Updated: Sep 8, 2022
What secret lies behind the walls of this humble Maya church?
There is a legend in the Yucatan Peninsula about a tree that saved the indigenous Maya people from domination by outsiders in the Caste Wars of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The story, as told to me by a local man in the village of Chumpon, goes like this:
The villagers were worried about losing their way of life to Spanish conquerors. The Spanish-Mexicans were making their way steadily south, taking over pueblos and forcing people into servitude. As the people of the southern part of the peninsula were preparing to fight, something magical happened.
A cross carved into a tree on the outskirts of the town (now called Fellipe Carillo Puerto) spoke to a man. It gave instructions on how to win the battle. The tree told the man to cut its branches and make three crosses. It said to divide the villagers into groups and for each group to carry a cross before it. (Let it be noted that Maya crosses have a very different symbolism than Christian crosses. An explanation can be found at the bottom of this post.)
The man did as instructed and made three crosses from the branches of the tree. The people divided themselves into groups and each carried a cross.
And then the rains came.
It rained and rained for many days, making travel through the jungle almost impossible for the Spanish-Mexican soldiers. Imagine cutting through dense underbrush, vines, and thick jungle growth with a machette in the pouring rain!
And then the ants came.
The combination of the ants and the rain was too much. The soldiers could not rest on the ground or they were bitten by ants. They coud not move through the jungle. And so they gave up the fight and fled. The villages of the south were never conqurered and still remain in an informal agreement with the government of Mexico to this day with their own laws, rulers, religion, and even their own time zone!
The three crosses were laid in three villages to rest. And one of those villages was Chumpon.
Now, fast forward to a summer day in 2019. I went to the village of Chumpon to recieve a blessing from the Maya priest. I went with gifts of fish from the coast, and vegetables, corn, and beans. The priest was a very busy man, but made time for me and two of my friends. He prayed for us and did a simple limpia (cleansing ceremony).
After he finished, we spent the rest of the day with his understudy, Eliadoro. Eliadoro was the man who told me the story of the talking cross. He also took us all through his village and showed us many things, including the entrance to a dry cave that runs all the way from Zona Maya to the area around Chichen Itza.
Very close to the cave entrance was the little blue building you see at the beiginning of this story. Eliadoro told us it was a Maya church and was a very special and beautiful place, but that we were not allowed to enter it.
I have spent years living closely with the Maya and have been taught many sacred things. Never have I been asked not to enter a building. And so I know that there must be a very important reason for Eli's request.
At the time, I did not know the crosses had been laid in safe places in three towns. That information came at a later date. But now I wonder, is this quaint little humble stick building the home to a sacred treasure? And if it is, does it still hold the power to speak?
As always, asking questions,
Hugs and butterflies,
Maya Cross Meaning: There is much depth to the meaning of the Maya cross, but the basic is the four cardinal directions, east, north, west and south (in the order of the movement of the sun). Each direction has a color and energy. Lak'in, the wind that blows from the east, is red and brings beginnings and unity. Xaman, the wind that blows from the north, is white and brings transparency, clarity, and change. Chik'in, the wind that blows from the west, is blue/black and brings the energy of change, duality, and cooporation. Nohol, the wind that blows from the south, is yellow and brings the energy of abundance, growth and harvest.