Unexpected Shaman (7, End) – King of Jaguar – Child of Sun

They placed him on a bier and tended his bruises and the flow of blood from his elbow. Bandaged and victorious, he was carried into the Temple of the Jaguars from where, elevated high above the level of the Ball Court, he  was invited to watch the start of the new game, below.

He wondered if this was just for him; wondered if his presence in this harvest of spirituality was an extension of the grace as witness… or whether the difference in time and place didn’t matter, that condition and readiness were everything, and, once fulfilled, the dawning horizon’s fingers of purpose would weave their anciently-spun magic, no matter what the era in which they were invoked.

They gave him water for his parched body, then a sweet liquid that contained a contrasting brew of bitter herbs.

In trust he drained the cup…

When he woke, it was much later, and very dark. He relieved his body and removed the plain, white robe in which they had dressed him. He bathed and put on the laid-out robes of the Warrior, the single human priest that the process of Chichen Itza was designed to create – or, rather, recreate.

Chac MoolAA 300

He became aware of the light from outside the portals to the Ball-Court below. Passing to the window he looked out on a sea of candlelight. In total silence and shared light, his fellow priests waited for him…

When he descended the steps, there came a hissing noise, like that of a snake. Listening and smiling, he realised that it came only from the priests’ natural breathing and a narrowed throat, They were greeting him in the most revered way they knew.

They directed him to sit on a ceremonial chair placed on the bier and garlanded with flowers. The candles they set around him made a light greater, even, than theirs. In silence he was led from the Temple of the Jaguar, a master now of his lower nature, and opened to the higher. They carried him past the Temple of Venus, stopping to acknowledge it to the left and the pyramid of Kukulcan, waiting unlit, to the right. There was a sense of return in that gesture, though his mind could not grasp it, yet. The unvisited western stairway, with its ninety-one steps, sat like the world’s biggest jaguar in the darkness, watching him.

The giant building ahead was the Temple of the Warrior. He knew it to be so without asking. The Sun had come through the stone circle to claim the ball struck by the accurate elbow of the Newfound. What followed must reflect that on a more cosmic scale… Three of the priests flanked him with large candles as he climbed the many steps to the platform of the Chac Mool – a stone figure lying on its back with shoulders and knees raised, its hands supporting an unseen object with upraised palms.

The Feathered One whispered into his vision… and he understood. He smiled away the tears and returned to the embrace of his fellow priests who broke their silence and carried him – this time without the bier – into the heart of the Warrior Temple, beneath the Chac Mool.

There was drinking and feasting, but most of all, there was rejoicing. The air would be clean, the waters would fall from the sky – Chac, the God of Rain would bring it. Only the seed of life, itself, now needed to come down from the sky.

At the end of the seventh day, they embraced him, again, then presented him with the feathered robes of the ascent. Alone, he climbed the Warrior Temple’s steps and gazed down at the Chac Mool. The dark sky was paling. It was the dawn of the eighth day, the start of the new cycle…

The dawn came fully, bright and fruitful in the spring sky. It rose cleanly between the twin giant serpents that flanked his body, lying behind the stone figure of the Chac Mool, nearer the sunrise. As the sun cleared the upper stone surface, his hands were offered and steady, and a huge sigh came from the thousands below who saw him hold the solar disc, if only for the duration of a heartbeat.

His eyes shone, now, this Child of the Sun. No longer human but not yet a god. The Newfound had gone, his atoms scattered by the Sun’s energy as petals of hope among the crowd. Those who watched him descend from the Warrior Temple would see his feet barely touch the smooth stone. As he strode across the brightening plaza all made way, many frightened of the depth of the light before them. To all of them he radiated love, only love.

Still alone, he climbed the steps of the small Temple of Venus. The bier was there; once more garlanded with flowers and surrounded by an ocean of candles – candles that were now unnecessary. The temple held only one more object – a stone chalice of dark liquid. For hours, he watched the Sun climb along its course. When it was nearly overhead, he stood and raised the drink to Kukulcan waiting in the centre of the temple complex.

In trust he drained the cup…

They watched, weeping with both joy and sorrow, as he refused the bier and dragged his dying body up the south stairway of Kukulcan. At the top, he staggered the final step into the cube and sat down on the stone throne reserved only for the ascending Warrior, the man of perfection.

