Emma planned and cooked nearly everything this Thanksgiving. The meal was created in the cob oven. Pizza was one of the main courses...we had three different kinds of pizza...all fabulous!
Perfect temp...around 700-800degrees!
Upcycled door handle...some finishing work still needs to be done on the door.
Maude always watching....
The Q'ero are a Quechua-speaking indigenous people of southt central Peru. Due to the remoteness of their mountain villages, they have, until recently, had little contact with the Western world. This isolation has enabled them to preserve much of their ancient spiritual tradition and way of life. The Q'ero call themselves the "grandsons of Ikari" -the mythical first Inka-and are one of the few indigenous Andean groups who have retained the myths and knowledge of the Inca civilization. The Q'ero believe that everything in nature is animate and that of ayni, or reciprocity. Ayni is similar to the familiar axiom, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto to you." Andeans practice this principle within their communities, as well as in their interaction with the energies of nature. The two major energies of the natural realm are the Apus, the spirits of the mountains, and the Pachamama, the spirit of the Earth. The Q'ero call upon the Apus for guidance and assistance, and rely upon the Pachamama for sustenance and livelihood. One of the ways the Q'ero reciprocate the generosity and guidance given them by a nature spirit is through the despacho, ceremony, a perfect expression of ayni.
Despacho bundles, or kits, contain all the ingredients one needs for creating this prayer offering, including a collection of between thirty and fifty recado -sacred items-wrapped in small pieces of paper. Recados include candy, cookies, seeds, stones, plant material, llama fat, tiny squares of metallic paper, starfish arms, metal charms, and more. The bundles are prepared for both general and specific purposes, such as attracting love or prosperity, or for healing.
The paqos begin by spreading a large piece of paper on the floor in front of them. On top of the paper they centered a scallop shell, in which they placed a small metal cross. They then sorted through a bag of cocoa leaves, collecting and arranging perfect leaves in sets of three, which are called k'intus.
Making an Andean Despacho: An Andean paqo spends years training in the preparation of despachos, learning about the symbolism of the despacho contents. We can make our own despachos, or prayer bundles by substituting similar items from our own culture. Therefore, when making your despacho, simply choose items that hold special significance for you.
What You Need: Select items that represent your intention for the despacho. For example, include photographs or representations of people you maybe praying or setting intentions for, a bit of soil from a place that is special to you, or a sprig of rosemary because it holds personal symbolic meaning. Include herbs, flowers, and other items related to the purpose of your despacho. If you are going to use k'intus (cocoa leaves), bay leaves are a good substitute. Select a piece of paper sized to accommodate your despacho. You can also make a tiny despacho that can be carried in your pocket, enclosed in a card to a friend, or released to the wind on a mountaintop.
Create Sacred Space: Light a candle, smudge the area, or say a prayer. Prepare yourself mentally to be completely present and intent on what you are doing and why.
Assembling the Despacho: Place a sheet of paper in the center of your work area. If you are going to use k'intus, make them by placing three bay leaves together, one on top of another. Choose leaves that are as perfect as possible. Holding the k'intu in both hands, blow your prayers or intentions into it and them place in the center of the paper. Generally, twelve k'intus are used in a despacho to the Apus (because there are twelve major Apus surrounding the Sacred Valley of Peru), but feel free to adapt the number to something meaningful to your purpose. K'intus can be placed in a circle around the center of the paper. Once all the k'intus have been placed, you can begin adding other items to the despacho.
You may want to write your wishes or prayers on a piece of paper that you will place in the despacho. You may also want to use images that embody the intent of your despacho. For example, if you are travelling to Spain,you might might want to include a small map of the country in your despacho.
Make it beautiful ---Andean despachos are natural works of art. Allow yourself to be creative. Use handmade or printed papers, powdered incense, or flower petals. During your assembly of the despacho, arrange the items in an aesthetically pleasing pattern, such as a mandala.
