by forrest fenn

These vignettes from Forrest’s collection are only to share. To see 294 additional pieces  please visit



Reliquary – a container wherein sacred relics are kept.

Although I am not a Catholic I enjoy studying their colorful history and objects of veneration.


Carved on the face of this eight-inch wooden reliquary cross are the Instruments of the Passion; tools used in Christ’s Crucifixion.

When the early Spanish explorers set out to conquer the new world many carried small devotional items to comfort them on their long and perilous journey. The most common articles were reliquaries, some of which held a splinter from The Cross, or a small bone fragment from a saint. But mostly not. More likely they contained objects associated with lesser religious figures or favored items of piety.


The horizontal banner slides out to reveal two relics wrapped in linen.


The vertical banner will then slip out to expose a delicately arranged assemblage of religious chattels that are resting on a bouquet of tiny blue ceramic flowers. The white wax seal near the top represents the Lamb of God, a symbol for Christ.


In the center is a small carved stone likeness of The Virgin Mary with the Christ Child. Daintily curled gold and silver wires hold the effects safely in place and secure.


On the reverse is the crucifixion of Christ, except Christ has gone. He just isn’t there anymore. On the head of the cross are the traditional letters INRI, and at the foot, a skull and crossed bones that signify Skull Hill, the place where the Lord was crucified, and where Adam was buried.

Oral history of the family from whom I acquired this cross, forty-years ago, tells that it rode into the new world in the pocket of Diego de Vargas who arrived in 1692, and became the Spanish Governor of the New Spain territory of Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico.


What relics hide beneath the six linen shrouds in this special cross reliquary? Who carved it with loving fingers and filled its stomach with items of religious reverence?

The answers to these questions lay deep within the forgotten history of lives that have disappeared from our view, and from an olden era that can no longer speak. But would that it could.

84 thoughts on “Reliquary…

    • FF
      This item and the carved symbols explain better why the chest was so special to you. Thank you for sharing this item and story.

  1. Thanks Forrest,
    Another beautiful specimen ! It would be interesting to see the revered items wrapped in linen, but the mystery of it just seals how special it is. WOW

  2. very nice. I am always amazed at items such as this. When the original owner came to the new world, he probably had very little room for items such as this, yet he still made room for it.

  3. Just seems like you’ve spent a lifetime collecting legitimate treasures (no baseball cards here), why don’t you just take ’em with you? You may just be a temporary custodian, but no one or no one(s) could possibly give your stuff the same respect & admiration. So why don’t you just contact that cave digger guy, Ra Paulette and have build you a mausoleum. I hear he charges a low hourly rate

  4. Forrest maybe I just haven’t gotten around enough but what I really like about the items you display is how interesting and unique they are. They are items that I might not really see in another context like a museum or on a page of large book. They are so personal and clearly meaningful to the person who made them, used them or like you, saw the value in preserving them. I can almost see the hands that carved the cross and the hands that held the cross with reference. My heart aches with sadness when I imagine what is so delicately wrapped inside. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. Question: could the shroud contain something from a deceased loved one of the person who carried it?

  5. Forrest,

    I’m always amazed with the artifacts you share with us. I’d really be interested in seeing pieces from your Anasazi Collection, if you are interested in sharing them.

  6. That’s pretty cool. I’ve researched de Vargas and now I think I want to delve a little deeper.
    One thing I admire is that you stand for what you believe in, and I believe that the place where you hid the treasure is a testament to that fact.
    I also believe that the name of the treasure chest fits nicely with your vignette and with certain themes in TTOTC.
    I think this relic story is a great one to follow the story of Minerva. 🙂

  7. Awesome, Forrest. Have you thought about having it x-rayed like the falcon? Maybe you’re the Guardian of some Saint’s bone fragments. Maybe he was a Templar Knight who held The Grail in his hands. It’s really cool to think about. Thanks for sharing…again.

  8. Beautifully carved reliquary and very interesting and unusual, whether it belonged to Diego de Vargas or not. 🙂 Most of the ones I have seen haven’t been that old and were made of gold or silver and were very ornate.

  9. Wow, I’d love to know what hides beneath the six linen shrouds, and how forrest knows it’s six.

    I think it’s great that we are learning about so many of these precious relics from Forrest himself. Sure, we can all go to the website provided to see the fantastic collection, but I’ve observed that people want to hear what Forrest himself, has to say about the items. Thank you forrest!

    • Ed, I too believe the Shroud of Turin is the most significant artifact of all time revealing Christ’s divinity and resurrection. Can you imagine the impact of its x-ray like image on people 2000 years ago when photos and negative images did not exist. Scientists cannot provide an explanation for or duplicate the light infusion necessary for the image. The history behind the shroud’s journey from Jerusalem to Turin, Italy is fascinating as well.

      Given Forrest’s vast historical knowledge, it would be interesting to hear him discuss how ‘indulgences’ brought about the reformation.

