The word “despacho” is a Spanish word that literally means “dispatch” or shipment. In the Andean traditions of Peru, a Despacho is a ceremonial offering to Pachamama (Mother Earth) and Apus (Mountain Spirits). You could perhaps think of it as a focused, formal way to dispatch or ship your prayers off to All That Is or the powers that be – the energy of the universe. Despacho also helps to align personal powers with the cosmic ones.
Performing a Despacho ceremony is a unique way of connecting with the energy and spirits of nature. A Despacho is done to attract, to express, or manifest what we would like to attract into our lives or into the lives of our family or community members. We show our gratitude, love, and respect for Mother Earth and the great nature spirits of the mountains, lakes, rivers or oceans through the symbolism in the form of items representing the best of our work and our finest crops. By expressing love and gratitude from the bottom of our hearts, we are also manifesting our intentions to attract more of what it is we are grateful for.
The components of a Despacho are physical and spiritual, tangible and intangible. They represent what is part of our lives now, and our intentions for what is to come next. The act of harmonizing with nature is done by engaging ourselves in a sacred Ayni or spiritual act of reciprocity with the energies of the Universe. Just as in the physical world we receive help when we help others, in the spiritual-energetic world, the same law applies.
The ceremony opens with music, smudging and invocations to create a sacred space. Each participant receives three coco leaves and uses those individually to invokes the presence of the aspects of the sacred that are dearest to their own heart. These are then gathered together in the center of the circle. If there is anything personal the participants want to add to the offering, with the intentions of gratitude, abundance, growth, recent lessons internalized, things for their family, requests to manifest a happy outcome, a healing, those intentions are incorporated. Then, the ceremony leader adds specific natural and manmade objects to the ritual bundle of offerings, each of which has specific meaning.
Water blessings and final flower offerings from all participants complete the creation of the offering bundle. At this point the Despacho is closed and wrapped into a square package. Then we ask for final blessing – and any last intentions before it is sent to a higher realm. It can then be passed around the circle. Each member thanks his/her spirit guides for the presence at the ceremony, and the Despacho is burned. The group watches as Wayra, the spirit of Wind, carries intentions and petitions to the highest realm of the Universal Creator. The burning of the Despacho completes the ceremony.