It was a simple church, dark and empty of people. Candles were burning. The pall made it hard to make out the details, but it seemed like there were a few rows of pews, a simple altar, and a cross surrounded by a few other things on the altar.
That was all.
But what kind of church was it? Elly said it was beautiful and very special, but he would say no more. Even though he obviously felt very strongly about its importance, he was still visibly upset by what happened. Why it was so important that we not even look at it much less enter it? We had no clue….yet!
(For part 1 of the Saga GO HERE)
So . . . were the two churches tied together somehow? The church we were not allow to enter and the church Don Domanzo presided over? Remember Don Domanzo met with us in his home, not his church. And we were not permitted to even stand on the same side of the street as the church he was carrying out ceremonies in. Hmmm . . .
Another Puzzle Piece
Later, back home in Puerto Morelos, I decided to read about the Caste Wars. Elly (Eliadoro is his full name) was so filled with emotion when he talked about his family’s involvement. So, I got on-line and read everything I could find. The wars lasted from the mid 1800’s to the early part of the 20th century. Even though the battles officially ended in the 1910’s, skirmishes were still taking place well into the 1930’s. The Yucatan was considered one of the most dangerous places on earth for a white man! Should you venture into the jungles, the Maya would kill you and ask questions later. (Now, I know they were defending their homes. They are not naturally violent people, but rather very humble, peaceful and kind.)
As I was sifting through article after article, I came across a very intriguing story. It was a story about a speaking cross!
The details differed depending on who was telling the story, but the basic tale goes as follows:
The villagers in the area now known as the Zona Maya 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 Felipe 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 brief 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 machete 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 could not move through the jungle. And so, they gave up the fight and fled. The villages of the south were never conquered 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!
(Here is a photo of the little park in Chumpon. If you turned around, you would see the long low building that is used as a church. I did not take a photo of it because it was not allowed.)
Of course, my mind drifted back to the secrecy surrounding both the church in Chumpon and the blue building made from sticks with the palm thatch roof in the next pueblo. Perhaps? Perhaps one of the crosses was laid there? I would go many places before I got any closer to an answer.
Maya crosses explained: 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 truth. Chik'in, the wind that blows from the west, is blue/black and brings the energy of change, duality, and cooperation. Nohol, the wind that blows from the south, is yellow and brings the energy of abundance, growth and harvest.
MUCH MORE TO COME! You will be amazed at the next part of the story!