Reflections on my two weeks of Curanderismo class at the University of New Mexico.
This year I decided to approach my two week commitment to the curanderismo class with a contemplative theme. I took in the ceremonies with an intention of looking “into and beyond,” the obvious responsibilities as a team leader and a member of the curanderismo community. The opening ceremony was very moving and I could feel my emotions of being back in the Land of Enchantment bubbling up in my heart and soul. I sensed the connectedness of all my compadres and comadres. A circle of drums, caracols, sahumerios, rattles, and an altar of herbs, flowers, fruit and love created a powerful sense of unity in a timeless prayer under the umbrella of our Creator. The Ometeotl’s cried out at the end of each direction seemed to seal the bond of all the participants for the next two weeks.
In the following days there were lots of learning curves in my understanding of ventosas, yierbas and emotions. But the biggest challenge was in the matter of my ego. Finding the balance of embracing my status as an abuela, an elder, a priest, and of being a part of the curanderismo class, challenged me over and over again. This being said it was the first time that I could feel the respect for self and a stronger sense of self worth coming into my eighth year of volunteering for the class. My desire was to work with less ego and a more loving perspective and at the same time embrace the “I Am” of spiritual growth in relation to all my relations and the universe. It wasn’t always easy but I held the intention, tried to follow my intuition, remembered the necessity of integration and especially my daily prayer. Contemplation and silence were the grounding and alchemy of everything for me. As for healing, it came in the form of community.
Drumming in community, passing the talking stick in community, teaching in community and listening to the community, provided the Balm of Gilead, the healing medicine that my soul needed. But at the same time, there was no romanticizing of the class and the two week journey I was on. It was work at a different level of consciousness. I was working on my ego and at the same time catching glimpses of my own spiritual awakenings; heal, feel and then let it go. There were a lot of first for me during these two weeks.
One of which was leading my first temascal and it was about silence. It was one of the hottest days of the week and I could feel the anxiety and some fear as I prepared to lead. I also felt the need for remembering the importance of ceremony before entering the womb of mother earth to lead a temascal. I felt good about my support team, Connie, Shannon and Junior. Their love would hold me up! I asked Junior to not fire it up so hot as I was concerned for myself and the participants getting over heated. A learning curve I’m sure but trying to keep my self awareness of health and limits. I could feel the intensity of the heat on my body as I entered. I chanted quietly to myself Eres Guerrera, you are a woman warrior and a spiritual being coming to cleanse yourself and to help others let go of all the unnecessary. It gave me strength to know lots of people were praying for me and knowing that I was not alone.
Although the temascal was meant to be silent, I led with four visualizations using the song Tierra Mi Cuerpo as a point of departure for participants to use as reflection and inner work. Tierra mi Cuerpo: Earth is my body, dirt is my body, mud is my body. What grows in the earth, what is growing in the mud. what is in the wet mud, what is in the dry broken mud. Is it the sprouting of a small tree, etc. Agua Mi Sangre: What flows in my veins, who am I, how healthy is my body, etc. Aire mi aliento. What do I breathe In? I am the wind, flying, moving everywhere and landing, Where do I want to be spiritually. Am I dancing freely like a feather? etc. Fuego mi Espiritu: What is my passion. What do I want for myself? What have I learned in these two weeks and what will i do with it? How much love do I enkindle in myself?
The silence in between each visualization and the hot vapors of rosemary water hitting the rocks felt cleansing and empowering of spirit as we shared the sweat of deep contemplation. And at the end, I used my drum too close with a chant and I could feel a sense of release and harmonization in every part of my body. I prayed that others were feeling the same. I had surrendered to mother earth and I was pain free, full of gratitude and full of peace as i said my last ometeotl for the night. I thanked the ancestors for new beginnings and possible new wisdoms.
I was also asked to present on Spirituality, Healing and integration on an unexpected panel, an unexpected presentation to the youth that are visiting from Mexico, and a planned workshop with my comadre Tonita. My life as an ordained priest, a Curandera and professed member of The St. Hildegard community were the highlights of my story and presentations. I felt orgullosa, proud that I could do it not only for my own growth but for others that are trying to figure out how all the pieces of their life dances can heal them a long the way.
One thing is for sure, I couldn’t have done the two weeks without the help of my comadres. I especially am grateful for my comadre Odillia who provided room and board. She reminded me everyday to hydrate, eat well and to pace myself. Every morning and evening we did a check in either sipping on a cup of coffee looking at the hummingbirds or sharing a sweet pan dulce or pie at the end of the day. My other comadres called, texted me, FaceTimed me, fed me at cracker barrel, flying star and little Anita’s and one of you even delivered to where I was seeing people for limpias. All done with love and I so appreciated each and everyone of you. I am forever grateful for all my relations and everything I learned in these past two weeks. Thank you for the water, for the fruit, for the listening when I needed to share, thankful for the love hugs and grateful for your willingness to sit with me in the deep dark places of my soul trying to grow, and trying to remember that we are the oneness and essence of all that is! Ometeotl!!!