His body died then. But his eyes shone through the stone and up to the giant feathered serpent that had come for him. With claws that passed through the stone he was lifted beyond the heavy and carried down the stairway in a time behind time. To those below, the spring solstice made the pattern of the snake as the day progressed, sliding its segments down the pyramid to greet its carved likeness, below.

In the fields around the temple, snake skins – shed and left behind – would be found this day to mark the return of fertility to the land. The year would be fruitful.

But the Newfound, now the Newborn, was long gone… though his reality remained.

©Copyright Stephen Tanham

Steve Tanham is a director of the Silent Eye school of Consciousness. His personal blog is at stevetanham.wordpress.com

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Other posts in this series:

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six

Unexpected Shaman (5) – Life and Death on Kukulcan (repost)

Kukulcan1

{(Reposted because of a scheduling error)}

The count had reached forty steps by the time the newfound realised what was happening. Below him, the rising air from the plateau smelled, newly, of summer grasses and deeply-perfumed flowers. 

The sun, near vertical overhead, beat down with a ferocity that touched skin which seemed naked; and yet fed, unburnt, from the sky-borne radiance. It was summer’s height and yet, at the same time, it was midday. Disbelieving eyes blinked, as the import of the snarling lines of light bore into what had been his brain.

Eighty steps, and the ground below seemed to be falling away. Ninety and it was a distant memory, yet still there. His legs were walking in the air, in large circular steps, as the Jaguar sought and weeded out the pale image of a calendar on his study wall, replacing it with a movement that involved his whole body in ecstatic, radial motion.

The fevered brain was halted in its numeric ascent at ninety one. A brief glimpse of a cube of stone, within which was a vast granite cup; then, his erect body was spun around another whole face of the cube to face the sun, vanishing into the earth in the north. The descent was called, each step counted again as the ground rose to meet his now-weightless form, blazing with the midsummer’s energies. The ground offered no resistance to the Jaguar’s physics, nor its bright passenger’s.

But, the limestone and darkness had a mass that slowed the exploded descenders, consuming their energy until the dark earth seemed to be so dense that all life must end… but it did not. In the moment of his charge’s death the Jaguar breathed its own stored measure of the Sun’s now-liquid gold into the mouth of the newfound.

“Chichen It-Za… Kukulacan…” chanted the distant, priestly voices:

“mouth of the well, voice of the water-magicians, egg of the feathered serpent.”

His frozen body pulsed with so much light that it broke open the earthen tomb to find he was rising from the base of the eastern side of the Kukulcan pyramid. He counted the rising steps without prompting, joyous in the arising from the dark earth into the light of a new day… it was only much later that he would realise that the light of that dawn was his own.

Forty, eighty… ninety one. The voice behind the relentless steps was now more urging than commanding.

And then he stood at the head of the eastern steps looking at the stone face of the upper cube. The Jaguar’s voice moved him right, left, then left again with a turn; and he looked down on the remaining ninety-one steps – the last untravelled space of Kukulcan.

“Two hundred and seventy-four steps,” he whispered, into Air so quiet he knew it waited. One face plus one step to complete it – the year… the great cycle of life and death on Earth.”

The Air waited.

“But these steps lead down, which will take me away from the cube?”

For the first time the Jaguar’s silent voice was gentle. “Perhaps you are not finished?”

He thought about that. He had seen the fullness of life and the darkness of death, but on none of these faces of experience had the motion ceased, or even slowed.

Not far away, Manuel was laughing. “So, now, before us, we have the vast space of the first kind of football!”

The gentle guide’s voice became joyous as it got louder, calling him to rejoin the party. Could they not see what was happening – what had happened here so vividly that it was etched into the very atoms of the place? The sense of regret was immense as he felt himself pulled from the top of the Kukulcan pyramid and into the air by unseen hands, and carried across the temple city to the place of the Ball Court.

Shaman Ball Court for blog

The body he should have had struggled, futilely, as he was taken through the heavy air of mid-afternoon.

“Do not rush to be back there,” said the new voice in his head. “Live while you can…”

It was only then that he realised that what held him had claws… and a voice that hissed; and that though he felt safe, he was living a trajectory that was anything but…

As the sense and presence of the Jaguar fell away, and he accepted this shadowy tunnel in the bright sun, the newfound realised he had said goodbye to many things.

To be continued…

Steve Tanham is a director of the Silent Eye school of consciousness. His personal blog is at stevetanham.wordpress.com

Other posts in this series:

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven – end

 ©️Stephen Tanham