The Yucatàn Peninsula in Mexico is truly a magical place that I recently had the privilege of visiting for the third time, and it probably won't be my last! Having already visited Tulum and Coba, this time swimming in a cenote and roaming the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza were top of my list.
While the Temple of Kukulkan in Chichen Itza is an architectural marvel to behold, I found snorkeling through a cenote to be a more profound experience. Away from the hustle and bustle of tourist buses and enthusiastic souvenir merchants, I found the secluded, pristine waters of the Sac Actun Cenote to be an excellent choice among the many more popular (and crowded) options.
Sac Actun Cenote
Cenotes are natural formations exposing groundwater that the Mayans used not only as drinking water, but as portals to other realms. The mineral-rich water and exfoliating sand creates a natural ancient spa, while the sensory deprivation provided by the pitch-black caves brings you back to the womb for a spiritual rebirthing experience.
The stalactites deeper into the cave provided a striking backdrop, while also providing a home to the perfect power animal to guard the cenotes: BATS!
BAT SYMBOLISM - Sharpen sense of 'true seeing'; Night's Guardian - courage to face the dark; Renewal and new beginnings - major transitions.
Any sacred sites with structures that exhibit profound acoustical properties rank high on my bucket list, which is why the drive to Chichen Itza was a must. A new exciting dimension is being added to history with the emergence of a field of study known as Archaeoacoustics, which explores the archeology of sound.
El Castillo, Chichen Itza.
El Castillo served as a temple to Kukulkan, the feathered serpent god.
You can think of these archeological marvels as 'frozen music', and that just by being there, you are being bathed in silent sound waves that your cells can “hear" and begin to happily dance to. The healing effects are amplified when you create your own sounds (e.g. chanting, clapping, playing instruments) to play off the natural resonance of the space.
When you clap your hands, the pyramid talks back to you by chirping like the sacred quetzal bird. Quetzal tail feathers were used in headdresses and were a symbol of freedom and wealth, while also serving to connect the wearer to Kukulkan (known as Quetzalcoatl to the Aztecs).
The temple was built with such precision that it acts like a giant Mayan calendar or 'solar clock', marking times of significant transformation in human consciousness. It is most visited at the spring and autumn equinoxes, where masses of people gather to witness Kukulkan's dance. The shadow the sun casts on these auspicious days resembles a slithering 'feathered serpent', descending or ascending the steps of the pyramid, symbolizing death and resurrection, as well as the ability to transcend the bonds of the material world.
The 'feathered serpent' or Kukulkan also symbolizes kundalini energy coiled at the base of the spine. The Maya equivalent of life-force or 'chi' is 'coyopa'.
I hope you are inspired to set off on your own sacred journey! You'd be surprised how much you can find in your own back yard, like Coral Castle for those of you in Florida. Even visiting a local nature reserve or lounging by the pool with a good book can be very revitalizing for the soul. Summertime is all about fun and splashing around, so don't forget to flow with the energy of the seasons by taking some time off to cool down, rest and enjoy life!
Written by Aïten Snaith