News / USA

Traditional Shaman Ceremony Attracts New Yorkers

Adam Phillips
Most New Yorkers identify with one of the three main monotheistic religions - Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Nevertheless, there's a growing interest in the traditional spiritual practices of indigenous peoples. A “despacho” ceremony in the heart of Manhattan spotlights an ancient gratitude and prayer ritual rooted in the Andean mountains of Peru.

Spiritual seekers and the merely curious participate in the ancient Incan ceremony, conducted by Jesus Aguilar, a Peruvian healer-priest called a shaman.

Aguilar moved from Cusco, Peru, to New York with his American wife. For him, those two worlds - one ancient, one modern and nearly 6,000 kilometers apart - are bound together.    

"The Mother Earth is still here with us. You could be in any part of the world, but always the sacred things will be in your heart, in the flowers and the trees and the water. Because everything is sacred, the concrete, the mobile phones. The wheels, all sacred coming from the Mother Earth," said Aguilar.
 
The despacho ceremony is thousands of years old. It aims to bring balance between the human world, the natural world and the spiritual realm.
   
Aguilar builds a “bundle of blessings” as a gift to Mother Earth - Pachamama in his native Quechua language. Participants also ask her for gifts in return.

Despacho elements symbolize this give and take. Corn for nourishment. Money for wealth. Cotton for clouds and rain. And sugar.   

"Because the earth is very sweet with us. Because it is sweet with us, we need to be sweet with her, too," he said.
 
Aguilar gives out sacred leaves called “kintus” symbolizing love and beauty and he tells the group to pray into them.
 
"Okay brothers and sisters, we will put in front of our third eye, we will put our intentions. What do we want? What do we need? What do we want to say thank you [for]? What do we want to let go [of]? Every people will have different types of intention. You can ask whatever you want because the universe is infinite," he said.
 
Hillary Webb, an expert on Shamanism, educates Westerners about Incan traditions.
 
"In the case of the kintus, you bring the leaves to your mouth and that breath is life force, it’s the energy, it’s part of the prayer you are transmitting out of your own body and into the leaves so that it can then be sacred with the spirits and shared with the community," she said.

That formula makes sense to the participants at this ceremony.

"Every day we have intentions. Today we just got together and made them official!" said one woman.

"I felt we were all making this little bundle of joy and good things and happiness and pureness and it felt great to be a part of that," said a man at the ceremony.

"I really love this way of just pausing for a minute in his crazy city and being grateful for what we have," said another woman.

At the end of the ceremony, the shaman wraps the despacho with its prayers for later burning. He said the sacred smoke will feed Pachamama.

You May Like

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Monique MacDonald from: Canada
October 28, 2012 2:25 PM
I was so thrilled to read that Jesus is doing this kind of ceremony in New York. I had the wonderful experience of participating in a despacho ceremony in the Sacred Valley of Peru under his guidance. Jesus is a gem of Mother Earth and knowing he is in New York doing his healing work is very comforting to know.


by: Jackie from: Philippines
October 26, 2012 10:16 PM
I respect how we differ in our beliefs... Yes, nature... and everything in this world is sacred because they are created not by human hands but by an Almighty Hand. Therefore, Our prayers should be directed to the CREATOR not to the CREATION. Let us take a look at the Bible and be guided. God bless.

In Response

by: J from: Lima
October 28, 2012 4:36 PM
The Bible has nothing to do with it, in fact if you can remember Atahualpa himself threw the Bible to the ground when he was presented one by Pizarro's priest. Although the Incan religion sounds pagan one should keep in mind that it was the most straightforward of religions if you want to call it one, The Sun was the creator and god and gave life to everything, which as we know today is true. The cosmos in Incan religion was a map of their own civilization on earth and they tried to emulate it. There was no human god other then the Inca Emperor himself which was said be be a son of the sun. The Spaniards took advantage of this by adapting their own religions to Andean folklore where Jesus is the son of God. But as any rational human should know we are all the sons of the Sun and the sons of God as we emulate our creator the Universe and try to create beautiful things ourselves.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid