For To Get Clean / by Julie Conquest

Over the years, I often seek to celebrate the transition between years of life by trying something new. I am open to all suggestions and I have tried things like sky diving, oxygen bars, floatations chambers. In March, I was able to experience a traditional cleansing with the indigenous healers in Ecuador.  


My friend Francesca advised that cleansings were excellent for transitions and clearing energy. So we walked up a hill towards a mountain peeking out over Quito and before the streets ended we entered a large, modern marketplace. At the back of the store the indigenous healers who were all women, have stalls outside which their patients wait. Fortunately I was able to get in to see Francesca's favorite and she ushered me in to a curtained area of a small stall and requested me to disrobe. When she returned she had several branches of stinging nettle that she began to slap across my body, requesting me to turn continually. The itch grew to a burn and soon my body was alight. When she finished she ask me to spit on the stinging nettle three times and then she threw it on the ground.  


Then my healer repeated the process with several other plants. On the other side of the curtain a small baby cried and its mother tried to quiet it. After my body was brushed with several more plants, my healer shoved rose pettles into the top of my head before taking a generous swig of what I assume is a kind of floral concoction in an alcohol base. She then puffed out her cheeks and spat the liquid all over my body as I again turned. She did this several times and then motioned I could get dressed. My body was dripping and burning, covered in leaves and pettles. Next to me the baby was getting the same treatment.  

When I finished my healer recommended a special soap and a bracelet to protect me from bad energy. Guess which one:


She also suggested I return the next day, just to snuff out all the questionable energy. I wasn't able to make it, but I think that just gives me a reason to return before too long.