If you follow us on Facebook or receive our emails, you know that we just announced our powerhouse ensemble of Experts this SEPT 21-24, including Shamanic Practitioner Mercedes Soler, who’s been quietly a part of this movement since before it came to life as Campowerment. (She co-authored a book with our CEO Tammi and 5 other women [Harper Collins, 2005], and was one of the original Circle leaders alongside Tam!)

Camp #22 this September is calling Mercedes back to lead Despacho ceremonies to promote healing. And for that, we think we owe you an explanation:

A Despacho is a prayer bundle or offering…an expression of gratitude to heal physical and emotional ailments of any kind, to restore balance or harmony where it is off, or when there’s a specific request of the spirit world.

The ceremony where the despacho is collectively created is a beautiful, South American tradition, where elements from the Earth are chosen and the offering is built together, as a group, with intent and love. Ultimately, the Despacho offering goes back to Mother Earth, filled with prayer, along with the intentions and vibrations of those participating…a living request to bring energy shifts and healing in exchange for the continued love and care of Mother Earth.  

Mercedes tells us:

“Despachos are a powerful form of gifting heavy energies, fears, even illness to the Pachamama, or Mother Earth, in exchange for her care of us. It is a love bundle made of flowers, seeds, oils, liquor, candy or any natural item that grows in her garden. It can also include small objects of personal significance, mementos or paper (and real) money.”

Mercedes continues…

 “Below is that briefest and most accurate description that I borrow from Meg Beeler:

Despacho describes the Andean practice of making offerings to the mountains (apus), Mother Earth (Pachamama), and other spirits of nature in reciprocity, reverence, and thanksgiving. A Despacho is…a reminder of the connections we share with all beings, elements, spirits, and sacred places.  At the deepest level, it is an opportunity to enter into the essential unity of all things, the living energy of the universe.  

A Despacho is created during a celebratory ceremony. In the cosmology of the Andes, all life is perceived as one grand, infinite ceremony. Because physical survival is so hard in the high mountains, life is experienced as a true gift to be lived, not a problem to be solved. There are at least 300 variations of Despachos in the Quechua-speaking Andes (primarily Peru and Ecuador). While there are certain elements common to all Despachos, the particular healing intention — such as bringing harmony and balance to the earth, honoring new beginnings, or getting rid of an illness — determines the design of the offering, some of the contents, and even the way that offerings are added’. – Earth Caretakers, © Meg Beeler

Making a Despacho is a living ceremony.. It is similar to creating a mandala. Though everything that goes inside this bundle is a stand-in symbol or poetic metaphor, it is an act of reciprocity of energies that will render a result. For September camp, I’ll bring most items Campers will need for the offerings. Some can be gathered on site by Campers who wish to seek out items of particular significance. Together, we’ll build a communal Despacho for the entire group, and each participating camper can add items collected on her own with her distinct “intent.” We will burn quietly, without fanfare, at the end of the weekend

Despachos can be very powerful. The intent has to be clear and impeccable, meaning noble causes only. It is very moving and reassuring to know that we are not alone fighting our fights but can call upon the spirits of our elders, on the archetypes of the medicine wheel, on the energy of the sun, the moon, the rivers and our Mother, Pachamama herself to care for us, love us and help us heal.”