The New Moon in Cancer is coming upon us here in the Northern Hemisphere and I can feel an intuitive pull within myself to set some time for ceremony during this potent period of transition and growth. I reflect on how nourishing it is to connect with experiences that engage your Spirit. It seems to me that humans generally have an additional hunger pang that is not met by food nor meant to be fed materially. It is a hunger for a connection with Spirit, or the grander omniscient life force. Some call this a “spiritual hunger.” A hunger that drives us to explore worlds witnessed not necessarily with the use of eyes, but more often worlds felt by the heart, soul and our conscious energy body.
It was this persistent hunger that has carved out my spiritual path and shaped my life. My seeking, reading, learning and most importantly many moments of quiet observation to the flow of life has helped me see the poignant poetry embedded throughout the highs and lows of life. In these moments of awareness I would get glimpses of the magic that life beholds as the veils of illusion start to lose their hold on my perception of reality.
Just as Kundalini Yoga is a powerfully transformative practice, answering the call to the Shamanic wisdom practices changed me deeply. I went from feeling so alien to this world, lost in how to adjust and place myself in this bizarre destructive modern society I perceived living in, to an anchoring deep surrendering roots as I came to accept that I am alive here on this earth and I am going to have to stick around here for some time. Knowing that, I can contribute more kindness in the world while I am here.
The teachings also offered me a kind of antidote to my despair of the disharmony that I frequently witness in actions of humanity. It helped me become aware of the times I may slip into the role of the victim, and steer myself out of that trance and onto to the path of empowerment. I am becoming a conscious contributor to creation of life with integrity, and in service through big or small actions.
I am honored to share with you a practice that I have learned in my training, and hope that it brings a renewed sense of joy, gratitude, and peace into your life. Offering a “bundle” of items infused with gratitude, love and prayers help anchor this state of being within the spiritual matrix, and weaves heart centered energetic intentions out into the fabric of existence.
In Peru, these offering bundles are called “Despachos.” I feel the word can loosely be translated into “a dispatch.” Such as a dispatch of offerings, “thank you’s”, visionings and prayers. It is a beautiful practice of reciprocity that you may want to make your own practice of.
A Despacho is an offering to Mother Earth. Our Great Feminine Mother Archetype. The Mother that birthed all mothers, the wise and ancient Mother that feeds your body daily with all the bountiful food delicacies she gives us abundantly to nourish us, the dazzling array of the animal kingdom, and the beautiful environments and dwelling spaces that feed our spirit. Mother Earth is the enduring enveloping mother who witnessed your first breath, who has always unassumingly surrounded you as you grew and learned to explore your life and your world. She is everywhere you traverse the world, holding you, meeting you every moment, particularly when the skin of her earth meet your feet. All Ways. Ultimately, she will also be the one too, who will hold you until your last breath in the physical world and receive your physical body into her belly to continue the cycle of death and rebirth.
Being that our Mother Earth unconditionally gives us so much every single day to sustain our life, as a gesture of reciprocity, the Andean Shamans hold frequent Despacho Ceremonies to offer thanks to our Mother Earth. It is a practice they consider to help us come back into balance or alignment with a harmonious flow of life, meaning if we perhaps have gone astray, or feel unbalanced, this practice can help us set ourselves right and back on track. You can do this ceremony alone or with a group/community of kindred spirits.
So how does it work? I will give you a simplified version to make into your own ceremony, because as long as you participate sincerely, with your heart, with integrity, transparency and authenticity, that is the best place to start in communing with Spirit and Mother Earth. I will admit there have been times where I show up to do this ceremony and I feel tired, unsure of myself, disconnected and not in the best of spirit…but I practice authenticity and I own up to these feelings as I sit in ceremony. So don’t let a bad mood or fatigue stop you from doing this work. Use this opportunity to positively shift and cleanse your energy field. Be open. Spirit and Mother Earth will meet you and accept you where you are at. Just show up honestly, nakedly baring your soul just like your moment of birth into this world. You will be giving thanks to Creation and Mother Earth and this gesture of reciprocity will give back to you as well.
Once the Despacho bundle is complete you choose to either bury in the earth, burn in a fire ceremony, or you can offer it to a body of water, so I whole heartedly urge you to please (and of course!) use sustainable and biodegradable ingredients or “offerings.”
To hold it all together:
Eco-Friendly Paper of choice
You will need a large enough piece of natural paper, preferably a square shape to fold into a square bundle. You place the offerings in the center of the paper, so be mindful of the quantity of the ingredients. You can use small handfuls each ingredient, but follow your own guidance on quantity – just be sure it can fit on the paper once you fold it.
The choice is yours on natural paper. For example you can improvise with what is easily available – such as a paper bag from the grocery store that you cut out to make a sizable square or get fancy and buy some nice gift wrapping paper that you find beautiful.You will need to choose a biodegradable string so that once you fold the bundle up you can tie it to hold it all together. The final piece will look kind of like a gift wrapped bundle. You can get creative and make it as beautiful, crafty and embellished as you like, so long as it is eco-friendly.
Set aside some quiet uninterrupted time either in nature or indoors. Traditionally the paper is set on the ground and we sit on the ground to add the offerings. However, if need be, use a table.
Open Sacred Space in the manner that is aligned with your Spiritual practice. For example: In Andean Shamanism we call unto the four directions, power animals, Spiritual Guides, our ancestors, Mother Earth and Father Sky.
For assembling the bundle, add the ingredients to the center of the paper because you will be folding it up to resemble a gift bundle. Think of things that symbolically speak to you. For example do you have a favorite gem or stone, a favorite herb or plant, a favorite food (ex. Chocolate, fruit, beans, corn, mushrooms etc. – healthy and natural please!), an image of an animal that you resonate? Eco-friendly spiritual items that wish to offer? You can incorporate these symbolic items into the Despacho.
Optional: You can symbolically mirror the layers of the earth to create the Despacho. Such as earthy materials to symbolize the sediment layer (Clay, roots, some sand etc.) , mineral kingdom (ex. small stones or gems) plant kingdom (foods, plants, herbs, spices flowers -fresh or dried), animal kingdom any biodegradable objects that represent them, or can be hand drawn or printed image, and a heavenly layer paper stars, rainbows, use cotton balls to make clouds etc. This is similar to the approach used in Peru. However, you can make it your own way,especially if you are short on ingredient offerings. Be open. Connect. Let your intuition/heart center guide you in making a heartfelt love bundle.
As you add your ingredients unto the paper, please blow your gratitude to Mother Earth and prayers in honor of her into the object as much as you can, or at lease hold the feeling and reflect on them as you add it to and decorate the paper you are using. This is a practice that will also bless you in return as this is a gesture of the flow of reciprocity – giving and receiving. Let this come from a sincere place in your heart. Reflect on all the forces that sustain your life, touch and bless your life. Blow it into the material. Let your breath be the unspoken words from your heart into each object.
Foundation: earthy ingredients (one example: soil, clay, sand, seashells to represent the water element.)
Sea salt and natural Sugar to represent the grounding and sweetness of life.
Cacao/Chocolate – according to Shamanic lore, Mother Earth LOVES Chocolate! And all things sweets so you can add some healthy candies too. 🙂
Herbs, spices, foods, flowers of choice (example: corn, grains, beans, seeds, lavender, cayenne – for a hot invigorating spice of life!) Remember each ingredient can have a symbolic attribute.
Trinkets or images that represent the animal kingdom. Can be objects found without harming an animal. Such as object you may have found out in nature that you have collected: feathers, bones, snake skins, etc.
Collect nicely shaped leaves for your prayers. For example: I may gather 9 bay leaves, create three specific sets. One set of three I will blow prayers for our Mother Earth, the next trio of leaves I will blow prayers for my other loved ones, and the 3rd trio of leaves I will blow my own prayers for not only things I wish to release and heal but also what I wish to create in my life.
Heavenly Layer: Cotton balls spread apart to make clouds, cut outs of star shapes, rainbow colored string.
When all the items are placed and it feels complete, fold the paper into the offerings so that it becomes square shape. Use the string to tie it all together, and if you like, you can tie a bow in the front. Does it look like a gift bundle ready to be given to the Earth? If so, great job! Next you decide whether you will ceremoniously offer the bundle in a fire (please burn in a safe, controlled environment such as a fire place or dedicated fire pit for example), bury it in the earth, or offer to a natural body of water.
I love this ceremony for multiple reasons, but it is especially healing and constructive for me because I use it to channel my concerns for the human made environmental and species destruction going on, into prayers for the health and wellbeing of the Earth and all my relations, for holding a vision of clean air, clean water, clean soil, clean food, harmony with all life species, peace and kindness to prevail in the hearts of human beings and that we graciously uphold the role as caretakers of Mother Earth and Life.
This ceremony is especially powerful when performed during new beginnings. For example, you can do it on the New Moon, or during the solstice transitions. Do you feel inspired to have a New Moon or Solstice Ceremony? What will you put in your Love Bundle?
This writing piece is dedicated to my little Penguin and Panda Bear who recently passed onto the Spirit World <3
Music to Support Your Practice: