On our seventh day in this amazing country, we woke up bright and early at 6 am to go hiking up the Chikabal volcano. The walk, although steep and tough, was extremely beautiful and peaceful. We walked through a dirt trail in between trees. Being enveloped in nature, distanced from the sound of cars and city life, was bliss and meditative. The smell of the trees and the ground, coupled with the knowledge that the Mayans inhabited these mountainous terrains, created a mystical sense of connection to the past. IT was like walking on holy land.
The hike lasted about 40 minutes (more for those that were behind!). As we were climbing down to the lagoon, our destination, it seemed like we would never make it. A wonderful surprise it was when we were reaching the end, you could see the trees clearing up, and the spectacular lagoon could be seen at the end of the tunnel of trees. It is interesting to point out that the lagoon is actually the crater of the volcano. We hiked the volcano to participate in a traditional Mayan ceremony to the ‘’Nahualets’’, which are energies that represent various other things on the planet.
The Mayans believed that human beings are not owners of the planet, but a part of it. We interact with mother earth and its energies interact with us. Our guide explained the significance and symbolism of the Mayan solar calendar and lunar calendar. The former has 365 days, represents male energy, and is used to track the agriculture of corn; the latter has 260 days, represents female energy, and is related to the female menstrual cycle. The Nahualets are in relation to the lunar calendar, that is, there are 260 Nahualets. Our Nahualt of the day was the Deer, which represents male energy and strength, and its role is to help believes get through personal problems and succeed in current goals.
The ceremony lasted for about an hour. We all participated, Some felt a spiritual connection and others didn’t. Personally, I did not feel a spiritual connection to the Nahualts, but part-taking in an ancient sacred ceremony did create in me a sense of respect and connection to history and tradition.
The hike back up was just as splendid as the hike to the ceremony. When we finally reached the truck that would take us down to the village, we were all physically beat. Luckily, we had a delicious lunch at the top of a mountain, where we could see a whole town and a vast amount of the mountain range. The gorgeous view and yummy food was a well-deserved reward.
By far, this has been the best day of the trip. I couldn’t be more grateful to have such wonderful hosts and guides: Jenny and Jonathan.