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  • Writer's picturecocoy montenegro

A Mayan Healing Ritual in The Midst of Cruise Port Mayhem

During our cruise, Doug and I did an excursion in Puerto Costa Maya, a Mayan Healing Ritual. As a hypnotist, I love looking at other healing rituals and wonder what I could incorporate into my own practice, personally or privately. We were greeted by our Chaman (Mayan for Shaman, I guess) who would lead us through the 5 part process that included a holistic mix of treatments and rituals. The knowledge has been passed from one Chaman to the next, who must complete an extensive education and proven to be worthy of the honor. Our Chaman was in her mid-late 60’s, and carried with her a distant, but warm demeanor.

The Healing Ritual was held in what we’d consider a spa, in the center of a busy shopping area, surrounded by live performers, food, and jewelry vendors. There were tourists everywhere, and I couldn’t help but wonder how much healing would occur here with all the noise and distractions.

Doug and I changed into bathing suits and locked our belongings. We returned to the lobby with our group, which included Doug and I, plus two other couples. We moved into an open chamber, where our Chaman begins the process with a Copal incense cleansing. Our Chaman had a bowl of incense that she asked us to waft over our bodies. I likened this ritual to burning sage to purify a room after a dark energy or negative force has left.

From the brochure:

The Chaman has the ability to communicate with all living things on a spiritual level. The sacred incense of Copal allows him/her to see what lies inside your soul that might be reflecting pain on your physical body.”

The second step of our cleansing was an aromatic herbal bath. They had 6 shallow baths in a 1/2 circle. We each lay in one of the baths while massage therapists (I guess) worked to loosen the tensions in our shoulders, neck, head, and scalp. It felt wonderful.

From the brochure:

“Activating the healing powers of rosemary, chamomile, and peppermint the Chaman will blend them in a therapeutic herbal infusion where you will submerge to wash off all the bad energy that is damaging you.”

The third step of our ritual was to purify our inner selves and to do that, we had to go back to the mother’s earth womb. We stepped out of the 90º F lobby, and into an even hotter Temazcal (sauna, only with a fire pit inside).

From the brochure:

Your blood will be purified, flushing out all the impurities from your lymphatic system, while the chants of the Chaman soothe your soul and fix your tribulations.”

The Chaman asked all of us why we were there, and what we wanted to heal. Doug was first, and just said “Happy Life, Happy Wife.” Everyone laughed, and I followed up with “I’m the happy wife.” Afterward, we both confirmed wanting peace with our deceased loved ones and a cure for my Hashimoto’s.

The Chaman then began singing a song of healing while pounding a drum. And then another, and then another. Even though I couldn’t understand what she was singing about, I felt an uncontrollable amount of tears stream down my face. Obviously, I was letting something go. Shame? Pain? Sorry? Anger? I still don’t know.

From the brochure:

“You are ready to be born again to become a new human being, clean and pure. How can you get back to your daily life without being trapped again in the same routine and patterns? The last healing ritual will help you do it.”

She passed around a cup of clay and asked us to put the clay on our faces.

From the brochure:

“After reflecting on what provoked your discomfort, you will find that everything is linked to unhealthy habits you don’t need anymore, and now you will break free from these old patterns as if they were made of the same clay of your mask.”

I could only marvel at the analogy of breaking free of the masks we wear every day.

When we left the Tezmecal, and she mentioned a feeling of being “reborn,” as we left with warmth and comfort of the Tezmacal, we would move into the real world and take a breath. She led us to a seated shower where we rinsed off our faces and bodies with cold water, further linking another analogy of a first breath out of the mother’s womb.

The analogy of being reborn was spot on. We had sat in the Tezmecal for 15 minutes, even emitting a primal scream while she pounded a drum, so as not to scare the other tourists. Emerging from the darkness to the light was a shock.

The Chaman then led us to another spot in the spa, where there were 6 giant adult-sized coconut looking bathtubs, where we received a coconut water and milk bath overlooking the beach.

From the brochure:

You are a newborn in need to be pampered. What better way to do it than with a delicious bath of coconut milk that softens your skin while the deep blue of the Caribbean enters your eyes.

We were bathed and scrubbed in luxury, then gently helped out and toweled off. Our Chaman then led us from the baths over to bamboo hammocks. The Chamans gently helped us in, then began a full body massage. They ended our massages by getting on mats on the floor, and using their arms and legs to massage our backs and legs.

From the brochure:

Any remnant of physical pain will be erased from your body with a relaxing massage over a hammock and the miraculous hands of the Chaman. You are ready to continue your trip and enjoy the textures, aromas, flavors and feelings with your renovated senses.

At the end of the massage, we processed the experience by spending the afternoon with Doug sitting on the beach, listening to the commotion of tourism in between the ocean waves, and watching the various Instagram models pose for selfies. There are so many ways to process healing and transformation, and I was thrilled to experience elements of the Mayan Ancient Healing Ritual with the modern conveniences of today. I don’t know if I’ll incorporate these into my professional practice…but I will take the best of the analogies and symbolism and incorporate them into my personal practice.

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