Temazcal in Mexico City with Huitzi, the Shaman
Updated: Jul 22, 2019
I just returned from a weekend trip to Mexico City and while I was there I attended a temazcal ceremony in a sweat lodge. It was amazing... seriously mind blowing and life changing! Temazcal is a 2,500 year old ancient Mayan cleansing ritual that involves sweating to cleanse and detoxify the body and reawaken your soul. Temazcal translates to "house of heat" and it lives up to that. It also has many health benefits.
I went into the experience with an intention: I knew I wanted some insight into my health issues. I felt as though recently while I have been doing all of the "right" things - eating a very healthy diet, reducing stress, sleeping well- I have hit a plateau in my healing and I want to know what to do next. I was hoping the temazcal experience might provide me some answers, and I was not disappointed.
So that was my intention going into the day, but before arriving at the experience I was feeling kind of lonely. I was traveling solo and while I am usually fine on my own I had a morning where I was just feeling out of sorts. I went to lunch at a fancy, highly recommended restaurant and was seated at a bar surrounded by three couples none of which were very friendly. Normally, this type of thing would not phase me at all, but for some reason on this day it did bother me. I was questioning myself and why I even took this trip on my own.
I left lunch still feeling this weird loneliness, and even thought about not going to the temazcal, afraid of being disappointed. However, I made myself go, and once I arrived at the place where the experience was to take place I soon forgot all about that feeling. The place was called Ectagono and was a beautiful garden setting within the outskirts of the big city. There were birds flying overhead and lots of plants, herbs and flowers growing in the garden. Also along for the experience were two couples, Erindira- our guide who was translating, her boyfriend who was our driver, and Huitzi, the shaman.
At the beginning we stood around together, and they passed out some cacao tea that had been brewing. Cacao is a heart opener and is meant to help open you up to the whole experience to come. Then they asked us to walk through the garden barefoot (called earthing) and pick any herbs or flowers that called to us, as these would come with us into the sweat lodge to help us heal.
Huitzi gave us a little bit of background about himself. He is half Aztec, half Michoacan and was born at three in morning. In his culture any baby born at that time is said to have special powers ... He has been training to be a shaman his whole life. And he told us a story about how the week before he had been bitten by a poisonous spider and had almost died! My first question was if the spider bit him at this garden we were currently standing in, but he said no it happened out in the countryside. Ok, good. :-)
Then we began the ceremony. He smudged each of us with sage one by one and then had us go into the house of heat, which is an adobe circular hut with only one opening. We were told to sit on the ground cross legged. In the middle was a place for the molten-hot rocks and surrounding this were woven mats that we could sit on. Our backs could rest on the walls of the structure.
Then the hot rocks that had been sitting in a fire inside a serpent/dragon fireplace were brought in one by one. As each red hot rock was brought in I kept wondering if it was the last, as each rock made the hut hotter and hotter. I lost count at twelve, but there were probably about 13 or 14 in total. As they were brought in Huitzi talked about how hot it would get and how we would be in the sweat lodge for about an hour (it ended up being much longer than that), but would be free to leave at any point if the heat got to be too much. We were also told that we could lay down if we needed to, since it will be cooler on the ground.
As the rocks were being brought in the heat began to rise and rise, and we all started sweating. Huitzi passed us each a large aloe vera leaf that had the skin on one side stripped off. He instructed us to eat some of the clear gel and to rub the rest on our body. The aloe is very healing and will open our pores to allow the heat in to heal our whole body.
Then we repeated the process with some honey that came from the garden. Honey is also very healing and he said it will heal any cuts we have and will also heal us inside. We ate some and then rubbed the rest on our body including our hair and feet. It sounds uncomfortable but by now I was sweating so much that everything seemed to just drip off. Then we went through the process one more time with oranges. The aloe, honey and oranges are supposed to clear the pores so that the toxins inside of us can more easily be released through the sweat.
Then he covered the opening with a blanket, so were now sitting in the dark and it was very hot. He would splash water on the rocks which created steam and seemed to make it even hotter. My mind was so busy, asking questions and trying to analyze everything that was happening. I was trying to quiet my mind, by focusing on sounds because in the dark it was impossible to see anything. Huitzi then came and sat down next to me and touched my forehead and said "turn it off" over and over. It surprised me that he seemed to read my mind, but then I got used to that happening.
