Every full moon I create a despacho which is a shamanic sacred offering to our beautiful Pachamama. It is made like a mandala with layers of symbolic offerings of sugar, spices, seeds, sweets, coca leaves and flowers to represent abundance and healing. Each of the layers have prayers blown into them, healing for the earth, healing for individuals, what you want to call in to your life or it can be a specific despacho like for a wedding, or focussed to solve one problem.
The ceremony is beautiful. I open sacred space and explain to everyone what I’m doing with each layer and what it generally symbolises. I give everyone a kintu, a bundle of three coca leaves representing the upper world (hanaqpacha), middle world (kaipacha) and lower word (uhupacha) and everyone blows their personal prayers into it. If you are making your own despacho and don’t have coca leaves you can use bay leaves.
Intention is really what it’s all about. Once with a friend staying in a bare basics air b& b, we made a despacho using stale popcorn, some Doritos, sand and shells wrapped up in the comics section of a newspaper. Maybe it wasn’t as pretty and sweet as most despachos are, but our intentions were just as beautiful and our ceremony was filled with loving laughter.
Besides blowing prayers in, I have each person’s written intentions on a small piece of paper and we scrunch these up and I put them into the offering as well, so that when it goes in the fire, all of your wishes, hopes, prayers, dreams and intentions burn and are sent into the cosmos. I also hold space for people who are absent from the ceremony and blow prayers into a kintu for them and add their printed intentions to the despacho.
Once the mandala is nearly finished we bless it with white and red wine before wrapping it up and tying it. Then I put it in a mesa cloth and cleanse any remaining energies from each person involved by brushing the despacho over the entire body and limbs of everyone present.
Then it’s time for the fire. Fire transmutes any energy to light energy. That’s why its so beneficial to burn anything you want to let go of. Sometimes we also have a “death arrow” during this part of the ceremony. This is a small stick about the size of a pen and in one side we blow in what we want to let go of, personal to ourselves, like doubt, worry, or fear and on the other side we blow in what we want to call in to our lives like faith, productivity, and success for example.
When the fire is burning steadily we put in our sticks with intention and “take in” the fire. Reaching into the flames we pull out the fire energy into our second chakra, heart chakra and third eye, sweeping it up over our crown, symbolising the fire energy burning up any loose ends of our concerns, and feeding us with the fire we need in our bellies to keep us strong and centered.
Usually we are chanting during this process, but any songs can be sung at this point. I like to sing a mountain song from one of my Peruvian shaman teachers but after calling in a few of the sacred mountains I call in the spirit of each person who is part of the despacho. Sound is a vibration and the shamans in Peru pray out loud, so I feel like when I am calling in the participants the Gods are hearing our prayers more clearly.
Once the despacho is placed in the fire some groups like to turn their backs on it to let Mother Earth consume her offering in peace, while other groups like to watch it burn. I’ve been part of both. I prefer to watch the despacho burn however, last month the fire all but went out and as soon as we left, it started back up again!
The new moon is about new beginnings and the full moon is about finishing what you called in. The moon has always been my icon and when it is full and bright it is a time to be seen in the darkness, like laying all your cards out on the table, an act of surrendering to allow the higher forces of the Universe to take care of what needs to shift. You don’t always know how the energy will shift, sometimes it seems to change for the worst, but this is where trusting comes into play.
The full moon energy window is three days before and after the full moon, so somewhere within that time making an offering or a prayer to Mother Earth or burning a stick to let go and invite in energy with focused intention would be a really great plan. I always invite in my familiars (power animals), ancestors, and honour the ancestors of the land where I am.
Ritual is a wonderful way to be present in the moment, focus your intentions, collaborate with others for increased prayer power, and a beautiful conscious way to let things go, invite abundance in, and heal our beautiful Pachamama.
Tuesday April 7th is the full moon, at least in the states, here in the UK it’s actually on the 8th, but I will be making a despacho, live at 7:30 pm UK time (2:30 pm EST). If you want to join me you can make one with me, or just partake in my ceremony from a distance.