ITZ Copal

Photo: Milk&Peonies

The sun, the moon, and the stars arrived on Earth bringing copal with them, such is the importance of this sacred sap, says the Popul Vuh, the Mayan creation book, a document that has been preserved since the Spanish conquest. 

The neighboring ‘cousin’ tribe of the Maya were the Aztec and they had a different creation mythology that claimed the primordial gods Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl made the Earth from the bloodthirsty goddess Tlaltecutli, and then they transformed themselves into four cosmic trees, representing the four quarters of the universe. Emanating divine energies & forces, these sentient trees uphold the heavens, stabilize the Earth and create a passageway into the underworld with their roots, all the while, we humans must feed Tlaltecutli her much craved blood.   

In the Mayan mythologies, Xibalba, God of the Underworld is about to order the death of Xquic, one of his overlord’s daughters, but Xquic convinces the henchman who would carry out the sacrifice, rather to use copal as a substitute for her blood. Copal and blood become interchangeable substances. 

Copal resin sweats and bubbles, like blood, prior to transforming itself to a heavy sweet smoke and can be offered to the Gods (in the place of human blood).  Indigenous people are intrigued with blood and copal is considered the blood of trees. To maintain a balanced, harmonious cosmos, free of chaos, the Gods demand offerings. In this way we are able to appease the God/dess and communicate with the Otherworld.

Copaleros, those who extract copal, continue to harvest this sacred resin in a manner similar to their ancestors.  Choosing designated areas in the forest landscapes of their home, and cautious to rotate their chosen trees every few years, copaleros use a wooden mallet and large metal knife, with prayers and respect, they place a small cut into the tree. Below these abrasions, which appear to ‘bleed’, the resin is caught, as it oozes from the tree trunks, by large maguey spikes held in place with rope. 

For the ancient indigenous people of Central America, trees are sentient & Holy and there is an ongoing relationship of reciprocity between them with humans.  These sacred trees offer their sap as sacrificial blood.  The Bursera Bipinnata tree, which grows throughout Central America, continues to be the most desired source of the much coveted white copal.  In Nahuatl, this tree is called copalquahiitl.  Another favored type of copal, more yellowish in color and resembling frankincense in scent, is harvested from the Protium Copal tree. 

Photo: Unknown

Copaltemaliztl, “the act of burning of copal,” is a ritual grounded in Central American religious practices.  Revered throughout that geographic region, copal is used in a ritualistic way to cure ailments of the body, mind and spirit.  

Imagine then you have lit your charcoal, having placed it in a heat proof container called a popoxcomitl, as you prepare to burn and offer copal.  As this hallowed sap burns, you take in the sweet resinous scent of this magnificent being. With white smoke billowing out and swirling around, you feel uplifted.  Known as the ‘white lady’, you can sense she is dialoguing with the Gods, heartily petitioning the heavens on your behalf.

According to visionary and healer,  Maestro Pablo Amaringo Shuna, copal or what he lovingly called an ‘empire of spirits’ deeply cleanses the aura.  Akin to an opaque metal that needs to be polished, it helps us to shine again. It is the incense of the rainforest, used since ancient times, used since before the world became disharmonious. Copal takes away negative and dense stains on a person’s aura, pulling away all the discord, sending it up into the atmosphere, where the trees will receive our ‘sickness’ and transmute this heaviness, allowing for our renewal.

The truly magical scent of copal brings about relaxation, balancing the body. This can reduce blood pressure as well as increase concentration. The scent has also been used as a treatment for insomnia and headaches. It can also expand the mind and increase a person’s creativity. 

Juan Manuel, a Mexican medicine man who’s is called ‘El Indio’ says, this copal medicine has the power to evoke other worlds through its fragrance.   “The sense of smell is the sense that never sleeps.  Hence the aromas evoke memories – perhaps reminiscences- or function as direct thresholds to the depths of consciousness.” –Ancestral Mexico 

El Indio, with a group of healers known as Ancestral Mexico, offer copal ceremonies in the Yucatan where you will experience smudging of the heavenly copal medicine around your body, as well, orally ingest this sacred sap in the form of copal tea.  According to their ancient teachings, this form of medicine can awaken memories of who you are, where you come from, your true relationship with creation, with everything in the cosmos and galaxy, with Earth and all living beings that inhabit this place.  The tea awakens one’s DNA, heals ancestral issues that reside deep in the bones, aids the stomach & intestinal tract and helps with respiratory ailments.  

