. For these people here, silvery shimmering fluid mercury, a highly toxic substance, must have had had a similar meaning, the rivers of the underworld. And golden orbs, and skies that glimmered. It was a mini cosmology. The source and center of creation. Metaphorically, but to them, arguably literally.
( The mercury also reminded me of the oracle of Delphi. Mercury is highly poisonous, including mercury vapors. In Delphi, here were also noxious fumes. If you were exposed too long, it could render you dead. But, if properly administered, it also may have led to altered states. Probably no connection. I just added it for completeness sake. )
So I believe this place here is the origin of Teotihuacan. And not surprisingly, the temple of the feathered serpent was built on top. For the feathered serpent is a dual symbol. The serpent represents the lower world, slithering. But this is no ordinary serpent. It has feathers, so it can soar to the heavens. The feathered serpent, in my interpretation, is our connection, man's connection, between the inner world and the higher world. It can soar and connect us. It is literally our spirit ascending. Our inner voices connecting with something greater. That is what I think, with this new finding here, this temple represents.
Amazingly, as I now see it, the whole layout of Teotihuacan mirrors this cosmology.
On one end, you have the temple of the serpent -- the descend into inner space and the emergence outwards. Remember, that temple was built on top of the cavern. Then you have a straight long avenue, called the avenue of the dead, that connects the serpent temple with the enormous pyramid of the moon and the sun. So you see, the avenue itself is the flight of the serpent itself -- it connects the inner world with the celestial.
The whole city is the literal expression of human inner thoughts connection with the greater universe, a greater whole.
It all makes sense now. It really is quite beautiful once you see that. Teotihuacan is a mystical center. It was founded based on mythical insights and the whole city as a whole (or at least this religious center within the greater city) brings that insight to life.
Only, and as so often, the wonderful insight was subverted. In the most horrible of ways. It did not just bring insight to life, it also ended lives. Violently.
As far as my own soul strands, I still have no clear answers. If it was a life that happened here, it is not the one that once haunted me, and today drives me.
But that is part of the journey, the mystery, isn't it? If we had all the answers, what would be left to seek?
What are your inner questions? What is your story? Listen inside.
Namaste — I bow to you and the Divine in you.
Copyright © Hanns-Oskar Porr