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What Are Despachos Used For?

When we perform a Despacho ceremony, we are trying to give back to Life by creating a space in time that allows us to show our gratitude.

Among the Quechua Indians, the despacho ceremony is the centrepiece of their spiritual and ritualistic heritage. When the locals go to see a Shaman, whether they go in search of better health, a more loving relationship, or healing from grief,  the first thing often done is a despacho.

Despacho rituals are designed to align, balance and harmonize the three levels of consciousness: Yankay (the physical universe), Yachay (the spirit or wisdom centre), and Munay (the feeling or heart center). In building your own bundle or despacho, you are bringing all aspects of your consciousness into the process. You are entering an altered state of consciousness that is alignment with all these energy centres.

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The shamans that specialize in despachos known as “Pampa Masayoq” know over 200 different types of despachos. Some include the “Pachamama Despacho” (mother earth), “Apu Despacho” (mountains), “Ayni Despacho” (reciprocity), “Inti/Chaska Despacho” (sun), “Aya Despacho” (soul guiding), and the “Cuti Despacho” (negative energy repellent) to name a few. While all despachos share similar elements, they are designed differently according to the intention of the person. 

Despacho Ceremony Instructions

A traditional despacho is created by medicine people who work in alignment with their spiritual powers. Traditional shamans offer liquor at the beginning, use white and red carnations as decorations, chew on coca leaves that are exchanged with other participants, and chant prayers.

In the West we’re often hindered by local laws and geography (e.g. chewing coca leaves and using carnations), so I want to give you a much more practical and simple approach.

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The power behind despachos and the most important ingredient is intent. As with any offering, having a special inner connection with each component of the despacho is what allows our emotional centre to align with everything else. For example, in Peru coca leaves have a special cultural significance, but for someone that isn’t local, they don’t have quite as strong a connection.

Though the contents may vary in their symbolic significance, the despacho, when performed with the correct intent, transcends literal and symbolic domains and directly accesses the energetic realms.

Despacho Ingredients and Meanings

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Below you’ll find a large collection of items that you may like to include in your despacho. Each item comes with its own symbolic meaning, but remember: meaning is subjective. Your meaning for a flower may differ greatly from my own. So let yourself be organically inspired. Always choose what is most easily accessible to you.

Finally, remember that despachos are not about ingredients. They are about the quality of your intention towards each ingredient, and this allows you to flow with sincerity and gratitude.

Vegetable Offerings

  • Copal: offering to the lower world, the shadow

  • Frankincense: offering to the upper world, the light

  • Palo Santo: space for our prayers

  • Coca: sacred wisdom of pachamama

  • Tobacco: offering to the sky father

  • Sage: purification, banishment of the negative

  • Anise: celebration, sensuality

  • Berries: rewards, fruits of labour

  • Cedar: wisdom of the forest

  • Corn: a gift of the earth, sustenance

  • Cornmeal: offering to the earth mother

  • Cotton: dreams, clouds, mountain snows

  • Figs: ancient mountain spirits

  • Flowers: the beauty of nature, the power of light, reproduction and fertility

  • Garlic: absorption of the negative

  • Grains: sustenance, abundance

  • Lavender: purity, purification

  • Laurel: sacredness, victory over adversity

  • Leaves: honouring nature spirits

  • Lima Beans: sacred places, huaqas, power spots

  • Liquor: high energy, honoring the spirit world, our ancestors

  • Peanuts: caves, places for elemental spirits

  • Raising: offering to the dead

  • Rice: offerings to the spirit world

  • Sweets: fertility, beginnings, potential

  • Sugar: sweetness, feeding the spirits

  • Vegetable oil: our connection to the nourishing power of nature

  • Red Wine: honouring the mother, menstrual blood

  • White Wine: honouring the moon, fluids of purification, urine

Mineral Offerings

  • Gold: masculine, the sun, insight

  • Silver: feminine, the moon, intuition

  • Agate: acceptance, emotional and physical balance, raises consciousness

  • Amber: protection, memory, calming

  • Amethyst: higher knowledge, insight, grounded psychic growth, courage, self-esteem

  • Aventurine: joy, mental clarity, positive attitudes

  • Bloodstone: blood and heart healing, vitality, courage, higher states of consciousness

  • Calcite: astral projection, balances yin/yang qualities

  • Citrine: successful relationships, letting go of addictions, self confidence

  • Copper: the earth’s gift, conductivity

  • Diamond: removes blockages, balances the mind, sexuality and power

  • Fluorite: practicality, getting things done, ability to perceive higher levels of reality

  • Garnet: circulation, stimulates imagination, self-esteem and willpower, calms anger

  • Hematite: protection, aids astral projection, increases self-esteem

  • Herkimer: cleanses subtle bodies, past life memory, clairvoyance and dream work

  • Iron: strength, persistence, endurance, direction

  • Jade: good luck and prosperity, strong immune system, divine love, protection

  • Loadstone: the power to attract and bind together

  • Moonstone: receptivity, intuition, sensitivity, clairvoyance

  • Obsidian: removal of obstacles and negativity, prophetic vision

  • Opal: protection, cosmic consciousness, intuition, emotional balance

  • Peridot: clarity, patience, clairvoyance, positive emotional outlooks

  • Pyrite: material realization, good fortune, eases anxiety

  • Clear Quartz: purity of perception, purity of intention

  • Rose Quartz: love and romance, purity of feeling, confidence, expression, creativity

  • Smokey Quartz: purification, elimination of shadow aspects, fertility, creativity, joy

  • Rutilate quartz: breaks old patterns, childhood blockages, ease depression

  • Rhodochrosite: cleansing of subconscious, self-identity

  • Ruby: spiritual balance, heart healing, confidence, flexibility, vitality, leadership

  • Salt: protection, boundaries

  • Sapphire: communication with spirit guides, clairvoyance, telepathy, expression

  • Tigers Eye: works on mass consciousness to separates desire from need

  • Tourmaline: dispels fear, negativity and grief, promotes balance, eases compulsiveness

  • Turquoise: fresh starts, offering to the ancestors, strength of entire body, protection

Animal Offerings

  • Animal shapes: honouring our relatives in the animal kingdom

  • Fat: purest form of energy

  • Bone: our inner core, structure, connection to animal relatives

  • Coral: the power of the sea, the subconscious

  • Egg shells: the unborn, purity, healing

  • Feathers: connection to the ether and sky

  • Human hair: honouring our connection to the animal world

  • Milk: connection to the mother, honouring trees

  • Pearls: infinite wisdom and purity

  • Shells: depth, faith, flexibility

Like any harmonious, balanced and thriving relationship, cultivating a deep connection with Spirit requires a healthy dose of giving. Always be generous with your offerings and abundant with your action towards Mother Nature.