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.
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.
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
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.
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
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 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.