The Ceiba Tree

19 Jan

Long before the Spaniards arrived in the Yucatan, the Maya believed that there is a central world tree that connects the underworld, the earth and the skies. And that tree is the ceiba tree.

The ceiba tree, believed by the Maya to be a sacred tree, is represented by a cross found in the Temple of the Cross complex at Palenque, one of the most important sites of the ancient Mayan civilization.

When the Spanish arrived they were amazed to see these symbols of the cross represented in Mayan art. The Spanish mistook this sacred tree symbol for one of the Christian cross.

DSC00443Today an interpretation of the green cross appears at church, chapel and town entrances throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. But, for many Maya it still represents a belief in the cosmic axis holding up the four corners of the world supported by the sacred ceiba tree.



One Response to “The Ceiba Tree”

  1. Derek Simmons January 19, 2016 at 2:11 pm #

    You mean the cosmic axis holding up the four corners of the world isn’t supported by the sacred ceiba tree?

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