CACAO CEREMONY

THE SACRED ART OF CEREMONIAL CACAO

Cacao Ceremony is a journey held with loving intention in which you can awaken the sacred connection between you and cacao, unlock your inner wisdom, intuition and guidance.

Cacao has been gaining popularity as a super food in the wellness scene over the last few years, and rightly so! For centuries cacao has been held as a sacred healing medicine in the Mayan culture of South America. Revered as Mother Earth’s heart medicine; the word cacao actually translates to “hearts blood”. Cacao holds the vibrational frequency of the heart and has been used for thousands of years as a healing guide back to the wisdom of our hearts song.

 

Cacao ceremonies are rituals that involve the consumption of raw cacao, often in a ceremonial or spiritual context. These ceremonies have been used by traditional cultures for centuries, and have been adapted to modern times by many people. Cacao ceremonies can take place in various settings such as at a retreat center, in a park, or even in a private home, and they can be facilitated by a trained facilitator or a spiritual teacher.

 

During a cacao ceremony, participants are usually invited to drink a cup of ceremonial cacao, which is a specially prepared form of raw cacao that is believed to have a higher level of medicinal properties than commercially available chocolate. A cacao ceremony can include various elements such as meditation, yoga, music, chanting, or other forms of spiritual practice.

WHAT IS CACAO?

Surrender to Cacao, "the food of the gods"

You may have found yourself wondering what all the buzz is about, isn’t cacao just chocolate? Cacao is more than a delicious drink, a box of holiday candy or bar of chocolate we reach for as a pick me up. When we speak of cacao we are talking about raw cacao, which is derived from the cocoa bean.

 

Cacao is a tropical evergreen tree, grown for its seeds, which are used to make cocoa powder, chocolate, and other cocoa-based products. The tree is native to Central and South America and is grown in many other parts of the world. The cacao beans are typically harvested from the tree when they are ripe and then fermented, dried, and roasted to develop the chocolate flavor. The tree's scientific name is Theobroma cacao, which means "food of the gods" in Greek. Cacao beans have been used for centuries by indigenous people for medicinal and spiritual purposes, and also as currency.

 

Though cultivation processes vary, cacao pods are traditionally picked by hand; the beans are then removed from the flesh of the pod which can be broken down into things like cacao butter. Cacao beans are often sun dried before being lightly toasted before being deshelled and worked into a paste. The pure raw cacao can then be pressed into a mold to set or is mixed with ingredients such as milk and sugar to become what we know as chocolate.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CACAO?

Delicious, healthy, and powerful!

Cacao itself has a very rich bitter taste and is high in iron, magnesium, and antioxidants. Cacao contains B-vitamins, and It has also been shown to promote immunity, lower blood pressure and cholesterol. It is also nature’s most concentrated source of theobromine; a psychoactive ingredient which stimulates and energizes the human body. Theobromine is derived from the Greek, theo (“god”) + broma (“food”) and so is known as “food of the gods”. Cacao provides a boost of energy without the crash of other stimulants.

 

On a chemical level cacao can help to increase the flow of blood and oxygen throughout the body releasing endorphins and dopamine, the feel-good hormones which open the pathways of love, creativity, healing and soul truths. With this in mind cacao has long been used as a medicine because of it’s power to connect the physical, mental and spiritual bodies promoting a more holistic sense of wellness.

 

In the modern world some promoted benefits in consuming cacao regularly include; increased creativity, compassion, conscious connection and spirituality as well as productivity and increased physical ability.

 

Some other benefits of cacao includes:

 

~ Cardiovascular health:

The flavonoids in cacao have been show to improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, and decrease the risk of heart disease.

 

~ Brain function:

The caffeine and theobromine in cacao can improve mood, alertness, and cognitive function.

 

~ Skin health:

The antioxidants in cacao can protect the skin from damage caused by UV rays, pollution and other environmental factors.

 

~ Stress and anxiety:

The flavonoids in cacao can help reduce stress and anxiety by promoting the production of endorphines and other "feel-good" hormones.

Cacao Bean Plant with Picture created by Freepik - www.freepik.com

HOW TO MAKE CACAO?

Prepare it, enjoy it, and master the art of making cacao!

When it comes to using cacao the first task is to find a source of the pure cacao that honors the lineage of its sacred medicine, two retailers of consciously harvested cacao are Keith’s Cacao and the Mystical Yoga Farm which partners with the Guatemalan women’s collective and ships cacao internationally from the farm in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.

 

Raw cacao is a solid mass, so in order to use it you will need to melt it down, this is best done by cutting the desired amount of cacao down into smaller chunks. How much cacao you will be using entirely depends on what you are using it for, the generally suggested dose for ceremony is around 45g per person. However, if you are using cacao for a delicious and nourishing drink or recipe you will probably want to use less. Experimentation and listening to your intuition for serving sizes of cacao for non-ceremonial use is advisable.

