TEMAZCAL: A Sacred Ritual Turned into an Initiation for Forgiveness

Entering the Space of the Sacred Mushroom

Time to enter into the womb of Mother Earth in this ancient indigenous tradition of physical detoxification, prayer, fire and the symbolic rebirth. Enter in my own detox to prepare for the sacred cleansing of my spirit in the coming days. This ceremony enveloped physical, mental and spiritual elements, led by a Temazcalero who guided the proceedings according to ancient customs. Temezcal opens a space for personal reflection and can aid in the process to overcome personal difficulties. It did this for me and much more.

As the ceremony unfolds, songs and prayers are led by the guide as we were given an opportunity to follow along with a couple of the songs. There were herbs and copal resin being placed on the hot stones with water, with the opening of the door, four times. On a physical level, there are many benefits to be had from this type of ceremony: cleansing and purification; help with your respiratory system and breathing; improved blood flow and muscular system; and help reducing anxiety and stress.

For me the experience became much more emotional and spiritual in nature. In learning about plant medicine it’s been important for me to connect with indigenous ways and customs around these medicines so I can fully experience to the healing power of the plants and respect those that protect and serve them. It’s one thing to do research and even talk with indigenous elders, it’s quite another to journey into shared customs of preparation and purification.

The initiation begins by calling in our ancestors and the four directions to help guide us on our journey. Four prayers in total, starting with east moving to south, west, and then north. Rotating with the trajectory of life: birth, adolescence, adulthood, and finally death. As the prayers were being said I thought of myself and how I connected with the earth, the planet, nature, to others in my life. We were being called on to remember where we came from; to help others remember our connection to this physical plane and how we can contribute in community with ritual and communion to the earth.

The opening of the door to add water, herbs and essentially more heat, represented gates. The first gate, childhood, made me visualize myself as a child. At least I tried. Something felt so difficult here and trying to find myself in something that was lost to me. I thought of all the children, like me, who are now trying to find their place in this world. Looking for safety, protection–their voice and place in the world. I sat next to the guide in the space and felt a sense of safety and calm, one I didn’t have as a child. I listen to the prayers and knew I was guided here for a reason. Maybe I needed that safety to remember my way back.

The second gate, adolescence… I thought about what children do. They laugh, they play, they giggle, and they are loud without a care in the world. That’s what I imagined anyway. The hotter the space got, I remembered my breath, my place of calm, as tears streamed down my face and my heart ached.

The third gate, adulthood and then the fourth and final gate, the end of life, completing the cycle. For me I stayed in that space of being a child and being nurtured. I thought of what it would be like to go back to that time. I thought of all the children that will grow up like I did, lost, unprotected and alone to fend for themselves. Alone in a world where we are being programmed to forget our connection to the natural world and the customs that bring us closer to the truth of who we are. Again knowing I am here to heal myself so I can be part of healing humanity.

Unconditional love and forgiveness is what came to mind by the end of the ceremony. Unconditional love for our ancestors–grandparents, parents, family members and finally for ourselves. Can have that for myself? This is what I needed to learn leading into my first meeting with magic mushrooms on this trip. As I leaned into the fire with my hands touching the water, the earth and then my heart, that was my prayer. Touching me in the most unexpected profound way, this ancient ritual has been responsible for helping me recover a lost innocence and hope. Thank you Mother Earth for showing me how to forgive myself and surrender to this path.

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