Updated: Jul 12
"If you don't find center, then you can never find your place in the Universe!"
With the weight of foreboding, this proclamation made by the village story telling hit me in the gut. I didn't want to feel alone, lost, drifting and abandoned. The tone of his voice made it sound like not being able to find your place in the Universe would be a horrible state to be found in.
I was talking to Don Miguel, the village story keeper in a small pueblo in Yucatan. He is a passionate man, an artist, and the keeper of the lore of the Maya people. He was explaining the importance of the four winds to me. The four winds are central to modern Maya understanding of life. They blow from the four cardinal directions and each brings a specific energy with it. All four must be in balance in your life, like the four legs of a table, if you are to find center. And if you cannot find center, then you cannot find your place. And that sounds like a terrible judgement, to never be able to know how you fit into this life, to not be able to find firm footing, to drift, never knowing how you are connected to everything. What a place of uncertainty and loneliness!
So what ARE the four winds and what are the energies they bring?
Everything is breathing. The four winds are four expressions of God. They are the four Chaacs who hold up the four corners of the world. They are life. Together they support life. They are your breath.
Each of the winds comes from a direction and brings an energy. We begin with the east where the sun rises. And then we follow the movement of the sun.
East is Lak'in, the color red, and the energy of new beginnings and passion. It is red because it is the blood of life. It is fire and passion. Passion brings life. It leads to sex and sex brings a new beginning, and that beginning comes to birth. There can be no life without birth.
North is Xaman (pronounced shaman). Xaman's color is white or clear. It is the sun at full height, the light. It is the air, clear and pure. It is the place where everything is clear and in full view, where nothing is hidden and all is understood. It is the energy of transparency, clarity and truth.
West is the place of fear. West is Chik'in and its color is black (or sometimes dark blue or purple). It is the setting of the sun. It is the water, always moving, deep and unpredictable. Chik'in is change. It is duality. We feel afraid because we are uncomfortable with change and with duality, but these things exist. Life is a cycle, always moving, always changing. And we are growing and changing with it. This is an important part of our evolution.
South is the sun in the underworld. It is Nohol and its color is yellow. The sun goes into the dark and travels beneath the earth. And so Nohol is earth, the ground beneath our feet, the place where the corn is born, comes to harvest and then dies. Nohol is death. It is also abundance and harvest. When the corn matures and ripens, it turns a golden yellow, and then it dies so that we might be nourished. Its death is our life. Abundance is harvest and harvest is an end. And so Nohol is endings and luxury. It is the end of the cycle, it is the yellow leaves in the fall and the yellow skin of an old person who is full of years and nearing their final days.
When we stand in the middle of the four winds, we stand in the place of Yaxche, the World Tree. This is where we find our place in the Universe. This is where we find life and center and connection. Yaxche is the great ceiba tree whose roots reach into Xibalba, the underworld, whose trunk is on this plane of existence where we breathe and live, and its branches extend into the overworld, Flower Mountain, the place of paradise and the home of the gods.
When all four legs of the table are perfectly in balance, then we are able to stand in the center. If one is stronger than another, then we will slide off, be unable to gain our footing, and be unable to grasp the center. Oh woah to me should I not be able to find my footing! Should I not be able to find sure ground and know connection to all things, to the gods, to the fathermother! Then I would likely perish or be cast into mourning for all of eternity!
And, so how do I find this balance?
I must learn to embrace all the parts of life. Birth, light, change, and death.
And here I will find there is a great tool to help me do just that! It is the sacred Tzolk'in, the gods of the days. For the Tzolk'in is in perfect balance. And it teaches me how to find balance. And when I am in balance, I can find center, And when I find center, then I will KNOW my place among the stars.
There is so much to learn, but with the gentle guidance of the sacred calendar, I can learn to manage these energies, to embrace them as they come to me in a cycle that touches all parts of life. I can flow in the river of life and not battle against the great current. I can learn to rest and work and love and live, each in their time and all in conjunction with the great movements of the energies of humanity.
Do YOU want to begin to understand the secrets of the Tzolk'in?
Look for the next article in the Jungle Journal for a basic introduction and in the mean time, you can go here!
More is coming to you soon. Your answers are near.
Hugs and Butterflies