Posted by: Sarah Lidsey | January 18, 2011

Pilgrimage of the Heart: Mexico and the Mayans

Over quite a number of years I have been absorbing information about the ancient civilizations of the Mayans and the Aztecs, through books, exhibitions, and films. In 2007 I remember traveling on an overnight train from southern Bolivia up to La Paz having been horseback riding near Tupiza in some of the back country through which Butch Cassidy roamed, back in the day. That night as our train stood idle for hours and hours far from any station, broken down and being slowly repaired in torchlight by the crew, Mel Gibson’s gory movie, Apocalypto – about the horrific ordeal of some peace-loving Central American people at the hands of warring Mayans – played loudly, over and over again.  The images were inescapable, powerful and impactful, and my attraction and revulsion to these people and those times felt really strong.  I wanted to go to Mexico, but not alone, and only with someone who really knew the ancient ways of the Mayans particularly their spiritual nature, and their gifts. 

Right timing is a vital component of pilgrimage.  Within months of recognizing that I was ready to visit Mexico, I attended a workshop in London with Sri’ama Qala.  I had no idea of her connections with the Maya or any expectation beyond sitting in heart-felt meditation with a group of like minded people, and so was really surprised when, on the last day, she led us through a meditation that involved the Tzolkin Wheel, one of the acknowledged tools of the Mayan people. Almost simultaneously she announced her intention to go to the Yucatan Peninsula, and I recognized that I had at last moved into the orbit of the guide I’d been waiting for.

The Yucatan Peninsula isn’t spectacular to look at when you are on the ground, but it has great beauty all the same.  By dropping into the vibrant energies in each place we visited we experienced the vitality, the ever-present aliveness there.  It was through the life force of each place we visited that we introduced ourselves to the unseen guardians of this land.  Only then – rather like leaving your calling card with the doorman at the entrance of a grand estate – were we welcomed in to the mysteries of the ancient Mayan practices.   

The most important part of our journey was in planetary service, assisting in the dissemination of universal wisdom through the spiritual highways linking this area to the rest of the world, but for each one of us who offered and committed ourselves in this way, we were gifted too, with deep realizations and with personal transformation.  Before I started to travel a lot, I used to wonder why spirit beings in other dimensions weren’t able to just get on with the planetary work themselves.  Why couldn’t infinite wisdom sort out every earthly glitch or instigate needed evolution without the involvement of any of us human beings?  Of course it can for some things, but as it turns out, the human body is an incredibly valuable thing, especially if you don’t have one!  It is needed to assist not only in our own transformation, largely through teaching us how to evolve through relationship, but also embodied life is needed to make consciousness real.  To do so consciousness needs, firstly, to be anchored into our time/space continuum, and for that to happen it has to transduce down through our spiritual structures into the denser cellular structures of existence.  As these energies slow down and are absorbed through our bodies, they can ground in a way that forms and affects us here on earth.  So, the natural world, but most particularly the human being (because of our mobility and capacity for intelligent action) is an important component in disseminating and anchoring this change.

Even as we aligned in Planetary service, personal transformation was always present.  Each time I have heeded my inner call to travel, I have reunited with ancient aspects of my being at the places I’ve visited, and, as each pilgrimage of the heart has presented itself, barriers that have restricted my ability to live from the heart have fallen away.  It’s nice to know about ones highest aspects, and at times I’ve only allowed myself to acknowledge my gifts, but before going to Mexico I also knew I was being called to meet my unprocessed shadow, the parts of myself that I have found unpalatable, and to accept, understand, and forgive myself for my actions in past and present times.  I’d been experiencing and consciously working through layers of shame and self-hatred through most of the previous year, meeting feelings and shadow issues that it had taken me a life time to face, and in the weeks leading up to the trip this awareness intensified. The call to go was inescapable, but that didn’t stop me feeling some fear and trepidation about what I might encounter. 


Our group met up near Uxmal, and then we settled in to two days of intense practices and introductions to the ways through which we were to work at the sacred sites in front of the great pyramid there.  In those days we began the profound earthwork that we’d been drawn to participate in. One unexpected challenge each day was to sit in a meditation circle in a public site and not be distracted by the commotion around us.  At Chichen Itza, our next stop, which is now officially designated a World Heritage site, the sound was often deafening.  Vendors line the outer paths, continuously blowing on Jaguar whistles, whilst tour guides, standing in front of the pyramid, clap to demonstrate how the pyramid amplifies and echoes incoming sound.  It is surreal to be aware of this on one level and on another to be deeply traversing other planes of existence.  Where we could we rose before dawn to sit, undisturbed in the quiet before the site officially opened, so as to travel through the energetic gates at the pyramid free from interference. 

Chichen Itza

My experiences, from the very first moment, opened my heart. I was gifted in my ancient reunion with guides and companions, and tools to help me as I journeyed out again – a cloak, sandals, a sword, a Tzolkin Wheel, and a new vibrational body.  My thoughts at the end of each day began to sound like a broken record to me.  On a daily basis I was bowled over by at least one of the three or four practices we sat for, sure that That experience was why I had come – for That meditation of service and remembrance, only to have another equally profound journey the next day.  On one cool morning at Chichen Itza as I traveled spiritually through the far away galactic doorways opened to me, I felt what I perceived as bindings finally fall away, first from my root, and then from my heart, until each chakra fully opened like a lotus flower, so that I recognized without any doubt that in that moment I was finally free.  It was incredibly joyful, and at the same time as the realization flooded my being, the relief I experienced was enormous and overwhelming.  I initially feared that this state would contract, but it doesn’t and hasn’t, and I now trust that it won’t.


As humankind comes up to the ending cycles of the Mayan Calendar, we are ripe to open to new ways of operating, and the possibilities for greater wisdom and consciousness to be seeded in us and through us all is great.  Some of us are already ready, but where not quite, humanity is being invited by the cosmos to shift and change so that all will be able to embrace different ways of acting and perceiving. These are not the-end-of-the-world times, which are often presented in catastrophic terms by our media, they are the-embodying-of-enlightened-action times.  We are being invited to open our hearts in compassion, and act through wisdom to resolve the difficulties we all face, and adopt a more unified way of thinking and being.  Out with extreme separation and defensive, fear-filled action; In with harmony, balance, and appreciation of our unique ways, our differences, and the beauty of our habitat.  The Mayans have spelled this out in their calendar.  Many of us are frightened of the unknown, but in fact, in this instance we don’t need to be – we have a roadmap to a new beginning.  They’ve gifted us with that.

Qala and Amaya

As I write, I am still integrating the many different facets of this journey, taking in the profound nature of my experiences in just a few of the sacred sites of the Maya in Mexico.  I am filled with gratitude for the gifts I was given, for the friends I traveled with, and most particularly for the incredible being who guided me in the remembering – Qala.   Everyone needs allies as they travel, I am blessed by all of mine.

©2011 Sarah Lidsey. All rights reserved.

For information about Qala and her work visit her website,



  1. Well done! I was there and could not have written a better article.

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