Ya'axche tree (Ceiba pentandra)
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Monday June 11, 2018

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Website of the Day

Ya'axché Conservation Trust
A community-oriented conservation NGO, working in southern Belize, C.A.
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Websites of the Day
Ya'axche tree (Ceiba pentandra)

She is still young, that´s why she has thorns.

Ceiba trees, for the Maya, connect the underworld with its deep buttress roots and the heavens with its tall branches. It is because of this connectivity, linking people and nature, we named ourself Ya'axche Conservation Trust. Ceiba trees in their early years have spikes for protection, evident in the photo.

Photograph by Ya'axché Conservation Trust

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The Sacred Maya tree: Wakah Chan or Yax Che'il kab

The Maya believed in a 3 layered world, comprised of heaven, the middle world, and the underworld. These layers were connected by a sacred tree represented on earth by the majestic CEIBA tree. Its roots went into the underworld, the stem and central part represented the current world we live in and the branches touched the heavens. During the Maya classic and post-classic period the Maya represented the CEIBA tree with a sacred cross, relating to modern day Christian symbols. These trees are sacred and are found in almost every archeological site in the region, they were a cruz part of Maya religious, astronomical, and cosmological views.

Today some Yucatec Maya in Northern Belize dress a cross with a Huipil representing the Cieba tree . The dress cross is a reminder of the strenght of the Yucatec Maya during the Caste War 1847-1930's.

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