A cacao ceremony is a journey held with loving intention in which the spirit of cacao can guide you to open your heart, connect with your inner truth in the rediscovery of the oneness of all beings.
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.
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 ceremonial grade, pure cacao which is derived from the cocoa bean.
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. The beans are often sun dried before being lightly toasted before being deshelled and worked into a paste. The pure 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.
Pure cacao itself has a very rich bitter taste and is high in iron, magnesium, antioxidants and B-vitamins. 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 increases 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.
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.
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.
From there you’ll have your melted cacao ready to use. Pure 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 ceremonial use, 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 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 ceremonial serving it can make the experience more enjoyable.
A cacao ceremony is a journey held with loving intention in which the spirit of cacao can guide you to open your heart, connect with your inner truth in the rediscovery of the oneness of all beings. Cacao ceremonies 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, a 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.
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 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. In this way, cacao can be the gentle guide to profound and lasting change.
Each 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 all cacao ceremonies 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.
Would you like to deepen and explore your relationship with the spirit of Mother Cacao and share her wisdom and magic within your community? We are offering Cacao Ceremony Training, guided by earth sister Ashley Seymour. This training honors the ancient roots at the heart of sharing this sacred medicine.
Through a transformative healing journey you can awaken the sacred connection between you and cacao, unlock your inner wisdom, intuition and guidance so that you may share her wisdom forward. Click and read more about our Cacao Ceremony Training.
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