The Route of the Sorcerers of the Sea: A Sacred Mayan Journey in Xcaret

May 26, 2024

An Ancestral Journey through the History of Xcaret  

Learn about the history of this Mayan tradition

The day has arrived to experience together a new Sacred Mayan Journey at Xcaret. The canoeists are ready to reencounter an impressive Mayan tradition that we want to preserve and share with the world. 

Before I tell you about this edition, you need to know that it is a unique experience that will transport you to ancient times on the coast of Quintana Roo! This edition is called the "Sorcerers of the Sea", and, like every year, we will recreate the trade, religion, and navigation in canoes as the ancient inhabitants of Polé did, which is the name that Xcaret was known by in the past. 

The entire concept of the "Sorcerers of the Sea" is inspired by the pilgrimage by sea described in the ancient book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel, where the Itzaes arrived at the port of Polé. Once established here, the ancient inhabitants embarked on a journey in search of new lands, finally reaching a cenote to found the city of the Sorcerers of the Sea, known today as Chichén Itzá. Through this representation, the inhabitants of Polé remember their ancestors and honor their legacy. 

The staging is complemented by rituals dedicated to the deities, where the offerings of corn and balché, which is an ancient beverage used in rituals. All these details are represented in the murals of Tulum, play a prominent role. In addition, Polé receives a visit from the Halach Uinic of Cozumel and a dignitary of Oxtankah - Ichpaatun, accompanied by the Mayan Spaniard who was shipwrecked on the coast in 1511.


With this little context, I hope to be able to transport you to the beaches of Polé and Cozumel to experience the Sacred Mayan Journey together through this blog. 

Welcome everyone to the Sacred Mayan Journey "Sorcerers of the Sea"! 

Wake up, world! The dawn of the morning is greeted by the resounding echo of the tunkules, marking the beginning of a day full of magic and tradition. From the base, Batab de Polé waits serenely as a canoe approaches from the horizon, bringing with it the great Dignitary of the Island from Cuzamil. 

On the beach of Polé, the Yuum k'iin receives the Dignitary and guides him to a small platform, where he is greeted with the intoxicating aroma of baálche', sprinkled with Ja'abin twigs and smoked by the Chaco'ob. It is the long-awaited moment for Batab de Polé and the Halach Uinik of Cuzamil to begin the rites in honor of the Goddess Ixchel. 

"Welcome all!", exclaims Na Pol Cauich, Batab de Polé. "From Conil to Holbox, from the inland of Ekab to the distant town of Belma, our hearts unite on these sacred beaches. Let us prepare for the journey!"


On the platform, the offerings for Bolon Dzacab await next to the balché drink, ready for the ceremony of protection of the canoes and canoeists on their sea journey. The stillness of the morning is interrupted by the arrival of the Batab de Cuzamil, who joins the farewell ceremony. 

"Today I bring with me the greetings of my people Tan Tun," says Ah Nahum Pat, Halach Uinik de Cuzamil - Xamanha- mochí. "Let us celebrate together the offerings and songs in honor of the beautiful Goddess." 

With the sound of an ocarina filling the air, the Pahuas invade the beach, opening the sacred space of heaven and earth. The Kusansum Dance begins, joining on the journey towards the island. 

Na Pol Cauich continues: "Yax Bolon Dzacab, Nine Generations! May our offering of cocoa and yellow corn be pleasing to you." 

Meanwhile, a group of women arrive at the beach, carrying with them baskets full of boiled corn and toasted cocoa beans. The ritual begins with the sound of the drum, while the Dignitaries are served tamales and balché. 

Another canoe emerges on the horizon, driven by a group of women dressed in beautiful clothes. Inside, a female div with a majestic headdress is the Kalo'mte' of Ichpaatun-Oxtancah, accompanied by the Nacom of jade eyes.


"From the distant lands of Ichpaatun - Oxtancah, where magic and tradition intertwine, we have brought the most sacred offerings; the turtle shell, the sharp ray bone, the resplendent quetzal feathers." After addressing these words, the canoeists approach to deliver the offerings. 

And while the Kalomte of Ichpaatun shares her words with serenity, the atmosphere is filled with a unique energy. The blue-torsoed women prepare for the Sacred Spindle Dance, carrying with them the very essence of the farewell, and join to the celebration.   

As the sound of the dances transports us back in time, Na Pol Cauich, Batab de Polé narrates: "Ix U Siyah, Lady Moon of Birth, weave the mat to receive us in your flower and your lunar face, prepare the cob. Bolon Dzacab, Weaving Spider reveals to Canhel; that prodigal ancestors manifest their knowledge in the sons and daughters of your canoeists. 

