"The Bean of the Gods"
For the Love of Cacao
You probably already have a long standing relationship with chocolate. But did you know that cacao in its raw form is a medicine that has been used for thousands of years to facilitate transformation? A cacao ceremony helps to harbor self-love, connection, and liberation by tapping into the heart opening spirit of the cacao bean.
In a cacao ceremony participants drink a specially prepared medicine rich in cacao (a ceremonial dose is 42 grams) using water as the base. Sometimes other spices are added such as cinnamon or chilies to aid in the uptake of the cacao into the physical body. It is believed that using cacao as a ceremonial medicine dates all the way back to 1900BC by the Olmec civilization in Central America. It was used widely in rituals by the Mayan and Aztec people, to help them connect with their gods. Cacao was sacred to these civilizations and symbolized life and fertility.
What Are The Benefits of Cacao?
Cacao is a superfood filled with beneficial elements, especially when organic* and without any additives. Cacao is considered a strong heart opener because it greatly boosts our circulation. During a ceremony circulation can be boosted by up to 40%. This means the numerous nutrients in the cacao nourish our brains, hearts, skin, and everything in between.
In fact, cacao is the highest natural food source of magnesium. Magnesium helps support metabolism, memory, concentration, and the management of stress. Our senses, our awareness, and our focus are all heightened, allowing for deep meditation and connection with ourselves and others.
Cacao also contains many alkaloids, flavanoids, antioxidants, and neurotransmitters. Flavanoids help to reduce blood pressure, clear plaque from arteries, and reduce stress on the heart. Antioxidants play an important role in clearing corrupt cells from the body. Neurotransmitters in cacao such as serotonin and dopamine can create a euphoric feeling, releasing feel good emotions.
All the nutritional benefits of cacao prepare the body both physically and mentally to connect in a positive way with our true selves.
How Do We Use The Cacao?
The ceremonies that I facilitate are always different but have a few common elements. Music plays a large part in the ceremonies and participants are invited to bring instruments and liberate their voices! Sometimes we do call and response chants, Balinese monkey chants, drum circles, or howl together as a wolfpack. When the cacao takes hold it often translates into exuberant dancing.
Before we drink the cacao there is always a period of reflection and meditation. During this time we place our intention into the cacao so our positivity can become infused into the medicine. There is also a form of group meditation in which we come together to connect as a tribe.
I like to focus on the theme of connection during ceremonies and this often manifests itself through conscious touch. Sometimes we engage in massage, support one another to allow complete release while suspended in the air, complete an angel walk, or explore contact dance.
I invite you to join me in tapping into the spirit of cacao, connecting with yourself and others, and spreading positive vibrations!
*The cacao that I use for ceremonies reflects a deep connection to Mother Earth. It is sourced from the Tanshikar Organic Spice Farm in the small village of Netravali, India. I have spent the last three years leading yoga trainings at this special farm which has been passed down from generation to generation for over 200 years. The Tanshikar family operate the farm with love and dedication, not chemicals and pesticides. Their love and care for the land translates directly into the quality and heart opening abilities of this cacao. It is an honor to share it with everyone!