Sacred Earth Journeys began with the mission to reinvent travel and popularize mindful, well-intended sacred travel. In recent years, intentional journeys for the sake of personal growth and realization have been popularized by researchers, authors, and travel enthusiasts and leaders keen on unlocking the transformational powers of ancient civilizations.
Founded by Helen Tomei in 2003, Sacred Earth Journeys has laid a steady foundation for the reemergence of sacred pilgrimage. One of her greatest joys is her long-term work with great leaders, wonderful spiritual teachers, traditional elders, and wisdom keepers throughout various traditions (e.g. the Maya, Inca, Buddhist, etc.).
A Long Journey with a Maya Teacher
For example, Helen has worked with Maya teacher Miguel Angel Vergara for 16 years. Miguel Angel, known as Master Nazul within his tradition, studied with elder Don Vicente Martin, a prolific Mayan wisdom keeper, for 17 years.
Miguel Angel has authored books on various topics within the Maya wisdom tradition. He’s written on Chichen Itza, Goddesses within the tradition, and even the important role of women for the ancient Maya.
In a recent interview with Miguel Angel, we discovered that he lived from 1986 to 1990 at Chichen Itza as a director and coordinator of the area. During his time there, he had access to the inner chambers of the temple complex during the day and night where he performed numerous meditations.
As a teacher on Mayan astronomy, philosophy, calendars, ceremonies, healing, and cosmovision, Miguel Angel quickly became a valued leader on board the Sacred Earth Journeys team. With us, he continues to lead his sacred pilgrimages through the Yucatan in Mexico.
I had the opportunity to speak with Helen about her time discovering and beginning to work with Miguel Angel.
“Around 2004, I went down to Mexico for a travel trade show in search of a guide knowledgeable about the Maya wisdom and cosmology. I had a vision to offer journeys focused around the incredible Mayan pyramids and temples and to learn from an expert in the field,” Helen said. “I wanted to connect with someone who not only had the knowledge, but who led the ceremonies and rituals, and who knew the meanings of the ancient sites, their glyphs, symbology, cosmology, and wisdom.”
She explored the trade booths at the show and described to various people what she was looking for only to be met with blank stares. Finally, a gentleman’s face lit up upon hearing what Helen sought.
“He shuffled through a bunch of papers and came up with a photo of Miguel Angel! I looked at the photo and thought, yep, this might be the person I am looking for!”
As soon as Helen returned home, she contacted Miguel Angel’s assistant, Trudy, who helped set up Miguel Angel’s first guided tour with Sacred Earth Journeys. The journey took place in 2005. Since then, they have been offering annual journeys all over the Mayan world, from Yucatan to Chiapas, Quintana Roo to Campeche, Tabasco to Veracruz, plus amazing sites like Tikal, Quiriguá, Copan, Lake Atitlán, and more in Guatemala.
As we know from working with him for many years, Miguel Angel guides journeys with a welcoming, heart-centered energy. He is quick to offer his timeless knowledge and wisdom, and seems eager to be not only teaching but learning as well.
This year on our Maya Temples of Transformation journey, Miguel Angel is yet again working with author and researcher of ancient civilizations, Freddy Silva.
Helen met Freddy Silva in 2012 and they offered their first journey together in 2015. Since then, Freddy has led journeys to the Maya Lands of Mexico and Guatemala, Peru, and Egypt, plus many of his own trips to destinations in Europe and beyond. He’s been teaming up with Miguel Angel for many years now to develop well-rounded journeys in Mexico.
When asked about leading the pilgrimage coming up this November, Maya teacher Miguel Angel said, “Freddy is a great teacher. He understands much about the mathematics and the way the Maya built up the temples with a great knowledge. I am very glad to have the chance to guide this tour with him. He’s always welcome in the Mayaland. He teaches more on the side of the science while I teach more on the side of the spirit. We are two sides, two columns guiding people.”
As we continue to prepare for this year’s pilgrimage to the Yucatan with Maya teacher Miguel Angel and Freddy Silva, we are keeping our participant’s safety at the top of our minds.
The health and safety of our participants are our greatest concern.
Day by day preventive measures will be taken during the tour by the work team and will be evaluated in order to protect the health and safety of the participants. For example, temperatures are taken with remote digital equipment daily and there is a mask mandate in place for public spaces, to be removed for food or beverages only. This is in effect even if people have been vaccinated.
Other strategies will be implemented such as maintaining a healthy distance (minimum 1.5 meters) at strategic points, and receiving tests if signs of respiratory illness present themselves.
As facilitators of this Yucatan journey with Maya teacher Miguel Angel Vergara and Freddy Silva, we always ensure the safety of our participants first and foremost.
Going to the Yucatan and studying the Maya is the experience of a lifetime, and we are honored to be working with two embodied teachers who prioritize personal transformation, safety, and the creation of lifelong memories!
~Jacob Lopez, staff writer