You can also lightly sprinkle the despacho with wine, perfume, or another liquid that is meaningful to you throughout the creation of the despacho.
Completing the Despacho: When you are finished, wrap the paper around the contents, and then tie the package with string or yarn. For smaller versions, use colorful thread or a band made forma thin strip of paper. Add a sprig of sage, feather, or other item to the outside of the despacho. You might want to seal the despacho with sealing wax and a seal related to your intention.
Releasing the Despacho: Once you have completed your despacho, decide how you want to "release" it. Does it feel right to burn it, bury it, let the wind carry it (if it is very small), or the water take it? Choose what feels right for the intent of your despacho. Placing it in the earth can represent gestation, releasing it to the water can be purifying, and burning it can be transforming. Whatever method you choose, always be conscious of the environment and safety.
Finally, try to release your expectations about how your prayer or intention might be answered. The universe works in mysterious ways and rarely do things happen in the exact way that we envision.
From Sacred Rituals: Connecting with Spirit through Labyrinths, Sand Paintings & Other Traditional Arts by Eileen London & Belinda Recio.
Here are some photos of the despacho I made for a releasing ceremony...The paper I used was handmade from Nepal which has a long tradition. The paper is made from the bark of the Lokta bushes in the hilly regions of Nepal. After the harvest of the lokta the bushes will regenerate, which makes Lokta a sustainable source of paper. The sheets are transported to Kathmandu, where the finishing touchse are applied: dyeing, painting, silkscreen, etc. Since the beginning of time Nepalese paper has been used for private purposes...
Full Moon Mead...we took photos of nearly the entire process so this is a long post!
Beautiful activated yeast in the Brew bottle...and we had 3 jars of honey....
80 oz. jars of local honey
Brew container...this pot has some good juju in it from lots of homebrewing that's gone on in there.
Measuring the good honey
Into the sterilized brewpot it goes!
Fireing up the kettle
Maude is always watching....
Pouring in the love....
Some more honey love...
Cover up the kettle...brewing magic mead...
Checking the temperature....maybe an hour up to 170....keep checking...not too hot
Mugging for the camera...that's what you do when you're waiting for Mead to brew...and sing!
Hooking up the cooldown apparatus....this makes it cool much more quickly.
Cool down coil in place...
Carboy santitized and waiting to be filled with mead brew...
Homebrew boy shows us the point and shoot method...cool...no tubes!
Those safety goggles aren't for the brewing...he was working on a woodworking project at the same time.
Another angle....got it all covered don't you think!
Tipping the last bit of mixture into the carboy...
The spiggot....and those brewing hands....
Adding the magic yeasties...this is the fun part! The full moon was beginning to come up through the trees.
Done..nearly! It's beautiful...look at that color!
Happy Mead Makers are we!
Those loving eyes....
Added Monarda Didyma, Scarlet Beebalm into the mix. My plant ally this year.
Full Moon Mead a brewing under the full moon of this month of autumn time....
Thanks to Pat & Emma who were our consultants and the resident homebrewers and thanks to Zok for getting us started. Support your local brewstore!
This most auspicious Mead will be powerful. Many loving hands participated in the process.
Transplanting Scarlet Monarda and Monarda Fistulosa
Mullein amongst some Echinacea, Sweet Annie, Motherwort
Motherwort by the Hops poles
Years of twisting...
Comfrey still going strong
I went outside last night at 10:00pm to talk with Randy about my herbal studies. I found Pine standing tall under the moon....and this....
Two men outdoors working on a woodworking project! It's a normal thing for me to find my family outside late at night building something, planting seeds, weeding the garden, transplanting an ally. It's how we get things done...
A boy works
And Maude is always, always watching...
I won these beautiful Herbal Knowledge Cards over on Herbal Roots Zine! Kristine hosted this wonderful giveaway on her wonderful site Herbal Roots Zine. Thank-you so much Kristine and Pomegranate.
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