We have only about 3 “non-working” days off left here in Guanajuato and our Spanish language classes at Escuela Falcon have ended. Rather than seeking out every tourist destination on the roster, we’re going to try to find Mexican healers. Though I would rate our health as excellent, I thoroughly enjoy hearing stories of how people heal themselves and I’m endlessly fascinated by the various rituals and treatments available to make sick people well. There’s nothing worse than being sick and solution-less, which happens a lot in the United States where the healthcare system sucks. I like to know my options. I believe that some illnesses are lifestyle oriented. Some are due to genetic problems. And some, are perhaps spiritual. Rarely are illnesses cured with a pill. But personally, I’ve had great success with modifying my diet and seeking out alternative healers like acupuncturists, and intuitives. I collect experiences with different types of traditional healers for this reason.
There’s just so much more to healing than Western health practitioners admit.
Apparently, the small city of La Concha, located within about 2 hours of Guanajuato is home to a large number of curanderos (native healers who blow smoke, shake rattling objects, and use herbs and other traditional methods to treat patients). Last year, Lydian and I tried to find an honest-to-goodness curandero in Progreso, Mexico, but all we were able to track down was an ex-pro-Cuban-musician selling Virgin of Guadalupe candles and archangel trading cards.
Getting to La Concha to see these curanderos could be a problem. There are no car rental agencies in Guanajuato on account of the fact that Guanajuato is not a driver-friendly city. There are several ways to get to La Concha, but they are either uncomfortable, time –consuming, or costly. We could take a bus (departing at approximately 6:00 AM from the Alhondiga), but the buses only transport teachers traveling from Guanajuato to La Concha. As such, we’d have to wait until about 2:00 PM for the buses to return home. La Concha is a small town that doesn’t even show up on a good map of the region. I doubt there will be a coffee shop where we could hang out while we wait for the bus home. We could take a taxi, but it would cost us. Or, we could rent a car from Leon and then drive to La Concha. First, we’d have to take a bus to Leon though (which is about a 1 hour commute one-way). There’s no guarantee that we’ll find curanderos, even if we go to La Concha. Finding a curandero in Mexico has been difficult since it’s taboo to go to one. Since our time left in this area is limited, we’re still hoping to find other alternatives. Ideally, we’ll still track down a real-to-life curandero in Guanajuato.
Tomorrow, there’s a temazcal in Guanajuato scheduled to take place at 2:00 PM on a dead-end street near the Escuela Falcon language school. I’ve smelled the smoke from the ceremony during class, but it was hard to find the people who organize and put on the event.
A temazcal, also known as a temascal or temescal, is a sweat lodge ceremony used by Mexican healers. It is a pre-Hispanic ritual that was particularly useful following a stressful battle or ball game. Women in labor were also often put in a temazcal to keep the muscles loose, apparently. Today, it is used for healing purposes. It’s supposed to be particularly valuable for balancing hormones and diminishing girl-problems. We’re going to the temazcal purely for the experience.
I don’t know what to expect exactly. I’ve watched a few YouTube videos (in Spanish) on the procedure and it looks harmless enough, though we may have to strip down to our undies (and beyond perhaps). It will likely be downright hot and we’ll get really sweaty. I know there’ll be smoke and herbs involved. I’ve seen the stairs leading up to a garden where the temazcal takes place, but I haven’t officially seen the sweat lodge yet.
Every culture has its own various types of traditional healers. Hopefully we’ll find a native healer or two during our final days here in Mexico.