What is a “Cacao Ceremony”?
This is the question my Mom asked when I told her I was going to a Cacao Ceremony.
…but perhaps a better question…
WHY do a Cacao Ceremony?
My initial WHY was simple curiosity (and there’s a story about curiosity and a cat 😉
Unlike the Kambo ceremony I did last year in Koh Phangan, Thailand, this time around I did absolutely no research in advance in regards to what I would be getting myself into.
After all, it’s just cacao, right? The stuff used to make delicious chocolate bars. Well…
In this short essay, you’ll get my post-experience research and my own experience with this particular Cacao Ceremony in the gorgeous setting of a rooftop penthouse in Puerto Escondido.
But back to the question:
Why a Cacao Ceremony?
First let’s take a look at the potential problems that may be addressed via the Cacao Ceremony. Things like:
- Lost in life; confused about thoughts and emotions
- Emotional trauma
- Feeling lonely or depressed
On the flip side, here are the potential benefits of a Cacao Ceremony:
- Clarity and focus in life
- Healing emotional trauma
- Connection with others
Then there’s the Cacao itself…
Why do people consume cacao?
Here are some of the potential benefits of raw Cacao: *
- Reduces inflammation
- Boosts Your Mood
- Supports Brain Health
- Improves Insulin Sensitivity
- Both Energizing and Calming
- High in Magnesium and Iron (w/ B Vitamins and Zinc)
- Live Longer
* But beware: Raw cacao can increase your blood pressure so it’s contraindicated for people with health problems and who need to stabilize their blood pressure.
With the benefits out of the way, you might be wondering:
What is cacao?
The cacao we’re referring to here is the seed of an evergreen tropical American tree (Theobroma cacao) having leathery, ellipsoid, ten-ribbed fruits borne on the trunks and older branches plant; and is used in making chocolate, cocoa, and cocoa butter (and in its raw form in Cacao Ceremonies!).
Sadly I learned that the raw cacao we used during the ceremony isn’t the same as what you find in chocolate. Why? Simply put, the beneficial parts of cacao (theobromine, caffeine, anandamide) diminish when processed.
What is a cacao ceremony?
I looked this up on the internet but decided that my experience will give you all you need to know for a possible (but perhaps not typical) Cacao Ceremony experience. So, without further ado…
My Cacao Ceremony Experience – The Pre-Journey Journey
The first scheduled cacao ceremony (on a Wednesday) never materialized because it turned out there was a scheduling conflict with the hotel.
I told the organizer to keep my money and let me know when there would be another.
She organized another cacao ceremony for Sunday at 5pm on the rooftop of an apartment building outside of town. A quick search on Google Maps showed it was a 20 minute bicycle ride. Easy peasy.
After cycling in the heat and climbing the stairs to the penthouse of the building, I was dripping in sweat. I joined the group on the penthouse rooftop patio with a panoramic view facing the ocean and blazing hot setting sun.
The first ceremonial practice was to (ummm… not really sure what it’s called but…) the woman who was our guide (or shaman?) asked me to stand in front of her and close my eyes while she blew smoke on me and dusted me with feathers.
We then sat in a group of about 10 people as our guide explained the ceremony to us. And, rather than repeating what she said, I’ll simply explain my experience…
Passing the Love Cacao – aka Cacao Blessing
You may be more familiar with the expression, “Passing the Peace Pipe”. But in this case, we started by passing the cacao with verbal expressions of love by saying, “I receive this with love”, and “I give this with love” as we passed the mugs of cacao around the circle.
As we held the mugs of cacao we were asked to bless them.
Drinking Cacao with Intention
We then drank the cacao slowly as we explored our intentions for the ceremony. My intention was to “lead with power” which became my affirmational mantra as I sipped on the cacao.
The drink tasted bitter and surprisingly spicy (because, I as a later found out after asking, there were chili and black peppers added).
Journey to my Power Place
After finishing the cacao, we were guided on another internal journey to our power places where we would encounter our power animals.
I immediately thought of Cedaredge, Colorado where I spent a weekend at an Alpaca farm and fell in love with the place (so much so, in fact, that I still think it could be an amazing place to settle down and live).
I then thought of the lake overlooking the city of Chiang Mai, Thailand where I spent the prior months watching the sunrise while doing breathwork just about every morning. I chose this as my power place.
Accompanied by my Power Animal
When asked about our animals, I thought of many animals all at once – likely because my power place is near a zoo where there are many animals.
I first chose a jaguar likely because, when doing similar exercises in which I’m asked to choose an animal, I tend to think of the fastest animals.
But when I asked if there was another animal, there was a lion. This makes sense because I could hear the lion from the zoo roaring throughout the day where I live in Thailand. So I chose the lion as my power animal.
The next practice was to ask ourselves about our life purpose. For me this was a bit routine because I already have my mission in life:
Re-unite people with nature – and better health.
Before getting to our purpose, we imagined a power place once again. But this time we were asked to pick a place that felt good. I thought about family and how I feel best when I’m with family and I time that stood out in my mind was with my father at the beach in Kauai, Hawaii in 2018. So I picked this beach as my power place.
We were then asked to imagine our power animal. For me this was the lion. But then we were asked to choose an animal that feels good. So I thought of our dog in Thailand, Khai Wan, as my power animal because she is quite strong and very much feels like a power animal.
We were then asked to think of a guide which could be an animal or some sort of shaman (or something similar). I don’t know any shamans, so I ended up with a bald eagle as my guide.
Then we imagined descending a staircase through a hole that opened up in the earth. And we were asked to explore our life purpose and ask questions about it. I asked a few questions like:
Who will join me and help me along the way?
But then I couldn’t focus any longer because the mosquitoes pulled me out of the experience. So that’s where my journey with cacao ended.
Although the official ceremony ended, I was feeling really good and I’m quite certain it was the effects of the cacao. We spent another hour or so just hanging out, asking our guide some questions, and chatting.
Another participant offered each of us to take a card from her deck. Here’s what I chose (or chose me!):
You have access to the infinite source of love and resources proved by Mother Earth and the Universe. There are no demands, requirements or conditions that affect your ability to access this supply. This is a wonderful reminder and the absolute truth pertaining to the abundance that is available to you. Grant your abundance the opportunity to flow into your live. It will re-shape your perspective. It will strengthen and nourish you. This phase holds a plentitude of affluence and fertility. You are lucky and blessed.– unknown
Overall it was a surprisingly enjoyable experience. If I were to do it again, I would start with the cacao a bit sooner and/or make sure my stomach is empty.
What about you?
What are your thoughts and experiences with cacao and cacao ceremonies?