Yoga: New Year Reflection and Renewal through Despacho


Culturally, we are used to marking the end of the year with celebrations and a break enabling us to reflect on past events. This is swiftly followed by a return to the usual crazy chaos and pressure of work so that we quickly forget many of our resolutions. Why not try something different this year? Call in the assistance of the energies in the world of the unseen through the practice of shamanism to help you make those dreams happen and put some weight behind the promise to quit the caffeine or spend more time at home.

It is traditional to mark the end of a year and welcome in the new by committing to paper, those thoughts and habits that we wish to dispel from the previous year and manifest the experiences we want and the people we wish to be. We also add offerings to the spirit.

Despacho ceremonies are traditionally Andean and relate to “shipments.” Thus one can loosely think of a Despacho ceremony as symbolically sending something into another realm. I have become familiar with New Years Despacho ceremonies; in which you collect memorabilia and write thoughts or feelings from the previous year, bundle them in a large paper, and burn the bundled year.

For peoples who live in close connection with the Earth, the despacho is a communication to those forces of Nature they respect and revere. Pachamama, or Mother nature.  Inti Tayta, the Sun or the powers of Light,  and the guides or guardians of the spirit world who help and provide for the community, the family, the individual person.

a need, healing or assistance Sometimes these ceremonies are performed to communicate a specific need: a healing; assistance in a birth; maybe the birth of a new structure, the success of a season’s crop, a marriage, an enterprise. Very often a despacho is made for right relationship – among individuals, communities, families, or between man and Nature. The Quechua term is “Ayni”, so this is an “ayni despacho.”

…. the dedication of some aspect of life, back to wholeness In expressing this intent, the despacho takes the form of a very beautiful offering bundle. A sequence of items are placed on a flat surface, each representing the dedication of some aspect of life, back to the wholeness. The process itself is an opportunity to reflect for all who participate. As the ceremony progresses, all involved form “k’intus”, little groups of three leaves, and, with their own breath, place their prayers and offerings into these, and then add them to the ceremonial bundle.
We are connecting, and aligning, with Nature’s purpose and coherence We identify what we want our lives, and the life of our community, to be about. We communicate that to the cosmos. In that process we are connecting, and aligning, with Nature’s purpose and coherence.  And just as the Munay-Ki rites (which are called in Quechua karpays, or empowerments) awaken and empower our full potential, so the despacho breathes power into our lives.

For a detailed explanation and guidance, check out this great article here