The second issue of Hamam is packing some serious heat. The new issue shares thoughtful insights on bathing rituals, interviews from some of our favorites, and the exploration of bathing as an art form.
We're feeling inspired! Take it from the editor:
“The aspen tree is relatively resilient to fire’s threat because if its low-flammability bark, high water content, and lack of volatile chemicals present in some other forest fuels. Recently and for the first time, my eyes gazed into the windows to the souls of this magnificent organism –the largest on this planet–as it transitioned from shimmering lures to bursts of yellow painting the Sangre de Cristos. Like the phoenix rising from the ashes, aspen communities flourish after a fire–an important lesson about resilience after trauma.
Heat both transforms and destroys, cleanses and punishes. My bathing ritual–and quite possibly my spiritual rebirth–began in a dark banya off Tenth Street in New York’s East Village, where an eternal flame made rocks glow and the sizzling stream has been cooking humans since the late nineteenth century. In Japan, you have not stayed in hot water long enough unless you have achieved yudedako, which translates to “boiled octopus.“ A platza master is equal parts naturalist bodyworker and mind melter, fanning a bouquet of leaves that pushes such extreme heat, some people hallucinate and every so often pass out. When I was learning the ways of the venik, a woman on whom I performed her first steam treatment told me those seven minutes in the sauna changed her life.
Today we see heat out of balance in nature, with perilously less harmony than is so desperately required: toxic air, blood-orange sunsets, skies over California previously imagined only in apocalyptic films. Fire, early humanity’s most important discovery, will force millions of humans and other species to move or risk extinction. I have a hard time not fixating on all that suffering. I like to think Jung would say that this is fine, as that focus would allow me to better understand suffering as a gateway to liberation. Maybe this could even help us overcome, evolve, and grow. I am hopeful that these times of tempering we face in different ways will bring strength and renew the bonds among us all.”