      • So incredible if you stop and think about it. How did a negative image bearing 3D properties get etched in a clothe in that day not only on the front but back as well. Fascinating!

        • Not discounting anything Ed, but I work w/ wood on a daily basis and you would be amazed to see some of the images that appear when book matching a really cool piece. Mother nature is beyond incredible…The Shroud of Turin is a beautiful piece and has baffled many experts for years…

          • I normally won’t get into discussion of religion, But the Shroud of Turin is a very interesting piece that has me confuse a bit.

            As far as I know, a correct dating is not solve… seemingly the reason for that is, the Shroud had been in a fire and dating is nearly impossible or at the very least unreliable.

            When I first heard of this and saw pics, I was amazed at the human likeness almost perfect… which cause me to pause.

            I did a small experiment using a mannequin head and a white sheet. Placing black paint on the face , laying the sheet over the 3D structure of the head revealed a very different result to the Shroud.

            Instead of having perfect human features the results was a widen out of shape face, separated eyes, broad nose, wide chin etc. I’m not commenting on the authenticity. Only on the “unscientific” result I played with. Still the Shroud is a remarkable find.

          • Seeker, What you said, was the determination of some experts some time ago. Still, the shroud is both exciting and baffling…Religion or not

        • Ed, imo Sola Fide or faith alone illumines Christ in hearts, but there exists historical evidence and recorded oral testimony confirming He was more than a carpenter or teacher. Over time archaeology and science confirm Biblical history. Forrest’s reliquary is a beautiful example that faith abided in someone’s heart 1600 years after Christ Jesus walked the earth.

          • Well put Lia. Two things are interesting about the Shroud scientific tests. First is that fire, repairs made it hard to carbon date but now they are saying the fiber they tested originally was from repair work done in medieval times. Another is this. The linen has layers. There is a very faint image of the face on the reverse side of the Shroud of Turin which lines up with the image on the front of the cloth. There is no image content between the two superficial image layers indicating that nothing soaked through to form the image on the other side. All very interesting.

  10. Thank you Forrest for sharing with us. Now how do you resist unwrapping, just to see what is inside? 🙂 Did you use some sort of technology to see beyond the linen?

    Many things to research on this one. Lots to think about. 🙂

  11. mr. forrest ,you made me very happy,you prove yourself over and over to be an honest person .people just don’t listen to you.from all I have read and listened to your videos,i feel like I have known you along time,and meeting you was the greatest for took time for me.thats a blessing to me.someone who actually cared enough when I had no one who cared didley squat,because they were to much into their booze.everyone has let me down ,but not you ,nor will my God in heaven ever let me down,you came into my life for a reason,i don’t know why.maybe to help me heal from all pain in the past,I’ll always love you and remember you.virginia diane.

  12. Forrest, this is one of the most mysterious items from your collection yet. Only because you’ve had it in your possession for so long, and there are still secrets it holds, but just out of view. The other items you have shared may never spill their history because we will never know the people who created them, but at least we can know their form to ponder.

    Have you has this item Xray’d or MRI’d? A further examination might be in order to reveal the secrets mysteries hidden inside the shrouds.

  13. Since I didn’t see anybody say it yet, Supposing this were a hint.
    I would have to believe that it is a reference to Holy Cross Wilderness.
    Northwest of Leadville, and southwest of Red Cliff, Colorado.
    Leadville is also the city where JJ Brown and Molly Brown met, married and lived. So, there’s an obvious HOB. But Colorado has places named Brown on almost every page of the atlas… Still looking for WWWH in the area.

      • Spallies, thanks for asking how my search went. I’m headed home after two gloriously warm, late fall days spent hiking/searching alone in my “there” or SW Montana. Waiting for my next flight home at the Seattle airport… ‘)’ Waving to Dal.

        Winter arrived literally in 10 minutes just after I finished searching. For me this is the end. “IF” I was the bass or the she, your competition just thinned by one. Lol I would be happy to post my solve as it may help others and one layer is unusually different than what I’ve seen posted. I combined 5 different solves which all lead to the same physical and spiritual place. But posting is not my call.

        This is Forrest’s game of adventure and wit..for which I’m most grateful! I emailed a personal thank you to him but wish to publicly express my gratitude for igniting adventure in my soul and giving purpose to my love… of western history, art, and nature. If you “listen good” the wind whispers your name. For me, this was the perfect project. God bless everyone on Dal’s blog, especially Dal for such a well oiled machine, and Forrest for being a steward of enduring excellence. Thank you Forrest!

        • Lia, I so glad you had a great trip. My daughter who is also working on the Chase said that by this time next year we will be experts in Western History. Can’t wait for her and I to get to go to some of the spots we have researched. They will be even more beautiful knowing the history behind it.

          Thank you Forrest!

          • Amy, I’m done with solving clues and after today done following the blogs listening for whispered hints. Time to give back to my husband an equivalency of 2400 hours spent in research, listening, searching. Admittedly, it’s easy for a passion to be consuming but not healthy for my family life. 🙂 Each time I visit my “There” I will look. Best to you Amy.

