Meet the Aluxes, the Mystical Maya Creatures That Lure the Jungle

According to the legend, the aluxes were the first inhabitants of the earth and they are older than the sun.

Gabriela Castillo

Some tales say that the aluxes were the first inhabitants of the Earth and that they are older than the sun.

Their appearance of an elder, diminutive stature, mischievous character, and indigenous features make them a unique being, both terrifying and tender at the same time.

The alux or alux’Ob (forest genie, goblin or millennial dwarf) is part of Maya mythology, inhabiting the jungle regions of Guatemala, Belize, and Mexico. Representations of them can be found in temples such as Yaxchilán in Chiapas and Nohoch Mul in Cobá, Quintana Roo.

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It is believed that Maya witches and sages made alux figures, similar to Maya idols, using virgin clay extracted from a cave that no woman had entered.

As they were made to order, another essential ingredient for the creation of this fantastic being was nine drops of blood extracted from the stream of whoever was to be its owner, thus forming a solid alliance between human and creature.

Once the clay figure was ready, it was delivered to its owner, who placed it on an altar. At night, the alux came to life to care for the owner’s property and animals.

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The tales say that in the depths of the jungle, one can notice the presence of an alux when someone invades its territory, and the creature begins to make strange noises or throw stones to drive away the intruder.

It also manifests itself with laughter, shadows, fading figures, and things that change places. These acts are a show of affection and loyalty from the alux towards its master and a way of caring for nature.

When its owner dies, the alux remains in the deceased’s territories to care for them, remaining under the protection of Yum-Kaax, the Maya god of corn.

As a fantastic creature endowed with certain powers, an alux needs attention and offerings to keep it happy, especially if someone has the idea of invading its territories.

The least way to calm its anger is to give it an offering that contains pozol and corn, basic elements in the diet of Maya culture that still prevail today. Otherwise, the alux can steal the intruder’s belongings, harm their animals, or damage their crops.

The creation of a being with these characteristics among ancient Maya societies is understood because of the great importance that dwarfs had in them. They were present in the Ball Games alongside the rulers, participated in dances, and were linked to the shamanic world.

They believed, like the aluxes at the beginning, that dwarfs lived in the early stages of the Earth, so they believed they were descended from them. Their power and wisdom were reflected in the administrative tasks they carried out, they also received gifts from guests and bridal trousseaus, received taxes, and controlled the quality of products. As you can see, their work in society was transcendental and mystical.

The Magic of Aluxes Is Still Present

Belief in the aluxes continues to be present in the Mexican southeast, especially among those inhabitants of Maya blood or those who feel devotion to ancient pre-Hispanic rituals.

Today they are conceived as creatures of an ancient folklore that worshiped nature and its mysteries.

People who work in the milpas or in the mountains doing agricultural work mention the existence of aluxes as something real, based on the noises they hear when they are working or the tiny footprints that appear on the paths they travel.

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To keep alive the legends about these mysterious creatures, the idea that their presence continues in the archaeological zones of southern Mexico.

Some people and travelers try to leave a small offering of food where the possible presence of an alux is indicated.

There is more about the alleged presence of these beings in modern times: when the Cancun-Nizuc bridge was being built, several times the engineers and workers saw how their previous night’s work was completely destroyed.

Skeptical, they ended up accepting the help of a Maya priest who told them that a family of aluxes was trying to preserve nature in its pure state and that they were destroying the bridge because of that.

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After talking with them, the priest said that the family of aluxes would accept the construction of the bridge as long as a house was built for them under it so that they would not be displaced from the area.

This was done and the bridge works were able to be completed and inaugurated in 1991. It is part of the folklore that inundates Mexico in all its corners.

These small and enigmatic characters are part of the long list of legends that Mexico possesses in all its corners: one of them is Mexico City, which has terrifying stories that you will surely want to read right now. Getting to know these stories up close, which have a lot of fantasy and the supernatural, is a way of understanding part of the history of a fascinating country.