Countryside, fresh air, vegetarian food, burning volcanic stones and soul cleansing mantras, what more could you want from your weekend?
With an open mind, a sleeping bag and a bathing suit I arrived at the “Garden of Eden,” after a three hour journey from the city centre.
“Mari Mari” (A thousand Hello’s) greeted the shaman with a kiss, as he floated over in his flowing gown and peaceful gaze. I entered the roof-shaped house avoiding the crazy dog, and sat at the table full of vegetarian food. After the full vegetable dinner we all slept well in the fresh country air, wondering what was in store for us the next day.
Woken up early by the Shaman, he asked if I was relaxed and ready for the day ahead, I thought that I was. We congregated outside in our bathing suits, the sacred territory in the back garden having been marked by coloured flags. We decorated a tree stump with our personal belongings which was then blessed, I put down the chain that I happened to have in my back pocket. Then, entering the sacred territory through the invisible marked entrance.
Trying to subdue my pessimism and semi-nakedness, I entered the tiny tent that we have built. The nine sweaty bodies’ neatly lined the tiny space, and then we waited for the ceremony to start.
“Man of Fire, bring the burning stones!” chanted the Shaman.
The “Man of Fire” was a man who lived next door, was the spirit connection with the fire. In came the red hot glowing stones which were placed into hole in the middle of the sweat tent we had made. This was when things got very strange indeed.
As the temperature soared and our bodies sweated and perspired more and more, we went around the circle and told “Mother Earth” what it was that we wanted from our lives. Thinking only that I wanted to be cool again I asked her for happiness, to be fulfilled… Temperatures now reaching around 50 degrees and the mantras intensifying, I became sleepy and cleverly found a cooler spot for my head, lower down on the grass right next to the glowing hot stones. At which point I passed out.
I passed out for 3 hours in the heat, in a semi asleep, semi burning and seriously dehydrated state. The Shaman began to throw herbs, ointments and eucalyptus onto the fire, asking mother earth to cleanse our souls. I woke up looking at the sweaty backside of the semi-naked older lady that I had fallen next to. Finally after what seemed like weeks, it was time to leave.
The Shaman explained that falling asleep was my subconscious way of connecting with mother earth. I thought it was just the unbearable heat, but we all seemed to have reacted differently to the intense environment.
It is great to see the extreme beliefs of a different culture, even if it is expressed in quite a dangerous way. It gave me perspective on where I am on the spiritual spectrum and how some people in the world are either seriously lucky in having discovered so much about their soul, or are just plain crazy. Either way, I am still undecided but it definitely made me think.
If you are interested then have a look at Escapadas El Eden and begin your spiritual journey.