When Spirit nudged me to do a Despacho ceremony for the Solstice, I felt it resonate so strongly - like a compass needle pointing to YES. I didn’t know how or what that would look like, just that it would create a foundation for the new era and the webwork of thriving that will replace the old crumbling paradigm. I thought back to the last Despacho I attended with my friends Gayle Mair and Roger Wheelock this summer. We had the ceremony in their backyard and burned it in their firepit. It was such a beautiful collaboration, as prayers and blessings wove together to create an energetic work of art. I remember the flames transforming it were so active, and we felt a strong energy of initiation. We remarked that it felt like a calling. The message was calling us to think bigger than ever before.
So it was natural to ask Gayle what she thought about us doing this ceremony together. It was a big YES for her too. Bringing together and anchoring energy on the east coast and west coast, fire and water, and several communities was our dawn of thinking bigger than ever before. And we feel like this is just the beginning.
As facilitators, our jobs were to open and hold the container of the ceremony for blessings and prayers. The real power of the ceremony was in the participants who created their intentions for blessings for the personal, community, collective and Pachamama Mother Earth. We felt so humbled by the sweetness of energy that came in from the participants.
I received a couple emails from folks who could not attend the ceremony who asked if there was something they could do on their own now.
Energy transcends time and space, as we are only participating in linear time while we are in this earth plane in our bodies. So I believe that we can connect with the energy of the ceremony and the Despachos even after the ceremonial circle is completed.
Here Gayle shares about the Despacho:
"In the Peruvian tradition, Despacho is a group ceremony to create a resonant space with the Spirit and unseen world. Everything that sustains us is given bu the earth - Pachamama! The Despacho is a prayer bundle, filled with items that symbolize all the gifts we are given. Equally important is giving thanks in advance for more blessings we know are coming. In fact, when we make intentions with a Despacho, we set up the energetic exchange that says, "I thank you today for the gifts that come tomorrow". With our Despachos we always bring our intentions with advance gratitude for receiving their impact in our lives and in our world. For this ceremony, our modified virtual version of Despacho is creating and celebrating this time of Transformation and Renewal. We will simultaneously create two Despachos - one with transformation by fire, and one with renewal by water."
If you would like to add your prayers and intentions to our Solstice Despacho for Transformation and Renewal, you may do so at any time, in a way that you are called to by your Spirit teachers or spiritual practice. Or you can follow along with this abbreviated guide from what Gayle and I wrote for the ceremony. All you need is a candle and a glass or water. You may want to set up a small altar with objects that have sacred meaning for you. If you have a rattle or drum, you may want them nearby as well.
Create sacred space by smudging with sacred herbs and plants like sage, mugwort, sweetgrass, cedar, palo santo or your favorite smudge or essential oil spray.
Ask the four directions to be here with you in love, protection and support, addressing them from a place of gratitude as you face each. Ask the Mother Earth below to hold you in her loving energy. Ask the Father Sky and cosmos above to connect you to the Source of All That Is – or whoever you address as your Creator being. Touching your heart, the center of the circle, ask to connect to your Higher Self and Spirit guides and teachers. Acknowledge the Spirit of the land where you are, the nature spirits in the area, the ancient ones. Acknowledge the Original Nations of indigenous peoples whose native tribal lands you stand upon.
Light your candle and imagine all our flames coming together in one fire. You may word a blessing of your own or you may use Gayle’s:
Power of Fire
We honor your gifts of transformation!
Purify us, clear us of obstacles that prevent us from bringing our gifts to the world
Illuminate our responsibility to protect and honor the earth - Pachamama!
Warm us to our task ahead - to awaken human dignity
and indeed respect for the Spirit in all things
We thank you for fueling the intentions of this Despacho,
For fueling momentum for change, for transforming the pain of patriarchy.
We thank you for lighting our path with clear vision for new beginnings.
Next hold your glass of water and imagine all our waters joining together in one bowl. You may word a blessing of your own, or use mine:
Mother in the waters
Please align us with your creative presence
Help us to nurture ourselves and others in the most compassionate ways
Wash away all blockages from our hearts
Help us to imagine the best possible outcome
For our world and all residents of it
May we see all beings as equally important
May we realize and acknowledge the Spirit in all things
Thank you for your help, your blessings, and your love in these precarious times
We offer these prayers and symbols of our love and honor
With utmost gratitude.
