SpiritualiTEA: Pachamama and Mate
I checked this morning and it’s still winter and predictions of snow and storms are still filling most of the news for various parts of the U.S. including ours. In addition to the complaining and kvetching, most of us seek something to release the burden of snow and darkness from our minds. For me, one of the most uplifiting things in life is tea in all its varieties. Tea preparation, experiementation, and drinking it is part of my connection to the Goddess and the sacred; tea is an important part of my spiritual practice and daily routine. Imagine my delight when research an earth goddess for a meeting of my circle, I came across another connection to one of my favorite, mate! There are no ancient pictures or statues of her but plenty of modern ones. She is also a really great of example of the Rowdy Goddess. She was not content to stay as the ancients portrayed her and she has evolved into a goddess for the 21st century.
Pachamama is an Earth and Time Goddess revered by the indigenous peoples of the Andes Mountains, a range that covers Bolivia, Peru, and Argentina. She was seen as Mother Earth and was often depicted as a dragon that could cause earthquakes when things no longer pleased her. In the time of the Incas, she was a fertility goddess who presided over planting and harvesting. Llamas and clothing were sacrificed to her and she was seen a cruel goddess who eagerly demanded her sacrifices. Her husband was the Supreme God, of whom it is said that she birthed him from her own body. Her children are the sun and the moon. After the Spanish Conquest and the forcible conversions to Catholicism, she became associated with the Virgin Mary. As Peru and the other nations evolved, so did she. To this day, she is seen as a benevolent goddess, ever present, self-sufficient with a creative power to sustain and nurture the earth. Now when people talk of taking too much from the earth, they phrase it as taking too much from Pachamama. Many environmental activist groups take her name in honor of the earth.
There are a number of festivals in her name, both community and in the home. Most of her festivals involve food, pouring food and drink onto the ground, or honoring her with thanks and celebrations. August in the southern hemisphere is the coldest month and many rituals involve protection the people, the crops, and the earth. People drink mate to bring them luck.
Mate is a South American caffeinated drink made from steeping the dried leaves of the yerba mate. There are many traditional preparations and rituals surrounding the drink. In the industrialized world, it is sold as a tea and while technically not a tea, it is often used as a substitute for coffee because of its strong, rich, bold, caffeinated flavor. The legends of the Guarani (Paraguay, Bolivia, and Argentina) say that mate was created when the Moon and the Cloud came to Earth to visit. Instead of a friendly greeting, they were met by a jaguar, ready to attack them. An old man rescued them and with gratitude, these Goddesses gave him a new plant from which he could make the “drink of friendship.” In tribute to Her and the great Earth she is and protects, I add a simple ritual to my morning mate routine.
Mate Ritual for Pachamama
This is a morning ritual for your first warm beverage of the morning, preferably mate. Brew a pot or cup of mate in your preferred method. Pour yourself a cup of the mate with this charm:
I pour this liquid in my cup
So all day long I’ll have good luck.
Add sweetener (honey or sugar) and cream, if you prefer. Regardless of whether you add or not, stir the liquid deosil and say these words:
Sweetness and nourishment combine
With flavors rich, bold and strong
And stay with me, Goddess, all day long.
Take your drink to a special place outdoors, and pour a portion onto the ground with this prayer:
In gratitude and blessings, I call to Pachamama
Mother of Earth, Mother of Time
She of the sowing, weeding, reaping and storing,
She who brings forth the bounty and nurtures the earth
I thank you for the beauty of the green earth
The strength and illumination of the sun and moon,
I honor the sacrifice, benevolence, and love
With this drink made with your leaves.
Thank you for this day lit well with sunlight
And thank you for the night illuminated by moonlight!