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Paul Devereux - Mayan - Chichen Itza cave



Type of Spiritual Experience


Balankanchi [Hidden throne] near Chichen Itza in the Yucatan, Mexico has a dramatic cave system with a symbolic tree of life.

A description of the experience

Paul Devereux – Sacred Places

 A passage takes the visitor past various small chambers and side passages some with incense burners and pots placed many centuries ago as offerings beneath rows of stalactites.

 It finally leads into a great circular cavern about 15 metres [50 feet] high with a curious domed floor rising about 6 metres [20 feet] in the centre.  There, linking the cavern’s ceiling and the dome’s crest is a great stalagmite in the remarkable likeness of a great tree – a stone axis mundi wrought by nature – surrounded by offerings that have lain undisturbed for a thousand years. 

The ‘trunk’ is actually formed by the fusing of a stalagmite and a stalactite and the impression of foliage, is formed by countless small, spiky stalactites.  The ‘tree’ is surrounded by innumerable offerings, including stone and wooden figures, spiked or knobbly pottery, incense burners … The total effect is over whelming.

From this chamber, as powerful in its raw way as any Gothic Cathedral, two passageways branch out, one leading down to water …….

The Maya did have a ‘World Tree’ concept, they imaged it in the form of a great ceiban tree linking heaven and earth with its roots penetrating to the underworld

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Sacred geography

Activities and commonsteps