Sunday, November 1, 2015

Each moment...

She sits easily upon the grass, despite her many years. Her movements are slow, unobtrusive, and every gesture conveys a sense of deep quietude. This stillness is so profound, in fact, that she seems part of the earth itself. A rock, or a mushroom growing on its stocky stem, could be no more still. 

She is Mama Eleni, an old and respected medicine woman of the high mountains of Peru, and she has joined us in the town of Urubamba for a despacho ceremony. A despacho is an offering of celebration, prayer and gratitude, and is used throughout the high Andes to mark all manner of events. This one is being created as a blessing for our time in Peru. 

Our itinerary focuses on sacred sites and ceremony. We’ll visit ancient temples near Cuzco, hike to Machu Picchu’s Sun Gate, and travel to places of power in the high plains of the Lake Titicaca region. But there is an inner journey we undertake as well, and this despacho is also a blessing for the personal intentions we carry for healing and clarity.

A brightly~colored woven blanket has been spread on the ground, and Mama Eleni lays a square of white paper upon it. She begins placing various items onto the paper, each one brimming with symbolic meaning. Herbs, colored sprinkles, money, sea shells, sweets, and statues honoring the Divine~~all are added with prayers, their placement in the overall design precise.

We are each given a k’intu, a set of three perfectly shaped coca leaves in a fan~like arrangement. We are instructed to breathe onto the leaves our intentions and prayers for our time here. These are then lovingly placed within the despacho as well.

The piece taking shape before us becomes an exquisite altar holding our deepest aspirations. It is reminiscent of the sand paintings of Native Americans, and the intricate mandalas found in Tibetan Buddhism.

The despacho is finally complete. Voice, drumbeat and hand~carved flute unite in joyful song as it is wrapped in its paper base, tied with a string, and placed inside a sacred cloth. Mama Eleni then individually blesses each of us with this prayer bundle, tapping and rubbing it against head, shoulders, arms, and spine, while praying softly in her ancient language.

Meanwhile, a fire has been kindled, and the despacho is added to it. This creation that has taken nearly two hours to construct, now burns, smoke rising to the heavens, ashes settling upon the Earth.

* * * * * * *

I’m back from Peru now and have settled into the life that waited patiently for my return. Mama Eleni's despacho, it seems, has come back with me, its deepest lessons a part of me now. I know each moment to be a despacho in the making. Its individual items arise from whatever occurs at home, at work, or in the grocery store, the raw material life offers us to do with as we choose. 

And we can choose consciously. We can place these elements lovingly onto the white paper of the moment, and add our own unique response~~our personal k'intu and our very best offering~~to the whole. And we can give this despacho of ours joyfully to the fire of life, rejoicing as it rises to the heavens and settles down upon the Earth.

Each moment a despacho~~a celebration, a prayer, a gratitude. Yes! May blessings stream down upon all your despachos. And may blessings shine out from them as well.

Leia Marie


Anonymous said...

You always have something to make us think!! Thank you for this new idea, and blessings on you.

Leia Marie said...

And blessings ricochetting back atcha!

Katy said...

Welcome back Leia! I have thought about you many times this past month about how your sacred journey was going. It sounds like it was a profound, beautiful and life changing trip. How glorious! May the peace, stillness and love in your heart and soul continue to expand and fill the world with more joy and gratitude. Blessings to you!

Leia Marie said...

My, but the blessings are flowing today! Thanks to both of you for reading and for taking the time to write. Love!

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Leia Marie