Aluxes: Mexican Gnomes?

Aluxes: Mexican Gnomes?

During your last visit to Cozumel, did you lose anything? An Alux may have been responsible!

Aluxes (pronounced “alooshays”) are Mayan mythological spirits responsible for a lot of mischief. You may not see them, as we suspect they are invisible, however, they can take physical form if they chose. When they do, they show up as knee-high beings resembling and clad in the fashion of the ancient Maya. They reside in the forest, caverns or cenotes and near towns and maize fields or “milpas”. Stories suggest that aluxes will periodically stop travelers for a gift. If the travelers decline, the aluxes will generally create mayhem and create sickness. When we satisfy all the conditions, the alux will look after us or even create good luck. If we provide them with dignity, they can be extremely useful. We believe it is not safe to call them aloud, as it will summon a disgruntled alux from their home. The Maya themselves would insist that the aluxes are the spirits of their forefathers or the energies of the earth itself, preceding contact with western civilization. Even today some Maya consider the shrines found throughout the countryside to be kahtal alux, the “houses of the alux” (although their true origins and purpose are unknown). The most well known single shrine is Tumba de Caracol at Punta Sur Eco Park in Cozumel. They locate these shrines near water, either at an entrance to a wet cave or cenote or next to a beach or lagoon. The shrine’s small size would have ruled out the average-sized Mayan from ever entering and using the shrine as a shelter, so their exact function remains unknown.

The next time you visit Cozumel ask a hotel employee where the Alux house is and leave them a little treat. Maybe you won’t lose your sunglasses during your vacation!

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