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temazcal


cosmic turtle graffiti Oaxaca Mexico – foto by smith

We spent the afternoon at a Temazcal, an Indigenous herbal steam bath. The ceremony was used by the Aztecs, Zapotecs, Mixtecs, Mayans, and other indigenous groups as a therapeutic and purifying ritual.

After being served tea, we were ritually cleansed by our host rubbing and tapping us top to bottom front and back with long plants of basil, rosemary and mint while softly chanting. After this symbolic cleansing, he drank from a glass and lifted our shirts and spat chilled mezcal on our backs, stomachs and bare feet. Then he made a third pass around us covering us in incense smoke while chanting again.

We disrobed down to our underwear and crawled into a low sweat box made of adobe brick. Ambient drum & flute music played as we sat in total blackness while our host poured water scented with herbs over heated stones and fanned us with the hot scented steam. Stayed in there a long time, possibly 45 minutes sweating toxins out in rivers of sweat. I had shaved my head and this morning, and I was sweat wet top to bottom, slicker than a used CEO’s bailout plan. He lay us down and shocked us with sprinkled cooler water then beat us front and back top to bottom with plants, which felt absolutely delightfully invigorating. Once we’re rich, I may hire folk to whip me daily as I lie in hot heat.

After the sweat lodge we lay flat on the carpeted floor covered by heavy blankets while we relaxed and waited to stop sweating. Then we each were massaged with heated herbal oils. This is only my second massage. Once decades ago I had a sports masseuse work over my wrenched back, but this time it was pure pleasure. I could get used to having saunas and massages.

Reminded me how much I enjoyed the public bath hammams in Essaouira Morocco with their three steamed rooms of cool, hot and hottest. Something healthy in sweating out our flesh poisons.

Cost us 50 dollars each for 90 minute ceremony.


supplication – Oaxaca Mexico wall graffiti – foto by smith

2 Responses to “temazcal”

  1. MadM says:

    Mmmmmmmm….mmmmmmmaaaassssssaaaaagggge.

  2. Jacklakewood says:

    I love that wall graffiti, “supplication” Also the tale of your “temazcal” I too have discovered that philosophically I let go of more and more every year. I expect that someday I won’t have a philosphy and then I will own everything

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