Ruins, and Other Mystical and Geological Wonders
There is a special and profound energy running through the Central Valleys (Valles Centrales) of Oaxaca. (For a little orientation, the Central Valleys is a region in the state of the Oaxaca, home to important archaeological sites and the state’s capital city, Oaxaca City).
Call it what you will, this first became apparent to me when I visited the archaeological ruins of Monte Albán. Sitting high above the valley floor and still only partially excavated, the ruins reveal the greatness of one of the earliest Mesoamerican cities. The grandeur of the pyramids of Teotihuacán was astonishing, but the pyramid at Monte Albán moved me much more. At this time of year, the grass is dry and yellow, like a giant warm carpet stretching between monuments. The sun is incredibly intense at this altitude, but the overall quiet of the place lessens the harsh climate. I highly recommend a visit. On a Le Mondeur note, I picked up these incredible little wire work skeleton earrings from an artisan you can shop below. I am in love with them.
It is also well worth a trip to visit the Mitla archaeological site. It is unique in Mexico in that it features intricate and elaborate geometric designs and mosaics. Really gorgeous. In this village they also hand weave simple, gorgeous cotton dresses, of which I have two in bold colors.
Hierve el Agua is a bizarre but stunning natural rock formation with mineral pools in which you can bathe. Just don’t drink too many micheladas and slip over the edge, as I’m afraid some have in the past.
Of the many wonders of the Central Valley, one is little known to tourists but now legendary amongst my dear group of travel companions. While with our guide in Monte Albán, I got to talking to him about Zapotec healing practices. Gauging my curiosity and with a sick friend in tow, he offered to bring us to a healer he visits in a nearby village. I was absolutely interested, and we went. The healer operated out of a back room of an otherwise mundane bodega in a tiny village. You waited your turn on wooden benches next to refrigerators and junk food. I struck up a conversation with an elderly couple next to me while waiting. They had come from a nearby village to see the healer. I’m sure we were an unusual site to behold there. Our guide explained that the healer would perform cleansings as needed. Turns out that I, of course, needed a good, deep clean.
Everyone in our small group except one saw the healer. We each had a strong reaction—good, bad, skeptical. I, for one, found her to be quite spot on in her reading of me, and was thoroughly curious and in awe of the entire process, from the card reading on an ancient deck of cards (“Should she get a new one?” I thought to myself) to the whole egg and mezcal she used to cleanse me. She gave me an amulet for a specific purpose I won’t reveal here. She also instructed me to wear a crystal or silver around my neck, as I am too sensitive and take on everyone’s bad energy to the detriment of my health (true, true).
In case you’re wondering, I did end up with a crystal. I figured it couldn’t hurt since we were going surfing in unknown waters for the next several days. And to her credit, I was fine until the very moment I took off my crystal for dinner one night, at which point I became violently ill. So I’ll just wear the crystal from here on out. (I also got a tiny silver necklace with a tiny Guadalupe on it for safe measure, a miniature version of the gorgeous one for sale in the store).
--Jess, Founder & Principal Shopper