Despacho Ceremonies

One of the key ceremonies of the Paqos or Pacos (shamans) of the Q’ero tribe of South American is the Despacho (rhymes with gazpacho the cold soup!) ceremony. In a despacho ceremony, an intention or prayer bundle is created that holds both the intentions of the ceremony participants and offerings of gratitude. It honors deep connection to the “apus” (mountains) Pachamama, (Mother Earth), the living energy of the universe and the essential unity of all things.

Despacho in peru
Q’ero elders lead Despacho at Moray Peru

There are at least 300 different types of Despachos done in Peru. The most common Despacho is called an Ayni Despacho. (pronounced “Eye-Knee”). The intention of an Ayni Despacho is to bring things into right relationship. Ayni could be translated in Western terms to right relationship, balance, alignment or “as for you, so for me” or reciprocity. This principle of ayni is a key principle in this tradition. We honor the relationship interwoven through all life.

The shaman uses natural and manmade elements to layer intentions and offerings of gratitude. Participants blow intentions into three coca leaves forming what is called a kintu. The intentions and “gifts” are wrapped into a package and tied into a bundle. This bundle is traditionally placed in a fire, although it may also be buried or released into water.

Here is a lovely YouTube video produced by The Center for Shamanic Education and Exchange about the Q’ero and the Despacho Ceremony.


As a Western shaman trained in the tradition of the Q’ero, I hold Despacho ceremonies that honor this tradition and adapt it to our culture. Each Despacho brings with it the energy of the group creating it and the intention set. They are quite astounding in how they vary in essence and energy. Here is a photo of a Despacho that was created in March 2012 before it was wrapped for the fire.

Despacho closeup
Despacho photo by Carol Woodliff

This is a sacred ceremony created together in joy. It is not religious in nature but an experience of the spiritual nature of the universe and that nature within each one of us. All who come with open hearts are welcome.

You can sign up for my mailing list to the right below to be notified of upcoming ceremonies in the Los Angeles area or contact me to discover how we can bring a ceremony to you.