Itz is a Mayan word for all Holy liquids such as dew, blood, semen, holy water, resins, sweat, tears, candle pitch and tree sap- such as copal.  Itz is a vital force, what is commonly known as chi energy, but what the Mayan call ch’ul.   Cosmic sap flows from the World Tree and is offered to us as sacramental medicine to fortify our ch’ul.

Itz is also a word that can translate to magic. Itzamna, a Mayan God, was the first sorcerer of creation.   A Mayan medicine person is called an Itzam or one who makes Itz, the holy substance that can be used to contact other worlds. 

Both the Maya and Aztec cultures consider a person’s 52nd birthday to be an auspicious day, it is known as the new fire.   On my new fire, I traveled to the Yucatan to have a copal ceremony with El Indio & the Ancestral Mexico family.  At a sacred cenote, they built me an elaborate altar, dedicated to the four directions as they called on all the forces of the cosmos to come and bless me.  They surrounded me with the white lady as they sang & danced and they sent all our collective prayers to the heavens.  We drank copalli.  In the end, they gifted me a small bit of fresh copallli blanco; a treasure.  

Photo: Milk&Peonies

In due time, the copal spoke to me.  With my own store pile of copal resin from my beloved homeland of Belize, I was moved to create copal tincture for tea-making, a product which I’ve called ITZ Copal, so that I can continue to drink copal tea and offer it to my clients.  May we ALL awaken to the true memory of WHO we are and WHY we are here.  

This sacrificial blood of the trees has been with us since the dawn of time and it is here now to assist us with the personal challenges we all face in remembering our interconnectedness.

Tlazocamati Copalli

If you would like to work with a bottle of ITZ Copal, goto

Denai Grace Seacombe-Fuller, Cihuatochtli, is a Mama of five, Tarot Guide, Acolyte of IxChel, spiritual healer, flower essence practitioner, flower alchemist and student of Nahualism. 

The Sacred One: Ceiba Tree, Flower Essence

Ceiba Tree, Tikal National Park, Peten, Guatemala

First Tree
Mother, Father, Creator
Supreme Being
Hunab Ku
Lord and Lady of the Duality

The Spiky One
Protecting my vulnerable growth 
Through seven cycles,
Until full maturity is achieved

La Ceiba
Axis Mundi
230 feet tall,
with roots descending
Into the nine underworlds of Xibalba

The Green Tree
Stretching upwards to the 13 heavens
Yet, fiercely rooted
With a 4 buttressed base facing
East, West, North, South

Silk Cotton Tree
Gentle Spirit
Spreading filaments of light
On which to rest your weary soul

The Tree of Life
Call my name
In times of great change
My presence
Opens the portals of vision

The Ancient One
I have been called
The Way, The Truth 
and the Light
No-one comes to the Heavens, but by me.

Ceiba pentandra @ Cocoplum Gardens, Caye Caulker Belize

A young Ceiba tree is covered in spiky, conical thorns which are very prickly, making it nearly impossible for anyone to climb its trunk, and commanding respect during its vulnerable stages of growth. It takes a Ceiba tree approximately seven sacred years to mature its deep root system and to achieve a stage of growth in which to flower, at which point the tree will lose its thorns. A huge buttress base of the tree often displays four distinct areas linking this tree to the four cardinal directions.

Meso-American cultural folklore believes this tree is actually the Axis Mundi of the World. With branches reaching up into the 13 heavens where the Supreme Creator resides, and roots diving deep into the 9 levels of the underworlds. The huge trunk, which can reach up to 230 feet tall is believed to center & stabilize the entire Middle Earth; connecting to the heavens above and to the underworlds below, as well as connecting the south & north poles.

It is a well known fact that the entire cosmology of Mayan Deities and other spirits live in this tree, both benevolent and malevolent. In Trinidad and Tobago, this tree is called the Castle of the Devil as their God of Death is captured in the tree. Throughout the Caribbean, in many places, it is illegal to cut down a Ceiba tree due to the unshakeable knowledge that the spirits of the dead reside in the tree. Farmers and builders alike, who may chop down everything in their path, will work around the Ceiba tree, leaving it in its place to grow, lest they release the spirits and accrue the angst of the these beings which is said to bring death.

The Taino of the Caribbean held this majestic tree to be very sacred and would use the trunk to create hollowed out canoes in which to travel the waterways of their lands. In their legends, La Ceiba is female (versus the Spanish word for tree – el arbol) and the daughter of Yaya, the all-powerful goddess. ‘Canoe’ is in fact a Taino word, and this indigenous tribe of Puerto Rico built impressive dugout canoes that could carry over 100 people.

