Ik Kil Cenote
January 29, 2017
After leaving Chichen Itza, our tour led us forty minutes east to the Ik Kil cenote, a well known sinkhole outside Pisté in the Tinúm Municipality, Yucatán, Mexico. The cenote is open to the sky with the water level about 85ft below ground level. There is a carved stairway down to a swimming platform. There are vines which reach from the opening all the way down to the water along with small waterfalls. There are black catfish which swim in the cenote. Cenote Ik Kil is sacred to the Mayans and the Mayans used this cenote for both relaxation and ritual services.Once our swim was over and we enjoy the warm buffet in one of the restaurants on site. We ate quickly so we could make it back to our bus on time. We headed down to a bar outside under a gazebo roofed by straw. We ordered our new favorite beer, SOL, and sat down. Then passed Juan, our cenote guide, and I waved him over to our table. Blowing on his steaming coffee, he sat with us:
JUAN: Hola! Did you swim?
ME: Si, si. Very scary! Very fun!
(Juan, also a Mayan native, wore the same signature navy blue outfit as Marco did but he was much stockier and with a bit of a gut. His hair was perfectly slicked to one side and his smile, infectious. We talked with him for several minutes about his family, his job, Mayan coffee, and his hometown. Come to find out, Juan not only grew up in a similarly tiny village near Chichen Itza but also very close to where Marco lived. To make things stranger, he and Marco were best friends in school. Naturally I could not resist transitioning our conversation into one of magic and mystery.)
ME: Do you believe in magic? The occult?
JUAN: I do believe. But it’s not something you want to say out loud sometimes.
ME: Why not?
JUAN: Some people think you’re crazy.
ME; Have you ever see anything … beyond science?
JUAN: Si. As a young man. The crops grow in a cycle, you see? Only in the right season. So once, we needed rain. The shaman in my village prayed for it. The children were all told to get down on the ground under tables and act like frogs – because frogs live in water, you see? And then someone would stir a big boiling pot at the same time. We would do it on a clear day like today.
ME: So this was like a ritual then?
ME: Do you think he was connected … to everything?
JUAN: I believe so. I have seen this done over ten times in my life. The shaman prays for rain and the wind starts blowing very hard.
ME: Sort of hard not to believe then, right?
JUAN: Right. Our bodies are made of particles – the same ones as that wooden pole over there. But what is keeping them held together?
JUAN: I don’t know.
ME: (Laughs) Me either!
JUAN: No one does.