Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ek Balam

 Once again this post.. I will be talking a lot about what I believe in as well as the history of the places we visited. I respect many religions..and so I hope when you read this you will also respect what I believe in and hold so dear to my heart. If you'd like to know more, you can request a free copy of the Book of Mormon which tells the story of ancient american people who left jerusalem and journeyed to central america. I talks about the struggle between good and evil.. the cycle of pride, and guides on how to live our life and return to our saviour. My favorite chapter in the book of mormon can be found in 3d nephi, when Christ visits the nephites before his resurrection.  You can learn more via this link if you are interested in hearing more about the Book of mormon. 
Just making you aware..this post has a lot to do with my religion. 

On our tour right after we went swimming in the cenote..Heleman took us to a new ruin..new as in they discovered it about 11 years ago..and there's still mounds that are being uncovered.. It's incredible to see the process of something being in the middle of uncovering and being discovered..Heleman remembers being here 7 years ago, when everything was still covered under jungle foliage. 

Ek Balam is farther into the jungle and off the beaten road..so there weren't a lot of people there. It was so quiet.  I remember stepping onto that ground and feeling something very special..a peace.. It felt different than chichanitza. I could feel the spirit testify to me. That there were people who lived here, who had a knowledge of christ. This place will always be very very special to me. And out of the entire trip this little place far out in the jungle was my absolute favorite.

The straw huts were built to cover parts of the ruins where there are paintings and carvings the archaeologists wanted to preserve..but I thought they made it feel like what it may have looked like when people lived here.

unlike chichanitza..there werent as many sacrificial alters and idols...the stones weren't carved out..like chichanitza..they were older..which is what Heleman said he believes to be the righteous period before the nephites became wicked and started to make the houses and temples ornate and costly. It also made me reflect on my own home. Am I trying to make it a place of simplicity. Where the spirit can dwell.. Or do I maybe have some idolatry I need to think about and contemplate changing in my own life.
 when I saw this off in the distance.. I admit I got choked up. It's an old watch tower...the regular tour guides say it was for them to look out and protect their city..or to spot fires. The walls on the outside acted like a fortress into this city. I couldn't help but think about all the scriptural references to a watch tower.  I thought about how our living prophet can see things we don't see. And how he can warn us.
 These stairs were super steep. Heleman told us to climb the stairs in a winding pattern..just like a serpant because this is how the high priests would've climb it..  not only is it easier to climb this way but it also symbolically represented a feathered serpent climbing toward heaven..like the one I talked about at chichanitza. If you didnt read the post about the feathered serpent click here to catch up.
 Brandon on the lower level.. This was one of the most amazing views I've ever seen. jungle as far as the eye can see. So quiet. So peaceful.. nothing around..I wanted to stay there all day.

These carvings were significant to me because of the men across the top..they had certain hand symbols, that are symbolic to me.  also on the right side of the carvings- right where you can see the x's There's a carving of a tree..which Heleman said this is definatley representing the tree of life dream. 
You can also see as a big picture is the face of the serpant the teeth of the serpant are by the guy in the blue..can you see it?

this painting on one of the walls was hidden in the back on old plaster, which they believe was especially old...aka "righteous nephite time" Notice..the dark and light skinned people. I got to see a close up of this from Helemans  picture flip chart book..since we couldn't get  really close. There is definitely a difference in the skin colors. To get into the holy of holies in this temple there are 3 walk ways to get to the very center. I though this was very interesting, and the fact that it's very much like Solomon's temple is very interesting. At this point in the trip I could feel the spirit very strong. And heleman started to talk about what the acinet mayan culture believed was important to get to heaven.. he talked a lot about charity..and becoming like christ. It touched me. made me want to be more christlike. To forgive others, Treat others with more love. and kindness, and I think above all the things I was shown.. rather it was this feeling of wanting to know more about my saviour and a need to become more like him. That what I took out of this the most. try and have charity...like the mayan people believed was the most important thing to get to heaven.
 so what we're standing on would've been the temple..and the one in the background would've been the alter..also the block you see at the very top of the alter behind me.. is different than an alter.. it looks different that the ones in chichnitza and has carvings of praying on it. Heleman believes it was a block for the high priest to pray on..for everyone to see... in the wicked time in mormon scripture this could also be called a rameumptan. Like I said before these temples were built on top of each other..so there are temple below and alters below each one. The lower layers would've been older...true nephite time period..and the top layers wouldve been when they forgot christ and became wicked..which is why you can see the rameeumptan.

 The guy with the hat is mr heleman himself, He was such an amazing guide, you could tell he had such a huge testimony of what he was teaching..and he never said..this is where this happened this is the site of this...he told us everything we felt was based on our faith and love of the scriptures..which I appreciated. It felt very genuine.

I'm glad that he used the scriptures as his guide and that he is so respectful of the gospel, and the doctrine. That everything he told us, he said for us to ponder it in our hearts with faith. I left this sacred place feeling the love of my saviour, and I hope I can take my kids back one day, where we can see the rest of the ruins uncovered.

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