The unusually beautiful pink tinted, colored flower opens by night to be pollinated mostly by the bats. In the early morning, hoards of honeybees will arrive for the delectable nectar that the Ceiba so generously offers. Birds, bugs and a variety of insects & frogs will also thrive on this trees nectar. The five petalled flower will eventually become a large elliptical seed pod resembling an avocado. Eventually the seed will ‘burst open’ and cotton fibers will spring forth from the oval, nut-shaped pod which will spread far & wide, carrying a plethora of Ceiba seeds in its silky offering. Silk that can be used for pillows, parachutes, stuffed toys and other items requiring soft stuffing.

Flowering Ceiba Tree, photo by Eva Sengfelder

Ceiba has long played a critical role in the spiritual and economic lives of people of the Caribbean. Puerto Rico has the oldest standing Ceiba associated with the town of Ponce’s early settlement, about 500 years ago. After the destructive Hurricane Maria in 2017, the tree flowered offering the locals a symbol of hope that they could continue, that though life may get hard, if they but stand strong, they will survive.

“The trees will tell their secrets to those that tune in.”

– Steven Magee

I had a Ceiba dream recently…

I was on the island Caye Caulker, Belize in the Caribbean with a local family who owned beachfront property & a dive shop which was built at the end of their wood pier which stretched into the Caribbean Sea. They were panicked, sad, angry, and grief-stricken; the waters had risen and their pier was completely submerged, soon their land would be underwater too.  They were having to move hundreds of miles West, to the mainland of Belize, losing all they had worked their entire life to accumulate.  I walked around their property to the backside and I saw 3 huge Ceiba trees: massive, exemplar trees.  Gods! I was awestruck, I couldn’t even begin to imagine leaving these trees.  The trees let me know they would always protect those who honored them.  One of them morphed right before my eyes into an African Baobab Tree.

I went back to the family to show them the treasure of the land. When they came back with me to see what I had seen, the trees were gone, and in its place, rising waters.

I was so confused.  The family got mad at me for offering false hope and fled.  As soon as they were gone, I could see the trees again.  As if we were all in different dimensions entirely.

This was the dream I had after orally ingesting the flower essence of Yaxche after only one day. I set out to take the flower essence for one full moon cycle and this is what the flower of the Ceiba Tree continued to reveal:

Ya’axche Flower Essence:

For anyone who is struggling with ‘belonging’ on the Earth, this essence communicates with all World Tress and can help you find your true place. For those who easily disassociate from their body, this essence will assist you to remain grounded and safe in your body. It can be used for those who are depressed, sad or hopeless due to trauma or hardships experienced in life. For those who are lifeless, listless or without joy, this essence brings the much needed Elixir, the honey of life, to awaken the spirit.

For spiritual seekers, this flower essence can facilitate growth on the path by connecting you with your lineage teachers, vision and other important information needed to grow. For shamans and those who travel the dimensions, this essence opens the portals and gateways to the Otherworlds, while offering the much needed protection to journey.

Further uses:

  • *protection in times of adversity when one may feel fearful or unsafe
  • *light, for the dark times
  • *strength, to survive
  • *hope, when life is hard
  • *deep sustenance, akin to life renewing honey, for a sad soul
  • *deep comfort, like a silky cotton pillow, for a tired soul
  • *embodiment, for those not grounded on the Earth
  • *shamanic travel, for healers ready to journey
  • *connection to one’s ancestors or teachers of a lineage
  • *visionary, for those seeking a Vision Quest

My dream continued…

I was partaking in a spiritual healing class being led by my teacher’s current apprentice Eva Sengfelder at Iris Arco Finca in the Valley of Peace, Belize, Central America. Two men were assisting her, both had red eyes (in Mexhica dream trainings, this is a sign that an ancestor (or important person) is visiting you). My teacher, Dr. Rosita Arvigo, surprisingly came up behind me and whispered in my ear that she was really enjoying the Baobab Tree essence that I had previously gifted her.

Dr. Rosita Arvigo with the Ceiba Tree, Valley of Peace, Belize, photo Eva Sengfelder

Wado. Aho. Omeoteotl.

Denai Grace Seacombe-Fuller, Cihuatochtli, is a Mama of five, Tarot Guide, Acolyte of IxChel, spiritual healer, flower essence practitioner, flower alchemist and student of Nahualism.

She can be found at

Ceiba flowers in spring water, photo by Eva Sengfelder

Belizean Ceiba Flower Essence, 1 ounce bottle is available for $18+ ship

(contact me for order at

If you’d like to explore ingesting another Tree of Life, consider this essence as well:

Baobab Flower Essence is available with