Name: Lainie, aka "ilainie"
Posts by ilainie:
“Never mistake motion for action.”
Things have been in motion, but I have not taken much action. Rather I have not written about the motion taking place in my life, writing being the main action that has been quieted as of late.
The last personal post I wrote was back in May entitled “We were robbed.”.
(Yikes!!! That’s a long time.)
Although I admit, that experience took the wind from my sails, like a ferocious punch to my gut, but by the time I wrote the post, I was already healing from that trauma.
But, that was not the reason I haven’t written in so long.
Much of my focus for much of May, June into July had been on Project World School‘s details, marketing, planning, connections and such. That took a great deal of my attention (and Miro’s too). But that too, wasn’t the reason I hadn’t written in so long.
Then, for the month of June, Mr.TakeAChanceWithMe visited us from Ecuador. We had a truly incredible time together, getting to know each other better and enjoying each other’s company while sharing my favorite sites of Cusco. There is much I can share about that too, but I haven’t shared anything since I haven’t written since May.
But quite honestly, that wasn’t the reason I haven’t written in so long either.
Then for the first two weeks of July, Miro and I found ourselves hip deep in finalizing details, scheduling with locals, making final travel arrangements for the retreat which started mid-July.
But even those last minute details did not prevent me from writing.
From mid July to early August, the Project World School maiden retreat happened, not a single detail out of place, everything running like clock work, experiences flowing from day to day, proof of our teamwork (thank you Miro & Lorene!), acute attention to detail, applied creativity and a whole lot of vision and foresight.
We did spend a month experiencing a learning community with some incredible teenagers, being immersed deep in Peru’s rich Andean culture and ultimately living one of our dreams.
Even that is not the reason we have not written in so long.
Then the month of August, we were focused on closing down our house in Cusco, selling or giving away the possessions we managed to accumulate over the past 2 years. We had yard sales, online sales and gifting sessions. Eventually, we emptied out the house full of things, arranged the transfer of everything large including a washing machine, bunk beds, sofas to everything small including cooking utensils, plates, pots and pans.
We found a new home for our adopted kitty Sombra (and I shed too many tears saying my final farewells to her).
Miro and I said goodbye to the friends we made and released a few other friendships we realized were toxic. We emotionally closed our time in Cusco with a feeling of euphoria and finality.
But that was not the reason we haven’t written in so long either.
“Time has been transformed, and we have changed; it has advanced and set us in motion; it has unveiled its face, inspiring us with bewilderment and exhilaration.”
Was it writer’s block?
In all honestly, I haven’t been too busy to write.
From May to September, I’ve had time to watch movies, interact with friends on facebook, take long naps, play cards with Miro, sit in cafes, visit with friends, go on hikes, talk on skype, roam through the markets, and much more.
Why haven’t I written in so long?
I simply wasn’t inspired to do so.
Life continues to flow like a river, blockages happen, sometimes the force carries us away. But being a writer requires time, energy and effort to sit back and reflect. I wasn’t ready to be the observer of my own life, I was too busy being in the “now” with all of it, being connected to it and being connected to Miro.
I hope you, our readers, supporters and our community will forgive our absence. We value our community dearly. I’ve already started on many new posts about the retreat, our move and the future plans soon to follow.
We missed you all!
I am lucky enough to live in magical land with deep roots to the past: Peru. Here, like in many other so-called “third world” countries, much of daily life involves traditional ways of subsistence that have long ago died out or become “hobbies” in the developed world. Hanging out with the locals in Peru means touching the distant past in the present moment, and also offers a glimpse of what a sustainable future for all may look like.
The Sacred Valley around the city of Cusco, where I live and run a World Schooling Project with my 15 year old son Miro, is home to dozens of indigenous villages that still produce their own food and clothing in ways that have remained relatively unchanged since before the arrival of Europeans on this soil. Although traditional Peruvian food is excellent – Peru actually just won the “Best Culinary Destination” award for the second year in a row – it is the abundance of intricately patterned alpaca and wool clothing and textiles that really wow you when you visit Cusco. Truly, if someone you know vacations here and does not bring you back a hand-made scarf or hat you should definitely take it personally.
After months of buying these beautiful items for ourselves and showing visiting friends and family members around the many markets that specialize in them, Miro and I were invited to visit one of the local places where weaving is a way of life. Chinchero, which sits several hundred meters higher up than Cusco on the chilly wind-swept plains above the Sacred Valley, is a Quechua speaking village of about 20,000 where the ancient art of textile making is central feature of daily life. In fact, many of the most elaborate and colorful woven items in the markets of Cusco are made in Chinchero, and the village’s work makes up a high percentage of the displays at Cusco’s Center of Traditional Textiles.
