In Honor of Xochipilli – God of Flowers, Love, Dance, Painting, Feasting, and Creativity:
June 20-July 1, 2016 in Guanajuato, Mexico
Day 1: Arrival in the City of Leon via Bajio Airport in Guanajuato State. Transfer to hotel. We will spend our first day exploring Leon and especially the creative, fanciful, and imaginative artisanal shoes and boots that are made there for the purpose of adorning the foot, one of the symbols that will inform our work creative, Expressive, and psychical work in Mexico. The foot connects us to the earth – Divine Mother Earth, and grounds us in relation to each other and the other life forms of the planet. The feet “stand for” who we are, and how we represent ourselves to others including our intentions and what is most important to us in life. Feet can be a sign of humility (as Christ washed the feet of the disciples and allowed a woman identified as prostitute to wash his own) and are also related to the erotic and a sexual symbol, the shoe – as we will see in the sculptural forms of the “tacones” (high heel) shoes and “Chihuahuense” boots offered in the streets of Leon. We will have time to visit shops selling footwear, clothing ,and jackets and if we wish place special orders that speak to “true” identities and authentic Selves to be picked up before our departure on our last day. Welcome dinner in a local restaurant.
Day 2: Breakfast in hotel. Continued exploration of Leon neighborhoods. Afternoon departure for Mineral de Pozos. Check into our Pozos hotel. Dinner in hotel or nearby location.
The region of Mineral de Pozos was first inhabited by indigenous groups including the Chichimecas, Huachichiles, Copuces, Guaxabanes, and Pames. The region was first colonized by Jesuit priests whose goal was to evangelize and Christianize the indigenous people. Once the Spanish realized the rich deposits of silver, mining was the primary activity in Pozos. When mining ceased, Mineral de Pozos became a “ghost town”. Recently it has become occupied and inhabited again. It is a town of spectacular ruins and beautiful light (if you are a photographer or a painter). Many current residents are artists and artisans. You can get a glimpse of Mineral de Pozos in the film made there, “And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself” featuring actor Antonio Banderas.
Day 3: We will experience the ritual of Temazcal led by a practitioner/specialist from the Chichimeca culture who lives in the community. Temazcal is an ancient ritual, rooted in the traditions of the original habitants of Mesoamerica. Temazcal is a ritual of cleansing and purification, and is also offered to promote healing. In the afternoon, we will learn from our teacher about traditional indigenous musical instruments and create some of our own. Practicing rhythms we will “get into our bodies”. In reflection on the experience, we will practice journaling using words and images, and movement. Dinner together with artists from the community. Overnight in Pozos Hotel (center of town).
Day 4 We will spend the morning and afternoon in the town of Mineral de Pozos. We will reflect on the beauty of the architectural ruins and the extraordinary quality of the light through photography, drawing and painting, movement, and writing. We will visit the studios of artists and craftspersons who make traditional indigenous musical instruments such as the ocarina, and will receive inspiration for out work with clay in Guanajuato. We will learn and participate in traditional indigenous dance. We will work multimodally together with other mediums and processes in the format of the Expressive Arts. Transfer to our San Miguel de Allende hotel.
Day 5: We will practice Embodied Imagination Dreamwork in the morning. In the afternoon, our dreamwork will inspire us as we create using traditional Popular Art Practices and materials making Nichos. Dinner in San Miguel and Transfer to our San Miguel de Allende Hotel.
Day 6: Transfer to Guanajuato. We will explore the city of Guanajuato, originally inhabited by the Chichimeca, Jonaz, Otomi, Nahuatl, Purepecha and other indigenous peoples. In the 1500’s, Spanish colonists began mining silver establishing mines and importing African people as slaves as a source of free labor. In contemporary times, Guanajuato is an art rich city. The annual Festival Cervantino presents theatrical works and dance. On weekend evenings, University Students parade through the streets playing Medieval instruments and singing. We will visit Diego Rivera’s childhood home, now a museum, art galleries, and also “El Museo de las Momias” (the mummy museum), an example of the Mexican culture’s fascination with death and the other world. We will begin the process of preparing to make our mole – shopping in the market for ingredients: chiles, chocolate,and nuts.
Day 7: The oven has been likened to the womb with respect to its transformative powers. In the oven, raw material (clay, dough, glass, metal) is changed to become something new. Taught by a traditional Mexican artisan we will will learn bread making. We will mix dry and wet ingredients to prepare the dough, kneading it into our bodies as we focus on our hopes and intentions as the dough moves through our hands. We will sculpt it as an Expressive material, creating the forms that arise from inspiration within ourselves. As it rises we will realize the power of our intentions to create something that grows and becomes greater in the process of making. And as we wait, we will practice movement, voice work, improvisation and storytelling. We will wait as it is transformed in the womb-oven, and then we will share what we have made and baked with each other. We will also save a loaf in order to participate in a ritual designed to call forth our dreams- also called a “dream incubation’ among depth psychology dreamwork practitioners.
Dreaming Bread: To make Dreaming Bread, make one round loaf. As we knead the dough we will concentrate of the kind of dreams we want to have. When baked, we will cut the bread into three pieces and take a bite out of each piece. The remaining pieces are put under the pillow at night as long as we do not speak between eating the bread and sleeping we will have the kinds of dreams we hope to have.
Day 8: Making Mole and Ocarinas: We will tell stories and explore the archetypal aspects of totem animals, (the animals with whom we have a special relationship) and discern that which one resonates with us and with whom we have an affinityand a special felt relationship. Led by a traditional practitioner, we will work with clay, creating a personal ocarina, a traditional indigenous wind instrument. We will fire it in a womb-oven. We will mix and then cook our mole ingredients alchemically, stirring Expressively as the elements are transformed into a delicious creation. For a preview of the process of alchemical cooking and emotional expression, view the film Like Water for Chocolate, based on Laura Esquivel’s book. Dinner together as a group.
Day 9: We will finish decorating our Ocarinas and will also participate in Traditional Mexican Popular Art Mask Making and other practices. We will produce a “Dinner Theater” as a group as we create a play via improvisation as we assume the personas of the characters represented by our masks.
Day 10: Transfer to the town of Cortazar, Guanajuato for a day of Multimodal Expressive Arts and Popular Arts Activities with members of the Cortazar community. Transfer to Leon Hotel.
Day 11: Final day in Leon for shopping, picking up special orders. Farewell Dinner.
Day 12: Transfer to Airport for Departure.