Cenotes are portals to the Otherworld, Xibalba. When you walk into the stalactite filled cavers filled with water so clear you can hardly tell its there, you understand why. These magical grottos are entrances to the longest underwater cave system in the world. At present, geologists have identified more than 6,000 of them scattered across the Yucatan. And who knows how many still lay hidden in the dense jungle?
(Map of the Sac-Actun system, one of MANY cave systems in the Yucatan. This one is 364 km long with 187 entrances!)
They are the water source for the entire peninsula and used to be used as both community wells and sacrificial chambers. They are associated with the rain god, Chaac because they are the receptacles of the rain, but deeper and perhaps more mystical than that, they are tied to another dimension, Xibalba.
Stand in the gentle rain on an overcast day at the edge of the water and you can feel the denseness of the air, a tingling, almost dizzying energy emanates from these subterranean doorways. I have stood there. I have felt its draw. It begs you to enter. It woos you to step past the boundaries of the known and into a place of otherness.
The profound peace and stillness are tangible. The water is so still and so clear that you are not sure where it begins. Step into its coolness and you will notice a silky, calming sensation. The waters are filled with minerals –magnesium, potassium, calcium—that leave you feeling as though you are drunk on sweet wine. Soak in the crystalline liquid and absorb the magic through your sense, though your spirit, and through your skin.
They call to you. They beckon, “Come my child. Leave your troubles behind. Sink into the embrace of the cenotes, the ancient wells. Come and feel the heavy peace. Come and access the otherworld.”
I want to go.
Climbing down the steps into the cave,