Miro and I spent the day with a Chinchero family, sitting on the ground and joining them in their daily ritual of weaving on traditional looms and spinning the natural raw wool into thread. Weaving in Chinchero is primarily women’s work, and the art of creating the complex patterns that typify Chinchero craftwork is passed down from mother to daughter in chains that stretch back into misty times without historical record. Sitting there with them, learning from them, mother and son, I felt honored to be included in something so basic and beautiful, yet so rare in the modern world.
Miro picked up the art faster than I did, and you can read more about our day here on our blog Raising Miro on the Road of Life, as weaving is done by men as well as women in Chinchero. In fact, the money made by these families off of their weaving (usually less than $10 a day) is what is helping to keep their traditional lifestyle alive. Our Chinchero family was mostly self-sufficient, besides raising the sheep which provide the wool, they also grow potatoes which provide sustenance and an additional source of income in the local food markets if need be.
Traditional family farming survives in Chinchero, which grows quinoa and barley as well as potatoes, because of the tourist market for handmade textiles. And the family farming allows Chinchero to devote their time to their craft – the two weave together to mutually support a lifestyle that is at once sustainable and deeply traditional. The prevalence of family farming in turn means that the Cusco area, and most of Peru for that matter, is awash with an incredibly diverse array of fresh produce, which is why the food is so good here. Its also dirt cheap, as you are buying directly from the farmer – seriously, check out what $20 US gets you in the Cusco Market.
I understand that Withlocals runs similar programs in Asia, including an opportunity to learn traditional seasonal farming with hill tribes in Thailand and the opportunity to live like a local in Nepal. These experiences are incredibly valuable, as in most cases there is much more than just a cultural exchange going on, you are actually experiencing what a time-honored and sustainable culture feels like – and it usually feels much happier than ours.
Families on the Move
We have been blessed to connect with many amazing families online, all of whom have adapted a travel lifestyle in one form or another. We wanted to take the opportunity to introduce you to them here and highlight the positive aspects travel has had on their families. Welcome our interview series called Families on the Move. Miro & I are honored to a part of this global community we consider our extended family.
Meet The Amazing Family Behind Wagoners Abroad
Could you tell us a little about your family.
We are Wagoners Abroad, a family of 4 that left the rat race in search of a more fulfilling, higher quality of family life. Guess what? We found it in Spain!
I am Heidi, Mom travel planner, Budget Guru and Maker of Experiences.
My husband Alan is the fun guy that seeks adventure and is the humorous practical joker in the family.
Lars just turned 12 and he is our creative perfectionist, with a never ending thirst for knowledge and experiences.
Then we have Anya who is 9. She is our free spirit, adrenaline junkie that helps the rest of us get our of our shells and enjoy life to the fullest. Anya and her brother get up to mischief together and are as thick as thieves.
Where are you now, where have you been and how long have you been traveling?
We have been living in Almuñécar (Southern Spain) for 20 months and we have just 2 months left before we move on to new and exciting travel for a year. We do have rough plans to return to Spain in the Summer of 2015, but we will let the future just play out as it may.
Why do you travel as a family?
Oh this is a tough one to narrow down. The main reason we travel is to connect with other people and cultures. We seek experiences and diversity to help mold us into global citizens. It is important to realize that we are all just people, with similarities and differences that should be observed, embraced and not judged. We hope to inspire other people to think out side of the box and travel more (even in their own country).
What inspired you and your family to incorporate travel into your lifestyle?
Over 20 years ago, I lived in Tijuana Mexico and crossed the border everyday to go to work in the US. Later I backpacked Mexico and Central America for 6 months and have never been able to shake that travel bug. When Alan and I married in 1997, we moved to London, England for nearly 3 years, and of course did loads of travel.
For us travel is just part of life and has helped us mature, grow and become who we are. We wanted that experience for our children, so they would understand that the world is theirs. Nothing is too far or out of reach. If they want a dream to come true, they need to work hard and make it happen.
How do you address education while you are traveling?
The kids have been attending public school in Spain for full language immersion. We also supplement at home with English, reading and some extra activities. They naturally learn while we travel as well, so that is really the best for us. They are sponges ready to soak up knowledge and travel helps them not only see history, but experience it.
How do you and your family experience being global citizens?
