In my previous post, I reviewed the hot-off-the-press Naked at Lunch by Mark Haskell Smith. I’d like to return to the book for a moment as a way of introducing this post. Smith, in a chapter about the future of social nudism, quotes a well-known voice of naturist philosophy, Mark Storey, on a rather pessimistic note: “California is becoming more and more Hispanic, and that’s going to have an impact on cultural values. It’s going to be a struggle for naturism because it just isn’t a part of Latin American culture” (p. 265).
I agree with Storey regarding everything else he says in his interview with Smith, and I hold great respect for all his work at TNS, as a naturist activist, and as a widely recognized and highly prolific scholar of naturism; however, I disagree with him on this particular point. There are certain nations that are quick off the lips of naturist historians: Ancient Greece, Germany, France, the UK, the US, maybe India. But all countries and regions have traditions related to social nudity. Where there are humans, there are ways of practicing nudity socially, and one of my aims in this blog is precisely to highlight naturist traditions and ideas from those “other” regions, especially Latin America. Click on the label link “Americas” for more than a dozen posts on this blog related to naturism in Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela. Why is it that Spencer Tunick can marshal his largest crowds for nude photo shoots in Mexico, of all places? Mexico, Spain, Brazil, Portugal, and other Catholic countries are in some ways much less hindered by religion in their attitudes toward social nudity than the US with its prudish Puritan-tinged prurience, its “illogical legal system made bitter by a dash of Puritanism,” as Smith describes it (Naked at Lunch p. 256).
I can concede that some areas of Latin America are only now getting started with official naturist organizations. Mexico, for example, has a brand new naturist organization, the Federación Nudista de México, based in Mexico City and just starting to grow into a countrywide umbrella organization for naturists. This is great. It’s important for Mexicans to be able to organize their own groups related to social nudism. And yet, I notice that the AANR regions page has divided up the Mexican states and added them rather specifically yet nonchalantly to several US regions. For example, the AANR-Southwest description declares: “Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. Mexico: east of a north-south line drawn through Juarez except the three eastern-most States.” Does anyone know what’s going on? The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed in 1848, for crying out loud. In fact, not just California, but all of the US has a growing Latino population. It’s a good idea to understand new social nudist initiatives being promoted by Latinos in the US as well as in Latin America and elsewhere, since all people of a certain age who use social media, regardless of ethnic background, can be exposed to information about social nudist clubs, venues, activities, and most importantly, attitudes.
And so with that preamble, here is some specific information about a recently opened naturist locale in Mexico and its incorporation of an ancient Mesoamerican way of being nude socially:
La Hermosura (The Beauty) is the name of a new naturist retreat and spa not far from Guadalajara, Mexico’s second-largest city and capital of the state of Jalisco. Designed as a clothing-optional bed-and-breakfast, La Hermosura is a small property, recently developed, with panoramic views of the mountain range la Sierra Norte de Jalisco.
|Open view of the Sierra Norte de Jalisco|
Perhaps the property’s most unique feature is that it was designed around the practice of the temazcal, a Mesoamerican kind of sweat bath (photos below). I wrote a post a few years ago about the tradition of the temazcal. The temazcal (tay mahz KAHL) at La Hermosura was commissioned and constructed according to all the traditional procedures, including the spiritual ones, such as specific offerings placed underneath the “abuelitas” (stones), and the sounding of the conch shell to the seven directions.
The proprietor of La Hermosura, Coyohtli Petlauhtinemi (a Nahuatl name meaning “Path of the Naked Coyote”), shared a few images with me to include here. Open-air group exercise, such as the clothing-optional sun salute below, are great ways of introducing people to the benefits of social nudism.
On the site for the Federación Nudista de México, you can see that nude temazcal events are popular and sponsored at several locations including the Mexico City area. Mexico’s answer to the Scandinavian sauna, the temazcal is a terrific example of an ancient practice that is being recuperated as a unique way of introducing a new generation to social nudism.