          • Lia

            I completely understand
            About the time for your family and your husband .
            Next year I have one more trip then I will need to put it down due to my family and husband. I enjoy the chase but I completely ignore everybody 🙁
            I have done lots of research and know where I’m headed next year 🙂
            Proud that u had a nice adventure 🙂

  14. Michael

    Thanks for sharing 🙂
    I’m sure it’s beautiful area
    Yep just
    have to find the warm waters:)
    The Brown, and the Blaze, the cold, the wood Right 🙂

  15. Dear Forrest,
    Of all the treasure you have posted, this by far is the greatest and most precious. Even more than indulgence itself! Your timing on posting this on the feast of All Saints Day is far from coincidental. I noticed that you mentioned six linen shrouds that may hide relics beneath. With all due respect I (think) their may be eight relics in the cross, though only 6 of them are wrapped. Notice how the blue ceramic flowers seem to bookend the relics. The color blue often represents the Blessed Virgin Mary in our faith. The wax seal at the top that represents the Lamb of God, a symbol for Christ may also contain a relic; as well as the small carved stone likeness of the Virgin Mary.
    I’m guessing that the carvings on the horizontal and vertical banners that slide out give clues as to who the relic directly underneath belongs to. For example the carved crown of thorns is directly above the wax seal of Christ, and the carvings to the right and left of the crown may coincide with the relic of the Saint beneath them. Another example to fully convey this hypothesis? would be the bird or cock at the top of the cross above Christ..This could possibly represent a relic of St. Peter who denied Christ 3x’s before the cock crowed. The upside-down heart the cock is standing on reveals that Peter was crucified upside-down as he requested because he felt he was not worthy to die in the same way as Christ his Lord.
    The value of this item may be more profound than you realize. If I find the indulgence would you consider trading me this cross for the chest?

  16. I say some things are better left unknown. The mystery to what lies beneath is part of the beauty. Even if it was discovered the true meaning of it may never be known. Uncovering it is like uncovering someone else’s prayer. You may know what prayer is being prayed, but will never understand the depth of it. I would like to think it was what it needed to be for the person at the time. That maybe the person who made it put a little of himself in it and it helped rejuvenate his faith and the people that possessed it afterwards got what they needed from it as well.
    It’s not so much of what it is, but what it represents and uncovering it takes away from what a person needs it to be in their life for that moment. It’s all about having faith and believing in something grater than ourselves.

  17. Ok, so I’m back from my deer hunt. It went as many hunts go. No harvest of game. Keeping the chase in mind during the deer hunt led me to finding a spot most chasers would find interesting. I wouldn’t expect to be finding the chest at said spot, but gold on the other hand, yes. It is an old miners home and mining area. I’m sure it is not well known and it does match many hints of this chase. Thank you Forest for the inspiration. To catch up on the chase, I had the go through roughly 600 plus e-mails! The reward, the last three scrapbooks! It is like a reward for all of that reading. Thank you everyone on the blog for adding to the blog, especially, Wiseone, dal, and Goofy. Thanks goes out to WR7 too for the far out entertainment. Now time to subscribe to the other SB’s. Thank you, f, for your sharing of everything you share.

  18. Forrest,
    I am not Catholic either.
    But what relics reside under the six shrouds can be symbolically figured out.


    Ta-Da = Token for the Mind
    Cha-Tha = Token for the Heart
    Ba-Qa = Token for the Lower Nature (Womb)
    Wa-Za=Token to Connect or Cut Off
    Sa-A = Token to Support The Deity

    • Oh look !
      That was only 5 points , was supposed to post about 6.
      That also reminds me to go read forrests newest scrapbook that has a metal “Blessing Leader” with 5 points.

      The 6th shroud would be for the Ka-La

      Ka-La = Lotus Leader / Blessing Leader / Blessing Instrument , Cup / To Open / Key / Ankh

  19. This is my favorite post by Mr. Fenn to date and feel it is very significant to him.
    The Christ message to enter the kingdom…simply accept a free gift of grace.

    I Believe…and see that the bride is at work, for thou shall… “Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

  20. JC

    This Cross needs a song/ video can u post How great thou art by Carrie Underwoid and Vince Gill
    🙂 love thanks

    You are my video messenger 🙂
    I can count on you !!!!!!!

  21. I have been waiting for someone to pick up on this for awhile but it appears the topic has been raised once again and Mr. Fenn’s hook has landed a few more. While I prefer to peer from underneath the pads, I ponder… where is the cost code engraved on this item, or any other for that matter?

  22. It is Easter today so here is some related material on the oldest town in Colorado where the natives had already new of Christ from a woman in blue who decanded oupon them and taught them of Jesus becore Coronado arrived in 1551. The Stations of the Cross at the Shrine atop a hill next to the middle of the small town. You may see some hiunt of treasure here.

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