We do our best to meet the local people, eat where they eat (most of the time) and take time to absorb the culture. We usually read up on a place prior to visiting and each family member states what they would like to see, do or experience in that location. This is how we get the kids involved in research and we all get to experience something we may not have otherwise selected.
Can you share one of your family’s most memorable experiences?
We have so many, but I would say one of our most memorable was in Castril, Spain. We were spending a few days staying in a Cave House. Yes, a cave! We were the Flintstones for a long weekend and it was great.
We ventured out around the countryside during the day and were heading towards the small town of Castril, to check out their local Friday Market. We arrived and noticed the main street was blocked off and this had us thinking it was some special market. We walked into the town center and asked about the market and instead we were informed the running of the bulls was going to begin in 30 minutes. Running of the Bulls!
How in the heck did we get so lucky? We climbed up the makeshift scaffolding and for the next 2 hours were one of a very few tourists to witness this annual tradition. I asked the older lady next to me how many years this has taken place. Her reply was “As long as time exists, my grandfathers grandfather…”. Wow!
Can you share one story from your travel experiences when you and your family had an ‘aha moment’
We have always traveled and most often it was a one or two week vacation from work. We were at the point where that just wasn’t enough for us and we were plotting and planning on how to extend our time away. We had planned to use 2 weeks vacation from one calendar year and 1 week from the next year, and head off to Peru. I was looking at costs and finances and then realized, it may be cheaper to just go live somewhere.
Then the real “ah ha” came. If we weren’t working we could take a year or two and really immerse ourselves into the culture. That was a big leap in thinking and the best “Ah ha!” moment in our lives. We could make it happen all on our own!
That is when Peru quickly turned into moving to Spain. We felt we could expose the family to more diversity, languages and culture in Europe. We still need to get to Peru, as that is still a dream.
The next “ah ha” was that we can make this open ended and that we don’t need to have plans to return to the US quite yet. If we continue to live our lives simply, we can make this last a while. It is a great feeling to not only have a dream, but to make it a reality. The funny thing is, it is easy to do if it is your priority.
Ah what next? Well, we have changed our plans a bit from 1-2 years in Spain and return to the USA, to an open ended journey. We will be leaving Spain at the end of June 2014 and we’ll be roaming a bit more of Europe for the month of July. Late July we will fly to Bangkok and spend a year exploring and experiencing Southeast Asia. We do plan to return to Spain the following summer, but are very open to letting our plans just evolve and see where we end up.
We were robbed.
We all travel through our lives with a constructed reality held together by beliefs, in which our perception of the the world becomes our paradigm to experience reality. Our lives are experienced in relation to the foundational beliefs we have in place. Everything is a relative to something else and those beliefs for many of us are so inflexible, we believe they are the ultimate reality. And I have argued more than once, there are no ultimate truths greater than our own perception.
We were robbed.
One of those beliefs set at the foundation of my reality is the belief “the world is a safe place.”
We were robbed.
I have worked hard to create my experience of the world based on perceptual reality filled with freedom, joy and trust. I have consciously given up beliefs rooted in fear. I have expressed liberty in my life and taught those experiences to my son.
We were robbed.
And still, with the strength of being, I was deeply effected, like a stick thrown into the spoke of a bicycle wheel I was thrown off, reeling into the air, landing on my ass with a giant thump.
We were robbed.
I had Miro move his bed into my room next to mine. For a week I did not get out of bed. I sobbed, cycled through so many thoughts, so many feelings, so many perceptions about the world around me. I withdrew, retreated and hid. I lost that sparkle in my eyes and feel like it still hasn’t completely returned.
We were robbed.
Logically there’s much to be grateful for. The stuff that was taken was not substantial. The stuff can be replaced.
We were not hurt.
Saturday evening I had returned home from spending the entire day with 3 sets of families that were visiting Cusco. I had arranged a family despacho ceremony for the group and we had an incredible afternoon exploring the wooded forest above Cusco, exploring the site of a few ancient ruins, climbing over boulders and exploring caverns. Cesar sat with the parents for a couple of hours sharing his knowledge of the sacred sites, the old traditions and wisdom about the Andean mysticism as the children played in and around the river, the Incas once used to cleanse before entering the sacred site of Saqsaywaman. Then, after a couple of hours, as a group we all settled into the beautiful despacho ceremony honoring mother earth. (I wrote about the ceremony here.) I took wonderful photos of the ceremony.
Returning home I was exhausted and elated at the same time. I made dinner and although Miro and I had agreed to meet the families to see a movie later that night, Miro decided he didn’t want to see the kids film they were showing and would rather stay in.
