The Subterranean World of the Macuxies
The last of the Macuxies (northern Amazon region) tell us that, up until the year 1907, they would enter a cavern system and would walk for thirteen or fifteen days in order to arrive at this cavern world. There, “below the surface,” live the “giants” that measure near to three and a half yards tall. They are very good people but their instructions must be respected. The task of the Macucxies of the area was to guard the cavern entrance keeping out all other beings that were not among those authorized by the tribe. When the great winds that passed through the tunnel began to blow outwards (there is a rhythm of five days outwards and another inwards) they could begin their descent along the stairs (each stair being thirty two inches high), such that the starway ended on the third day; they counted the days by their stomachs and their periods of sleep, which ended up being exact. At that point they also left their petroleum torches, made from nearby petroleum gushes. From that point onwards they continued, the way being illuminated by lights that had simply been placed there, as large as watermelons and as clear as electric lamps. Their pace was faster and faster because they carried less and less supplies and because, as they went, their bodies weighed less and less. They passed onwards across five cavities that were well delineated, the upper ceilings of which were impossible to see. There, in one of the cavities/halls, were four lights like mock suns that were impossible to look at directly but that were surely not as far away as the Sun. In this area some very nice fruit trees were growing, such as cashews, walnuts, mangoes, plantains and bananas; as well as other smaller plants. Compared with other Macucxi descriptions, this hall included about ten square kilometers of traversable surface covered with vegetation, along with other very dangerous and inaccessible sectors of molten rock and streams of mercury. The Macuxies learned in the Twentieth Century how to use mercury to extract gold from ore, thanks to the prospectors who today contaminate the waters of the Amazon basin. Right after these five great halls, at a point which was beyond the halfway point, they had to hold onto the walls and pull themselves along carefully because, if not, they would float weightlessly like astronauts.
The wind that had begun to blow outwards had not been an impediment at the beginning of their descent, but had they tried it the other way around, the violence of the swirling wind could have dragged them through the abysmal tunnel and the corpse – knocked around a thousand times over - would not have stopped until the distance of a day’s march further on through the cavernous tunnels. Respecting this cycle, they began their march with the wind against them (which favored their safety) and they descended the three days down the steps; followed by a two day’s march through the narrow tunnel that didn’t have a stairway with the wind behind them [blowing inwards]. With this in mind, they took care during their march, beginning from the very first day, to not kick up any loose dirt or pebbles that would later be blown against their backs. With the wind still blowing in their favor – now in the seventh or eighth day of their march – they came to the zone “where everything flies” that is to say, in the middle of the planet’s crust [the hollow cavity is not being referred to here]. At times the wind would be very strong, and instead of using the walls to push themselves forward, they had to hold on to the walls to help them resist the wind and not be tumbled along and hurt. Generally, this crossing through the no-gravity zone would last from a little less than one day to up to a day and a half. Sometimes, they would have to hold on to stony outcroppings or iron handles that had been hammered into the rock “from before,” and wait a couple of days for the winds to die down.
Then they would follow a trail characterized by brooks with very cold waters that crossed the cavern, and then would enter into a sort of expansive open area, larger than the previous ones, where there were brillant honeycombed-like objects some ten yards across which sat on a stem or trunk like the trunk of a tree at a height that the last of the Macuxies that experienced those journies are not quite able to recall; even as they are still infused with a certain fear of reprisals from those giants.
The travelers would recover some of their weight, although not all of it before they would arrive at the “lands further down” where everything is lighter, the sun is red and it is always illuminated, with no nighttime, nor stars nor Moon. There they remained for a few days, enjoying some nearby beaches, recovering some of their youth. (Which reminds us of Apollo who would go to Olympus to recover his youth) The Macuxies were very well familiar with the Atlantic as they lived on the surface, about 300 kilometers from the coast, and this wasn’t the ocean. The giants would give them some very large fish whose meat would not decompose until three months after having been caught. With this precious cargo, apples larger than a man’s head grapes the size of a fist, what to speak of renewed bodily vigor, they would return accompanied by a few giants that would help them with the enormous weight that they were bringing. The trip back would begin with the wind in their favor, to again have it in their favor during the last stage, as they would go up the stairs over the last three days, the remains of which [the stairs] still exist.
The belief or understanding of the Macuxies is that if they respect the norms given by the giants, after passing away on the surface, they would take birth again among the giants down below. It has been told that some of the Macuxies didn’t die but rather, they remained below and became transformed into quasi giants. For this to happen they could not leave behind children on the surface.
Tragedy happened to the Macuxies in 1907. Three British explorers arrived one day in the name of their monarch searching for diamonds. The Macuxi zone is still technically a diamond yielding area but it has been explored so intensely since 1912 such that its yield is so small that diamond prospecting is not profitable anymore. When the English arrived, there was enough to interest the British crown and the many ambitious people who became wealthy right afterwards, even by exploiting the natives; but one of those who had been authorized to enter the cavern world below was terribly imprudent when he violated the secret entrusted to them by pointing out the entrance to the foreigners. One of these foreigners sent a letter to his majesty, repeating what he had been told along with a few other details. The sands of the beaches below abounded in diamonds as well as in some enormous blocks of serpentine carbon deposits and ancient volcanic tunnels which are precisely the tunnels that lead to the interior world.
The three explorers left, or rather, they joined the expedition, but they never returned. Instead, the giants came out, reprimanded the Macuxies, and prohibited them forever from entering their interior world. After two years of anguish and poverty (that region had diamonds on the surface – at that time without any value for them – but not much in the way of fruit or fish) they decided to try to once again enter into contact with those giants in spite of the prohibition. They traveled with hope for two days but they came to a point along the way where the wind was coming from another cavern that they weren’t familiar with. The original road had caved in. Some returned immediately, others decided to follow the new and unknown tunnel.
Several months later, one of them returned and said that the others could enter; the giants had authorized them, but it would be to never return to the outside world because other Englishmen would intrude into their territory and cause harm. Some decided not to go because the place assigned to them was one of those empty open areas. Others accepted going and never returned.
A few years later, prospectors began to arrive to churn up the rivers with pan sifters and mercury, and to disturb the minds of the Macuxies that were left on the surface with cannabis and spirits distilled from cane. They also disturbed their backs, with whips, and their race by raping their women. In June or July of 1946 there was an enormous tunnel cave-in, and almost the entire stairway collapsed. Today, only a few steps from the beginning are left, and an enormous precipice that is impossible to climb, where the wind blows with different rhythms. Some of the older Macucxies that escaped the English whip still live and count their age by the Moon; they can’t resign themselves to forgetting the lost paradise. It couldn’t be phrased any better, for a paradise it was, and they lost it.
The Macuxi tribe, above and below.