Colorful San José

I will never stop showing you the colors of a place.

I will always ask you to stop and smell the flowers.

Orchids  

Orchids  

Some journeys are long, hot, dusty and tiring. But if you lift your eyes, maybe you'll find a plant nursery next to the dirty high way; a place filled with orchids and whispers of life. And maybe that will make you smile again. 

San Jose  

San Jose  

As I've mentioned before, Few travelers enjoy big cities (unless that's their aim of the trip) and even fewer like the necessary visit(s) to Costa Rica's capital San Jose. Next time you come, why not stay in the old historic neighborhood Barrio Amón or Aranjuez. And when you're there, why not stroll around the old buildings, enjoying the architecture and the art covering the walls of this area. And maybe you'll find a secret world hidden within green walls and trees and maybe you find a new favorite cafe in the corner of a street you haven't been on before. And maybe you also find the way to mama earth's delicious gifts at Fería Verde.

 

And if you still haven't seen the arts, colors and flowers of San Jose, this oasis is the place to soak it all in. It is here where I ask you to stop and smell the flowers. And while you sip your Costa Rican coffee with cashew milk, enjoy the colorful smiles around you.

 

where do you find flowers in your city?  

Feria Verde

Feria Verde

 

Creating Space

Clearing. Chopping. Raking. Cutting. Lifting. Moving.

The muddy jungle soil covers my face, my hands, and fills the space underneath my nails to make me understand we are one and the same.

Moving rocks from one place to another; creating paths and openings. New beginnings. Release.

Ticks are biting and crawling all over my legs and up the ass, biting again even harder this time. Itchy, muddy sweaty and part of it all.

Open circles opening the heart. And we become spirals and trees.

Openings  

Openings  

 

Mama Jungle says:" Lift your head. Raise your eyes towards the tall trees. Rest here. In the space you created."

 

We share the silence of focus. Snakes bless our work. We are welcome here. She gifts us bamboo trees and we chop them, flatten them and build a bridge.

We build a bridge to unite the people.

Raking and clearing. The wheelbarrow fills up: what is not wanted in one place gets an important role somewhere else. Paths are made. The secret passageway in the jungle starts to show for the one who looks.

We create paths across the worlds.

And you are welcome here,  dear one. We are all welcome here.

Indiana Jones hanging bridge

Indiana Jones hanging bridge

 

 

I am blessed with having family in many parts of the globe. It is with deep gratitude and humility me and my husband offer our service to Mother Earth. To create and hold ceremonial space is such profound work. I and we are happy and grateful to be part of this creations work; to plant seeds of community and to share the tales of ancient traditions. Everywhere we go, we will carry this work in our hearts and our feet. And we invite you to join the feast!

More tales will come, the land will expand.

Thank you.

Ometeotl

Cantantes and Tatarahuehue

Cantantes and Tatarahuehue

Journeying the sweat lodge

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

weight loss

improve fertility

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.

Sage

Sage

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. 

Vestido de temascal 15 mil colones o 30 dolares

Vestido de temascal 15 mil colones o 30 dolares

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 magdalena@bymagie.com! 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. 

Sweat Lodge dress 30 dollars

Sweat Lodge dress 30 dollars

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 

Ometeotl,

Sofia-Magdalena Chandrakaí

Heal the Hearts

In my beloved jungle town Puerto Viejo, in Costa Rica, I’ve met many magical sisters that all inspire me through their heart’s wisdom. This story is about Flora. Flora is one of the most balanced and grounded young women I know. She is also crazy, wild and free and has a laughter that warms every inch of my body. Her gift comes from a strong heart and through the ancient wisdoms of Ayurveda she shares it with the world in her healing food at Puerto Pirata, Puerto Viejo.

Flora was born in Togo, Africa, but moved to Italy as a young child when her mom unexpectedly went missing. She grew up in Italy with her dad and sister without ever knowing what happened to her birth mother. Flora sought ways to heal her heart through ancient wisdoms such as yoga and Ayurveda but there is always that last piece of the puzzle…..

Suddenly, one day last year on the year of love – relatives from Africa reached out through Facebook, knowing where her mother is. 2015 is the year when we go out in the world to do our work, to build on our tribe, and to mend the hearts. Flora and her sister are determined to travel to Africa to meet their mom, to get answers and most of all to embrace their family so that hearts can heal.

The trip Costa Rica to Nigeria is a costly one and, so, Flora and her sister are praying to our hearts for donations so that they can make this important journey happen. Read their full story and donate here.   

Journeying the Costa Rican Mountains

As I write this, I am watching the sun setting behind the mountains in the West. The nightly forest sounds are slowly increasing and the soft quiet rain surround us like a comfy greyish blanket where we sit on the deck. Mountains have always fascinated me and they carry strong medicine; the reminder of how small man is amongst other.

After months of ceremonies, studies and practice I am now spending a few days close to Mother Earth in the mountains south of San José. I am deeply grateful for the opportunities life brings me; studying shamanic traditions with teachers from all over the world; having brothers and sisters across the globe who invite me to their home.

Last weekend we were in the jungle mountains East of San José in Guapíles, to cut bamboo and join a traditional Mexica pipe ceremony. Sunday afternoon, we drove from there, around the mountains and the capital to get to these hills in the South where we are now.

My friend’s house is beautifully built in cedar, overlooking a mountain garden, the river and the hills. What a blessing to be journeying in this world!