Maya caves in general - below adapated from:
The Maya book the Popul Vuh says that caves, water and
mountains were the first forms of landscape with the creation of the world. The Maya
regarded any depression in the ground as a cave, including any niche between large
The Maya Rain God, Chaak, lived in caves, and many caves were
entrances to the underworld, or Xibalba, the "Place of Fear." Xibalba was a underground court with twelve Lords of Xibalba, or Maya death
gods. Hun Came (One Death) and Vucub-Came (Seven Death) were the two primary death
The other ten gods were demons who caused sickness, starvation,
poverty, fear, pain and death. These demons were Xiquiripat (Flying Scab) and Cuchumaquic
(Gathered Blood), both of whom caused blood diseases, Ahalpuh (Pus Demon) and Aalgana (Jaundice
Demon), who caused bodies to swell, Chamiabac (Bone Staff) and Chamiaholom (Skull Staff) who caused
decay, Ahalmez (Sweepings Demon) and Ahaltocob (Stabbing Demon), "who hid in the unswept areas of
people's houses and stabbed them to death, and Xic (Wing) and Patan (Packstrap), who caused people
to die from coughing up blood. The rest of the inhabitants of Xibalba worked for one of these
In addition to being a place of death, the Maya believed that caves
were places where souls could defeat death and become revered ancestors, making caves important
places for burials and sacrifices. Caves also provide a venue for speaking with spirits to learn
the right time for agricultural practices such as when to plant corn and burn the
To the Maya, caves were spiritual places in addition to being
places of fear and death, and places for ceremonial rites and rituals. Most known
caves in Belize functioned as Maya ceremonial caves. However, Maya rarely visited the
caves, and then only to perform rites and rituals on ledges. Special ceremonial pots were
used in these rituals and at the end of the ritual, the pot was broken or punctured to release its
spirit and to prevent the pot from ever being used again.
Caves were also useful places to satisfy the basic needs of the
living - clean and fresh water, and safe storage for agricultural products such as clay pots of
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