MAZATEC SIERRA RETREAT TESTIMONIALS
"I had finally reached a point in my life where it was time to take this journey. It had been shown to me a couple of times over the last few years, however, I always had an excuse. Financial, time off, other responsibilities, and whatever other reasons my ego could come up with. This time was different. I hit such a low, that I had no reason not to go. Once I set the intention, everything else just came together.
On the Saturday that I met Mario, Rocio and the other companions, I felt at “home”. We embarked on a road trip from Mexico City to Mazatec Sierra. The energy was strong with the group and we shared our “whys” for coming on this experience. I had clear intentions from the beginning, to heal my past and open myself up to love. Love of self, love to others, love from others. And quite honestly, just get the heck out of my own way and live my life authentically and with integrity of self.
Arriving at the foot of the mountains, my anticipation grew as we traveled up the mountain road. The energy shifted the further into the mountains we drove. You could feel the magic. You could sense that they had been waiting for us.
Upon arriving at the host family’s home late in the evening, I could immediately feel the love and energy from these beautiful people and I felt very welcomed. The conditions were austere and yet comfortable. It is a simple life they live and exactly where I needed to be.
At this point, I want to shift my thoughts to my experience and not so much what we did on a daily basis. I feel it is important to not reveal too many details of the journey. The description of the workshop tells you all you need to know.
Every day I learned something new about myself and my perspective of the life I live and the world I reside in. I was pushed past my comfort zones, stayed open to “not-doings”, and learned to keep my attention in the moment. When my ego pushed back, I learned how to transmute that energy into a positive perspective that not only benefitted me but others too.
Through the sacred plant ceremonies, I experienced death (metaphorically) and it was beautiful. I was reborn and it was beautiful. I grew wings to fly free and it was beautiful. I saw my soft feminine side and it was beautiful. I saw that I have so much love to give myself and to others and it was beautiful.
The week experience provided so many gifts. The beauty and sacredness of the land etched into soul. My family expanded. I had a new home. My past was healed. I saw life without attachments and expectations. I was open to new possibilities of love.
It has been a month since I have travelled back to Texas and living my “new” life. I approach most situations from a new perspective. I share my experiences openly when asked. I live my life authentically. I smile and love with a heart I never knew possible. Friends and family are consistently commenting on how I have “changed”. I am lighter, both literally and figuratively. I have exercised almost every day since returning. Gaining strength, health and fitness. I am proactive in creating the life as I have always wanted. It is almost automatic without having to “think” about it. I am exploring and experiencing love on a cosmic and transcendental plane. I have changed on a cellular level and my consciousness is expanding. My soul hungers with desire to continue on the path of the strategic warrior. I am returning soon for more workshops and without hesitation, would do this experience again."
- Katie Bozath
San Antonio, Texas. USA
Harlem, N.Y. USA
Enamored with the Dia de los Muertos celebration here in the
U. S., appreciating its veneration and remembrance of Ancestors, I was very pleasantly surprised to learn via Con Ciencia Indigena’s mailing list, an opportunity to witness the Days of the Dead ritual ceremony in the Mazatec Sierra, Oaxaca, Mexico was made available and I jumped on it.
I traveled to Mexico City to meet my guides Mario and Rocio, two very beautiful people I would come to know and appreciate, with a very heavy heart.
Tragically, and very suddenly, my brother Brian (11 months younger than I), had just died three days earlier. I arrived in Mexico both distraught and conflicted for I had left my family, fortunately with their graces and agreeance to delay Brian’s services until I return, to be with a family in the Mazatec that didn’t know me.
Not only is “The Mazatec Days of the Dead” an experiential retreat, it is very much a workshop. Prior to meeting our hosts in the Mazatec, Senora Julia and her very beautiful family, I was privileged to meet Katie and Carlos, my companions and fellow work-shoppers who assisted me in my healing and learning process. Very early into my stay, I knew I was in great care.
Who knew so much beauty and merriment and fun could be had in a cemetery; I didn’t until I experienced it. It was an honor and a privilege to assist in restoring two burial plots to their former beauty. We removed years of candle wax from the plots, cleaned them, and repainted them. When the marigolds were added as copal waft in the air and as finger foods were hawked and consumed and neighboring music swaying us all, the love in this space was tangible and heartfelt and indeed a celebration of life and festivity. And all before the three-day celebration.
