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Healing at the Casa Holística Sol May 10, 2013

Posted by Tracy in : Healing retreats , trackback "La Sirena," sunrise on the Malecón, Barra de Navidad (Tracy Barnett photo)

BARRA DE NAVIDAD, Jalisco, Mexico – A pair of roosters herald the dawn as I curl among the blankets in the Universe Room of the Casa Holistica Sol. The vibrant magenta beginning to streak the sky outside my arched window and the faraway rhythm of waves on the sand is call to me, and I quickly grab my camera and binoculars and head out to explore this little Pacific paradise.

It was not my intention to be here now but I had recently befriended the proprietor of this place, a warm and winsome wise-woman and healer by the name of Lucero, and she had whisked me away from my home in the highlands. It would be an all-too-brief stay – I had to be home in less than 48 hours, and 10 of that would be the journey to Barra and back again – but it was worth it.

IMG_1253Lucero, whose name means star, is a modern-day shaman who invokes the ancestors from the depths of the adobe temazcal in her courtyard. Brilliant hibiscus are in full bloom, and the soothing sounds of Deva Primal blend with the trickle of the waterfall. In the background, an indigenous woman with an uncanny resemblance to Lucero looks down from a mural, lifting her smoking, copal-filled censer to the heavens.

This is the inner sanctum of the coastal sanctuary she has created, a huge light-filled Mexican-style healing space, a rambling structure with pristine white walls decorated with brilliant blues and warm yellows. Each guest room has a name and a mural to match; mine, El Universo, featured a seated figure in a blue glow, all seven chakras alight. Next time, I will choose La Tierra, with its patio overlooking the courtyard and a mural depicting the healing hands of Lucero and the stone-studded dome of the temazcal.


Her plan was to show me the highlights of her town, treat me to seafood dinners on the coast and pamper me with a luscious massage and a temazcal before sending me back home. How could I resist? We were well on our way to accomplishing this goal with a sumptuous lunch of huachinango with mojo de ajo, ceviche tostadas and a couple of cold Coronas under a spacious palapa on the outskirts of town. A sunset swim at the beautiful Hotel Barra de Navidad, in a warm pool overlooking the ocean, sharing stories and agua de coco in Lucero’s ample comedor and the day was gone.


A cruel twist of fate, however, had Lucero bedridden most of the next day with a terrible flu virus, so I was on my own for most of the day. My friend managed to rouse herself enough to make the trip to neighboring Melaque, home to her favorite seafood restaurant, Freddy’s, where we ordered takeout: a luscious seafood cocktail with octopus, scallops and shrimp, and a plate of the freshest oysters I’ve ever eaten, for me; and chicken soup from the market for Lucero.

By nightfall she had roused herself for one of her favorite healing rituals – this time, to heal herself. Pelón, the gentleman who has been helping her around the house for the past decade, built the fire. Soon Lucero was ready with her censer, cleansing us both with the pungent smoke of the copal. She handed me a piece of the incense-like sap, powerful in its memory-evoking abilities, and I followed her into this womb of the Mother Earth.

She invited me to offer my copal to the fire with my intention for this temazcal, which was dedicated to me. She blew out the candle and we faced each other in the darkness and the intense heat. Four rounds of prayers and songs, drumming and chanting followed. Our dreams and our prayers, our sweat and our tears mingled in the vapors of the temazcal.

The heat was a powerful yet enervating force. I emerged spent but cleansed from the inside out. Lucero amazingly seemed to have regained her energy through all of this and as I lay on the straw mat, a melted puddle of me, she headed for the kitchen. I slowly regained consciousness as she bustled about, warming up a delicious fruit punch and a plate of the sweetest papaya sprinkled with dried fruits. I felt more relaxed than I’d been in months; the insomnia and restlessness of nights past were all but forgotten.

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I slept like a baby and awoke to another rosy dawn, this time taking Lucero’s bike to wander the early-morning streets and to watch the red highlights of the sunrise dancing on the waves from the malecón.

Time to buy my bus ticket home and to check on Lucero – who awoke almost her old energetic self. She was disappointed at not having given me the promised massage – but what she had given me was much better. A bonding in the heart of the temazcal, a brief escape to a place beyond time, and a lesson in self-healing I will take with me always.

For more information or to book your stay, see Casa Holistica Sol’s website.

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1. Alexis Vera - May 13, 2013

Wonderful story, Tracy.
I spent several days with my girfriend at Lucero’s Casa Holistica Sol last winter and it was magical. We experienced the warm of her personality and house. It was one of my best trips ever, thanks to the magic of Barra and the openness of Lucero. She and my girfriend, Paola, now email each other quite regularly. I would love to go back.

2. Michael - May 14, 2013

I totally agree. Thank you

3. Rick Worrall - June 24, 2013


I sure will put this on my next trip list of “to does”.

I really like the short videos, a nice touch.


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