We continued our Mayan education in Copan. After seeing some of the great Mayan ruins, Tikal, Xunantunich, Caracol I did not expect much from the ruins in Copan but they had a surprise in store. Our guide Yobani described it as if Tikal were the New York of the Mayan society, Copan was the Paris. I would agree.
The hieroglyphic texts on stelas are spread throughout the ruins. Most with great detail still visible. During the 400 years (400AD-800AD) of the Mayan empire Copan was obviously a significant and great city. Archeologists have found multiple layers to this ancient city with temples built upon temples where you can walk through underground tunnels to see some of the ruins discovered deep beneath the visible ruins. What the ruins lack in grandeur, they made up in the fine detail and the artistic qualities of the discovered sculptures.
We had the unique opportunity to meet, Flavia’s (the owner of San Lucas) son Tyler a magnificent photo journalist and daughter in law Frida who is an artist and did her thesis on developing a new artistic form of Mayan hieroglyphs into beautiful paintings, jewelry and children’s storybooks. you can see their work at www.tylerorsburn.blogsopt.com and www.fridalarios.com.
Yesterday we had the rare and amazing experience of the Mayan Temascal, a ritual of rebirth. Lou and I thought we were just going for a simple spa experience as we arrived at the Spa Ixchel (www.spaixchel.com) but we were in for a different kind of spa experience. Zoila and her daughter Katia run a coffee plantation high in the mountains overlooking the Copan. It is also the sight of a quaint little spa.
We weren’t quite sure what to expect when we were lead into a dressing area and asked to wrap ourselves in a couple of orange sheets, kind of like heading to a toga party. But Lou and I complied and then headed down a narrow path wrapped in our togas to what I can only describe as a small stucco igloo structure in the middle of the rainforest.
With Zolia as our guide and Katia as our translator the ceremony began. Zolia explained that we would be reentering the womb to be reborn, leaving behind our negative past and negative energy. The narrow door and the floor of the womb/igloo was decorated with palm leaves, pine boughs and beautiful flowers. Before we entered Zoila burned some incense to please God.
We squeezed through a narrow doorway into a dark room with a pit in the center filled with hot rocks. We nestled down into a couple of chairs and Zolia started the ceremony. After pouring water that had been soaking in herbs over the hot rocks, creating a cloud of steam, she started with one of nine candles signifying the nine months we stay in the womb.
The first candle, a white candle, was lit for peace, peace on earth, peace for our family and peace within ourselves. After lighting each candle and describing its significance she would hand it to us so we could pray. The candle was then placed on one of the rocks around the pit.
As the ceremony proceeded more hot rocks were added to the pit and more water poured over creating a room so full if steam you couldn’t see anything but the burning candles. Sweat poured out of our bodies and we were left in a state within ourselves. Listening to the steam roll of the rocks and the rocks screamed like the demons leaving our souls.
The second candle was yellow, for knowledge. To pray for God to light the path and give us the knowledge and strength to move forward in life on the proper path.
The third candle was pink for health. The health of those around us, our family and for ourselves. To pray for those who are sick to have the strength and courage to confront their disease with a speedy recovery. Lou and I prayed hard for Jennifer and Cynthia.
Next came a red candle for love, to release all the hate in our hearts and fill the void with love, love for mankind, love for our friends, love for our enemies and love for ourselves. To light the fire within and spread love around the world
The blue candle was for water and it’s importance for life. Clean water for the people of the world, water to grow crops and water to bring life to all living creatures. Then a green candle for nature and the role it pays in our lives and how we have been charged as human beings with the awesome responsibility of protecting the plants and animals on Earth.
A light blue candle, so we could pray for the economy of the world and those without work. To provide an income and living for us, our family and friends. Followed by a purple candle to release all the negative energy within ourselves. A kind of rejuvenation, a rebirth of a new spirit within.
Our last candle was black, to remember lost loved ones and what they taught us while they were here on Earth. To remember how they brought us love and comfort and not allow their passing to be forgotten. To use the lessons learned to become stronger better people with our time left on Earth.
We finished the Temascal ceremony with more steam, mediation, prayer and sweat before exiting the symbolic womb to a new world, a new year and a new spirit.
Our Honduran spa experience continued with a mud wrap. We relaxed on tables as we were covered with warm soothing mud. Head to toe Lou and I were little mud dobbers, wrapped in a sheet as the impurities from our skin were leached wfrom our bodies after purifying our souls.
Then the comic routine started, the next step was supposed to be a hot shower to rinse off the mud leaving us completely clean in body and spirit but things don’t always work the way they are supposed to.
There we are, nude, covered in mud and the power has gone off killing the hot water heater. The masseuse, Lucy is frantic because she can only get cold water. Lou and are laying there like two plaster cast soldiers ready for war. When we started to laugh it felt like or faces would crack.
Lucy kept trying to get the water hot and the mud was becoming like a layer of plaster paris. Finally we decided to try the shower at the other part of the spa so Lou and I wrapped in our togas shuffled up the path like a couple of walking bronze sculptures. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall, Robin William’s Night At The Museum come to life and a couple of Michelangelo’s rejects, a tall fat bald man and a short skinny blond chick waddling up the path.
It all worked out though, we finally found a hot shower. It took forever to get all the dried caked mud off but we laughed and laughed as we transformed ourselves back into humans again.
Zolia and Katia were amazing as they finished our spa experience with a home cooked Hondurian lunch. We loved every second of our Hondurian spa experience and our new friends. Thank you Zolia and Katia.