Mexico City, Mexico

When I traveled to Mexico City to visit my friend Charlene back in 2013, I was interested in immersing myself in various aspects of Mexican culture.

In addition to eating authentic Mexican foods, attending a Lucha Libre wrestling show, and drinking pulque at a pulqueria, I was also interested in some aspects of spirituality in Mexico. While walking around the Zócalo neighborhood of Mexico City, I stumbled upon a traditional healing ceremony taking place outside of the National Palace. The ceremony was called a ‘limpia’ (spiritual cleansing) and I was anxious to see what it is was all about.

Experiencing a Limpia (Spiritual Cleansing) in Mexico City

I approached the line of people waiting to receive a limpia and I eagerly joined them. I was eagerly anticipating my turn to receive a spiritual cleansing. While I was standing on the line, I was approached by individuals who were in charge of directing the lines for the healers; they handed me a pile of herbs and I was asked to give a donation to the healers who would be performing my limpia.

After a couple of minutes it was my turn to go experience the ritualistic limpia ceremony. As I approached and Aztec shaman healer, he removed the pile of herbs from my hands and began to rub my forehead down with them.  There was not much speaking that occurred between the shaman and myself outside of him asking if I spoke Spanish, to which I replied that I spoke a little bit.

The shaman proceed to rub the herbs around my entire body, and as he was doing so he held a large silver cup full of smoke in his hand that he blew toward me. I would later find out that the rubbing of the herbs signified evil and hostile forces being expelled from my body as my spirit was provided with strength.

As the limpia ritual came to an end, the shaman instructed me to stomp on the herbs, which signified crushing the evil and hostile forces that had just been eliminated from my body.

Have you ever participated in a spiritual cleansing before?