Personally, I was content staying in and sorting through the photos of that day.
As I do every night before, I hang my purse on the edge of the kitchen chair, containing wallet, ID, keys and everything. Normally I place my camera on the shelf by the door in the kitchen.
But this night, I took my purse and camera upstairs with me to my bedroom as I decided I preferred to get into bed and sort through the days photos.
The reason I grabbed my purse too? I don’t know, because I never do that. Then around 10:00 pm, I drifted off to sleep, entered a dream state of bliss…
We were robbed.
Miro has been empowered for a long time to make his own choices. He wasn’t interested in going to the despacho ceremony with me and the other families, and has attended a couple other ceremonies in the past already.
None of the kids were his age and he just preferred to skip it.
OK – Teen independence. I’m fine with that.
Miro is empowered to choose what time he wants to go to sleep and when he wants to wake up. Although many times I wish he’d make other choices, I will never force him to choose something different in order to please me.
Recently, I have been accustomed to hearing the sounds of Miro’s excited voice coming through his room playing games, talking via skype late into the night. Sometimes I hear him playing straight through into the morning. I feel strongly, he has the ability to make his own choices about his life and as long as he takes care of his obligations to his business, shows up for any joint plans we both commit to, he’s fine with that.
I am a light sleeper, and usually wake up very easily.
Early Sunday morning, I woke up to sound of footsteps in the hallway. The hardwood floors creak. It didn’t sound normal but I rationalized in my sleepy state, Miro must still be awake, needed to go to the bathroom and was walking around just a bit.
The sounds woke me up and I found myself staring out into the dark, listening through my eyes..
Then slowly, my door started to open… I stared wide-eyed at the door, and said in a hushed morning voice, “Miro, what are you doing? Is everything ok?”
Then, quietly and intentionally, the door shut ….
….more walking around upstairs…more creaking on the wooden floor boards…
…then a few moments later, the door quietly opened again. Once more I spoke, “Miro, what are you doing? Are you ok?”
Again the door gently shut. Then after a few minutes, the creaking floor noises stopped…
Then the dogs barked. “The dogs must have seen a rat,” I thought…
Then, a brief glance at the clock, 5:10, then a quick trip to bathroom, then back into bed. I quickly drifted back to sleep for a few more hours.
My eyes opened at 9:30 Sunday morning, feeling a little restless, but ready for the day. I turned on my laptop and was immediately messaged by a friend and stared chatting. We chatted for an hour and at 10:30 I finally got up out of bed.
I grabbed my computer and headed downstairs, ready to make some coffee.
Miro’s bedroom door was open so I went in. I said, “Miro, hey, you must have been sleep walking last night.. are you ok?” ….. He just looked at me with that sleepy grin and said, “I don’t know what you are talking about,” then threw a pillow over his head and rolled over in the opposite direction. I walked down the stairs and saw the front door was open, propped open by a rock.
I was confused.
Then I noticed the back door was open too, leading the outdoor laundry area. Both doors were left wide open. I was sure I didn’t leave them open. Then, I looked into the kitchen, the balon of gas was missing… it hit me, I realized in that moment…..
WE WERE ROBBED.
I started screaming.
Miro yelled down. “What’s wrong Mom?” I yelled back “We were robbed!” Miro yelled back, “my computers are gone!”.
“Oh fuck!” I screamed, then I went outside to the front of our house and and let out a shriek. I screamed and screamed and screamed…
In that moment, I realized the footsteps I heard were that of the robbers.
In that moment, I realized they were the ones opening up my door.
In that moment, I realized they were in Miro’s room, inches away from my son’s head.
With that thought, I started to sob. I started to uncontrollably sob. I realized they could have hurt my child. I felt disgusted, I felt like a violated, I felt guilty and I felt powerless. But the most terrible feeling was, I felt like a failure. It was my job to protect my son and I failed.
We were robbed.
I have never been robbed. I have never had any experience like this.
I could handle the material loss, which was minimal. We lost a couple of personal items, 2 backpacks, our gas for cooking, and 2 computers, computer cases, our kindle, a hard drive… I knew we could replace those things.. But I had no idea how to deal with the emotional loss, the deep feeling of violation.
I sobbed on and off for almost 2 days straight, with no consoling. Was it fear I was feeling? No. I didn’t think so. Was I afraid they would come back? No. I was sure they wouldn’t. It is hard to define the emotion sourcing through my soul…. It was a release, an acknowledgment that my paradigm had shifted, what I knew to be my truth was no longer true.
