The reasons that places from all over the world draw me in is due to their beauty and unique spiritual experiences. That’s what this Travel + Spirit blog is all about! Tulum is full of spiritual experiences, but the one that stood out to me tremendously was a spiritual endeavor called Temezcal.
Temezcal is an experience that takes place in a stone igloo with a small door that you have to crawl into on your knees, symbolizing reentering the womb of Mother Earth. Before you enter, you must be cleansed, using the smoke of copal (a incense like sap, used by the Maya) as well as set an intention for the experience.
Usually these experiences can have up to 15-20 people, but can get as small as a personal or private experience as well. My experience was at Holistika and had 15 people with plenty of space for us all. Everyone sits inside the igloo, including the Shaman as he introduces how the experience will go.
There are four doors of the Temezcal, representing the four elements. Each door is focused on a different type of healing and each door gets hotter than the last. Our Shaman was very calm and light hearted, reassuring us what was normal to feel and what was not, but also letting us all know that we cannot be denied to leave if we want to leave the experience.
After everyone is ready, we started greeting in ancient lava stones from the central Mexico and greeting them as our abuelitas (ancestors). This is tradition for Temezcal in Mexico because the Mexican cultures honors Mother Earth as ancient and wise, having lived through so much, they know so much (just like our ancestors). The water here from cenotes and the ocean is often referred to in this way and I believe it to be so beautiful.
Each lava rock is greeted into the Temezcal, into the fire pit in the middle of the igloo and afterwards our Shaman informed us and comforted us about the experience we are about to have before we declare we are ready for the journey in the first door.
“Abuelito puerto!” we all chanted as the door to the igloo closes and we enter the first door. It is pure darkness, the darkest experience you could ever have. You can’t see your hand in front of your face or know the difference between your eyes open or close.
I didn’t know that this would make my heart race, just the simple darkness, but it did. What I loved about this was that even though there were others in the igloo with me, it was truly an internal experience within your Soul. No one can see you chanting, moving, shaking… and most of all sweating your ass off.
Now every Temezcal is very different, but for this experience, the first door was about expression. Many were shouting, making animalistic noises, yelling or crying. For myself, I was in a very good place in my journey and found myself smiling and laughing. The experience is to let go of trapped emotions within the body through expression and detoxifying it through your pores. I found here that maybe what I needed to express more was pure joy and happiness.
Each door was about 15 minutes long before we opened the door to let the light in and took about five minutes to process the journey with ourselves and/or our Shaman. They brought in more lava rocks and poured more herbs and water onto them before we then entered the next door with “abuelito Puerto” once again.
Each door had a different journey that increased in temperature and difficulty and it was not abnormal for a few people to leave. For me, it felt hard to breathe, it felt like I wasn’t getting oxygen because of the heat, although I was. I also felt a pain in my chest. This was an experience another person had that the Shaman provided insight on.
He asked if we had any heart problems. Answer being no, he then proceeded to ask how our relationship was with certain people in our lives until it was pinpointed. For me, it was much relationship healing to be had with my parents. He described this as a heart chakra blockage, as our bodies are releasing our stuck emotions physically and emotionally and the heart is having a heart time releasing.
This made so much sense to me that afterward provided a whole new perspective within the relationship with my family.
When we put out bodies into uncomfortable situations, such as breath work, ice baths or Temezcal, our mind goes into a place of feeling like it’s unsafe. In this case, that you will die from dehydration (although you drink water beforehand and have water to drink during if you’d like). When this happens, our subconscious mind attaches to stored emotions and traumas in the body to signal to our conscious mind that we are not safe. This is how these experiences can heal trapped subconscious traumas by diving deep into the body and mind and releasing them through expression, sweat, movement and any other way your body decides to release it during this experience.
The last door was focused on new affirmations to bring to life when we are reborn out of the womb of Mother Earth. Out of pure darkness, people took turns saying affirmations that they wanted to bring to life when they are born again and everyone else would repeat them.
It was such a powerful way to end the experience.
When the door opened, we closed our experience by coming out of the igloo one by one. Once again, because the door is low, you have to crawl out. We prayed in front of the door, affirming they we were reborn before leaving the igloo. And man, even the humid heat of Mexico felt nice after that!
Afterwards, we each took a turn speaking about our experience to the group and throwing some copal into the fire to gather and close off the expansive experience.
I must say… I absolutely loved it! I highly recommend anyone looking to challenge their body and minds. You may even think you have nothing to release, but you will find it stored deep in your mind and you truly feel reborn afterwards. It is nothing to enter into lightly, it is a difficult experience but I promise you can do it and it will be worth every drop of sweat.