In the Andean tradition, important beginnings very often involve a ceremony called (in Spanish) a despacho. Despacho can mean “sending.” Think of the old phrase “the dispatch office”, or perhaps a scene from an old movie… “A dispatch has arrived for you, Sir.” Yes, it’s about communicating.
to forces of Nature
For peoples who live in close connection with the Earth, the despacho is a communication to those forces of Nature they respect and revere. Pachamama, or Mother nature. Inti Tayta, the Sun or the powers of Light, and the guides or guardians of the spirit world who help and provide for the community, the family, the individual person.
need, healing assistance
Sometimes these ceremonies are performed to communicate a specific need: a healing; assistance in a birth; maybe the birth of a new structure, the success of a season’s crop, a marriage, an enterprise. Very often a despacho is made for right relationship – among individuals, communities, families, or between man and Nature. The Quechua term is “Ayni”, so this is an “ayni despacho.”
.... the dedication of some aspect of life, back to wholeness
this intent, the despacho takes the form of a very beautiful offering bundle. A
sequence of items are placed on a flat surface, each representing the
dedication of some aspect of life, back to the wholeness. The process itself is
an opportunity to reflect for all who participate. As the ceremony progresses,
all involved form “k’intus”, little groups of three leaves, and, with their own
breath, place their prayers and offerings into these, and then add them to the ceremonial
we are connecting, and aligning, with Nature’s purpose and coherence
We identify what we want our lives, and the life of our community, to be about. We communicate that to the cosmos. In that process we are connecting, and aligning, with Nature’s purpose and coherence. And just as the Munay-Ki rites (which are called in Quechua karpays, or empowerments) awaken and empower our full potential, so the despacho breathes power into our lives.
Links about despacho: