Shamanic Practitioner and Arts Counsellor

Despacho Ceremony



The despacho brings us back into right relationship with our world and with ourselves.

Below: Don Augustine’s Despacho 2009. Photo: Ali Rabjohns.

9-despachoIt’s an offering to the earth and to the heavens, a prayer of gratitude, in the spirit of service to the family/community/society/community that we live in. Ayni means ‘reciprocity’ – ‘Whatever I sow I shall reap’. This is a beautiful way to dream our way into being. By creating an ayni despacho, we intend to manifest into our world all that we need to step into our becoming. As we work with our despacho, we create a harmonious energy and we envisage a world of munay (love) of balance and abundance that we can step into. By aligning ourselves to the forces of nature, we are able to create a reality that doesn’t collude with lack and fear, but attracts the natural forces of the universe, which are powerful, creative and vital. We live in an abundant, beautiful world. As shaman, we hold a vision of what’s possible based on the sweetness, the nectar of life and the inner wisdom that we all inherently hold.


When we come into right relationship with the earth, with the heavens and with ourselves, we align with the living energies of the universe. This living energy flows through every living atom. When each of us grants ourselves the gift of abundance, we become abundant, radiant generous human beings who do what they love and love what they do, therefore creating a world held in alignment and balance.



despacho1Large piece of paper:

Represents an envelope of dreams which we will write with prayers

Fold into 1/3d’s horizontally and vertically to create 9 squares

Place offerings in the centre square to begin


Red wine       Blood of pachamama (earth)

White spirit  Offering to the mountain spirits.. The holy mountains


Toss the two drinks outside to bring together heaven and earth, to call the elementals of the three worlds

As you build layers of the despacho you sprinkle using a red flower for the red wine and a white flower for the white spirit.   Offering thanks as you do this.


Uhupacha – keepers of the riches of pachamama


Kaypacha – middle world


Hanaqpacha – upper world – the luminous beings


The basic ingredients of the despacho are:








3 leaves (bay) assembled face up stem down together

These represent:


3 worlds         Uhupacha – underworld

Kaypacha – middle world

Hanaqpacha – upper world


3 qualities –  power (yanquay)

Love (munay)

Intellect (yanchay)


3 states of self-               past


Future becoming


Red and white carnation petals                     Red petals – earth the blood of pachamama

White petals – mountain spirits/water of source

Placing these on top of the Kintus brings together heaven and earth





donaugustineceremonyloThe most important act of doing a despacho is the breath

It’s an active prayer of engaging the sacred.

Breathe into the kintu.

Tell it who you are (who you really are merged with your external identity)

Tell it your myths, your wounds, your contracts, your promises

Tell it who you are becoming


Call on all places of source: Apus (mountains) Pachamama (earth)

Call on your teachers, anyone and everyone who has contributed to who you are now

Use your right hand clockwise as you assemble the despacho

SUGAR            Represents – Love and the sweetness of life

Place sugar on all four corners of the paper – representing four corners of the world and the four elements

Make small cross in the centre of the paper with sugar to represent the Southern Cross

”What is in heaven is reflected back to me” “As above so below”

Use sugar liberally throughout


On top of sugar

Any aromatic flowers/essences

RED WINE      Call on pachamama to bless this first layer

Hold glass; pray into it

Use a red flower to sprinkle the despacho with red wine

“Be with us, thank you pachamama for our lives”

Thank you for nourishing and nurturing us

VODKA            Call on the mountains to bless the despacho

Use a white flower to sprinkle the despacho with spirit

“Be with us, thank you Apus, mountain spirits”

Thank you for your wisdom

RICE                Sprinkle rice over whole paper for fertility/abundance/to bring our prayers to fruition


Place kintus onto this foundation layer

Each person involved prays into his or her kintus

despacho-3Ask for what they wish for themselves

Ask for what they wish for the earth

Prayers or the earth

Prayers of manifestation

Prayers for this land

Passing the kintus around the group allows the prayers to gather momentum

For the Inca there is no word for ‘I’ so that each Kintu represents the community/the village/us and grows in intention as it is passed around and each person blows their intention/prayer into it

Give SOUND to these prayers / Give voice to your intent

Intention is everything

When prayer comes from our deepest self, it becomes a Mantra

And allows us to access and bridge all possibilities

Cover this first layer with sugar – love


Place shell in middle

This represents the womb of pachamama our source/birthplace

Holds us and nourishes us

Provides us with opportunity and safety

Represents mother of the waters – sachamama –great serpent

FIGURINE       made of candy – represents the masculine and feminine within

Complementary opposites (yananti/mesinti) balance/communion

Everything after this basic foundation can be created as you wish

Here are a few ideas:

Gold bead     represents the sun

Silver bead    represents the moon

Gold cord       connection to earth

Silver cord     connection to mountain spirits

Corn                growing corn in our lives

Candy             represents the sweetness of life

Chocolate      for the earth

Seeds             that feed us

Rice                abundance, fertility of our dreams and prayers and thanks

Lentils                        abundance of the earth

Peanuts         old trees/plant people

Cranberries   native berries to our lands

Raisins.         Spirit of our ancestors/healing for them and us

Sprinkles       represent the elementals

Liquorice       protection

Money                        to ensure successfulness of despacho – measure of success

Cotton            wool  -clouds – provider of waters

Rainbow yarn -connects the clouds/bridge between the worlds/rainbow

Red yarn        path of life (red thread)

Flower petals           yellow for healing

When the contents are placed typically encircle them with a long thread or piece of yarn. Often this string is died with colours of the rainbow.

It weaves together our prayers and offering and bring them into harmony,

We seek to create a vortex of energy in order to manifest our prayers. The corners of the large paper are then folded over the contents so that they (all corners) touch at the centre.

The despacho is now a smaller square.

The new corners of the square are also folded to the center.

Tie the despacho with white and yellow yarn.

White – clarity

Yellow – harmony

despacho-blessingWrap in a cloth and use to cleanse the energy body of everyone

participating in the ceremony

What do you do with the despacho then?

There are several options:

Bury the despacho – for slow steady results

Burn the despacho for an explosive transformation

Or feed it to running waters ceremonially within a reasonable amount of time.


despacho-ceremony-fireWhen it’s placed on the fire… turn away from the fire, do not look towards the flame (it’s usually put on the fire at the end of a fire ceremony) this signifies non-attachment to outcome and release of all claims to that, which was given away.







despachotimloAdapted by Ali Rabjohns from notes written and compiled by Chris Waters,

Graduate and teacher for The Four Winds August 2006.

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