Despachos / by Loren Wheeler

Traditional Peruvian despachos are gifting bundles offered to the earth, as a literal and energetic/metaphorical meal to Pacha Mama, what people call Mother Earth. They are gathered by individuals or groups having a wide range of intentions. Usually, a white square paper is placed open on the ground. Piece by piece, items are arranged in the center of the paper, with meanings spoken for each item: seeds, for fertility in our lives and for growth; flowers for beauty; candies for sweetness; thread for weaving relationships; chocolate coins or play money for prosperity, sprinkles for magic in our lives; shriveled prunes or dates to honor the ancestors. Traditionally in peru, Llama fetuses are also included, as well as yak butter and other items traditionally valued for their power and significance.

Like setting New Years' resolutions as the clock strikes midnight, or saying prayers before going to bed, or wishing happy birthday to a loved one, the despacho form is helpful in creating a container for clarifying wishes, synthesizing intentions, and sending prayers. It also provides a tactile and physical experience of handling individual items, a process which can aide in the integration of prayers in the bodily experience.

(above) a group despacho to honor the fall 2013 equinox completed in Ashland, OR

(above) a personal despacho for my birthday, june, 2013, on the coast in Yachats, OR