So I came to Mexico with a heavy heart; my brother was dead. What I learned in the Mazatec Sierra through their customs and beliefs that the Fiesta de Muertos is a time, a portal, that allows the souls of their deceased loved ones to be inhabited by “Huehuentones,” to be among the living again, to enjoy their families, favorite foods, and fun (merriment). I talked quite a bit to my brother during this time. I was in a space to believe he sat with me. That he wasn’t dead; that we just were. Illusory or not, I welcomed it!
The opportunity to imbibe plant medicines definitely added to my heighten sense of awareness. As many of you who would read this are aware, the Mazatec Sierra is the home of Maria Sabina, and our hostess Senora Julia is no less the “Curandera” than she. Both beautiful and telling, Senora Julia has but one rule in her home and that is, “there will be laughter!” Beyond the laughter and graciousness and hospitality, what I experienced most in her home was love. It just so happened that I had my 58th birthday while in the Mazatec Sierra and I was celebrated with cake and revelry.
On my actual birthday we hiked to an underground cave system and navigated our way to an extraordinary find; a huge opening extending out of the cave as if a portal. Oh, I would be remiss if I didn’t add upon our arrival in the Mazatec Sierra we went to a sacred mountain range, a portal to “Chicon Nindo” to ask for permission to travel throughout these lands, for safe passage, and for whatever blessings that might be bestowed
(I received mines)!
My time in the Mazatec Sierra was very personal, enlightening, and familial; you may find your time there to be as well!
- R. Earl Harris
Harlem, New York. USA
Playa del Carmen, Mex.
"If you decide to take this trip you are going into an intense, maybe life changing journey full of insights, beauty and connection with the yet unknown!
I have known Mario and Rocío for many years and worked with them in other occasions. I also know the Sierra Mazateca but have never known about that specific place, and it didn´t take much to convince myself to go. Honestly it surpassed my expectations: The powerful purity of this place keeping itself simple and conscious about the treasure it has and represents, the family to who we were hosts in its loving way showing an incredible hospitality, the impressive nature of mountains and rain forests within the clouds, their powerful healing, secrets and teachings.
Before each sacred plant ceremony we did an intense Temazcal, which is a local, traditional kind of sweat lodge which can be very strong, and in addition we do a fasting. We did several attention walks through mountains to reach cascades, caves, and most important, Chicon Nindo, the power place of the whole Mazatec Sierra, to make offerings and ask for permission.
Those mountains I left with important insights which I got with the help of sacred plants and the conscious focus and work we faced the ceremonies. It has been like a break from every day routine and ego, but not in a way someone would spend just some beautiful vacations, but something much deeper, shifting my own being and trying to push it to another level, transcending the issues one might bring and showing solutions. The way teaching arrives can be quite powerful in occasions, but in its bottom always in a loving way and with unconditional assistance from Mario and Rocío who never act as “teachers” but friends, and also from the indigenous Mazatec family of which every member, even the animals of the house, have an amazing natural, open and friendly energy, and area blessing and teaching by themselves.
The last day is not really an end, because everything is also meant to give continuity to what one has lived there, giving it shape inside everyday life and so transforming it for good, and now with new energy, more consciousness, and tools.
My thanks goes to Mario and Rocío, the family, and those magic mountains!"
- Elias Siebenborn
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Brooklyn, N.Y., USA
"I had a very wonderful experience on the Sierra Mazateca journey with Mario & Rocio! It is such a heavenly place, up in the clouds where the eagles soar. Waking up to the beautiful and expansive view of the mountains was such a soothing feeling. So different then looking at the crowded buildings of NYC. And I enjoyed the cool evenings under the starry night sky. The nature is incredible there! The waterfall seems to get more and more majestic each time I see it (I’ve taken this trip with them 4 times, 4 years in a row)! And I always enjoy bringing offerings to the sacred mountain, Chicon Nindo, honoring the area, its traditions, and my intentions for growth and healing.
The opportunity to stay with a traditional Mazatec family is such a privilege. And what a beautiful family they are! The matriarch of the family is a kind, loving woman who graciously welcomed us into her home, and prepares delicious meals with the help of her family. Her compound includes four of her children, and their sweet children as well! There are even plenty of animals that live peacefully with the family. I’ll never forget the image of a mother hen protecting 6 chicks that completely disappeared under her wings to sleep. It was so adorable when one or two peaked out, as I went to take a picture!
