The term Despacho refers to the act of making an offering, a “give away.” This particular practice is passed down from the Q’ero Maestros from Peru. The Despacho is a gift—a giving back of what we receive every day. We seek, through the Despacho ceremony, to bridge the Ordinary and Non-Ordinary realms; to establish new patterns of relationship and possibility.
Despachos Hold the Intent for “Right Relationship” and Balance.
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). For Peruvian shamans, these centers are: 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 Llachay (wisdom, sourced from our foreheads or “third eye”).
Why do a Despacho?
Offerings can be performed for any number of reasons. Among the Andean peoples, the contents of the offering are in part determined by its purpose. Though the contents may have symbolic significance, it transcends the literal and symbolic domains and directly accesses the archetypal and energetic realms.
There Are Many Types of Despachos:
These descriptions of Despachos are from Don Manuel Quispe, and translated by Jose Luis Herrera.
- The Pachamama: An offering of thanks to Mother Earth and an invocation for Her blessings.
- The Apu: An offering to the Mountain, which is the provider of the waters. When the high mountain glaciers melt they provide the water that feeds the high mountain lagoons and streams. The mountain is the bringer of the weather as well.
- The Chaska: An offering to our star, the sun. This despacho is not prepared as often as the offerings to the Pachamama and to the Apu. Most of our business has to do with living in this world. Only when very big events (such as earthquakes) are occurring, or whenever an offering is made for the benefit of a great number of people, are Chaska Despachos prepared. In this case, the stars as well as Mother Earth and the Apu must offer their contribution. For example, in the case of earthquakes or large-scale environmental events which effect large numbers of peoples, one wishes to bring together the power and the blessings of the Earth, the Mountain, and the Star to bring them in right relationship. This is to help assure that the people go on the right path.
- The Ayni: Ayni is the operating principle of Incan shamanism and refers to “reciprocity” or divine exchange. The intent of the Ayni Despacho is to bring balance in our lives and right relationship between our secular and sacred worlds.
- The Aya: The Aya Despacho is performed to aid the luminous body of the dead or dying to step outside of the physical body gracefully. It is said that the spirit of the dead lingers in the vicinity of the physical body for seven days. The Medicine Person knows when it is necessary to help the luminous body to sever its connection with the physical.
- The Cuti: Cuti literally means, “turning back” or “shielding off.” It is an offering for protection. This offering is typically created with the left hand only, and all motions of placing items in the Despacho are performed in a counterclockwise (or “unwinding”) fashion. The right arm is in “dreamtime” while the left arm performs the action.
- The Q’ero also perform offerings to the Mother of the Waters; the lakes and lagoons. These are done to honor the spirits of those places which are very important in their lives.
Various forms of Despacho are taught in our Medicine Wheel and in single day classes. During our trips to Peru, we make many despachos collectively and individually.