Whatever your intention for preparing cacao you will likely need to melt it into a thick liquid paste, this is best done using a bain marie method (heating a bowl over a pan of hot water on a stove top) as this will allow you to control the temperature gently bring the cacao to melting point, just like chocolate the melting point of cacao is 35-36 degrees celsius so it generally doesn’t take long to melt down.

Cacao bean Picture created by freepik - www.freepik.com

From there you’ll have your melted cacao ready to use. Cacao has a place in far more than ceremonial space, it can be included in any number of daily recipes such as a nourishing morning drink, bliss balls, smoothies, homemade chocolate and even chilli con carne!

 

If you’re looking to use your cacao for a cacao ceremony, traditionally it is served as a warm drink and made by simply watering down the pure melted cacao until it becomes a thick liquid, for 45g of melted cacao this would usually be around 1 cup of water.

 

In Mayan tradition ceremonial cacao or sacred cacao may have been served with cayenne pepper (which was thought to direct the medicine to the heart quicker), in more modern ceremonies cacao is often served with a variety of complimentary spices such as cinnamon, cardamon, ginger, turmeric. Some people will also include nut milks, ghee, honey or sugars to make the cacao more palatable. Though this is not the traditional cacao ceremony serving it can make the experience more enjoyable.

BENEFITS OF A CACAO CEREMONY

Open your heart for this sacred & unique experience

A cacao ceremony is a heart opening journey held with loving intention in which the spirit of cacao connect with your inner truth in the rediscovery of the oneness of all beings. Cacao ceremony can take many forms in the modern world, yet the ceremonies' roots are in the shamanic healing indigenous to the land of the plant itself - South America.

 

Just as the source and quality of your cacao is important so is the facilitator of your journey, cacao ceremony is a beautiful modality to foster deep connection to yourself as well as those around you therefore its important to find a facilitator or guide who you has experience and knowledge of the medicine and who you feel comfortable with. Drinking cacao works on the subtle body, while you’re unlikely to have an out of body experience or hallucinate you may feel a flood of emotion, a deep sense of connectedness or a rush of energy.

 

Each experience with the spirit of cacao is different as is each ceremony. In cacao ceremony ceremony, the spirit of cacao medicine is also often used as a guide to shift your perspective. Working gently on the body, mind and heart cacao opens up the emotional space to freely come into close communication with oneself.

 

Cacao can open your heart to releasing limiting beliefs and behavior patterns, processing traumas, unlocking energetic bondages which hold us back. By touching and rebalancing the energies of the body, cacao can also restore health and vitality, create an equilibrium between feminine and masculine energies allowing us to live life more aligned in harmony. Each cacao ceremony, guide and experience with cacao is unique and sacred in its own way, in some instances you may take a journey inward, you may be called to journal, meditate, sing, dance, share, cry, immerse yourself in nature, or to play.

 

Whatever path the journey takes at the essence of a cacao ceremony is the intention to give you the space to explore and safely connect to your heart to unfold into the deepest truth of self understanding.

SPIRITUAL BENEFITS OF CACAO

The gentle guide to profound and lasting change

Cacao has been used for spiritual purposes for centuries by indigenous cultures in Central and South America. The spiritual benefits of consuming cacao in a ceremonial context can include:

 

~ Increased connection to the self:

Cacao ceremonies often involve introspection and self-reflection, and can help to increase awareness and understanding of one's thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

 

~ Improved connection to others:

Cacao ceremonies often involve group participation, and can help to create a sense of community and connection among participants.

 

~ Increased connection to nature:

Cacao ceremonies often involve elements of nature, such as being held outdoors or incorporating natural elements like crystals and plants, and can help to foster a deeper connection to and appreciation for the natural world

 

~ Increased spiritual connection:

Cacao ceremonies often involve elements of spirituality, such as meditation, prayer, or chanting, and can help to connect participants with a higher power or sense of purpose.

 

~ Greater understanding of oneself and the world:

A cacao ceremony often involves introspection, spiritual practices, and guidance from a ceremonial leader, and can help participants to gain a deeper understanding of oneself and the world.

 

It's important to note that the spiritual benefits of a cacao ceremony can vary depending on the specific ceremony, the intentions of the participants, and the individual's spiritual beliefs and practices. It's always recommended to try cacao with experienced practitioners if you are considering participating in a cacao ceremony.

CACAO AND YOGA

The profound power of Yoga and a Cacao Ceremony

The combination of Cacao and yoga has been gaining popularity in recent years as a way to enhance the experience of both practices. Cacao and yoga can be combined in various ways, such as drinking a cup of ceremonial cacao before or during a yoga class, or by participating in a cacao ceremony that includes elements of yoga.

 

The combination of cacao and yoga is believed to have several benefits. Cacao can help to open the heart and access intuition and inner wisdom, and yoga can help to connect with the breath and the body, promoting mindfulness and self-awareness. Together, these practices can help to reduce stress and promote emotional balance. Cacao also has a natural ability to boost mood and energy, which can enhance the yoga practice. Yoga, in turn, can help to release tension, improve flexibility, and increase overall physical and mental well-being.

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