Jalisco, Mexico: Teuchitlan Guachimontones

The Ancient Steps

The lure had taken root. We all receive insight and guidance through our dreams; sometimes, mine show me places to visit. Teuchitlan Guachimontones was one of those places suggested in a dream.A few days later when I still felt a pull toward this place, I knew that a piece of me was already there, and the only way to collect my scattered self was to physically travel to that place and fulfill the journey that began in my dream. A friend and I boarded a crowded, overnight flight from Sacramento to Guadalajara, and we arrived before sunrise to wander the silent city center streets after dropping our light packs at the hostel. With the bright pink and orange light moving across the sky, we saw the dusty desert mountains beyond the city, and in some direction not too far was Teuchitlan Guachimontones, the purpose for this unplanned weekend expedition.

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Courtyard at Hostal de Maria.

Los Guachimontones are what remains of an ancient civilization, located outside of a village called Teuchitlan. It is a fairly new discovery, as far as the field of archaeology is concerned. We only found our way to the site through an act of cosmic alignment.

The day after our arrival, my friend and I ventured into the city with a plan to find the bus station to go to Teuchitlan. We had a map, and walking directions from the hostel. Hours later, parched and frustrated, after realizing that the map does not match the cityscape and after being informed from taxi drivers that construction along the central Avenida Revolucion would prevent them from easily taking us where we wanted to go, we dragged ourselves back to the hostel. I had given up, and assumed that my intuition had misguided me. While I was napping in my dorm bed, my friend was talking to other travelers at the hostel. It turns out that the hostel attendant was from Teuchitlan, and that the other travelers were not aware of the site but wanted to go see it.

The next morning, seven of us including our new friend the local guide, four Germans, and my friend and I, went together to the bus station. We rode about two hours into the parched desert, arriving at the village of Teuchitlan.

 

7Cowboys
Villagers in Teuchitlan.

We followed our guide through the village, stopping at a beverage bar that sold creamy drinks of fermented corn that people believe have healing properties. Some of them included lime and were served over ice, some appeared in mugs and were served hot. The guide encouraged us to sip the beverage, explaining it would help with the abrupt change in elevation we were about to experience.

Beverage Bar
The beverage bar along the trail to the Guachimontones.

The guide was surprised that my friend and I had arrived from California to see this site. He said that it is unknown outside of the area in Mexico. Prior to my arrival, I had tried to find information online about the site, but was unable to locate anything other than an obscure Spanish-language site. This is not in any guidebooks, and the German friends would not have known about its existence if not for conversation at the hostel. Going with this group was a more fun experience than attempting to find the site alone.

11TourGuide
Our guide observing the scenery from the visitor center, still under construction.

The site was clearly very new. Many of the areas were still under excavation. So far, archaeologists had unearthed one large circular pyramid, nestled around several smaller pyramids. They had also found what appeared to be a large, rectangular area that they speculated was a field for playing games. A mural inside the Visitor’s Center depicted a shaman using the area for his ceremonial magic.

Mural
Mural of a shaman in the Visitor’s Center.

I still don’t know how or why exactly I ended up in Guadalajara for a weekend to see the early stages of an ancient civilization unearthed after unknown centuries of loss. My friend believes that the site vibrates healing energetic frequencies, and perhaps that is true. Any journey into the unknown gives healing, if we are willing to follow our intuition more closely than our maps and turn off our phones long enough to listen. Growth is the process, not the destination.

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