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Natural Awakenings North Central New Jersey

November 2011

Nov 06, 2011 10:56AM ● By Ana Rincon

I’ve found myself participating in more rituals than usual this month.  This weekend I took part in a very enjoyable ritual, one of those five-year markers of my high school graduation.  I went to a small high school where everyone knew each other and most felt some affection for the school.  Students who were only casual acquaintances as teenagers enjoy re-connecting at our reunion parties as if we had been best friends. Our shared memories bind us together in a community and create a connection that in some ways feels even stronger than it did many years ago. 

Of course, Thanksgiving Day is one of our shared national rituals, and a way of connecting with our extended families and our communities. Most of us have grown up with a communal memory of turkey dinners and football games that unite us as Americans.  I look forward to Thanksgiving Day, not so much for the ritual dinner itself, but for the feeling of connectedness it brings—to the people present, and also to past and future gatherings of friends and family.

I also recently experienced a more formal ritual, an Andean Despacho ceremony led by a Q’ero shaman from Peru. The ceremony has been described as a reminder of the connections we share with all beings, elements, spirits and sacred places. During the Despacho, the shaman builds an offering of gratitude and blessings to the earth and spirits, and includes prayers from those in attendance. The prayers are “dispatched” to the spirits when the offering is later burned. 

One of the words used during the Despacho is munay, which is translated from Quechua as “heart center,” “love,” and “connection.”  To experience Munay, one is in a perpetual state of consciousness, experiencing these threads of connection to creation at all times. The Despacho also connected me more literally to those present at the ceremony, about forty other Natural Awakenings publishers attending our bi-annual conference, and created a shared memory that will sustain our connection as we disperse to our homes across the country.

Wishing you a season of deep connections,


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