“Grunden är att man inte kan berätta allt som ska ske eller när eftersom det flödar med hur vi blir guidade. Denna förståelse förkroppsligas endast genom erfarenhet. För att få erfarenhet behöver vi helt enkelt våga. Våga välkomna oss själva in i ceremoni, våga släppa krav på att veta allt eller föreställningar om att vi ska leva upp till något. Det enda vi kan med säkerhet veta är att det aldrig blir som vi tänkt oss.” LÄS MER & DANCE LIKE NO ONE IS WATCHINGRead More
The only true way is to write from the heart. Speak always from your heart and people will listen.
I am so much more than these travel stories and journeys you’ve been able to find here on this blog. I love a lot of things- I don’t fit in to ONE niche.
I refuse to be caged, limited or change my heart to fit into your boxes of definitions.Read More
The following story is in Swedish. Coming stories will be in English or Swedish, hopefully with a summary in the other language. More on Costa Rica --->
I bambubuskaget framför mig har två stora träd knäckts på mitten och fallit över ett odlingsområde med örter. Tukanerna flyger högt men deras skrik hörs som vore de mitt i trädgården. En liten mörkblå kolibri tar en paus på en trädgren intill huset och på solstolen ligger husets vilda husdjur Bloom och tar igen sig efter dagens ödlejakt. Djungelns tystnad skapas av en kaskad av ljud; som om alla djur sjunger tillsammans med träden och omfamnar mig så att jag också hamnar i samma meditativa frekvens.
"Jag tror många som hamnar här är lite rotlösa på något sätt", säger min man som täljer på en pinne.
Att balansera två fysiska hemplatser är många gånger en krävande akt, även att jag gjort det större delen av mitt liv på olika vis. Ju längre man varit på ett ställe ju mer utmanande blir omställningen till det nya. Även när det nya är familjärt.
Att komma till Sverige har alltid varit kulturellt utmanande för mig. Människor vill gärna hålla sig till sitt och sina och jag känner hur lätt det är att sluta hjärtat bland pengastress och kravillusioner. Jag sluter ögonen och önskar från djupet av min själ att jag kan bidra till ett mer öppenhjärtigt samhälle oavsett var jag är i världen. "Men varför bor alla så långt ifrån varandra", suckar jag högt.
Det kommer jag nog aldrig vänja mig vid.
Å andra sidan kommer jag nog aldrig riktigt vänja mig vid de stora ludna spindlar som med jämna mellanrum dyker upp bland kastrullerna. Idag var den ena grytan beslagtagen av en sex-benig kamrat. Fem cm i diameter. Fot till fot alltså.
Men visst är här lätt att "fastna" och man finner ett eget sätt att bli vän med alla de varelser som delar djungeln som sitt hem. Skogen är inte bara meditativ men djupt jordande och jag tror det ligger något verkligt i det min man uttryckte. I puerto viejo samlas människor från jordens alla håll och när jag går genom den lilla byn träffar jag flera av mina goda vänner med bakgrund från Holland, USA, Italien, andra delar av landet eller här i Karibien.
En gemytlig community har skapats i den lilla karibiska kustbyn baserat på mötet av alla dessa kulturer. Vi lever självklart inte i en utopi utan mörka baksidor men jag ser ett verkligt försök till förändring i Costa Ricas fattigaste del tack vare gemenskapen.
Fladdermössen börjar cirkulera ovanför mitt huvud och Bloom lyfter uttråkat ena ögat för att sedan gäspa stort. Klockan börjar närma sig sex på kvällen och mörkret kryper närmare. På avstånd hörs grannen spela smörig latinamerikansk dansmusik på en orimligt hög volym. Syrsorna tar över tukanernas skri och jag går in i huset för att äta bönor och ris.
Bloom chasing lizard
The sweat lodge or temazcal/temaskalli is a ceremony or ritual that is part of many Native American as well as Latin American traditions. In the north, the indigenous Samii people had/have similar healing and self care rituals, using steams/saunas together with herbal medicines. Traditional medicine men and women have past on this tradition about being in contact with nature, the plants, and the four elements through this purifying ceremony. The healing work aims at working therapeutically on the physical body, spiritually purify, and to meet/heal/cleanse fears and negative aspects of the mind.
Some of the therapeutic uses of the sweat lodge/temascal are:
to eliminate toxins through the sweat of the skin
to improve the texture and color of the skin
to de-intoxicate body and mind
to increase vitality
treatment with plants’ healing properties (herbal medicine) and the water steam
thermotherapy; viruses and bacteria don’t survive in the heat, the heat also stimulates the endocrine glands and remove impurities in the circulation.
