The legend of Xtabay

A "charming" lady

You will soon find out what this woman called Xtabay has to do with certain psychedelic substances.


In a tiny village on the Yucatan Peninsula, there once lived two women, Xtabay and Utz'Colel. The first was nicknamed Xkeban by the villagers, meaning "whore", "sinner". Utz Colel's name means "good and decent".

The villagers said Xkeban prostituted herself, so she was seen and treated with despise. They would have thrown her out of the village if it weren't for the fact that deep inside they liked to have someone around to mistreat. On the other hand everyone thought of Utz Colel as virtuous and honest. According to the neighbors she had never in her life committed any sin.

Xkeban had a good heart. She went out to help the poor, the homeless, the sick and she cared for many abandoned animals. She sold the jewelry and fine clothing her lovers gave to her to help her neighbors. She never talked bad of people and she always took the insults and humilliations against her with dignity.

Utz'Colel on the contrary was a cold, proud woman. She detested the poor.

One day the villagers realized they hadn't seen Xtabay for a while. As days went by, a fine and delicate perfume started to spread around the village. When they started looking for the source of this aroma, they arrived at Xkeban's house. She had died alone some days before.

Utz-Colel of course said it was all a lie. "From such an evil and corrupt body only pest and rot can arise", she said. "This must be the same evil spirits that posessed Xtabay, they want to provoke our men just like when she was alive. If this perfume really comes from the dead body of Xkeban, then certainly when I die there will be an even more delicate and sweet aroma from mine".

A few villagers decided to bury Xkeban, more out of compasion and guilt than true desire. The very next day the grave was covered with beautiful flowers from which a delicate perfume arose.

When some time later Utz-Colel died the whole village went to her burial. Everyone remembered her virtude and honesty. But instead of smelling a fine perfume rising from her grave, the astounded villagers were met by an intolerable stench.

The flower that grows on Xkeban's grave is called Xtabentun, a humble but neverthless beautiful wild flower. Its nectar has a sweet enchanting aroma, like the love of Xtabay. Interestingly, the seeds of Xtabentun (Rivea Corymbosa or Turbina Corymbosa) contain the intoxicant LSA which has an effect similar to that of LSD.