The north is a region with an abundance of agricultural products due to the richness of its soils; this is why the ancient Peruvians that settled in this region were grateful to Mother Nature. In Lambayeque, the Moche and Lambayeque people used to give offerings of coca, "aguardiente" (a kind of liquor) and food so that their ancestral spirits would persuade the Earth to continue being so fertile.
The leader of the ceremony is known as the shaman, or “pago”. He is said to have supernatural powers and to be able to communicate with the spirit world, allowing him to invoke his ancestors, the apus and deities of the mountains to ensure that Mother Earth carries on producing her bounty.
In Huaraz, offerings are made to the Earth in the open air, in the region's highest spots, in a peaceful environment and an atmosphere charged with the Earth's energy. The Cordillera Blanca (White Range) has the largest concentration of local shamans, although they can also be found in the surrounding areas of Huascarán, Huandoy and Chopilcalqui.
The Cerro Sechín temple, west of Huaraz, is covered in iconographic sea drawings and references to rain cycles, which were scarce during difficult times of drought. The shamans from Sechín go up into the mountains, to the lagoons that form at the base of the snow-capped peaks, and offer sacrifices. Sometimes they do it where the sea is at its roughest, begging for rain to water their crops.
In Cuzco, there are esoteric tour services that allow visitors to be part of the Ayahuasca ceremony, a cleansing ritual. Ayahuasca is a traditional plant used by ancient Peruvians to heighten their levels of awareness and gain inner harmony. This is always done with the help of a spiritual guide or shaman. This ceremony is performed at night and the liquid is swallowed until the person experiences visions, and is able to explore how their life is interconnected with the cosmos, universe and the Earth. The effects of the potion last around 3 hours, and are followed by a sensation of weariness that forces travellers to rest until the following day. Given the nature of the ceremony it is necessary to fill out a medical form in advance.
The ceremony of making offerings to Mother Earth (the Pachamama) is an Andean ritual that has been practiced from time immemorial on the Andean plateau by Andean priests or pacos. They raise their hands to greet the spirits of the mountains (Apus) and offer prayers to them at the four points of the compass.
Each year, on the third Thursday in January on the island Amantaní, the ceremonial sites of Pachatata and Pachamama are the scene of the Andean religion's most fervent display. On the main day of the ceremony, the region’s population fixes their gaze on the Apus, accompanied by the sound of pinquillo flutes and drums as a tribute to the fruitfulness of the generous mother earth. To participate in the ceremony is to practice the art of gratitude.
The leaves of coca, a sacred ancestral plant with healing powers, have been used as food and medicine in our country since the days of our ancestors. They serve as an intermediary between the internal world represented by the guardian Apus and the Pachamama, and the external world of man.