Living in New York City, it is mandatory to sneak away with Mario & Rocio when I’m able, to commune with nature. Their guidance on how to connect deeply with all the elements of nature, and with using the Toltec tools to grow in consciousness is truly invaluable. “To learn to walk is to learn to live.” Even just taking an attention walk is a huge and important life lesson. It’s imperative to stalk the mind and learn its tricks to be able to outsmart it!
The Mazatec have a long tradition of using Los Niños Santos (Sacred Plants) in their spiritual ceremonies. On this journey we are able to share in their ancient tradition. Somehow power plants connect to me in a very subtle yet powerful way. Each time I’ve been to the Sierra Mazateca, I have left with an important insight regarding exactly where I am in life. And Mario & Rocio equip me with the ancient Toltec tools & strategies that I need to continue to take actions in my daily life towards healing and raising my consciousness.
Before each ceremony we were able to do a temazcal (natural sauna). It was such an honor to be able to participate in this special tradition. Our temazcal was made using wood and leaves from the sounding area, and special stones were heated inside. It was so fun throwing water on the stones and circulating the hot air around by fanning it with leaves! And although the entire trip was a bonding experience with the other people on the healing journey with me, these saunas were truly intimate moments. Each time I go, it’s amazing how the other people on the trip seem to add to my healing journey. It’s magical how we all wind up together and somehow help each other face our battles. Or how we somehow mirror each other in a way that teaches invaluable lessons.
I really hope I’m able to return to the Sierra Mazateca next year as well. I look forward to reveling in nature again, on this lush mountain retreat! And I look forward to the endless wisdom and guidance that Los Ninos Santos, Mario and Rocio always provides. They are truly a gem. A gift to be valued, treasured and shared!!!"
- Ashonda Davenport
Brooklyn, New York. USA
Harlem, N.Y. USA
"I had the most beautiful, authentic, easy, and loving experiences of my life with Mario and Rocio during the Mazatec Healing Sacred Plant Retreat in July 2019.
Deep in Mexico and high up in the mountains of the Mazatec Sierra is one of the most naturally unfiltered and unobstructed places on earth....and I was there! I was there because I was supposed to be there: meeting the people I met and experiencing the experience I experienced. I have only lived in one place, one city my entire life, New York City as known as the concrete jungle, so I knew very little about Nature firsthand. I did not fully understand just how powerful, beautiful, fierce, inviting, nurturing and healing Nature truly is.
During my time in the sierra I was able to connect to a natural part of me that needed less of everything except my own strength and knowingness.
I was physically challenged during the hikes or 'Nature Walks' which activated my mind and spirit to work in one accord for my physical safety and well-being. Looking back now, I can see that my mind, body and soul was in complete alignment. I had to trust myself and my body, I had to trust the people I was with and more importantly I had to trust Nature and the universe in a way the I never had to in my life.
I had to surrender in the moment that although what I was doing was challenging and very unfamiliar, I was not put in this situation to be harmed or hurt in anyway. I was put in this situation to move and grow. All the forces that had conspired to have me there did so with good intentions for my spirit and my life. So with that knowingness I relaxed into that powerful feeling and let go of control and I made it through each step and each challenge unscathed and with a smile on my face because I WAS DOING IT!!!
During my trip I connected to the pure source of the wellspring of life, energy and love. It was a place where no negativity, illness, sin, lack, doubt, fear or hate can exist. It was pure energy and love in motion and its only mission was to transform and rebirth any living thing or being that came into contact with it into more love, more energy and more light thus a new life.
This experience and trip will be in my heart of hearts (my temple heart) for the rest of my life. I can always refer to it for strength and whenever I need to restore my energy. It's an experience that will keep on giving to me for years to come. My experience challenges me to do better and think higher in my everyday life, even when I am in a low place in my mind and I don't have the energy to do better and think higher in the moment. The door to my experience in the Mazatec Sierra cracks open and if I open the door wider and walk through it I can begin to get me together again.
For this trip to be successful for me I had to surrender and let go of resistance and the fear of the unknown before I even got on the plane from New York City to Mexico City (one great city to another). I was excited, calm, and in a sense fearless about the next minute, the next hour and the next day during my entire time there and my return home. That is not how I am usually attending to my daily day-to-day life at home in my familiar surroundings, yet it is how I desire to be every minute of everyday...walking a path of least resistance. Thank God I actually did it before so I can do it again and again and again and again! :)
Thank you Mario and Rocio for all that you do!
You both are truly amazing!"
- Brandy Elis
Harlem, New York. USA