For centuries, the ancient Mayans made an annual pilgrimage from the seaport settlement of Pole on Yucatan to the nearby island of Cozumel. It was a somewhat dangerous cross channel journey in canoes, which were nothing more than hollowed out tree trunks.
Their goal was to worship the goddess of fertility, Ixchel, consult the goddess’s oracle and bring a new era of balance to the natural world.
One of the most ancient traditions in Mayan culture, the pilgrimages came to a stop with the Spanish conquest and lay dormant for more than 500 years.
Six years ago, the custom was revived at Xcaret (pronounced esh-ka-ret), a 200-acre eco-park located about 37 miles south of Cancun close to where Pole once stood.
Among its many attractions, Xcaret is also the home of the Yuri Knorozov Center, named after the Russian linguist and ethnographer who’s known for his pivotal role in deciphering the Mayan script.
Research into Mayan culture continues at the Center to this day, which helps verify the authenticity of events such as "the Sacred Mayan Journey."
In the late afternoon on the day before the pilgrimage, I entered Xcaret’s Mayan Market and saw a modern day shaman holding a cup of burning copal incense as a blessing to those arriving.
With my bag of cocoa beans clutched in my hand as the currency I’d use in the outdoor market to purchase everything from leather goods and clay whistles shaped like animals to gourds and atole (a hot beverage made from corn), ominous-looking Mayan skeleton men, a.k.a. "lords of death," wordlessly milled through the crowd.
The cocoa tree had deep meaning for the Mayans, and the foamy chocolate made from its beans was considered "the food of the gods." Common folks like myself are able to purchase the traditional beverage for a mere pittance of a few cocoa beans at the marketplace.
For the Mayan, cocoa was so prized a commodity that its beans were used for the exchange of goods.
Unable to speak one another’s language, we bartered over prices and communicated back and forth by holding up an appropriate number of fingers.
Three beans for a clay whistle, five for a cup of chocolate made from ground beans boiled with milk in a large black kettle over an open fire.
As men grilled skewers of meat over a pit and woman, dressed in the traditional white cotton garb of their ancestors, used mortal and pestle to grind corn for making Mayan traditional tortillas, a group of traditional dancers performed a nearby.
Facebook completes first drone flight above UK, Mark Zuckerberg confirms 2015-03-28 3:15
Solar powered drones which provide internet access to rural and remote areas have been trialled in UK for first time by Facebook.
They â€śhave a wingspan greater than a Boeing 737 but will weigh less than a carâ€ť, according to the social network's chief Mark Zuckerberg.
The drones, developed by Somerset-based company Ascenta which Facebook bought last March, will beam down laser-guided ...
British POW describes the horror of the bombing of Dresden 2015-03-28 0:33
Partial Transcript of Interview with Victor Gregg, WW2 British solder and POW:
Interviewer: "Tell us how it was that you were in Dresden at that time."
Victor Gregg: "It was evil....thousands of firebombs dropping all over the place, heat, fire, people screaming, people burning, people alight. After about half an hour it started developing into something that was really bad....It was ...
Rape of 285,000 German Women at the End of WWII Trigger Damage Control by Mainstream Media 2015-03-27 20:25
Is Exposing Allied War Crimes an honorable act? No, itâ€™s slandering heroes according to Daily Mail
A recent article from the Daily Mail that pretends to look at the post WWII crimes and rapes of the Allies against the German people is actually damage control. Itâ€™s really an attempt to divert away from the true horrors that was visited upon Germany ...
Minister of Migration attacked by asylum seeker with fire extinguisher 2015-03-27 2:12
Swedenâ€™s Minister of Justice & Migration also known as Morgan â€śonly 1%â€ť Johansson, has been attacked with a fire extinguisher when he visited an asylum home for future Swedes.
Regional newspaper, Kristiandstadsbladet reported that a man who had been living at the home for a couple of weeks grabbed a fire extinguisher and sprayed foam all over the minister who didnâ€™t ...