THE TRUTH OF THE TONALPOHUALLI
Three hours on the plane, four hours in broken down car up the mountain away from civilization, two hours on horseback and finally I am at Necalitlan, in Yucatan, Mexico. My third cousin removed guided me through the vast, thick, vivid green forest. In a town that is still considered a villa. Only a few Mayan indigenous people live here. One of them is my great, great-uncle, Tizocicatzin. His great-great-great grandfather. ILHICAMINA, a Mayan king in hiding from the conquistadors.
At ninety-nine, he was still active. He came out of his shack and greeted me.
“Thank Itzamná for your safe arrival, Tizoc.” Uncle helped me off the horse. I could barely walk, I had never been on a mule before and my legs were hurting something fierce. It felt as if lightning rays thundered between my legs.
“Uncle, I have traveled many miles as you asked. Why did you call upon me?” I asked.
Uncle called for my cousin to unload the mules and take my things into the shack. He picked up two zarapes and threw one at me, and then he gathered an old burlap bag filled with something and a walking stick. “Follow me, Tizoc. We have little time. Wayeb is upon us and I feel that you may not fulfill your destiny on time.”
“Of course, Uncle.” I had no idea what he was talking of. I just followed him through the forest. The silence slowly silenced by the noises of wild animals. Sounds so different from the hustle and bustle of the city. There were no cars, no planes, and no trains. No people pushing me side to side. Just the freedom of the forest. The temperature cooling as the night fell.
The waxing moon high above barely illuminating the forest. Uncle knew where he was going into the darkness. Surprisingly, my eyes adjusted well to the darkness. Uncle slowed his pace to a stop. “We will sleep here.”
I looked into his graying eyes with look bewilderment. It was cold. “Where? Why?” I asked.
“We need the light of dawn for our destination.” He crawled to the floor covered himself with the zarape and fell into a deep sleep.
I took the blanket he had given me and did the same. I tried to close my eyes and sleep. The slight silence mixed with the animal noises and the whistling of the breeze kept me up most of the night.
My uncle poked me with his stick. “Tizoc, it is time.”
I opened my eyes and it was still twilight. I rose to a standing position. He pointed to the west, to a high waterfall in the distance. “See not with your eyes, but with your heart. Feel not with your body, but with your mind.”
Before me, the sunrays filled the black sky changing it to a startling white. The waterfall light up bright as the sun and in the middle a light blue circle appeared.
“Come, we must go through before the sun raises more and we miss the sign.”
The old man climbed the cliffs with ease. His frail body was strong as an ox. I could barely follow him. I slipped twice and almost fell. Once he took hold of my hand and pulled me to safety. We followed a narrow, long walkway lead the way to a dark cave and entered.
“Look to the east and you will see the beginning of life.”
I followed him through the snaking cave into the darkness. A few feet to the middle of the mountain, a ray showed through the darkness. A temple stood erect untouched for centuries. Walls covered with colorful picture-drawings. Statues of gods guarded the altar.
“This is where Itzamna first gave her knowledge to our people. From here, it spread to the lands around us. Until the evil men came and destroyed our people.”
“What do they say?” I touched the walls towards the altar. The altar still held fresh blood from long ago.
“We are in Wayeb. The last days of Tonalpohualli are upon us. You need to let the others know the truth. Tzolkin alone showed great promise for our civilization. A re-birthing of the senses. A unity of unstable lands and changes in temperature and geography. Life as we know it will change. It is not in the death of the planet or in the death of its people. Just a change. We were in the middle of the next b’ak’tun when the evil men came and destroyed it and build a temple with a cross over its ruins.”
“I didn’t know.” I held my embarrassment.
“Mother Earth throughout has gone through many changes as Haab’ has shown us. We have gone through many wars, many changes in geography, and changes in kings. Our way of life can never be brought back. You are the last of my bloodline. Let the world know that they have to make the new Tonalpohualli. It is their choice how to make it.”
“I don’t know how.”
“Tell them to make back to their families. To call their mother and ask to help her. To go to the holy ground and ask their father for penance. Go to their brother’s house and hug his family. Call their sister and tell her you love her. Visit the old and ask for guidance. Take a child in their arms and show them the ways of life. Give the gift of life to all who need it. Help the sick and old warriors before they die of shame for not dying in your wars with honor.”
“Uncle. How can I do this?
“As I understand it you have new temples and new ways of communication.” Uncle sat beneath the altar. “This blood is our lifeline. Only you can get the message out. It is not the end of the world.” He leaned back and closed his eyes forever.
My cousin took me back to the airport and as I rode the long trip back home, I remembered every word he said. I write this to you today and I wish you all the best in life. Follow Tizocicatzin advice and be happy in the next b’ak’tun.