Sitting in the water on a seat that is half submerged, the bar tenders walk back and forth in the pool bar tipping Bacardi and Vodka bottles and brightly colored syrups over the rims of delicate cocktail glasses. I have always loved swim up bars. I remember the first time I saw one. My parents had taken me to a resort in Mexico. I was 11 years old and I drank a virgin pina colada out of a pineapple with a straw. I was a selective mute as a child. So I didn’t say anything. But I remember feeling like it was magic. I was from a rural town where that kind of thing could never be dreamed of. The excitement and luxury danced around inside me. I didn’t want to finish the drink because I wanted it to last forever. Now if I ever visit a place with a swim up bar, that same 11 year old wakes up in me. And today here I am sitting at one again. I am in the main pool of The Springs Resort and Spa in Arenal, Costa Rica. The sweetness of chilled pineapple juice on my tongue. Behind me, the jade colored water of the hot springs are steaming. Beyond that, a wall of vibrant green tropical ferns and heliconia. And beyond that, as if trying to conquer the sky, the ashen slopes of the Arenal Volcano.
There are some views that are so beautiful they hurt to look at. The views in Arenal are like that. It’s what you would imagine Eden to look like. The richness of them hurts the senses. I have been blessed in that I have seen many of these iconic natural features around the world. When it comes to monolithic mountains (which are my favorite of all), there is always this feeling that life itself gathers at their feet in reverence. There is an element of godliness about them. Not a gentle godliness, a fierce godliness. A godliness to be both feared and venerated. They stand like deities ruling over the town or city below. The Arenal Volcano is no exception. At a certain point, the blanket of jungle peels back from its slopes as if unworthy to go any further. Black gorges have formed through the vegetation. It is very much alive. You can feel its aliveness, like a king who is capable of great vengeance but whom happens to be in a good mood today. When this king is in a good mood, he shares his energy with his subjects. Everything the thermal energy of this volcano touches is imbued with the energy of the mantle of the earth. The food that is grown here and the water that flows here is graced with this sacred mineral energy. I have spent only an hour in these mineral hot springs and I feel revived.
Every so often I can hear the bellowing of a howler monkey in the jungle that surrounds the river below the main resort building. The locals call them Congos. They live at Philia as well. Their calls are primal and intimidating but they add an exotic flare to the overall splendor here. Costa Rica is most popular for tourists during the winter months in the Northern Hemisphere. No one can pass up an opportunity to escape the cold for powdery hot beaches and fresh coconuts. This time, from mid November to April is the dry season in Costa Rica. It is what most people see when they come here. But I have to tell you a secret… The dry season does not hold a candle to the rainy season in Costa Rica. We bought Philia during the rainy season because the rainy season is nothing short of magic. The rain wakes up a female spirit that lies shallow in the earth here. When she wakes, the country becomes gentle, soft, lush and abundant. The storms imbue everything with a mystical shamanic energy. They turn the sky purple and make the plants ripe to the degree that they usurp the landscape. I never liked rain until I came here to Costa Rica. The rainy season is the secret that the locals keep. It is the numinous part of Costa Rica that they keep for themselves.
Arenal is one of the top tourist destinations in Costa Rica. Driving through the bustling streets of La Fortuna, tourists from all over the world stand in front of the shops and restaurants as if they were at an experience buffet. Many of the youth are wearing hiking boots and backpacks. Families pull their little ones through the crowd, looking from shop to shop for items to help them remember their vacations here. The shop keepers sit to the side of their open doors. They are lazy in their approach to customers because the abundance of tourists guarantees they do not have to try hard to sell things.
The dominant negative vibration of Arenal is: Knave. The vibration of knave is a complex one. It is a human vibration. Inherent within knave is two faced-ness. A particular breed of dishonesty and it is most often used in conjunction with workers or servants. This vibration is common in areas where locals feel “torn” about tourists. On the one hand, everyone needs to make a living and tourism brings great opportunity for financial abundance to an area and to its people. So they want the business. On the other hand, the people here are tied to this land. They are part of this land. The pride that Costa Ricans take in their land and country is almost defiant. And to have people (especially whites) who are disconnected with this land, come in with their wealth and traipse across it, exploiting both the land and the people with their heir of superiority (as if both the land and people were an amusement park they were entitled to), creates buried resentment. Honesty is not a trait that is tied to morality in the Costa Rican culture like it is in much of the world. To generalize, they are not ‘straight’ with the truth or with their feelings and thoughts and motives and do not get tormented by their conscience in this respect. This fact, in conjunction with this suppressed resentment, creates an interesting feeling where the very person who is serving you or who is guiding you on a tour, also has a side of him that resents you. The side of him that resents you has no problem charging you more than something is worth or watching a monkey throw its own poop at you. In fact, they might actually enjoy it. There is something in the trade of tourism that has made them feel as if they have lost the status that is owed to them as people of this land. Now here they are, serving outsiders. I think many locals in areas that have become big tourist destinations feel this way.
Writing this blog where I expose the dominant positive and dominant negative vibration of Arenal, Costa Rica, I can feel myself grow a little nervous. One of my very well known colleagues in this business recently did a parody video on New Age people coming to Costa Rica to find the reality of Costa Rica instead of what was in their spiritual imagination and he was forced to take it down after he and his girlfriend were assaulted in the streets and received a flood of hate mail and death threats. He couldn’t leave his house for safety reasons after he released that video. Many Costa Ricans were totally outraged. It is always surprising when I do these energetic diagnosis blogs on places where the locals are super identified with their country or city, to see how enraged people get in response to them. I suppose however that this is how everyone reacts when they are identified with something and that is being negatively appraised. It is received as an invalidation of self.
The dominant positive vibration of Arenal is: Basalt. The dominant positive vibration of Arenal is caused by the volcanic nature of this area. Basalt is the mineral that is ‘exhaled’ from below the crust of the earth. Not surprisingly, this land is so impregnated with it that it drowns out other vibrations. The frequency of basalt is unique because it is both profoundly grounding and profoundly rejuvenating. The frequency of it is both raw and intense. It carries the raw power of the lifeblood of the planet that we reside upon.
The hot springs here are incredible. Having sat in them as well as watched other people sit in them, I can tell you that the particular vibration of these hot springs cause people to shed emotional attachments. It stabilizes people. It makes them more courageous. When I was watching people in the waters, I noticed that the system most influenced by them was the skeletal system. The energy of these springs whispers to bones. After only a few minutes, their spinal columns would light up as if awoken from a dormant sleep and so would their teeth. Certain glands, like ovaries and testes would swell. But the kind of swelling that accompanies healing instead of the kind that occurs when the body is trying to protect itself. The blood that was being made inside of their bones in turn was charged and robust. I would recommend a visit here for anyone who is struggling with a malady effecting their bones, blood or glands. I would also recommend a visit for anyone who is going through shifts and changes in their life that require them to have courage and to let go of layers of emotional attachment.
Later today, I am going to the volcano itself. In the afternoon it will most likely be drowned in fog. An observatory cannot offer quite the same impact when there is nothing to observe but the inside of a cloud. But I want to feel the molten geyser miles beneath my feet. I want to meditate on the surface of its fierce royalty and force. This place is incredible.