Temazscal had been a bucket list item for me for about 10 years. Upon arrival, a lady confirmed my reservation and then took all of my things to hold on to for me during the ceremony. They don’t allow anything inside other than glasses and clothes. No shoes, cameras, phones, hats, etc. The attendant lady asked me to take a seat while we wait for our Shaman. Almost immediately it started raining. We later found out that there was a hurricane off the coast, but the rain was very refreshing.
About 10 minutes later, our shaman came and led us down to the sweat lodge. It is a small circular brick building with a bench around the perimeter of the building and a fire pit in the center. Around the fire pit are five stumps for the lucky people who want to participate in the ceremony.
About 25 people went inside and sat around the perimeter of the room. Since I was the only person in the group who spoke English, most of the ceremony was in Spanish with the important parts translated for me. Because of this I think I may not have gotten the full experience, but it was still a great experience overall.
The shaman told us that typically part of the ceremony would take place outside of the sweat-lodge, but because of the rain he took us all inside so that we could stay as dry as possible.
One of the attendants began to bring in very hot lava rocks and place them in the center of the room. Things began to get hot pretty quickly and the ceremony hadn’t even begun yet. Next, the room was sealed and the ceremony began. We were in complete darkness. The shaman began to chant and then throw various medicinal herbs onto the fire.
It got hotter. And hotter. He threw some water on the rocks. Now it started getting steamy and still hotter. When it was almost to the point where I couldn’t stand the heat, he then threw cold water on everyone. It was the most refreshing thing I’ve ever felt in my life. And then it still began to get hotter. The herbs made me cough. But I felt a huge release of emotion and tension in my body. And obviously a lot of sweat too.
The main goal of the ceremony is to release all negative emotion from one’s life and appreciate the important things in life. That was the part that was so emotional for a lot of people. During two points in the ceremony, the shaman told everyone to scream as loud as they can for as long as they can. Screaming releases a lot of negative emotion and energy. Next, he told everyone to reflect on their parents and all of the things their parents sacrificed to give us the life we have. A lot of people in the room began to cry at this point. He told us if our parents are still alive that we should give them a hug and tell them how much we love them. This really made me reflect on my Mom and all of the things she sacrificed to get me where I am today.
By the time I almost couldn’t stand the heat anymore, the shaman announced that the ceremony was over and we could all go outside. Once we were outside, he led us down some stairs to a deep pool of water. We all jumped into freezing water which helped to bring our core temperatures down to normal. Despite it being in the 90s outside, my teeth started chattering in the water. It was super refreshing.