(Read more in La Pipa de obsidian Danza de Luna, Anita Carmona Itzpapalotl.)
Sweat lodges can be built in various ways depending on the surrounding environment and tradition. It is, however, always the same with water poured on hot stones to create the healing water steam. According to the Mexica tradition, and others I have been fortunate to come into contact with, it is also important that the participants are co-creators when building and preparing the sweat lodge ceremony, under the lead of a temascalera/abuela/shaman.
Local medicinal plants are used in the ceremony. Usually there would be some aromatics, some calmatives, or maybe some with properties to heal infections and inflammations. The plants may for instance be hung in the roof of the sweat, used as herbal tea drunk before and/or after ceremony, or leaves can be spread out on the floor where they come into contact with the open and receptive skin and, thus, work healing. Herbs are also put directly on the hot stones, which allows for their healing properties to come inside the body through respiration.
The temascal has its navel in the middle and this is where we put the rocks or hot stones. These rocks are our ancestors, coming to share their wisdom to us through the ceremony of the sweat. The stone people have been on earth since creation and carry deep knowledge. It is with great respect that we welcome and listen to them. Inside the temascal, we greet the ancestors with herbs such as copal, cedar or sage and prayers. The sweat lodge is covered in leaves and blankets and when everyone (including the stones) are inside the door is closed. Inside is humid and dark, representing the womb of the Mother as well as the darkness of ignorance we ought to overcome to heal. We enter the womb of Mother Earth to remember where we once came from, to remove the ignorance and, thus, to remember who we truly are. It is a ceremony that is profound, healing and nourishing.
We share the ceremony in darkness and individual introspection, guided by the temascalera/shaman/medicine person. We conduct and create the ceremony together but as in all spiritual work/ceremonies it is crucial to understand the responsibility of the individual. You are in your journey as much as we are in one journey together- just as life itself and in both you are responsible for your own wellbeing. The temascal gets dark and hot and usually cramped. To honor and listen to the body is key to a good experience.
To be able to sit somewhat comfortably, avoid heat on the skin and to wear clothes appropriate for the ceremony, in the Mexica tradition we use long dresses. Preferably, the ceremonial dresses are made of pure cotton and in a beautiful color that doesn’t get transparent when wet. On the pictures you see Abuela Lorena and Abuela Jane in dresses perfect for the temascal (or other ceremonies!). Personally, I prefer having the dress long so that I can curl up inside it if it gets too hot on the legs or feet. An aspect you don’t take into consideration in rituals I’ve encountered in Sweden is the surface underneath the bum. It’s one thing sitting on soft sand, grass or muddy dirt but in Costa Rica the temascal might be in the mountains on hard rocky surface. I like having some fabric between my butt and these sharp rocks! Yet a side of the coin is to create the feeling of ceremony by “dressing up” for the spirits. I know that when I put on my ceremonial dress (may it be for a sweat lodge or other), I am already focusing on doing my spiritual work and I am connected. Some traditions don’t have this policy but (my interpretation is that) focus on the fact that one ought to be comfortable in their nakedness as you are being reborn inside the womb. In the Mexica tradition, we wear clothes and if you’d like to get yourself one of these lovely dresses let me know at Service By Magie or firstname.lastname@example.org! They are 15mil colones or 30 dollars and the money goes to preserving an ancient and very important tradition: Danza de la Luna/the Moon Dance.
The temascal helps you with what you need as long as you enter it with faith, humility, respect and determination to do your work. Personally, I always enter ceremony with the intention and prayer that my heart will expand and be open enough for me to be able to fully receive and listen to the messages brought to me by Great Spirit.
Inside the temascal/sweat lodge we pray through silence, shared words, storytelling, songs and music. The temascalera or medicine person guiding the ceremony intuitively receives messages about the work we need to do and guide us through it as a group as well as individual beings. Remember that you are on your own personal journey inwards towards cleansing and healing the body and mind to find clarity and love.
Please, share your own stories and any questions below!
In love and in harmony
In the tradition I study and practice, Mexica, the direction North gives teachings about transformation, death, re-birth, ancestral memories and wisdom from our grandfathers and ancestors. The past few years during the peak summer month July in Sweden, I travel to the edge of this direction: our family house in the far north. Situated in Sapmí and the Swedish Lapland, just east of the World Heritage Laponia, this truly is the far north. Reindeers show us the way as the car drives further and further along the empty roads in the forest. The outback and wilderness of Sweden live precisely here.
