The term Despacho refers to the act of making an offering, a “give away.” 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.

Despachos Hold the Intent for  “Right Relationship”

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”).

The following is a very in-depth discussion of Despacho, and will be a treat to students of Peruvian shamanism who may not have studied directly with the Q’ero.

Many Types of Despachos

  • 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.

Despachos Bridge the Realms  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. The various elements that comprise it energetically interact to permit access to portals or bridges from the ordinary to the non-ordinary worlds. When working in ceremony with the despacho, one is accessing the non-ordinary energetic dimensions, the source of things. Though the contents may have symbolic significance, when performed with the correct intent, it transcends the literal and symbolic domains and directly accesses the archetypal and energetic realms.

This description of Despacho preparation was presented by Don Manuel Quispe before he passed, Elder of the Q’ero medicine people (paqo’s), and translated by Jose Luis Herrera. At the onset, Don Manuel stated that it is too big a task for those of us in the West to “expand ourselves” by attempting to bring the three worlds together; by bringing the Hanakpacha and the Ukhupacha to the Kaypacha. We live in the Kaypacha right now. There is so much we could do, but time is so small in our lives that we had best concentrate on the Kaypacha and all of the beautiful elements that we have at hand here and now. The Pachamama, The Apu, and the Spirits of the Waters are right there, they are available to us now. It is our first responsibility to direct our lives toward finding harmony and balance in the Kaypacha.

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. Despachos have the power to shift your life’s trajectory!