The Sacred Site of Palenque

As we enter the 13 day period of 1 EB/1 Road on 30th June 2013 at Sunset in the Tzolkin Sacred Mayan Calendar, let’s travel to the sacred site of Palenque.

Palenque is one of the most beautiful Mayan sites in the heart of the lush Chiapas jungle, enjoying many refreshing natural springs and cascades.

Palenque site

Palenque site

The name Palenque was given by the priest Pedro Lorenzo de la Nada in 1567 when he first visited and reported the lost city at the time of the Conquest. Palenque is his Spanish version of a chol name Otulum or ‘city with strong houses’ by the local Maya and means ‘fortification’. However it is not until 1843 that it was genuinely recognised when the explorer John Lloyd Stephens and the architect Frederick Catherwood published their brilliant illustrated volumes.

Occupied since around 300 BC, Palenque used to be the capital of the powerful city state of B’aak or Bone during the Classic period. Even though the site is fairly small, Palenque is remowned for its architecture and the fine quality of its hieroglyphic writing with the second longest carved text after Copan.

An important archeological discovery was made by Alberto Ruz Lhuillier in 1952 when he uncovered the well preserved tomb of Lord Pacal after four years of work to free the long staircase in the Temple of the Inscriptions.

Temple of the Inscriptions, Palenque

Temple of the Inscriptions, Palenque

In the dynasty of Palenque rulers, K’inich Janaab’ Pakal or Lord Pacal has had an exceptionally long reign from the age of 12, from 615 to 683.

Palenque King Pacal

Palenque King Pacal

The impressive carved lid of his sarcophagus has been an inspiration worldwide, admired and commented upon by many people including the iconographer Linda Schele. The carving shows the dead ruler traveling to the underworld or sky through the cosmic world tree. A particular feature is a long stucco tube running from the lid to the upper level ending as a hole though the stone. It emphasises the connection of the departing soul with air, breath or spirit, ‘ik’ in Maya, as the inscribed text mentions the phrase ochb’ihaj sak ik’il or ‘entered the white breath road’.

King Pacal sarcophagus

King Pacal sarcophagus

Palenque is one of the most visited Maya sites and is near to the small town by the same name. So make it a priority to visit Palenque… perhaps during your Yucatan trek up Mayan pyramids?

To consult the dates for our next Mayan Calendar Workshops at Stargaia, Glastonbury, go to Events.

For our Mayan Calendar Publications, click Products.

If you wish to receive a personalised Natal Mayan Astrology consultation, go to Readings.

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