The Young Goddess Ixchel illuminates the space with her kind face and is accompanied by Canhel who dances with her. At the same time, a group of children from the village approach as they feel the pure presence of Ixchel and Canhel, and they sacredly carry a small effigy of K'awiil that they place on an altar.


The silence is slowly broken as the children play around the goddess, and soon the game turns into the Dance of the Lineages, they represent the next canoeists who must cross the sea to offer to the goddess. 

Ix Noojol Kan gives us a unique vision of divine power, reminding us of the importance of harmony with nature and respect for our roots through her words: 

"Yax Uk'uk'um K'awiil, of smoky mirror and green wings, 1 ajaw and 13 mak are your glyphs. The pom sahuma your body and the ray emanate from your forehead. Round is your augury and abundant is the food. The Yaxte' tree was planted in the south, the year of fresh tortillas offered by Ah Zab Ti Kan and my grandmothers as the personification of many reigns." 

While the ladies carry out the ritual around Ah Zab Ti Kan, the solemnity of the moment is intertwined with the joy of the offering, creating a unique atmosphere that invites us to think about our connection with the sacred. 

The sound of the conch shells announces the entrance of the canoeists, received with joy by the Señoras Kan! The batab of Polé shares the wise words as the navigators prepare to depart for the oracle. The atmosphere is filled with smoke and copal, the canoes are blessed, while the men of the village perform the Dance of the Nacom and the Warriors. 

From Cuzamil, Ah Nahum Pat shares his wishes, comparing his offering to the grains of corn that furrow the four directions. Then, Na Pol Cauich calls us to open our arms and hearts, sending our offering along with the canoeists, may this crossing be guided by our gods and ancestors!


Welcome to Isla Cuzamil

Several hours have passed since the first ray of sunlight appeared on the horizon, and our canoeists set off for Cuzamil. It is noon on the island, and the beach stretches along the small cove, where a slab with the div of the Goddess on a platform is drawn in the sand, marking the Swallow Island, home of the Lunar goddess. 

The banners of the visitors flutter everywhere, where blue stands out in almost all its shades. On one side of the platform, fresh fruit is served to the rowers to regain their lost strength. The Halach Winik, standing tall and straight, awaits the arrival of the canoes, while the guardians walk the four points carrying smoking copaleros, accompanied by the sacred blue that marks the beginning of the ritual: 

  • White Pahua- We come to you, pale lady and full moon, Sac Ix. 
  • Black Pahua- We were witnesses in Polé this morning of the waah, saka', balche', and kakaw ceremony that is offered to the Goddess. 
  • Red and yellow Pahua- We brought four sacred loaves to the island for the four corners of your altar as an offering. 

The Pahua, representatives of different communities, make various offerings to the Goddess. The sound of the drum shakes the wind, and the four divine beings begin the Dance of the Offering, while the X-pol makes the offering of corn to the four cardinal points where the Bacabes reside.


A group of young women, with pots filled with perfumed water and May flowers, enter the scene to perform the Dance of the Agua Florida, while a young Ixchel accompanies them. 

Suddenly, a general jubilation invades the place with the sound of conch shells, announcing the arrival of the canoeists. The old mothers offer them fruit to remove the salty taste of the sea from their mouths. The canoes dock one by one, some directly on the beach and others running aground or anchored on nearby rocks, while the Halach Uinik of Cuzamil waits firmly on the rocks, observing the blue line with the approaching canoes. 

The Halach Uinik of Cuzamil rises to say: 

"Welcome all. Drink water, eat, and regain your strength, at sunset we will know the designs of the Goddess Ixchel. Offer your offerings to the Goddess, say your prayers that the divine Ixchebelyax will touch your hearts and the hearts of each of the inhabitants of the Island, whisper your supplications, requests, promises, and thoughts to her".  

One by one or in groups, the canoeists leave their offerings to the Goddess while the Batab welcomes them.


Farewell from Cuzamil Island


The sun rises over the coast of Cuzamil as the canoeists prepare for their journey to Polé! Everyone gathers on the Chankaanab Beach, ready to sail to Polé across the beautiful blue sea of the Ekab. 

The wise Chilam Cambal is here, holding his censer, creating an even more mystical atmosphere with its white smoke that mixes with the air and sharing an ancient prophecy of the Tantunes: 

  • I have no name, I am the Chilam Cambal of Oicyb   
  • This is what I can say,   
  • this marks the 13th katún Ajaw,   
  • the stones of Chichen Itza spoke of our lineage,   
  • Great Uxmal has been ruined,   
  • and the Dzules have subdued the eagle.   
  • Polé still lives, but tomorrow's sun could abandon her.   
  • This is what the symbols of the stelae say,   
  • the rule of the "casteless and lineage-less" will end  
  • this is the interpretation of the books of books,   
  • the prediction of the great priests and sages. 

