“We call upon the spirits of the Waters, of the Mountains, and of the Pachamama to come and help us prepare the offering. We have the intent of seeking to establish and maintain a continuous dialogue with the Mother and to bring balance and harmony to our lives and to all our relations. It is through the dynamics of love, of right thinking and of right action that our lives become bountiful.” (Don Manuel Q’espi)
One of my most beloved memories is the day I experienced my first Andean ceremony, called the despacho or haywarikuy in Quechua, meaning "offering gifts in a sacred manner". The despacho ceremony was my entry point into the world of Andean Mysticism and introduction to the Inka lineage of the Qero people.
There we were - 30 of us in circle, sitting as little children do, with a light in our eyes and a curiosity in our hearts. The ceremony began with prayers in Quechua by two Paqo's (or Andean healer's) from Qeros. They sat gently on the floor, with papers and bowls surrounding them full of seeds, sweets, nuts and flowers of all colors and shapes. As they spoke, I felt myself sinking deeper and deeper into the ground... into the Earth. The woman to my left passed me a beautiful woven pouch where I carefully selected three tiny leaves, which formed a kintu. They showed us how to hold the three leaves slightly fanned, in a bundle. After the kintu was formed, we held it near to our lips and gently with our breath blew dreams and wishes into the leaves.
I remember my mind was so still and as I held the leaves delicately in my fingers, I took a deep breath in and directed my breath out with intention, "I am ready to see my truth, please help me remember." In this moment, my filaments of light were connected to the universal filaments of the Cosmos and of Pachamama. I smiled to myself, not knowing what was taking place but for the winds of change that were to come. Every thought, every belief, every act, every cell of my being would soon dance with love and reverence for all living beings and our Cosmical Mother. I surrendered to who I thought I was, what I thought I should be doing and for the first time in my life, I quietly whispered, "I want to live in harmony with the forces of nature."
A despacho is a ceremonial offering to honor Pachamama, Mother Earth, or the Apus, Mountain Spirits. Q’ero elder Don Manuel Q’espi explains, “The despacho is a gift – a giving back of what we receive everyday in our lives. We seek, through the despacho ceremony, to bridge the ordinary and non-ordinary realms; to establish new patterns of relationship and possibility. The despacho places us in right relationship, right ayni, with the Pachamama. It establishes a linkage between our three centers of interaction in the Kaypacha (the physical universe); our Llankay (our personal power and source of action, located in our solar plexus), our Munay (the source of our love, located in our heart chakra), and our Yachay (wisdom, sourced from our foreheads or “third eye”).
In the haywarikuy, a wide variety of symbolic elements (such as sweets, grains, seeds, flowers, herbs, shells) are intricately arranged on white paper. The bundle is infused with Sami (light or refined energy) by using the breath to empower each element with specific prayers/intentions. The elements are placed in the shape of a mandala with intention and care. Each individual in ceremony also creates a kintu that is topped with flower petals and added to the offering.
The offering is then bundled up, tied with string and used to cleanse the luminous energy field of each being in ceremony. The bundle is run over the physical body (from head to toe) with the intention to cleanse the body of Hucha (heavy or dense energy) and infuse the body with the healing vibrations of the haywarikuy. In closing, the bundle is offered to the Fire, the Earth or the Water.
I offer this sacred ceremony for individuals, couples, families and groups who are looking to attain Ayni (right relationship), for healing, to support life transitions, rites of passage, birth/death and to bring community together. For bookings please visit, Andean Despacho Ceremony