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The cross is set in the hole that is the Navel of the World. And just as the cross became a sacred tree — the Rood — in the imagery of the newly converted pagan Anglo-Saxons in seventh-century England, so for the Maya it becomes that central image of the World Tree, a shamanic axis mundi, its roots planted in the world's navel. This seems a resurrection rather than the death of Christ, for He is reborn as the living tree which grows from every grave in the town cemetery.

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Raising the cross is an intense communal activity. All present are taking part in a simultaneous drama of death and rebirth.