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witchy women

road vogue

 


greenpoint manager caroline embarks on spiritual retreat. she soaks up the sun and brushes up on her witch skills in oaxaca, mexico


destination:
mazunte, a small beach town in oaxaca, mexico with a 24 hour layover in mexico city

purpose of journey: a solo adventure to pause and integrate the tectonic shifts of my first year as a parent, commune with the sun in the dead of winter, and brush up my witch skills co-led by my wonderful friend luke simon at maha rose’s outpost in oaxaca.

never travel without: 2 giant scarves, aka a beach blanket, headwrap, sarong and halter top in one.

favorite outfit you packed: rainbow mesh dress that brought 70’s roller girl vibes to the meditation circle.

how many pairs of shoes: 2: white birkenstocks and black slip-on sneakers. i literally only wore my sneakers in and out of new york though - i was barefoot or in birkenstocks the whole time i was in mexico.

what were you listening to: kirtan devotional chanting, mexican radio, songs we sang together campfire style, and some mariah carey dropped in at key moments. kirtan is a sanskrit call and response form of chanting to clear your mind.

favorite meal: every single thing i ate was fantastic. the chilaquiles from a hole in the wall in roma norte were amazing. the retreat manager and chef clare kutsko at la secreta prepared our meals so lovingly with super fresh ingredients. eating fresh tortillas with every meal was heavenly! ultimately though, my favorite meal was simply fresh papaya on my first morning in oaxaca. i cut it in the pre-dawn darkness above the camp stove in my room and ate it on my way to the beach for sunrise.

highlight of the trip: the ritual of waking up under my mosquito net in the dark at 6am exactly (my body is used to this because of having a 1-year-old baby!), making tea and cutting up fruit on my camp stove without turning on any lights, and walking down to the beach to watch the sunrise every day.




 
it was cold and rainy when i left my apartment in new york, but as my plane was taxiing the sun came out and an incredible double rainbow encircled the runway. everyone on the plane was so excited! it felt like an auspicious way to begin the trip.




the flight to mexico city was long and i was in a daze when i checked into my hotel after midnight. in the morning it felt like magic to wake up and open my door to a balmy open-air courtyard filled with plants, birds, and the most delicious fresh fruit i’ve ever eaten





i spent the morning walking around roma norte, and then hopped in a cab to casa azul; the frida kahlo museum in coyacan where she grew up and spent a large portion of her working life. it was so incredible to walk through the home that was such an inextricable part of her life and work as an artist. from left to right: a self-portrait detailing the layers of pins, casts, and corsets she lived with as a result of the bus accident that shattered her body as a teenager. her death mask - indigenous woven fabric displayed on her bed; a family portrait of her mother’s family in the traditional oaxacan dress she later adopted for herself.

 


mazunte is a small town an hour away from the airport. my flight from mexico city got in at 6 pm and i could see the sun setting through the jungle as my cab wove through the oaxacan countryside. it was dark by the time i got out to mazunte. i followed the sound of voices up a dirt road that led to la secreta. the next morning i woke up at 6 am and, still in the dark, walked back down the dirt road following the sound of the waves until i reached the ocean. watching the sun rise over the water after arriving and waking in the dark was beyond words. i took these pictures when i got to the beach, but after that, i put my phone away and barely touched it. luckily, photographer tom kubik was also on the retreat, and he documented our time there beautifully. the rest of these photos are his. 


photo by tom kubik


photo by tom kubik

there was a little cafe and hostel looking out over the beach that served espresso, chilaquiles and fresh fruit. i got coffee after watching the sunrise and it felt like a whole day had already gone by. several of us came to the beach on our own for the sunrise and we found each other at the cafe for breakfast, this was a lovely way to begin the day.

photo by tom kubik


photo by tom kubik
the retreat was co-led by luke and adriana rizzolo. they created a fun space to be a portal into creativity, the divine feminine, healing, and magic. their personalities and the energy at la secreta was all of the above! they worked together to pull off a supercharged week of plumbing emotional depths, casual mystery, and total summer camp sleepover vibes.

 

photo by tom kubik
after solo sunrise rituals and coffee, we met back at la secreta for yoga in the palapa overlooking the town and beach. barefoot with scarves or my mesh dress was the look! our afternoons were filled with playing at the beach, lazing by the pool, or exploring the town. in the evenings we met again for breathwork, meditation, kirtan, writing and ritual. every day felt radically different even within this structure, and 4 days felt like a whole month.



photo by tom kubik


photo by tom kubik
mazunte is on the coast of a southern point where it is possible to watch the sun rise and set on different beaches. it felt like the sunrise and sunset were the main events of each day, with everyone in town congregating to watch. there was a very sweet vibe to the simplicity and total wonder of the experience. how different each day was from the last astounded me.



photo by tom kubik

we hiked over a rocky path in the near dark out to punta cometa for sunrise on the final day of the retreat, the view when we reached the point blew our minds. we saw wild horses and a lone motorcycle silhouetted against the brightening sky as we sat in silence on the cliffs jutting out over the ocean.



photo by tom kubik


photo by tom kubik

that night we hiked back out to the point for sunset. we climbed down to a rocky enclave at the base of the point where there is a shallow pool called “the jacuzzi”. the whirlpool effect created by waves crashing through rocks that hold it apart from the open ocean give it its name. we all swam and splashed like mermaids and cat gave us full ariel on the rocks!



we stayed in mazunte an extra day after the retreat ended, which was a wonderful way to ease back into the rhythm of daily life after the deep intention and structure of our days at la secreta. we spent the afternoon at another hotel with an infinity pool looking out over the ocean where luke took this picture of cat and i living our best lives.




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photos by tom kubik