TRAVELS: the Temazcal experience
As you guys know, we really didn’t get any good weather in Mexico, which is also why a lot of our plans were cancelled. But once we noticed it wasn’t going to stop raining any time soon we made new plans, including a visit to the mayan ruins in Tulum (where it still wasn’t sunny but at least no rain) and a mayan ritual, the Temazcal. Everyone kept comparing the Temazcal to a steam room, which I guess is true to some extent, but what awaited us was much more and such a special 2 hour-long experience.
First, we all gathered for the Mayan spiritual leader to tell us a bit about the ceremony and the idea behind it. Then we prayed to the 4 elements which each symbolize part of us. Earth is the body, wind is the breath, water is blood and fire is the spirit. Next, our body was cleansed symbolically with incense before we entered the Temazcal, where it is completely pitch black. During the ceremony you basically go through 4 cycles (comparable to those of a sauna) of steam, and every cycle symbolizes a stage of your life – childhood, teenage years, adulthood and the future. For each cycle you share positive and negative memories from that time of your life and something you’d like to let go of. A water mixture of different plants and herbs is poured onto firing hot lava stones to create the steam, with which you let go of whatever it is you want to cleanse yourself of. It was definitely unlike anything we’ve ever been a part of, but I am so glad we were able to participate and it really was an amazing experience. Out of respect for the ritual itself and other guests (we were a group of 12 people and during the ceremony some even started crying while sharing their memories) I did not take pictures during any part of the actual ceremony. But at least through these images you guys can see what a Temazcal looks like – and if you ever get the chance to participate in a Temazcal ceremony, I’d highly recommend it!