Have in your heart the following 8 prayers or blessings. You may write them down if you wish. As you speak each prayer see your blessing already received and manifest, and imagine in detail what that would look like.
The first fire prayer is for something you want to transform or release in your personal life. After speaking it, blow lightly towards your candle, imagine it reaching the fire in the picture.
The first water prayer is for something you want to renew or birth in your personal life. After speaking it, blow across the glass of water and imagine it joining the bowl in the picture.
The second fire prayer is for something you want to transform or release for your family and community. Speak it, imagine it, and blow it towards the candle and the fire.
The second water prayer is for something you want to renew or birth for your family and community. Speak it, imagine it, and blow it across the water to the bowl.
The third fire prayer is for something you want to transform or release for all beings of the world. Speak it, imagine it, and blow it towards the candle and the fire.
The third water prayer is for something you want to renew or birth for all beings of the world. Speak it, imagine it, and blow it across the water to the bowl.
The fourth fire prayer is for transforming the health of our planet. Speak it, imagine it, and blow it towards the candle and the fire.
The fourth water prayer is for renewing the health of our planet. Speak it, imagine it, and blow it across the water to the bowl.
You can add a final blessing for any prayers we may have forgotten by blowing towards the candle and water. Then hold your hands out - palms towards the candle and water - and send loving heart energy blessings for the highest good and joy of all. Rattle over the candle and water and your altar space, empowering the energy and sealing the ceremony. Blow out your candle, releasing the energy. Take your water outside and offer it to the earth with gratitude.
Thank and release the directions of the East, South, West and North. Thank the Mother Earth below, and the Father Sky, Grandfather Sun, Grandmother Moon and our star families above. Thank your Spirit guides and teachers, ancestors, nature spirits, devas and ancient ones. As you release from this circle, know that you carry the gifts of their blessings within you.
May your ceremonies be sweet and powerful, and may they set a strong foundation for the new era.
We’ve probably all come across sacred places or places of power. Sometimes they are in the natural world, in the wilds of ancient forest, on a mountain peak, under a waterfall. It is a place where we feel the spirits so strongly that everything within us gets elevated. Our energy field and chakras expand, we may receive communication from Spirit and etheric beings through our senses. The same thing can happen in places like temples, churches, gardens, even in the presence of works of art.
These sacred places are also available to us every day in our homes and yards. We create and cultivate places of power in our own personal spaces where we do spiritual work like journey, meditate, pray, compose art and music, and where we nurture ourselves and others.
Setting up an altar in our home creates a sacred space for us and nourishes our spiritual side. It literally makes a space for it in our lives. It acknowledges and calls in the Spirit helpers and teachers that we have relationships with, as well as those we want to develop relationships with in the future. It is a space to create magic, drawing in or sending out healing, holding the focus for intentions, honoring our journey. It is also a place to create meaningful beauty. It changes and focuses energies in the room, in the building, and on the land. I think of them as spiritual power generators.
There are an infinite number of ways to create altars. We can follow a formula and assemble ritual objects in certain areas of the space, as is the case when setting up a Wiccan altar or a Mesa from a Peruvian tradition. Or we can assemble them with any objects that are meaningful to us that we are guided to use.
Some have specific uses and may be temporary in nature, such as ancestor altars that we may set up on or near November 1st for All Souls Day. Near that time of the year I set up pictures of family members, loved ones and pets who have crossed over. Then I surround them with offerings of flowers, a little food and drink, and gifts they may have given me. Another temporary altar is a grief altar, which helps us acknowledge and process through a time of grieving. When we feel that the time is right, we may disassemble them with gratitude and closure. Some people make their ancestor altar a permanent part of the space and honor them as part of their daily practice. I also always set up an altar when I am teaching a workshop. Not only does it hold the intention of the class, but also energetically charges the objects and supplies for the class. The beauty of altars is that we make them to fulfill whatever we need in our spiritual lives.
