In Mexico, as in many other Meso American regions, rituals are an important part of the ancestral heritage left by pre-Hispanic cultures (Mayans, Aztecs, Otomies, Incas etc.), who used herbalism and other spiritual elements to heal the body and soul.
The practices of shamans, healers or witch doctors that survived through the years, have allowed Mexicans (and tourists who visit Mexico) to heal, protect themselves and learn their destiny through these ancient traditions.
It is often believed that rituals were performed only on special occasions such as the equinoxes; however, in reality, they were a daily practice, both dawn and dusk are ideal times. One of the most popular rituals today are ‘limpias’ or cleanings, usually performed by shamans, who, according to Mexican culture, are able to invoke spirits through natural products (incense, herbs, etc.) to purify the energy of the person, also providing spiritual advice; To achieve this, the shaman uses divination methods, reading the body, mind, and spirit.
We also find the ‘temazcales’, a rebirth ritual based on Mayan traditions; these offer a twist to the traditional steam bath for healing and religious purposes, to purify oneself and thus begin a new cycle, a rebirth. Therefore, its dome shape simulates the womb of Mother Earth.
Other rituals that can be found in Mexico are the ‘caldeo’ which consists of applying hot remedies on the body, usually medicinal plants. The Santa Rosa promise ritual; this involves eating cannabis while singing and dancing, in order to resolve social, medical and emotional conflicts. Also, the ‘sobado’, a type of massage that aids the body’s recovery both physically and spiritually.
By Fabiola Amador, Coordinadora Spa & Wellness MexiCaribe