I asked Miro to move into my room with me. He did.
We laid on our mattresses watching movies on my computer for days. I didn’t want to go outside. I didn’t want to be in the world. I had no appetite and no desire to do anything at all.
An endless stream of movies played, but I wasn’t really there. My eyes, mostly glazed over out of focus as my head pointed in the direction of the movies. We watched four or five movies every day but I was just checked out. I withdrew into a place that only existed in my head…
Then around the fourth day, I started to wake up. In my mind, I started to replay that morning from the moment I heard the footsteps and the moment head, suddenly becoming “wonder woman”.
In my mind, the events played out very differently. I woke up, already with my magical red patent bad-ass boots on my feet and a golden lasso around my waist.
In my mind, I opened the door and round house kicked the fuckers in the face. I felt the surge of anger transform into a golden ball of steel power travel up my spine, across my shoulder blade then thrust down my arm. Then in my mind, that power-ball serged out the palm of my hand with such force, reeling into the beady eyed robber’s bodies. They would fly across the hallway opposite my bedroom door.
The incredible force would stun their bodies as they’d hit the wall behind them and be rendered unconscious, a single dribble of blood oozing from the corner of their mouth.
Then I felt the satisfaction of hurting them.
And as my mind observed this day dream and realized I was utterly disappointed in myself and the things I was feeling.
I was supposed to feel compassion. But in the privacy of my mind, I imagined revenge. I wanted nothing more than to hurt these faceless people with a vengeance.
These people who didn’t hurt us physically. These people who could have hurt us, were so close to my sleeping son. There was something truly to be grateful. These vengeful thoughts were simply not me. But they were there, nonetheless. I tried to consciously not identifying with them. I wanted to think I am more evolved than that.
But I guess I am not.
And then, more crying…
Being robbed effected me deeply.… There are moments I see the gift in this. But I realize that I am not that pillar of strength regardless of what others think… I hear the words of reason spoken from those around, in attempt to comfort me. But I’m reeling from the perceptual changes in both my outer and inner worlds. My constructed reality has ultimately shifted. My paradigm framing how I used to see the world is skewed. Everything is shaken up, upside-down, backwards, not right…
We were robbed.
It just might be a good thing after all.
Not just “things” were taken from us, but the very ground I walk on now is once again anew.
Andean mysticism can be felt throughout every part of Cusco and the Sacred Valley, but most visitors seem to experience only a glimpse into this unseen world. Still, many are drawn to the area’s energy, intuitively knowing a deep connection to the universe, the planet, the mountains and nature lie somewhere below the surface. Many who wish to have an immersive experience, often just scratch the surface, encountering a tourist ready-made version of a thousand year old traditional ceremony. These types of ceremonies can be found at the tourist offices and remind me of the “luaus” I once saw in Hawaii, feeling as superficial as Disneyland, geared towards entertaining the eager consuming tourist.
Miro and I have been immersed in the Peruvian culture for several years now. Part of our desire for living here is the intention to dig deeper into the culture, understand the history and explore the traditions. We’ve explored much of the history though the archeology, and experienced the mysticism through he traditions.
Last year I explored one of the sacred pilgrimages by attending the Qoyllur Rit’i festival, high in the Andes. We made our way to the Sinakara Valley along with 10,000 other pilgrims to experience the sacred Snow Star Festival. (I made a video and wrote about that experience here. ) As a result, I was honored to meet Cesar, a local healer, shaman and Andean mystic who was our guide for that journey.
Cesar is from Cusco and for generations back, his family have been healers and mystics. When the Spanish Colonized the area, the Catholic church worked hard to integrate the cultures healers into a new linage of faith. Now, Cesar’s family bridges two worlds, the Catholicism of the Colonial settlers and the traditions of the people of the Andes. (It is with Cesar, we have also experienced two other despacho ceremonies, one with the unschooling teens who had stayed with us last year for 5 weeks.)
Recently, we had several families visiting Cusco and so I arranged a family “Despacho” ceremony for us all to experience.
What is a Despacho Ceremony?
A despacho is a ceremony honoring Pachamama (mother earth), the sacred Apus (mountains) and the spirit in all of nature. The Andean people believe all are connected and as a way to show continuing appreciation and gratitude for the crops we eat, the water we drink and the land we live on they make an offering. The offering is a gift, charged with intention, love, reciprocity and reverence, unifying all living energy of the physical and unseen universe.
Despacho ceremonies are traced back to the Q’ero peoples of the Andes.
