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Are Cenote Dragons Real?

Updated: Sep 7, 2020

A mystic told me a story about a dragon that lives in the cenotes. Well, there are many of them really—dragons, that is—and cenotes too—many dragons and many cenotes.

Now, you must know that I have been collecting stories all through the Yucatan and, if you know that, then you must also know that one of the stories I have been most looking for is the story about the cenote dragons.

A couple of years ago I heard my first story about a cenote dragon and it really caught my fancy. (You can read about it here.) After that, I always imagined this dragon in every cave we went in, in every hole in the ground, in every watery cavern abyss, in every dark and bottomless pool. I asked about him (the dragon) everywhere we went and occasionally I heard a few mumblings, but no-one seemed to know much about this elusive creature, save Sebriano (story above) and Eliadoro (read about him here). And their stories seemed so very different from each other’s that I thought they could not possibly be talking about the same beast.

So, in my mind I imagined him. I pictured him usually as red with silver-sequined sparkles or sometimes as transparent, almost invisible. I imagined that he could transform himself from brilliant red to transparent and hide in plain sight. And, because of the story Sebriano told me, I imagined that sometimes he was as black as night and that he could fly up out from the underworld and into a starry sky, his inky body absorbing all light and blocking out the stars without leaving any form but a black space where the stars should have been.

People laughed at me.

Some didn’t laugh too hard though. I think because they half-believed in the cenote dragon living beneath the earth in the endless river passageways filled with stalactites and stalagmites closing in like giant dragon teeth.

And then I heard the story. The one told by the mystic who was also an artist, a Maya mystic, a teller of tales, a keeper of lore, a living history book for his people.

“Yes, there is a dragon,” said the mystic when I asked. “There are many dragons living deep in the cenotes.”

Listen to his story, for here is all that he told me:

There are snakes that live in the cenotes. They eat. And when they eat, they grow. Some grow much stronger than the others and they eat and eat until they grow to be very large. They grow to be so large and so strong that they must be confined deep in the cenotes.

These become dragons.