Where and when did cacao ceremonies originate?
It’s thought cacao was first used as a health elixir and ceremonial medicine as far back as 1900 bc by the ancestors of central america, the olmec people, before becoming a ritualistic medicine used by the aztec and mayan cultures. signifying both life and fertility.
Cacao is associated with universal love and considered to be a divine Spiritual elixer, Sacred medicine healer and ritual aid.
In ritual use, cacao became mostly reserved for the male elite with the understanding that it was intoxicating and sexually stimulating, it was generally forbidden to women and children.
First grown in South America and used by the Aztecs and Mayans thousands of years ago, they would sit together in circle drinking Cacao to commune with their gods.
Back then, Cacao was also given sacred status and was used as a trade currency, given to warriors when they returned home, was served in religious ceremonies and appeared on the tables of the royal courts of the day.
It was the Spanish who took it out of those native cultures as they invaded and colonised. They realised the value of Cacao and brought it back to Europe, sweetening it with sugar and spices. They kept it a secret for the next 100 years!
Word did eventually spread though and slowly it was made into solid chocolate. Today much of it’s ceremonial understanding has been lost, as millions of us consume vast qualities of cacao, heavily mixed with vegetable fats, processed sugar, milk and just about everything else you can mention.
In actual fact, Cacao is a super food and is now being reintroduced in its purest form, its sacredness being realised once more as the western world is slowly becoming more conscious in how they think, live and want to feel.
Indigenous myth recounts how whenever the balance between humans and nature becomes threatened, cacao leaves the rainforest to open peoples hearts and return the planet to harmony
Why drink ceremonial cacao?
Using intention, quiet time and meditation to work on yourself to find and maintain peace in a chaotic world is how and why you might drink Cacao and hold space for yourself. Cacao has incredible healing properties and is very nutritious, don’t get it confused with coco powder of hot chocolate – ceremonial cacao is raw chocolate without all the vegetables oils and sugar we see put into processed chocolate. It is the purest form of Cacao and you’ll need to source it ethically. You won’t find ceremonial cacao in powder form as ceremonial cacao has all the original healthy wonderful fats still in it and so it will come as a solid – usually a block and you will shave off what you need with a sharp knife to prepare it.
Cacao has great natural health benefits, with a tangible emotional grounding and heart opening energy to it.
Benefits are many
It is a natural anti-depressant
It is a plant medicine, healing and reassuring
It opens our heart energy and gives us a feeling of love
Increases concentration and focus
Focuses mental clarity
Induces a deep feeling of peace and ‘all is well’ making it a wonderful partner for manifestation
It contains excellent levels of magnesium, copper, zinc, iron, calcium, manganese, sulphur and phosphorous, which our diet is generally deficient in
Our bodies need all of these wonderful minerals for our emotional and physical well-being and balance
Sharpens the mind and improves mental focus
Strengthens the cardiovascular system, heart function
Regulates blood pressure and blood sugar
Fascilitates regeneration and rejuvenation
Opens up the blood vessels – vasodilator
The beans contain, among many,anandamide, the bliss chemical p-e- a – the love chemical,
The foam is believed to carry the Spirit of the plant as a medicinal and divine aid and blessing.
Create your Cacao ritual
Drinking Cacao at home, using it to centre and balance yourself in the mornings before your day starts is a beautiful nurturing ritual I love to include in my morning practice every day.
Cacao is not only physically healthy but spiritually and emotionally grounding too meaning:
You link to your intuition much more clearly, so we make good, clear decisions.
When we sit quietly with Cacao, we are able to really hear ourselves think – and that’s a luxury we don’t always allow ourselves
We handle stress far more effectively and are able to really ‘know’ what we need
Many Women now use Cacao at home, bridging the gap between the ancient Meso-American cultures and our lifestyle today, honouring the spirit of cacao and the work of those who have honoured its Spirit for many thousands of years.
It is completely safe to drink on your own, enabling women to do their sacred inner work in the peace and sanctuary of their own space.
The meditative effects last approximately 45 minutes and the heart opening feeling of love, joy and well-being can last all day!
Ceremonial Dose Cacao Recipe.
30 – 42g Ceremonial Grade Cacao – 10g – 16g Daily Dose – Please purchase from ethical companies wherever possible – I love suppliers Rebekah Shaman, Made with Ananda and Cacao Love.
250ml Filtered water.
1 x Medjool Date or Raw organic honey to sweeten
A pinch of each Cayenne pepper – Cinnamon – Sea/ Pink Salt.
Tsp Rose water or orange flower water.
Plant milk of your choice, coconut milk from a tin will make it really creamy
1 Teaspoon Coconut oil
Optional Vanilla essence.
Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan and warm, to just below boiling – scrape off enough Cacao for the Ceremony – add the Cacao and your intention and blessing to the pan and stir until melted and smooth – add spices and salt – add milk and date/honey & rosewater, coconut oil – vanilla essence – use a blender to create bubbles, releasing the Spirit of Cacao.
Creating your own Cacao Ceremony:
Create your own Sacred pace where you won’t be disturbed. Light a candle and make a beautiful nurturing nest for yourself.
You may like to have a little time of Journal to create an intention – Or take the whole day in Ceremony with a walk in nature to collect a few gifts from the earth, stones, feathers, cones, flowers leaves etc. to create a nature mandala. This is a lovely Ceremony for the New Moon to set intention or on the Full Moon for release.
Holding the cup take a breath – connect with the plant medicine – You may like to offer a blessing of love and thanks to the Cacao Spirit.
With your intention in mind:
At your first sip, welcome the spirit of the bean
Second sip – feel the warmth and love from the plant
Third sip – set your intention invite your heart to open
Visualize as you drink the cacao, awareness of it flowing into your body, warming and clearing and dissolving that which is no longer serves you.
As you finish your drink, become aware of your breath entering and leaving your nostrils. enjoy the stillness.
Take your focus to your heart and feel your chest rising and falling with the inhale and exhale. as you breathe visualize a rose bud slowly opening petal by petal, at the center of your chest, at the very center of the rose, a warm, golden light.
With each in-breath, visualize the light gradually becoming stronger and brighter until it spreads out to fill the whole of your chest, allow light to extend beyond your body.
See and feel yourself surrounded by a circle of light. Pause here for as long as you need.
Allow light to gently dissolve anything that may be holding you back in life, letting go with love and thanks for everything it has taught you.
Visualize your intention filled with light and purpose.
Feel yourself connected through that light to everything around you.
Light inside… light outside.
Enjoy the sense of well being that comes as the light enfolds and upholds you.
Affirm: I am guided by the wisdom of my heart. I am always connected.
I love to dance when I am in Ceremony, if this calls to you, you could create a 20 -60 minute playlist and dance, or you may like to have some time Drumming or in stillness in Meditation and reflection.
With Love xx