Transition Into Dreaming
When we understand that the physical world arises from the primordial light of Ti, by the power of dreaming, we realize we can step outside of the world around us and create a new and better one, a sacred one, driven by vision. Like the shamans of the Andes we want to serve a sacred dream, one that guides planets across the heavens and our human destiny here on Earth.
Sometimes, as much as we wish to be the visionary that selflessly transforms our personal dreams and participates in choosing a new vision for the world, the miasma of our everyday world pulls us back from dreaming with almost gravitational force, preventing us from waking up and keeping us stuck and frustrated. What can we do? How can we transition from our ordinary reality into dreaming sacred dreams? One way is to practice the art of the giveaway. The giveaway is a way to put us back in ayni, in balance, so that we can set our world in order, banish chaos and find the cosmos.
The shamans of the Andes do this by creating beautiful and complicated despachos, a traditional giveaway, a dreaming practice done by preparing ornate offerings from the seeds and grains from their fields, decorated with flowers, candy and colored strings. Villagers pray for hours, blowing their prayers into a kintu of three coca leaves. All the elements of daily life are placed onto a piece of paper, in exactly the right order agreed on by the participants. Later the paper is folded and tied with string and placed into a fire. As the fire burns the spirits of the mountains and Earth are invited to feed on the villagers’ prayers.
How can we create something so beautiful in our stressed out lives? Lives where we are prevented from being in community due to the pandemic, that seem awash in chaos, and leave us feeling exhausted with little time to spend gathering ingredients, praying and making a fire. I encourage you to try this simple exercise.
Go to your kitchen and find a container of salt. Empty the salt on a plate and tap the plate a few times until the salt lies flat on the plate. Take a toothpick and draw a circle on the outermost edge of the salt. You are about to make a simple, yet powerful, despacho. Place a few flower petals or herb leaves on the salt and draw images in the salt, whatever inspires you. Accompany each drawing with prayers of gratitude. Be grateful for all the blessings in your life and give thanks for all the challenges and tests you are going through at this time. Ask that their blessings and gifts be revealed to you. When you are finished with this exercise, you can place your salt despacho in your bathtub and enjoy a nice warm bath as you soak in your prayers. If you don’t have a bathtub, simply place your despacho on the floor of your shower and allow the steam to rise up over you along with your prayers. Invite yourself to breathe deeply and relax.
Now, in this state of ayni, take a moment to dream your own sacred dream of a world of peace, filled with abundance and great Love for all beings.
Alberto Villoldo, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and psychologist who has studied the spiritual practices of the Amazon and the Andes for more than 25 years. Author of numerous best-selling books, including Shaman, Healer, Sage, The Four Insights, Courageous Dreaming and Power Up Your Brain, Alberto is the founder of The Four Winds Society, and directs the Center for Energy Medicine in Chile, where he investigates and practices the neuroscience of enlightenment. Visit www.