Every year I go with my sisters and brothers, blood or heart family or both. This year, Hubby and I went on a long road trip to get there. It amazes me that every year I long for the tranquility, the wild rivers and deep forests surrounding the mountains and it seems I have forgotten about the Story of the North. Every year I seem to forget about the hardship of North’s transformational journey. Or, most likely, that is why I go. To remember. To transform.
The trip itself is a long and, in many ways, challenging one of about 1700 kms. Last year, as some might remember, my partner and I hitchhiked and tried to find various cheap options to travel thru Sweden. We crisscrossed the country with free rental cars, local buses and trains to get here. Previous years, I’ve taken the over-night train or driven all the way with only a few bathroom stops. This year was a compromise with driving divided into smaller journeys. Upon arrival, everybody always gives a sigh of relief, happiness and gratitude that we made it. And then we rest. For several days we rest, with some occasional sauna bathing in between. After about four days the restlessness arrives. It takes over the entire body by allowing tiredness to linger while heaviness starts to make room in the emotional, mental and physical body.
One year, I tried to cure this restlessness by going for a run. It was a late summer afternoon, still warm and bright as daylight as I tied my shoes and went off. Outside the house runs one narrow dirt road and I figured it was best to simply follow it for a few kilometers and then turn around or I would get lost. After a couple of minutes, my skin was warm and moist, attracting mosquitos from the nearby village but I decided to keep going. Running the restlessness away. Suddenly, I see a big four-legged mammal some 300 meters in front of me! In the middle of the road, it stood staring at me. I tried to determine weather it was a moose or a reindeer, but it was too far away to tell for sure. My heart started pumping faster as I knew encountering an angry Mama Moose is nothing I wanted to do by myself in the middle of the forest (i.e. their territory!). The mosquitos bit hard, my pulse pumped and I decided to carry on (nothing could stop me in the pursuit for a cure against restlessness!). The four-legged ran into the forest before I got to see it properly but as I neared the place where it had stood I got the feeling of being observed. I slowed down again and started to listen. Nothingness. Slowly, I continued to run and turned my head to look over my shoulder. And there, in the edge of the forest it stood curiously starring at me! I jumped in surprise! Thankfully, it was a beautiful light grey reindeer that wanted to accompany me. But I had reached the point of return and instead started my way back.
Filled with mosquitos and bites by now, I ran faster while looking down at my feet in an attempt to keep them out off my eyes. Luckily, I kept my gaze at my feet as I turned onto the path towards the house and had to jump half a meter up in the air and to the right because of a fat and sun gazed snake that angrily opened its mouth and rose towards me! My instant jump made me avoid its jaws by just an inch. Back home, I went strait to the sauna to contemplate and decided that the mosquitos were reason enough not go running in this environment again.
Nowadays, I do my practice outside every morning and together with the mosquitos (sure, some mornings this might mean lighting all the incense at once) and the occasional reindeers passing by. I’ve learnt how to accept and embrace that they are too part of my practice and part of my story. But the deep and true teachings come from the hidden allegories inside the vast mountain stories; the endless forests filled with berries, the powerful rivers, and reindeer medicine, never ending daylight, the sauna and the stillness of Nature. Here lies the restlessness and all you have to do is to listen. Listen to the stories of the north.
The teachings of North are the stories of the un-imaginable amount of mosquitos and a never setting sun in summer, of the deep, dark, and cold winter, and of the dark energies that rest here. Dark energies coming from the history of the land(s), from our collective ancestral memory, and for me also from my ancestral blood linage memory. Here, in the silence between the mountains, death is always present. Few of the original habitants remain as they one by one grow older and pass on, their kids being long gone to the city. The abandoned villages and houses become more empty each day. Empty with stories that no one cares to listen to. And every here and there, houses and trees hold the souls that refuse to travel on because they never got to tell their story. They linger on until someone listens, giving the whole area a greyish gloom of unwelcoming bitterness and perhaps a protective shield against intruders. In the midst of this, my ancestral stories come to the surface as I climb the mountain or walk the swamps. Ancestral memories from the blood linage that are planted on this land, as well as those from my own personal story that needs to be healed reveal themselves inside the restlessness, darkness and silence. And just as in Costa Rica and the Mexica tradition I turn to the Temazcal (sweat lodge) for purification and to peel of layers to refine my being, here in the North I retreat to the firewood sauna where I can hide away from mosquitos and let my body and soul heal by listening to the stories wanting to be told. Over and over again.