Payment to the Earth (Pachamama)

April 28, 2016

In Southern Peru, Apurimac, Cusco and Puno, there is a rite called payment to the earth, which is based on paying tribute to Mother Earth in return to life, the fruits and animals that this gives us, and it is inconceivable perform this rite without the central presence of coca leaves. This rite is offered to Mother Earth (Pachamama) in the field to request good harvests, especially in August, but this ceremony today has been extended to other aspects of life, such as opening a home or business, ensure good studies or luck in love.

The ritual should be performed by an Andean priest or healer named “Pako or Altomisayoc”, which is recognized as a person having special spiritual powers, in some cases, the most sought after are those who have been saved from dying attacked by lightning, and have brands in your body as consequences of this event. The Andean priest begins the rite of payment to land a small tablecloth putting on a series of product that indicates future prosperity, as packets of noodles, cookies, candies, chocolates, rice, sugar, chickpeas, beans and others. In addition to a llama, fetus and some alcoholic drink in small bottles, which can be brandy, pisco, wine, according to the ease of finding these products. Then, he begins to pray with attendees three of our Fathers and three Hail Marys, all bow their heads and close their eyes as a sign of great devotion.

The Andean priest takes a handful of coca leaves that spread on the tablecloth, and become altar look carefully the position of the leaves, which have two faces: one green-gray and other dark green. If the leaves fall for their willingness to adopt certain way and are dark green colour is a sign that Mother Earth accepts payment and the ceremony may continue favorably. Then, the priest opens his bundle Andean coca and select three perfect (Kintu) that placed between the pinkie and ring fingers. Three other leaves between the ring and the largest, and three more leaves between the highest and the index. Put all this offering in the center of the altar (tablecloth). Taking care to place the dark green leaf facing up the sign of good luck. Then, all people repeat the rite.

Then, after several calls to the tutelary gods and Catholic saints, they proceed to burn the offering in sacrifice to Mother Earth through the offering received. To end the ceremony, the Andean priest (or healer) gets a Kintu (three perfect leaves and arranged symmetrically) and placed in the mouth of each of the present and in turn each attendee to pay “Mother Earth” also circulated coca leaves in the mouth of people and closed the rite of a community participatory way.