Fire is a powerful instrument for transformation. We go to the fire to give it our prayers. We ask the fire to take away those things that do not serve us. The fire can transform “that which needs to die” into new opportunities and new beginnings.

By stepping into sacred space with fire, one steps outside of time and communes with the powers of nature. Anything is possible. Let the fire become your teacher. 

(Traditional fire ceremonies are performed in conjunction with the full moon. An Aya Despacho can be burned at any time during the month.)

Fire Ceremony to Burn an Aya Despacho
  •  Begin by placing the kindling in the form of a Southern Cross, a star constellation in the southern hemisphere. Build a teepee of wood above the cross.

  • Participants should stand in a circle around the fire. They should stand closely so that there are no gaps in the circle.

  • Open Sacred Space by calling in the cardinal directions.

  • Light the fire. One person should act as the caretaker for the fire.
  • Sing or chant a familiar song that has simple, repetitive words. Choose a song that is appropriate for the traditions or beliefs of the participants.  Examples: “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” “Kumbaya,” or “Circle Round for Freedom.” 

  • Once the fire is hot, place the despacho, top facing upwards, on the fire.  Participants should turn their backs to the fire and stand in silence while the despacho burns.  This allows us to detach ourselves from the outcome. 

  • The fire keeper should attend the fire.  Olive oil can be used as an accelerant.  The fire keeper can tell the participants when the despacho is completely burned. 

  • Close Sacred Space by thanking the cardinal directions.

  • At least two people should stay with the fire until it embers. Do not put water on the fire. Ashes created in this sacred fire should be buried in the earth at a later time.

There is a two-week period following a fire ceremony in which instances of opportunity appear.  These instances provide the opportunity to translate your intent for healing into reality.   During this time, one’s relationship to the departed may shift as well. 

You are advised to think of the fire ceremony not as an instantaneous magical change, but rather an opening for healing distinctive habits and patterns.  Recognize this opening and seize the opportunity to change your behavior in the real world.  Then let the universe take care of the details.

Burying an Aya Despacho

On occasion, it is not possible to utilize a fire.  If this is the case, one may bury a despacho.  The earth provides a slower, gentler means of transformation for your despacho.   

Adapted from “Traditional Fire Ceremony,” Healing the Light Body School of The Four Winds Society.