From the Q’ero web site:
Who are the Q’ero?
High up in the Andean mountains of Peru lives a small community of farmers, weavers and medicine people known as the Q’ero. The Q’ero sought refuge in “villages in the clouds” following the invasion of Peru by the Spanish Conquistadors almost five hundred years ago and remain there to this day. They were “discovered” in 1949 by the anthropologist Oscar Nunez del Prado, who led the first expedition to the Q’ero villages in 1955.
The medicine people within the Q’ero nation are known as “paqos,” which means “priest or mystic” in Quechua, the language of the Inca. The Q’ero paqos are credited with preserving and maintaining the healing knowledge, ancient prophecies, beliefs and traditions of the Inca – and the knowledge of the civilisations which came before them – via their oral tradition. Over the years, they have selflessly shared their traditions and wisdom with seekers of knowledge from all corners of the world.
The Q’ero do not see themselves as separate beings with separate identities as we do in the West, instead they see themselves as one with each other, one with nature, and – as with most indigenous cultures – also one with God.
In fact, they are so ego-less and focused on the collective spirit that they do not have a word in their language meaning “I.” Their main philosophy is to practise “Ayni,” which means living in reciprocity, balance and harmony with the Earth, with nature and with each other. Ayni is the practice of giving before taking, of fairness. For example, when harvesting their corn crops – which they do together as a community – they search to find the two most perfect ears of corn. These are then buried ceremonially, as a thank you to “Pachamama,” Mother Earth, for their abundance and as a prayer for future abundance. Thus they gift the most prized ears of corn back to the Earth, as a thank you and in order to remain in balance and harmony with Pachamama.
You can read more about the Q’ero people or offer your support here .
Traditionally, the Q’ero Paqos perform an offering to Mother Earth known as Pachamama, and to the sacred Apus, the mountain spirits in a ceremonial display. Despachos are given as gifts from the heart; an action of honoring Mother Earth, the feminine spirits, and natural beings. In this way, the Q’ero Paqos people are able to connect with their ancestors; for abundance; for healing; for celebrations; for initiations and other uses among the villagers.
And this was the spirit in which our ceremony proceeded.
How Is A Despacho Ceremony Performed?
Prior to the ceremony, those participating are asked to prepare themselves. Although there are multiple ways to prepare, the purpose remains the same–to elevate one’s consciousness, and engage themselves to a higher state of presence. Some of the most effective ways to prepare for a despacho include meditation, relaxing music, prayer, walking through nature or cleansing with incense, tobacco or Palo Santo.
The environment for which a Despacho ceremony takes place can take a few minutes to set up. The basic idea is to set a tone of respect–a sacred circle involving all participants. In the mountains of Peru, the people sometimes use rattles, flutes, or drums during a ceremonial chant, a meditative rhythm. Despacho ceremonies are always performed outdoors, as it is an opportunity to commune with nature.The closer one can become to Mother Earth, the spiritual guides, and the sacred Apus, the more likely the spirits will become invoked and join their offering circle.
The ceremony finally begins when one person (typically the leader of the ceremony) lays out a generous sized, piece of paper. The offerings are systematically placed on the paper, usually involving chanting.
Our ceremony started with the traditional coca leaves. Cesar combined groups of three cocoa leaves, allowing each participant to channel their blessings into them, by holding them close to our hearts, then heads, then placing within the group.
Then over the course of the next hour Cesar combined the offerings using a variety of ingredients into the paper wrapping. We each took turns with the blessing, and often burning the traditional Palo Santo to signal the spirits of our intentions.
A variety of ingredients were placed into the paper envelope including paper, shells, coca leaves, flower petals, corn, candies and cookies, spices,cotton, animal fat, streamers and confetti. Some of the other items used were a wooden cross, a petrified condor and a llama fetus.
After the offering to mother earth was completed, Cesar gently placed the package into the fire. As the children of our shared mother, Pachamama, all participants joined hands and felt our blessings received.
There really is no ‘one’ way to invite the presence of all sacred aspects of the Pachamama, aloud or silently, together or by turn, but the people of the Andes have based their lives on the natural principles of expressed through the traditions of the Despacho ceremony.
Since ancient times, most indigenous cultures have a connection to the spirit world and have traditions to expressing gratitude to the Sun, the Earth, the Wind–for they recognize, without them, all life would all perish into nothingness.
For you, Pachamama!
A “Despacho” is a ceremony honoring Pachamama (mother earth), the sacred Apus (mountains) and the spirit in all of nature.