Tepoztlan, Mexico: nature, spirituality and blue corn
January 1, 1970
by Irimai Solari
I have been traveling through Mexico for more than a year by now, visiting and staying in beautiful places surrounded by nature, captured by it’s magic and beauty. The diversity of nature in Mexico is really stunning, so you can experience almost any kind of it: from the sweaty heat of the jungle in Chiapas and Yucatan, together with its paradise-like Caribbean beaches, to the cold vastness of Wirikuta desert and the enchantment of the forests, mountains and flowers in Morelos and Michoacan. Even though you can appreciate the beauty of Mexican nature wherever you go, there are some really unique places that deserve a special mention. And for me one of them is Tepoztlan.
Located in Morelos (Google Maps), just 1 hour from Mexico city by bus, it is a village surrounded by green mountains and rocks of exceptional beauty with a really special energy. As soon as you get there you can feel as if you were transported in space and time to a magic village from a fairy tale.
Historically, due to its smooth climate (Morelos is famous for being a region of “Eternal Spring”), it was a place of weekend residence for many high-class bohemians from Mexico City, so nowadays Tepoztlan still counts with numerous gardens and green spots as almost each mansion has a large plot. The nature expresses itself almost everywhere: through the majestic mountain tops that resemble ancient guardians of the valley turned into the rock, through the abundance of shadowy riversides that surprise you with enormous old trees (some of which may date up to 1000 years) and vivid vegetation, through butterflies and flowers of all colors that embellish almost every landscape.
One of the greatest places of interest in Tepoztlan is without any doubt the ancient prehispanic Pyramid located at the top of Tepozteco mountain (Wikipedia). Build by Chichimecas tribe, throughout the history it has been a place of pilgrimage for many spiritual seekers due to its special energy. A great place for trekking, Tepozteco mountain offers you a 30 minutes to 1 hour-long walk to it’s very top through countless steps of the stone stairs that leads to the Pyramid. From the top of the mountain you can also appreciate the panoramic view of the valley and all the surrounding mountains.
Tepoztlan surroundings keep many legends and mystic beliefs about the sacred places hidden among the beauty of its nature. If you are on your spiritual path, Tepoztlan is one of the best places for you to connect with the mystic forces of nature that, as Native Americans believe, have some special energetic points all over the Earth where all the ancient pre hispanic temples emerged and were later Christian temples were build. These forces, represented by the 4 elements (earth, water, fire and air) or the 4 directions (east, south, west and north), compound everything on the Earth both around and inside of us. So by getting in touch with nature and her forces we could heal and balance our inner world, both on a physical, mental and spiritual levels. And such places as Tepoztlan are ideal for establishing this spiritual connection with nature due to the energy that emanate there.
The mountains of Tepoztlan and the valley they form are believed to be the result of a volcanic eruption hundreds of thousands years ago. The soil and the rocks are rich in copper and iron (that is the reason of its reddish color), in fact, the name “Tepoztlan” in Nahuatl language means “a place full of copper”, so it already makes it a special place because of its electromagnetic field. You may be surprised as your cell phone suddenly turns off without any reason or you are out of range despite being in the very center of the village, so be ready to have trouble with any electronic devices you carry with you.
The mysticism, spirituality and “new age” style of living is widely spread in Tepoztlan: there is a broad offer of traditional temazcalli (sweat lodge) ceremonies, alternative healers, shamanic shops, there is a local organic market (“tiangis”) and several organic food shops, there many houses, healing and retreat centers built with sustainable technologies using organic or recycled materials. The alternative community is formed mostly by Mexicans who have come to live to Tepoztlan escaping from the chaos of the Mexico City and foreigners who come in search of spiritual experiences. As any other energetic point, Tepoztlan attracts both “light workers” and “witchcs”: there are both those who really help others by their healing work with humility, integrity and wisdom and those who do it for money while completely incompetent and ignorant about the responsibility it takes. So if you come to Tepoztlan in search of any mystic experience beware that and get to know the best option for you before you leap.
Another point of attraction of Tepoztlan is, of course, its cuisine. Famous for its blue corn tortillas made in a traditional artisan way from nixtamal (dough made directly by grinding corn, previously cooked with lime, unlike tortillas made from processed corn flour). You can choose between blue corn tacos, tlacoyos (corn dough stuffed with different fillings), itacates (triangular patties with or without fillings – typical Tepoztlan dish). There are many vegetarian o vegan options, as there is a huge variety of vegetable fillings. You can choose between beans, pumpkin flowers, champignons, nopales (steamed cactus leaves) or huitlacoche (a kind of fungus that grows on corn ear) among others. If you want to try itacates, being vegetarian or vegan, first ask if they are prepared with manteca (animal grease) or vegetable oil. Pulque, a fermented artisanal beverage made of agave is another must-try: it is an excellent source of vitamins and enzymes and a probiotic.
As I travel I always opt for places where I can calm my mind and meditate and Tepoztlan inspires me for communion with nature and time-less deep contemplation. So if you are familiar with any spiritual practice, like yoga or meditation, or just enjoy spending time in silence by yourself surrounded by nature, while walking, you will appreciate all the treasures that this place can give you and all the medicine it holds for re-gaining inner peace and practicing the art of presence and appreciation.