Cacao is a powerful plant medicine that supports us to connect to our inner wisdom, deepest desires and greater purpose. She helps us to soften within so that we can get out of our own way and use our creativity and vision to create new pathways in our lives.
Cacao has been used ceremonially for thousands of years by indigenous people across Central and South America during important life & seasonal events, to connect with spirit, and for healing.
The ceremonial-grade cacao is far less processed, purer & more potent than the raw cacao powder and chocolate of today.
It's active ingredient; Theobromine, is translated as 'Food of the Gods', and the people of ancient
Meso-America attributed a sacred status to Cacao, and would drink it ceremonially to commune with their gods.
The Maya believed that the ka'kau' was discovered by the gods in a mountain, according to Mayan Mythology Hunahpú gave Cacao to the Maya after humans were created from maize by the divine grandmother goddess Ixmucané. The word Cacao originated from the Maya word Ka'kau', as well as the Maya words chokola'j " to drink chocolate together.
The medicine of cacao facilitates inner journeying, movement, dance, yoga, creativity and healing.
What to expect in a ceremony?
Each ceremony is different and unique. It will have different themes which will depend on the season, moon cycle, and other energies around that particular time of year or life event.
Some of my ceremonies may be more inner journeying based whilst others may involve more movement based practices such as dance or yoga. They will also include a singing circle with healing medicine songs to elevate our emotions which allows us to let go at a deeper level. And they include sound healing with live musical instruments such as singing bowls which have frequencies that support us in dissolving energetic blocks in our system, helping us to heal ourselves at a vibrational level.
Regardless of any themes, you will always have space to connect to your own flow and go at your own pace.
If you are taking cacao during a 121 session with me, then the ceremonial aspect will be unique to your needs which we will discuss at your session.
Preparation for the ceremony
It is recommended that you follow a diet that is simple and alkaline based 24 hours before, after, and on the day of the ceremony (avoiding alcohol, caffeine and dairy). This will support the body in it's cleansing process to allow for better assimilation of the medicine.
If you can, plan for a gentle day/evening before and after the ceremony to prepare and allow you to process any emotions or insights that may have come up for you as well as any detoxification that may occur.
IS CEREMONIAL CACAO SAFE FOR ME?
WHO SHOULDN'T DRINK CEREMONIAL CACAO?
For most people, ceremonial cacao is very safe.
However, sometimes the use of ceremonial cacao is contraindicated. Please check before booking your ceremony or 121 session.
Please note: I only give cacao to people over 18 years old.
Cacao is a mildly psychoactive plant medicine. It means that it can affect your mood, but does not cause hallucinations, and physical purging is rare.
Cacao will open up a doorway but won't push you through. This means that you will still be fully
in control of yourself in the journey.
It contains Tryptophan; a serotonin booster, which is why you need to be careful if you're taking any medication which also works on the serotonin levels in your system such as antidepressants.
Cacao is a stimulant. It contains significant amounts of theobromine (1-2%). Theobromine stimulates the central nervous system, reduces blood pressure, relaxes muscles, dilates blood vessels and has a diuretic effect. It also has some caffeine which stimulates the heart.
This plant spirit supports our ability to connect to our hearts- our deepest desires, purpose & pleasure.
It is very important to respect the power of plant spirit medicine. Ceremonial Cacao is not for everyone, but she is for most people! Her medicine tends to lean towards the more subtle and gentle variety, but if you are of a more sensitive constitution, I recommend starting with a smaller dose if this is your first cacao experience. I will support you by guiding you into your body to find out how much body wants.
I believe it is essential to work with plant medicines in a sacred way, held in a space by a well trained and experienced practitioner. That way, we meet the plant spirit with deeper respect, awareness, and a specific intention, creating the best environment for us to receive all of the benefits that this plant has called us to ceremony for.
Cacao is generally totally safe for most people; but as a responsible cacao medicine practitioner; it's important that I check there are no contraindications. This is for your benefit, as well as for the other participants in the ceremony.
Health factors to be particularly aware of are:
* If you are epileptic - a cacao medicine ceremony may not be appropriate for you as high consumption of cacao stimulates the brain and there is also scientific research to suggest a possible connection between caffeine, cacao consumption and increased seizures. Scientific research / evidence is still inconclusive, but it's best to be cautious if you have a history of epilepsy. (It is also important for the sake of other participants that we create a safe environment where there is little risk of disruption.)
* If you are on MAOI antidepressants - cacao (& all forms of chocolate) is contraindicated because it contains tyramine.
* If you are on antidepressants, SSRIs or other medication, have a heart condition or are pregnant: Be aware that the theobromine in cacao is a vasodilator: it increases the heart rate and lowers blood pressure. Cacao in the concentrated doses we consume in ceremony therefore increases blood flow to the brain & heart by at least 40% so you may be better off with a smaller dose. I offer a half-dose to people on SSRIs.
* If you are taking St John's Wort - please stop taking it for a few days before & after having any ceremonial cacao.
*If you take antipsychotic medication - consuming ceremonial cacao in these ceremonies is also contraindicated. Although cacao is a gentle medicine, she is still medicine and as such, powerful when consumed in ceremony.
* If you are taking 5-htp (5-Hydroxytryptophan) it's advisable to have a smaller dose of cacao.
* If you are pregnant or breastfeeding
Theobromine is a stimulant & increases heart rate & lowers blood pressure.
Some western people advise avoiding it completely during pregnancy, others suggest a smaller dose (I can discuss this with you).
However, it's also worth noting that for thousands of years, indigenous Mayan women have consumed cacao safely throughout pregnancy and even during childbirth! As well as afterwards - in their culture, midwives know that cacao is such a nourishing, energising food that it gives women great strength. So if you are pregnant or breastfeeding this does not mean that you cannot have cacao - I am simply presenting this information to you so that you can make an informed decision, and I will give you a smaller dose- especially if you a new to cacao.
Cacao contains roughly a tenth of the caffeine found in coffee so depending on your stance on coffee during pregnancy you may be ok with the smaller dose of cacao. Similarly, some people prefer to avoid all sources of theobromine & caffeine while they are breastfeeding.
Cacao is hugely nutritious! But each individual is different, and in societies where people may not be so used to consuming pure cacao throughout their entire lives, there can of course be more sensitivity to some of the compounds which cacao contains. Even Mayan people don't drink big "ceremonial" doses of cacao every day.
* If you have low blood pressure - be aware that although cacao is a stimulant, it lowers blood pressure. Depending on your condition, a smaller dose might be appropriate - in some cases it may be contraindicated eg: if you have had epileptic fits triggered by low blood pressure (bear in mind that the whole ceremonial experience of lying down & being guided on a deeply introspective journey with sound healing is also likely to lower your blood pressure even without the cacao!)
* If you are allergic or sensitive to theobromine - it can trigger headaches or migraines in some people. (You will probably already know if this is you.) In some cases, a smaller dose will be fine depending on how sensitive you are.
* If you are sensitive to caffeine - ceremonial cacao can affect your sleep - though cacao contains far less than coffee - about a tenth of the amount. People often find they actually sleep really well and dream vividly after consuming ceremonial cacao.
If you know you have a very sensitive constitution, or are especially sensitive to stimulants such as caffeine or theobromine, you might prefer to start with a smaller dose of cacao for your first ceremony; that way you can see how your system responds to it.