Temazcal is an ancient Mesoamerican tradition

This pre-Hispanic sweat lodge originated with indigenous people in Mesoamerica and can be found all over Mexico.

Temazcales were used in pre-Hispanic times: many vestiges of ancient sweat lodges have been found within ceremonial centers, and interestingly, frequently associated with ball courts. The construction was similar to that of palaces and temples, and their size, in comparison with modern examples, shows that they were buildings of great importance. Temazcales represented a place of transition, similar to a cave or womb – a symbolic passage between the heavens and the underworld. They were used for both ritual and medical practices by priests, warriors, and players of the Mesoamerican ball game.

Traditional Symbolism

At its heart, the ceremony symbolizes death and rebirth with the Temazcal itself representing the womb of the mother. A Temazcal ritual is more than a simple steam bath: it’s a ceremony that envelops physical, mental, and spiritual elements, led by a Temazcalero or Temazcalera who guide the proceedings according to ancient customs.

The Temazcal ceremony blends the physical benefits of a steam bath with ancient traditional rituals and medicinal herbs to aid purification and healing. A Temazcal thus opens a space for personal reflection and contemplation, and some also use the practice as part of an effort to overcome some personal difficulty they may be passing through.

The Ceremony:

Before beginning the ceremony, the guide or “temazcalero” will perform a purification technique with copal, as was customary in the magical-religious rituals that were celebrated throughout Mesoamérica. A temazcal bath invites us to transform our lives and be reborn to start a new cycle.

You will occupy your respective place on the floor and make a circle between everyone to surround the volcanic stones better known as “grandmothers”. The temazcal closes and the ritual begins.

The temazcalero uses some branches to “call the steam”. He/She chants prayers and at the same time sprinkles the hot stones with water.

The temazcal songs are a fundamental part of the ceremony.

When entering a temazcal, the intention is to leave all negativity there (pains, fears, regrets, bad actions, etc.) and at the same time it is requested through prayers for beneficial changes, health and wellness.

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