Basil, Crystals, and Spiritual Healing in Small Town Mexico

Basil, Crystals, and Spiritual Healing in Small Town Mexico

I’ve been feeling off lately. My motivation has shriveled up and died. Inspiration is nowhere to be found. I’m floating around, listless and detached from the world.

I’m not sure if this is due to my unexpected, nasty breakup, my indecisiveness over choosing a new travel destination, or if I’ve just hit a dip in the roller coaster of life.

It could be a combination of all those factors, or something else entirely. I really don’t know. I decide to seek some type of spiritual healing therapy as a step in the right direction. I need some positive energy flow back into my life.


Wandering through the streets of Valladolid, I come across a shop full of crystals with a sign outside advertising Reiki, among other spiritual practices. I step inside the modest space and immediately inquire about the therapies available.

I’m greeted by the shop owner, who prefers a bit of small talk before rattling off prices. He offers me a seat and talks about some of the cool spots to visit in the Yucatan region and telling me about his love of travel. He offers me a tourism magazine to browse while he assists another customer.

Catching my eyes roving over the hundreds of crystals he’s got displayed everywhere (I’m fascinated by rocks and crystals), he excitedly gives me a mini tour of some of his favorite pieces. He comes to work every day, he tells me, because he needs to always be creating something. He has a modest bench set up in the corner where he files and polishes the rocks and etches designs into them.


After we get to know each other better, he transitions into the healing process. First, he asks me to pick three small stones of different colors from a jar filled with at least a hundred. Each of the colors represents a different chakra.

I’m asked to hold my right arm straight out, parallel to the ground. He gives it light push, asking me to resist the force as much as possible. We repeat the process while I take turns holding each of the stones in my other hand. With the deep orange crystal in my hand, I’m completely unable to matintain resistance against the weight on my arm. He says the chakra that’s unbalanced is associated with the orange stone.

Next, he leads me into a second room separated from the first with a curtain drawn partway. In this space, there are several small bottles of oils set up along one wall. On the opposite, there is a chakra chart as well as photos of him performing rituals in Italy.

On the diagram next to each of the seven major chakras, there is an accompanying phrase which describes the result of an unbalanced chakra. Next to the 6th chakra which is tied to the color orange, it says guilt. He tells me that I’m feeling guilty about something that I’ve been holding onto. I need to let go of it.

Next, I’m asked to choose a card from the deck of cards resting on the table. He examines the one I choose for awhile. His interpretation is that that I find fault in everyone and that I should accept that neither I nor anyone else is perfect. I mull over that while he runs to the back to collect the herbs needed for the cleansing.

After a bit of shuffling, he directs me to stand with my arms out away from my body and my feet in line with my shoulders. He lights palo santo in a type of urn and blows the thick smoke at certain points on my body. A few embers fly out at my skin, making me flinch. I turn around and the process is repeated on my backside, then once again on the front.

Next, he pulls out a bundle of basil mixed with another sweet-smelling plant. It’s dipped in water, then smashed and ground into my head and flicked on various other parts of my body. I feel refreshed, like I just had a bath in a jungle. He tells me I had a lot of bad energy around me, which is why so many bits broke off.

The palo santo burning is repeated. I peek out from the corner of my eye warily, hoping another flaming speck doesn’t jump on me again.

He announces the session is over and suggests I come back for a few more because one won’t be enough. I figure as much.

He begins to close the shop and invites me to check out his house. I accept, and soon I am scampering to keep up with him as he power-walks through the extreme heat of Valladolid.

Valladolid Yucatan

Every so often, he looks back to assure me that we are almost there. I quickly realize that his encouraging words don’t actually mean that we are almost there. What he really means to say is, “I can tell you are tired and about to turn around, and thinking to yourself where the hell is this guy taking me… but don’t worry!”

Several blocks later, we turn onto a side street and he unlocks the gate surrounding his house. He leads me to a shady, overgrown backyard. I take a seat on the oversized hammock strung up in the garden. He proudly points to different trees, explaining the fruit that grows from them and when the last time they bore fruit was. He plucks a couple of small, green-skinned oranges from a tree in front of the hammock and we chomp on them in silence.

He invites me inside. The layout of the place is exactly like the home attached to his storefront. Living area, kitchen, and bathroom on the left, two bedrooms and another sitting area on the right. We take a seat in the front of the house while he shows off postcards from his last trip to Sardinia.

I cut the visit short and thank him for helping me. We hug. He again suggests I come back to his shop for another session.

But for now, I just want space. Feelings of guilt? Holding others to an unattainable standard? I have some reflecting to do…

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