When I stayed in a Q’eros village at 16,000 feet in the Andes last year, I was blessed to participate in several “despacho” blessings performed by the Q’eros shamans. To the Q’eros, the primary spiritual principle is one of “ayni,” which refers to a sort of spiritual reciprocity. They believe that “Pachamama” (Mother Earth) is inherently nurturing when all is in balance. When things go awry and this reciprocity is not honored, Pachamama withholds her blessings and may even become hostile. The fields may not yield as many potatoes, and natural disasters may destroy their homes or their people.
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