We entered a lush garden that quickly eased our uncertainty and opened our eyes to the trip we were about to embark on. It was time for a rebirth.
Our spiritual guide, Rosalinda, was a peaceful, gentle woman, who led us to a small room to share details about the ancient Mayan Temazcal experience. We were all first-timers to this detoxing sweat lodge ceremony which happened inside of a small, 4-feet-tall red clay dome – we psyched ourselves out of any claustrophobic fears, received a cleanse with herbal smoke and crawled inside the tiny wooden door.
The 11 of us sat shoulder to shoulder for about 10 minutes, mentally preparing as Rosalinda talked us through the four-stage Tezmacal process that focused on four universal elements: 1) Mother Earth, 2) Fire, 3) Water, 4) Air.
Fresh, fragrant herbs that smelled like a dream and a pitcher of water were poured over scalding hot stones which ignited the first wave of heat that rapidly filled the limited pockets of air surrounding us. We entered the Mother Earth stage with our eyes closed, taking slow, deep breaths to relax.
Rosalinda guided us further and further into a place of pure meditation – she patted our backs with long sage leaves as we sat curled into a fetal position, and as we returned to a seated position sprinkled with water as she chanted softly.
“Release all the fears that consume you, this is the time to kill all of those fears,” Rosalinda said as we entered the Fire stage. The second wave of herbal steam was released, this time hotter and much more overwhelming.
Our deep breaths grew long and powerful as we released the sound of “ahua” loudly over and over, getting rid of our demons and life frustrations. In that moment, I pushed out all fears that have consumed me. Fear of loneliness, fear of change, of hurt and of worry. I was letting it all go, and leaving it right there.
Maybe an hour had passed by, and it was time for some herbal detox tea and a little fresh air – which had never felt like such a relief after sweating out ounces upon ounces of water.
It was time for the Water stage – calmer and cooler than the fire. We switched to a new position with our backs to the floor and our feet towards the wall in a way that our 11 heads were side by side in a circle. Our guide then shocked us by pouring cold water over our faces, then our feet. She rinsed away any final fears we had left, leaving us elevated in tranquility and positive energy.
I’d never felt more free than in these moments.
Now, it was time to imagine we were eagles soaring high, envisioning ourselves in a place surrounded by hues of our favorite color – this was the Air stage, which completed our first Temazcal spiritual cleansing. I envisioned clouds of turquoise and light blues, with no force of gravity under me. I was ethereal.
Before we exited the dome, we meditated some more, finding our sweet and sacred spot of final peace. Slowly, we began crawling out of the lodge one by one as Rosalinda’s assistant, Tonita, cleaned the leaves and sweat off of us with fresh warm water and wrapped us cocoon-style in a warm woven blanket.
We all eventually closed our eyes as serenity enveloped the room, hugging us each tightly.
I knew my soul experienced what felt like a small rebirth, and I wouldn’t go back into the world the same. My energy was free of any negativity and my intentions would be perfectly pure. I wanted to share all of this peace with the world, with my loved ones.
My spirit was, and is, rejuvenated. It’s revived.
If you ever have the opportunity in your travels, please take part in a sacred Temazcal ceremony – you will appreciate yourself, every living thing and every moment so much more. It’s a true pure cleansing I believe we all need.