He called me "Little One" and he would speak to each of us in turn about different things. My memory gets hazy at this point and it's hard for me to remember exactly what order everything happened in, so I'll just list a few of the other things I remember that he said to me throughout the almost two hour ceremony.
At one point he started coughing and he said, "Little One, when you came here today your soul told me that you are feeling lonely. You are only lonely because your mind makes you feel that way". And then he said he was going to take my loneliness from me. He coughed pretty heavily and then spit something out and said it was my loneliness. It was interesting because I remember that I had felt lonely earlier in the day but I couldn't really remember what that felt like because I was not feeling lonely any more.
He said my soul is that part of myself that is who I was when I was a very young girl, and that part of me feels ignored. I should do more things to make that part of myself happy. The carefree, chasing butterflies and climbing trees little girl. This part of the experience I became very emotional because I remembered being that little girl when I was really young. I also remembered becoming self-conscious and shy at some point and was trying to remember what made that happen and why. But I also felt love for both little girls knowing that I am both of them. I was crying for the little girl who was afraid to speak and afraid to say what she wanted.
Accept who you are. Don't worry about what society or other people think about what is "right" for you.
Men and women are the same at the soul level. Love knows no gender.
You have things to say, and you shouldn't be afraid to speak them because people need to hear what you have to say.
Let go of worries. These are created by the mind and are not real. Be like a bird or a butterfly, don't worry just fly and be free.
"You don't have illnesses, you have worries". He didn't really elaborate on this but I understood immediately. Meaning that my overthinking and stress is what is causing my health issues. I had thought this before but felt a clarity about it after hearing him say it. The answers will not be found at the doctor. True healing will come when I can finally get myself in the place I want to be mentally, free from psychological stress.
While he was talking I would be listening, trying not to think, sometimes repeating a mantra like "I let go of all that does not serve me" and often times just feeling emotions coming up and crying, both of which felt very releasing. Certain things he said would touch me or my soul and it would feel like "Yes, that's true for me" or just an understanding and an influx of emotions. I got very hot at times and would lay down on the mat where it was cooler in a fetal position.
Huitzi then sang and played a variety of instruments. I really enjoyed this part as the music allowed my mind to focus on it and forget about everything else. He played a flute and some other kind of instrument that felt like it vibrated our whole bodies. I asked him later what it was but I am not sure of the name. It looked like a horn from a very large animal, but I can't be sure. It sounded heavenly, and almost like it was electronic. He told us to let go of everything. To allow our negative thoughts, feelings and issues to leave our body with our sweat and to go into the earth. That the earth will take it all from us.
Toward the end Erindira led us in a guided meditation about gratitude for all that we have in our lives. More crying as I felt grateful on a very deep level. We then had a chance to speak to Huitzi. I thanked him and told him I do remember that little girl in my soul and he said I can connect with them both by turning off my mind and letting go of what I think I should do. And to look to the butterfly and be like the butterfly, free. They don't worry about flying, they just fly.
At this point I felt very grateful for being at this ritual alone. With complete strangers I was able to be vulnerable and open up in a way I might not of had I been with someone I knew. I had no one to worry or think about and could truly just be. Even thought doing things alone can sometimes be hard, there are just some things that only can happen when you are alone. I think healing, in some cases, in one of those things.
Then we came out of the sweat lodge and cooled off in an outdoor shower. I was so hot, and the cold water was so refreshing! I stood under the cool water feeling so cleansed and refreshed, it was a beautiful feeling. Then we layed on mats on the grass, drinking hot tea and relaxing in the sun, letting everything we had just heard really sink into our consciousness. There was a slight breeze, it was sunny but with clouds in the sky, and birds flying overhead and I felt like I was exactly where I needed to be. I felt grateful and an overwhelming feeling of love and connectedness. It was really the best feeling.
This experience was something that came at just the right time. I am so thankful to Huitzi for doing this for people who otherwise would have no way to experience this. I think that these ancient rituals have been in people's lives for thousands of years for a reason, and that even though it doesn't all make sense to me logically I can feel that something is different inside of me and that something has changed from this experience.
If you are ever in Mexico City and want to do this you can find the information here on the Airbnb website. I would highly recommend this Temazcal and Huitzi to anyone who feels called to explore something like this. It's been a week and I'm still living in the afterglow and so glad I did it.