My first altar thirty some years ago was very small, a spot on my dresser for special stones and other objects. I didn’t even realize it was an altar until much later. Then I moved it to its own space with intention. As my practice expanded, so did my altars. One is dedicated to the Goddess, another to Reiki healing, one is a Mesa. I keep a seasonal family altar in the living room and even my car has grown a portable one around the dashboard composed of feathers, stones, shells, sacred herbs and oils. They are all energetically connected and fed by my main altar where I sit in daily meditation and journey connecting to Spirit.
When we work with an altar, they become places of power. Our blessings, gratitude, prayers, intentions set up a beacon that draws in power from our spirit helpers and beings that love us. The objects on and around them increase in power as we use them. The definition of power that I am using here is a place where benevolent and beneficial Spirits gather or dwell. It is energy that enlivens, elevates, heals and strengthens. It expands and adds to our well-being. We in turn can share that energy as we do our work out in the world.
Eventually we realize that the power of our altar is embodied within us. We are our sacred space.
My autumn Mabon altar this year
Long before I started my formal training in energy medicine or shamanic work, I resonated with the Goddess and nature traditions. I paid attention to the cycles of the moon, and to the seasons in the wheel of the year.
I wanted to give my daughter that way of seeing the natural world too. When she was little she loved to mark the new moon and the full moon with me. On the new moon we would go around the house opening the windows and doors and smudge every room with sage, saying goodbye to all the old stale energy. We would sing songs and our dogs would follow us like it was a parade. On the full moon we would carefully carry a candle throughout the house into each room welcoming in the light and its blessings. As she got older, she lost interest, so I let that ritual go. And that was okay, it gave her the foundation that I wanted her to have. And it gave me a consistency that I needed in my moon rituals then, plus a lot of sweet memories.
In my own practice my attention would fluctuate. Sometimes I would pay attention to the moon phases and how they matched up with my moon cycles. Often I would do short ceremonies or write out intentions with the new and the full moon, but not every month. Other times it was more of a mental tracking as I got more into astrology and followed the moon’s trek through the signs. Sometimes I was just too busy to notice the moon at all. So our relationship has been all over the map.
Then in this past year the moon started reaching out to me in my journeys and meditations and giving me short lessons about herself and other nature beings. I also began getting all kinds of synchronicities – receiving emails and links to podcasts about other people feeling called to renew their connection with the moon cycles. My Higher Self brought through messages about working with her by keeping track of her again. This is one of my favorites:
“There are archangels of the cosmos that hold the moon dear, it has been imbued with Divine light. What is your special connection with the moon? It is your water connection – time and tides. You are a force of water and so you move with the moon. Not just on a physical level, but on a metaphysical level. To understand what that means is to immerse yourself in the mystery of moonlight. It unravels knots. It wakes your cosmic meridians. It becomes part of you that you revel in. We want you to be aware of her, just like you are aware of any loved one. When she is coming home. When she is going out. When you connect with her you will receive the gift of knowing within you that lights up. There is no other way to explain this.”
She is a great teacher because she is visible, and we can feel her on an energetic level and work with her on an emotional and mental level. Her changing aspects reflect facets of our inner selves; waxing and waning, full and dark, each one familiar yet unique in our expression.
In the morning I sit at my altar and look at my moon calendar as part of my spiritual practice.
Where is the moon today?
What does her energy feel like?
How best can I work with her this cycle?
Where am I in my own cycle of becoming and blossoming?
I feel like I have reconnected with a whole family of wise aunties and grandmothers. And I feel like I have renewed a primal part of myself.
To help you tend to soul issues that may manifest in physical, emotional, mental or spiritual aspects of your life, and to give you tools to empower your path to harmony and well-being.
-There are so many kindred spirits doing the work out there. I include these links to help our community connect with one another.
SACRED HOOP Magazine Guide to Shamanism Compilation- http://www.sacredhoop.org/Pages/FreeGuide.html
Kitzie's podcasts include interviews with artists and kirtan music. I love attending her weekly Satsang group and the New World Kirtan Band concerts -
Energy Intuitive and Nature Communicator - Cheri Melton's work with Devas and Nature Spirits is profound. So happy to have her as a friend and mentor -
Roger Wheelock and Gayle Ruth are shamanic practitioners and teachers in the Pachakuti Mesa Tradition. https://www.rainmother.com/ I am grateful to be able to take part in ceremony with them, and to support their love for the Peruvian people through the World Ayni Association.