Music fills the air as the Shaman performs his prophecy and prepares to dance. The four pahuas follow, smudging the atmosphere with their aromatic smoke. Their smooth and peaceful movements, accompanied by the sacred blue color, create a truly magical atmosphere.


Ixchebelyax, the mother lady, watches from her sacred door as the canoeists prepare to depart:   

"My dear canoeists, it was an honor to welcome you to my home. May the snake coiled on my head and the wings of K'awiil guide and protect you on your journey home." 

The Halach Uinik of Cuzamil also shares his words of wisdom:   

"People of Cuzamil, she is the one who weaves the destiny of men; Little flowers of Sac Nicte, dance to honor our island with its water eye and our ancestors. The perfumed dragonfly of Ixchebelyax today dwells in her daughters".


A group of Young Women with copal bowls in their hands perform movements imitating the turish, which is how the Maya refers to the dragonfly; while performing the Dance of the Dragonfly, Ixchelbelyax shares her wisdom: 

"The rains of the deer days will fertilize the corn and squash fields for our people. Today you are my lineage of reasonable men and women. Take back the answer of your Old Lady and share the message with the other people." 

With one last look at the sea, the canoeists prepare to set sail.

The children play with the banners of sea creatures, ready to accompany the canoes on their journey back to Polé. 

With the last words of the Halach Uinik, the canoeists set sail:  "Brave Wìiniko'ob, take back to the inhabitants of the Ekab the message of the Celestial Spider so that it can be heard by all peoples in all corners of the world."

Welcome to Polé


It is time for the return of the canoeist! The atmosphere on Polé beach is full of energy and joy. The Batab of Polé stirs the braziers so that the smoke covers the beach, setting the stage for the arrival of the canoeists with the goddess's message.  

Ah Zabtican and the Kalomté of Ichpaatun walk around with the offerings while Xpol smokes the statue of the Goddess Ixchel. The smoke of the Pahuas spreads throughout the beach, creating the perfect setting to receive our navigators. 

Na Pol Cauich, the Batab of Polé, announces the arrival of the Sorcerers of the Sea, who have walked from Siyan Can Bakhalal to the Ekab, the Gate of Water. With firm and determined gazes, men and women from all corners of Polé come together, led by the Nacom with jade eyes. Their steps on the white sand seem magical as everyone performs the Dance of the Itzaes. 

Na Pol Cauich, the Batab of Polé, addresses all of us who are waiting for our canoeists: 

"We will begin a new cycle, the new katun 8 ajaw, when, we touch these lands, we take Xpol as our mother and continue towards the search for the sacred site. Lady White, accompany my grandmothers to give you their steps as a sign of our offering."


A group of grandmothers descend to the stage while Ix Nojool Can and Ah Zab Ti Can begin the Dance of Wisdom. They carry the knowledge of generations accompanied by the young moon. 

They have arrived! Applause and shouts can be heard on the beach, and joy is felt throughout the Villa de Polé. The Na Pol Cauich (Batab of Polé) knows that they have managed to reach the beach with the sacred message and says: 

"People of Pole, your canoeist children are already close. Their arms are tired but their hearts are full of joy. They come protected by Canhel, the magical serpent of Ix Kan It Itzam, lady lizard, Chak Sak Ix, powerful weaver, and Ix Chuaw Kab, the wild bee." 

Amidst the excitement, hugs, and joy of seeing each canoe return from its journey, a div appears on the beach. It is the invocation of Canhel who carries in his hands the sacred scepter of K'awiil, and suddenly, all the women join in the Dance of Canhel.



The Sacred Mayan Journey 2024 has come to an end, Na Pol Cauich says: 

"On the day One Imix the Sorcerers of The sea reached the sky, the lineage, the seed of Chac Xib Chac flourished. From their flesh, geometry, foundations, palaces, and cloisters sprouted. And under the harmony of the sky and the divine rain, we celebrate the consummation of the Sacred Mayan Journey." 

It is a moment full of meaning and mysticism where the community comes together. What a privilege to witness this event! See you next year in Polé.

Apasionado por lo no establecido, viajo y colecciono historia para compartir con quien quiera escucharlas, tomo fotos para recordar que aún no conozco todo el mundo y amo la tecnología porque alguna adicción debía de tener.


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