An ‘ofrenda’ is the most important ceremony used by Andean Indians to relate with Mother Earth. The ofrenda is a symbol of reciprocity with nature and its purpose is to teach us to reproduce this attitude. Through it we speak back to nature saying we understand the message and concord.
The ofrenda which is also known in Spanish as a ‘pago’, is not
a ‘payment’ to nature as the Conquistadores saw it, implying a sinister pact with nature spirits. Additionally, they accused the Indians of being miserly because they preferred to pay symbolically rather than with real money!
An ofrenda is an expression of gratitude, not of debt or obligation. Neither is it selfish to want things for ourselves as some people see it even today. It is true that urban people in Peru have started to make ofrendas for reasons such as wanting their businesses to flourish, but good business can equally imply good health, and harmony to the community and for the natural world.
In an Andean community realities are closer to earth than they are in the city, it is more important that the cattle do not die than to have more private possessions. Hence in the country there is a better understanding of the shamanic meaning of the ceremony, the re-establishing of relationship to nature. This is why we need a little preparation so that an ofrenda can work for us too.
We live in a time of the fulfilment of an ancient Inca prophecy. This is the time of the new Pachacuti, a great change bringing with it a new relating to the Earth (Pachamama). Each Pachacuti is a era of time about 500 years. The last Pachacuti occurred with the Conquest in the early 16th century, and the Q’ero (Inca) priests have been waiting ever since for the next era, when order would start to emerge from chaos. The current Pachacuti refers to the end of time as we understand it, the end or death of a way of thinking and a way of being. A new relationship with the living Earth, and an emergence into a golden age of peace. There are many indications that changes in human consciousness are taking place, yet there is still a long way to go. The traditional ways can inform us and show how we can re-engage with the sacredness of life and the Earth so we too can more fully participate in the new Pachacuti.
Retreat Programme – Andean and Amazonian Shamanism
March 8th – 14th incl. – San Pedro, Coca , and the Spiritual Traditions of the Andes.
March 15th – 29th incl. – Amazon Retreat, Ayahuasca, and Plant Spirit Medicines.
Retreat Programme 1. March 8th – 14th incl.
As a prologue to the Amazon retreat this optional week expands on our work with the shamanic tradition of the Andes. Working with San Pedro Maestro Shaman Juan Navarro, and Coca Leaf Diviner & traditional Healer Doris Rivera Lenz. This is an opportunity to experience the rich and powerful spiritual legacy of the Andean civilization which is only now being properly recognised after 500 years of obscurity
Howard G. Charing, is an international workshop leader on shamanism. He has worked some of the most respected and extraordinary shamans & healers in the Andes, the Amazon Rainforest, and the Philippines. He organises specialist retreats to the Amazon Rainforest. He is the author of the best selling book, Plant Spirit Shamanism.