TULUM, the city by the Sea where the Mayans thrived for centuries, though most notably from 1200-1521 AD, is one of my favorite places visited in a month’s trip in México. Tulum is a fantasy, it is a history, and I would even say it stands as a legacy of a people who strategically positioned themselves where they could trade with other Nations/tribes/peoples and also study, honor and seek to understand the Cosmos. I’ll explain.
The Mayans named their city ZAMA, which means “place where the Sun rises” / Los Maya llamaron a su ciudad ZAMA, que significa “lugar donde nace el Sol”.
Zama is pronounced SA-MA. On my visit, I saw up close the Mayan Coast at the now Tulum Ruins, the towering cliffs brushing up against energetic Caribbean waters. Though normally visitors marvel at the Ocean’s shades of turquoise and the endless waters as far as the eye can see, on this stormiest of days (just a day before the Full Moon Eclipse) my pictures look a little distinct.
I knew it was going to rain well before deciding on this day to visit the ruins, mainly because it is the Rainy/Hurricane Season here and throughout the Yucatan and with only 2 more nights in this pueblo I didn’t want to risk not exploring these Mayan ruins. TULUM was the inspiration for my entire trip afterall. While back home in California in early September, I had a stack of projects in my room that were taking up most of my free time. Some involved getting creative with my hands (drawing & painting again). Some involved digging into my Family Tree a bit (renting and reading books from the Library about Mexican Native Tribes that run in our blood). **Another important thing I had taken on was a Meditation practice, including lots of reading about Self Love and Healing, and listening to podcasts and music inspired by the Cosmos/Universal Laws. How to Manifest what you want in life, how to be Mindful, how to listen/follow the signs being placed in your path. . . etc etc. . . were what led me to TULUM. Over a period of a week, TULUM appeared everywhere for me: In a podcast I heard, in some daily emails I receive, in the Yoga Retreat Website I had been frequenting.
It became crystal clear to me, TULUM was the next part of my journey of Self Love and true Healing. I could not ignore these messages and booked my ticket for México without knowing all that was waiting for me.
Why Tulum? For me, both the fact that it was in MÉXICO (the country of my ancestors: mis abuelos/bisabuelos) and the fact that it was a Coastal town in a part of México I had never visited, where there was no one I would I know or could rely on during my trip, were significant to me. THE UNIVERSE WANTED TO GET ME OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE TO SHOW ME SOMETHING NEW. Being that this was going to be my first Solo Trip EVER (in my 28 years) I know that’s why it turned out to be in México. México is a place I am familiar with, feels like home whenever I visit and it’s somewhere I can COMMUNICATE (hablo español). Three of the most important things in my life have always been:
- Water (hence the Coastal town) &
Basically, this trip was PLANNED FOR ME.
So here I am in the Tulum Ruins, the first one in the site (having biked at 7am from the center of town or Tulum Pueblo in the mild Rain and arrived before the site opened at 8am). I found myself a tour guide right away (also happened to be the first guide on site). You know what they say, Early Bird Gets the Worm. I wanted to experience the Mayan Ruins with as little tourists as possible. I wasn’t so sure the rain was going to keep people from visiting, especially because tour buses from Cancun or Playa del Carmen come daily to deposit hundreds (if not thousands) of people in these Mayan Ruins.
My Guide took me immediately to the old ceremonial entrance to the Walled City. Tulum is one of only a few “walled cities” of the Maya, and three sides of the city has 3-5m tall and 8m wide walls. The fourth side is of course the East, which is where the city meets the Ocean Cliffs. Zama (Tulum) was privy to witness SOL rise every morning on this eastern Coast, something that was not taken for granted. In addition to the importance of the Sun to the Maya, they also studied the Moon and Venus (and likely other planets and their movements). The remains of an observatory were pointed out to me, though the structure was not nearly as advanced as the observatory of Chichén Itzá. I didn’t snap as many pictures as intended because of the RAIN (although tolerable it would not let up). So use your imagination. Though it was a walled city, this does not mean all of Zama’s inhabitants lived inside. The likelihood was that governors, priests and their families resided inside the city as they had the responsibility to perform the sacred ceremonies, keep the gods happy, study the sky and also maintain order. The rest of the people lived outside the walls, but contributed to the function of this city as a center for trade. Canoes would land on the white sand shores just below the ruins coming from Central America, South America and the surrounding islands with goods for trade. This building below was an impressionable structure that foreigners on the Sea would use as a landmark. It was both a fortress and a temple.
Its name of course derived also from its view of sunrise in the East, Xama Zama (pronounced SHA-MA SA-MA) held great importance for women and fertility. The goddess Ixchel was honored in this temple, Mayan goddess of Fertility, Midwifery and Medicine. My tour guide would joke every time I was standing close to her temple, telling me to be careful and not stand too close to him. Jokes aside, the Energy was strong here this day. Maybe it was the storm, the wind, the rain and the waves crashing below, or maybe it was the Full Moon that was ever approaching, but I felt connected. I felt connected to my femininity and to the feminine energy of the Moon. I felt like no one else was in the ancient city but me (Don’t worry this post doesn’t end with a pregnancy announcement). I asked if local Maya hold any special ceremonies in the walled city anymore and he said it’s hard because they close the site up daily and have security now that patrol. But long after the Spanish conquered México and the city was abandoned, the Maya kept returning to hold ceremony here into the late 20th Century.
I wondered about the ceremonies held here hundreds of years ago & if they gathered together to watch the night’s sky for a Full Moon, or perhaps for a Full Moon Eclipse (a rare event).
There is one thing I have heard time and again, that the Mayans were more connected to the Earth and even the Cosmos than we could have imagined. They were precise in their calculations of the planet Venus, the Moon and Sun. What we have so much trouble doing today, seeing ourselves as one part of something much bigger than ourselves, they understood centuries ago. . . For they had to only look up in the sky to be humbled, or hear a thunderous shout from the sky, or watch the rain pour down from the heavens, or perhaps watch a perfect sunrise here in Zama. When the tour was finished, I sat facing the Ocean under the rain, expressing my gratitude for having been allowed to see the site. I wondered if the stormy feel to the day had any significance in my life. . . we have so many expectations of things (like wanting to see Crystal Turquoise Waters and blue skies in order to share with others back home Perfect Tulum in perfect photos). . . and of the direction we feel our life should go. This trip was slowly showing me that when we Forget about Control and expectations, WE ARE LED. Everything in right timing, everything in alignment with what we NEED MOST (not always what WE WANT), storms and all.
For MÁS/MORE on my final day and watching the Super Moon Eclipse from Tulum’s Caribbean Coast just click here.