In all the years I have been going on Journeys of the Spirit to Teotihuacán with Allan Hardman, I have been acquainted with Alberto Hernandez, a friend and local artist. He has hosted our groups many times at his home just ten minutes from the pyramids.

Alberto and his brother, Victor (who often plays the flute from a respectful distance as we perform group ceremonies in the grassy plazas of Teotihuacán), grew up next door to the pyramids. Alberto says that in the days of his childhood there were no gates keeping people out at night, and he and Victor would go to certain temples and hills to dream.

Alberto’s wife and children are always happy to greet us, serving up generous portions of rich Mexican food. One night, Alberto kept us entertained with stories of legends and the spirits that still dwell at Teotihuacán. He even hired Aztec Dancers to teach us a ceremonial dance on his lawn. He is endlessly preparing new experiences and generous with everything he shares.

On a journey in 2006, I got sick with fever and Alberto put everyone to work helping me get better. His wife made herbal elixirs and he came to check on me regularly. I woke one afternoon to find him standing by my bed like a concerned father, worry lines creasing his forehead. In my weakened state, I murmured, “I love you,” which made him chuckle and say, “I love you too, sweetie.” And then he scolded me for not eating and told me my worries were what made me sick in the first place.

All along Alberto’s property are broken chards of pottery from centuries past. His interest in art began a long time ago. Since I first met Alberto in 2003, he has been making masks modeled after the funerary masks found at Teotihuacán by archaeologists. He uses precious materials like malachite, black obsidian, tiger’s eye, jasper, sodalite, goldstone, turquoise, chrysacolla and cinnabar. He began making jewelry too, and sculptures that symbolize Toltec mythology, such as jaguars and serpents, or a man’s face emerging from an eagle’s mouth.

Part of our journey in Teotihuacán involves energetically jumping into the mouth of Quetzalcoatl – the plumed serpent – and emerging from the second head of the snake as pure awareness. Alberto creates pieces that tell this story of the spiritual warrior’s transformation.

After dinner with his family, Alberto opens the doors to his shop, and we all rush in to gaze at his treasures, hoping to capture the spirit of our personal spiritual journey and take it home with us. His artwork always contains the spirit of the journey from self-rejection to self-love, which is the human journey that we all hopefully take in our lives, and so it is easy to fall in love with the pieces of art that embody this.

I can’t remember a single trip that I didn’t come home with art made by Alberto to give as gifts or to place on my meditation altar to remind me of my Toltec journey from the Dream of Hell to the Dream of Heaven on Earth. If you have the opportunity to join Allan on a journey to Teotihuacán and meet Alberto for yourself, I recommend it highly. But if that is not possible, the next best thing is here. The masks, crystal warriors, crystal pyramids, labradorite pendants, and obsidian hearts are all sculpted and made by Alberto. Keep checking back for new items – everything from Alberto in the Joydancer Store has been lovingly created by him, chosen by Allan, and prepared for you.

~ Jessica Gabrielle Varga, Joydancer Staff