The focus of my current research is learning about the belief systems of the Mayans. We see various events and ceremonies depicted in art, but what were the beliefs that gave rise to them? True they did blood sacrifice, but why? They used plants and other substances to attain altered states, but what did they want to know? where did they go in their trances? who did they communicate with?
Along with many the other subjects, I have been studying religions for years. I have found that they share core beliefs, while the practices vary depending on time and place.
Venus was an important planet to Mesoamerican culture. It was a male god and represented drought, danger and warfare. We are currently in a Venus retrograde period see my astrology blog.
In our culture, Venus is a goddess and represents love, beauty and harmony. One of her attributes is the ability to listen and respond with affection and caring. During this retrograde period, we are asked to re-evaluate those people and things that we value. We are warned about making major purchases, painting or decorating our homes or making major changes to our appearance during this time, because when she goes direct will probably regret our choices.
I highly recommend this 3 CD set by John Major Jenkins. It explains how he came to his conclusions after many years of research. Working with academic and other information, while outside the academy, he was free to come up with his own creative interpretations.
One problem I always had with being part of the academic world is that they insist on viewing everything from a strictly 'scientific' system. They don't seem to realize that Science is a belief system, not unlike any other. They are adherents of a fundamentalist-like religion. Other ways of knowing are not acceptable. One can get marginalized very easily for stepping on toes or stepping outside the box. I knew I could not conform.
Jenkins looks at the data and interprets it. I can't tell you how sick I got, as a graduate student, of reading boring descriptions of structures: measurements, materials, technology, etc. and few would dare say we were looking at a 'house'. Duh.
Jenkins has read all the scholarly material, communicated with the authors, pursued his inspirations and gone down and checked it all out himself. I really respect his work.
He shows the evolution of spiritual tradition and belief that occurred through time in Mesoamerican cultures. He also makes connections to traditions that we are more familiar with. In short, he gives some indication about the belief system that was a the heart of the people who created the calendar and how we can connect to it.
The third CD gives some breath practices that I recommend. I believe that working with the breath is an extremely important way we can accelerate our evolution and spiritual development. The best thing about working with the breath is that it is free! We can do it while we wait in line. We can do it in the car while waiting at red lights. Our breath is our connection to life. When we are born, we take our first breath and establish our own separate self. When we die, we release our connection with the breath and merge with Unity again.