Wednesday – March 23, 2011 – Offering to the Earth
Our first evening at the Sonesta Posada del Inca we attended an “Offering to the Earth” ceremony. In the Andes, these ceremonies are conducted in reverence and thanksgiving to Pacha Mama or mother earth who “gives life.”
There are many different variations of this ceremony, but in each case, the priest, shaman, or healer that conducts the ceremony will prepare the gifts and offer the traditional prayers of thanksgiving.
Our ceremony was conducted by Rafael. He prepared our offering with many different components, each with a unique and specific meaning. The package included: The red carnations, coca leaves arranged in triplicate and representative of each participant in the ceremony, and then the incense, sugar, wafers, chocolate, candies, lima beans, corn, anise, figs, magnets, rice, noodles, raisins, peanuts, (a total of 23 items in all) were added to the package.
Rafael carefully tied the package with string and we moved to the fire pit. There he prepared the fire and passed the pack to each participant to make a wish or say a private blessing. Once all had handled the package, it was placed in the fire pit and burned.
The slide show provides a glimpse of the process and the ceremony.