Driving northeast from Mexico City toward Tula, the countryside on the road to the former Toltec capital is rather barren and nondescript. The stench of an oil refinery creates a haze that spreads for miles. Arriving late in the afternoon, a heavy overcast subdues and darkens the scene even more. The site lies in a valley surrounded by distant mountains. Originally rediscovered by an amateur archaeologist in the 1800's, credit was never given for its "discovery" until someone with the "correct pedigree" came upon it once again over 50 years later. 

But such is the way most of history is written. Meanwhile back in real time, the location of the site was never lost track of by the indigenous remnants of native Mexicans who have lived in the valley from well before the Spanish Conquest on into the present. Considering the devastating impact of European contact upon anything native, it wouldn't be surprising that the exact locations of formerly revered sacred centers should be kept hidden from the prying minds and undermining attitudes of the conquerors and their descendants. It is always somewhat peculiar to be informed about the exploits of Euro-American explorers and discoverers who undoubtedly get the credit for discovering "everything" under the sun, even if the discovery has been known to local people since time immemorial. 

Was it Howard Carter who discovered Tutankhamoun's tomb or the native Egyptian laborers who risked life and limb digging into the blocked tunnels and passageways? What are their names? Did John Speke and Richard Francis Burton actually discover the source of the Nile river or was it the black natives who took them to Lake Victoria who introduced them to it? What are all their names? Although the names of Charles Frey, John Bourne and Giles Healey are known as the discoverers of the Bonampak murals in Chiapas, what is the name of the Lacandon man who led them to this site, still sacred to the Maya living in the area? Such examples could be cited almost endlessly, thereby refilling and rewriting most of what many people take to be an unchangeable sequence of hard facts. Yet in a universe of relative phenomena, is there ever such a thing as a "hard fact"? Those who were the Toltecs would probably be amazed at the kinds of stories people now tell about them; as any now living would be amazed at the stories told of them by interpreters 1000 years or more from present. 

It is difficult to decipher a code that has long ago had its cipher changed. It is more difficult still to decipher a code whose ciphers have nearly all been intentionally destroyed. It is next to impossible to decipher a code thus destroyed, when all the decipherers are almost without exception, members of the same group that originally brought about the systematic and total destruction of the ciphers. In such a scenario, an unconscious cultural collusion underlies the superficial attempts at decipherment; the original code's essential understandings and relations to a greater reality are continually being undermined by a set of assumptions and beliefs that are actively contrary and destructive to the very nature of the code being deciphered. The unconscious collusion occurs at the inner level normally given over to remorse of conscience. In the case of the Americas, there can be no greater contrast in the emphasis between what the original creators of the great ancient civilizations had as their focus, and what the modern day interpreters have as theirs. How can a fundamentally holistic, spiritual and mystical way of relating to life and reality be in any way clearly represented and understood from a mechanistic, material and analytically rational perspective? It is more than ironic that many of the descendants of the conquerors are the ones who are now rewriting the entire history of the civilizations their forebears nearly annihilated. But rather than having to deal with this characteristic of inner violence and extremism within themselves, the new scientific translators of past civilizations are instead projecting an exaggerated violence and brutality onto the conquered cultures, in effect creating a kind of smoke-screen that in some way distracts most viewers from appreciating the full scale of the crime perpetrated on the indigenous peoples by their conquerors. 

However, physical violence and destruction is not the most disruptive feature of materialisitic reductionist rationalism. Within this approach to reality, there is a deeply rooted tendency to view everything in existence as a function of entropic oblivion, a point of view with an attitude that ultimately undermines the very basis of what human life could become. One of its rationalizations is that civilization and inner growth on a particular and general level are not brought about by conscious impulses such as love, compassion, presence and impartiality, but rather by the forceful imposition of brutal violence, treachery and survival at any cost. The belief in and perpetration of such views in fact fragments and destroys the possibility for life other than at a very selfish, mechanical, reactive level. Existence in such a state could hardly be defined as life in the sense of full human potentiality. The blind "will to power" approach seems to offer a satisfactory description of the impulses that have led to the degeneration and destruction of civilizations, but not to the conscious creativity that originated and developed a culture into a civilization....... 

What is left of Tula (or ancient Tollan) now comprises the compact ceremonial center of the capitol. Although most present-day descriptions refer to Tollan as a geographic entity, the reference also applies to a basic spiritual condition or state, much as the heavenly Jerusalem serves the same function for Christians. Tollan is the archetype of authentic peace, harmony and wholeness manifesting itself in everyday life. It is the very essence of what is referred to as "sacrifice", which is not the activity of "losing" something precious to "gain" something even greater, but is the realized sacredness of all and everything, without reservation or differentiation. The confusion about what Tollan represents due to the fact that various "places" such as Tollan Teotihuacan, Tollan Cholula, etc. were referred to by the Aztecs when speaking of the Toltecs' center, could easily be cleared up if "Tollan" were understood to be a metaphor for "unconditional-non-otherly-sacred". When understood from the perspective of such authentic situationality, the term Tollan would be re-invested with the power and subtlety intended in the original application. From the fragments that are presently available, it is difficult to discern whether the builders of the existing excavated ruins still understood the inner meaning of the archetype. The various versions of what transpired at Tula have come to us in a very garbled form. 

The main structures, such as the Pyramid of Tlahuixcalpantecuhtli, Lord of the House of Dawn - Quetzalcoatl as Morning Star, the Palace and Vestibule, reminiscent of the Temple of the Columns at Chichen Itza, the unexcavated Pyramid of the Sun, and a small ball-court are the modest fragments of the former capital's sacred heart. Atop the Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl stand the four colossal statues known as the Atlantes, whose structural function was to support the roof of the temple atop the pyramid, and whose spiritual function was to act as formidable guardians of the rising sun. The cylindrical feathered headdresses and the abstract "eagles" on each of their chests, as well as other sacred symbology carved on their bodies, all seem to indicate that these giant statues could very well have been representations of Quetzalcoatl in the aspect of the Morning Star, the Herald of Enlightenment. As with all sacred and transformational art and architecture, the meanings of the images and various groupings of buildings in relation to each other reflect a process of multi-dimensional understandings that grow, deepen and transform in correspondence with the individual's conscious evolution. In other words, there is never an absolute meaning to any symbol. Symbols do not describe the sensory blueprints or models by which reality can be represented or imaged; they refer to formulae by which relational processes rather than solid "things" are expressed. Expansion of a symbol is the development of its unexpressed reference. Every symbol represents essential aspects of reality before reality has been conceptually or experientially transformed into a dualisitic apparency composed of "nature and human" in diametric opposition and conflict with the "supernatural and superhuman". In terms of living knowledge and understanding, both the literal and metaphorical aspects of a symbolic situation are required for a balanced and impartial "view". However, such a view is "grounded" in the transcendence of any ground whatsoever. It appears that much of mankind's history has been wrapped up in the "reality" of the mind becoming identified with and clinging to its own projections. Perhaps history itself would dissolve into the transcendent if the mind would relinquish its identification. But does an apparent malady require an antidote in reality?.....