Messages to Spirit: Despacho Ceremony
Despacho is an ancient ceremony practiced in South America, Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador that is honoring to the Power of Gratitude, Giving and Receiving, and the universal life force of Kaway Pacha. It can also be used for births, deaths, to heal physical and emotional ailments, to restore balance and harmony, or for a specific request of the spirit world.
The word despacho means sending a message or care package in Spanish and is an act of love that reminds us of the interconnectedness between all beings, elements, spirits, and sacred places. The ceremony is an opportunity to energetically return to our essential unity with Source, or All That Exists.
When we perform a despacho ceremony, our intention is to give back to Life by creating a space in time that allows us to express our deepest gratitude for who we are at this moment and to remember we are woven into the Web of Light. It is a living prayer for entering a higher state of conscious being.
Among the Q’ero or Quechua people, the despacho ceremony is the centerpiece of their spiritual and ritualistic heritage. When a community member sees a Shaman, whether, in search of better health, relationship, or healing, it is often the first thing done on behalf of their concerns.
There are hundreds of kinds of bundle building ceremonies with no two alike due to the nature of using materials at hand and/or special ingredients saved specifically for that ritual. It is designed to align, balance, and harmonize the three levels of consciousness: Yankay, the physical universe, Yachay, the spiritual or wisdom center, and Munay, the feeling or heart center.
PREPARATION + CLEARING
Before a ceremony, it is customary to purify oneself of mental, emotional, and spiritual blocks by burning sage, sweetgrass, incense, or the wood of the palo santo tree by smudging. This act represents the releasing and realigning of these energies.
An alternative to smoke is the spritzing or spraying of flower waters, traditionally known as Agua de Flores or Florida. The shaman sprays a fine mist from their mouth around the client’s energy field and the surrounding space by what is known as kamaying or clearing. To kamay is to breathe life into, or to invoke.
The foundation of the prayer bundle mandala is a white sheet of paper or cloth that represents the purity or clarity of the Light and the frequency of Divine Love. It also represents the Great Mystery, the starlight of the Infinite Creator of All That Is, and the Star Nations, our ancestry from where our Soul was birthed.
Our offerings become the Sacred Geometry or the energetic language of our prayer or intentions along with the love and gratitude that is blown into them as we create a mandala to represent our connection to All of Life. Sugar is used to outline a central circle with a cross to represent the sweetness of life and the 4 Directions. This also represents Pachamama or the Great Mother Earth who is all providing.
When you have completed your offerings you will fold the corners toward the center overlapping them so the contents are covered completely and then using string, twine, or ribbon, tie the bundle securely so that nothing will fall out. You can also embellish or decorate the outside to enhance the calling in of the Spirits with flowers, bells, or shells which represent the womb of the feminine that provides your entry into this world.
Finally, the bundle is offered to the Forces of Nature by burying it, for slow steady results, burning it (and burying the ashes) for a fast transformation, or feeding it to the running waters of Pachamama’s lifeblood. This is why it is important to use natural and biodegradable ingredients for your offerings. Another component of this ancient practice is that if the bundle was to be released by fire, one would not look towards the flames until after the despacho had completely burned, symbolizing non-attachment to the outcome.
With the completion of your ceremony and bundle building, there is now fuel for the transformation of energy that is embodied within your offerings. When you bury, burn, or release your bundle you may have a sense of unburdening or surrendering to a higher power. In turn for your gift or offering of gratitude, you may also receive a sense of renewed harmony, balance, and clear vision for the future. Notice throughout the process any messages or information you are receiving through all of your senses.
May this journey be filled with Joy, Peace, Strength, Courage, Gratitude, Humility, and Divine Love!
INGREDIENTS + SYMBOLISM
Here are some ideas of the ingredients you may have on hand and their symbolism. Anything biodegradable or inert can be used. Be inspired by your heart and allow your choices to be spirit lead with ease, grace, and gratitude. Aho!
- Tobacco: The Sky Father or Divine Masculine
- Corn or Cornmeal: Earth or Divine Feminine or Sustenance
- Sage: Purification
- Berries: Fruits of Labor, Harvest, and Ripeness
- Cedar: Wisdom and Knowing
- Cotton: Dreams, Snow, Mountains
- Flowers: Beauty, Reproduction, and Fertility
- Garlic: Cleansing, Protection
- Grains: Abundance, Sustenance
- Lavender: Purification, Healing
- Rice: Spirit World, Unseen Helpers
- Sugar: Sweetness, Endearment, Energy
- Gems: Offerings for Specific Qualities
- Bones: Ancestors
- Egg Shells: The Unborn, What is yet to be Created, Purity
- Feathers: Ether, Power Animals, Transfiguration
- Shells: Water, Life Force, Birth and Flow