We are familiar with cacao just as big chunks of milky chocolates with all kinds of flavours on market shelves, or finely crafted artisan little pralines or as hot chocolates stuffed with marshmallows and of course always a way of indulgence. But did you know that cacao is not just a lovely delicacy, but actually a sacred medicinal plant in South American, Mayan culture. Thus finally you can enjoy your cacao with less stress and enjoy a cacao ceremony…
The Latin name for cacao is Theobroma cacao which is translated as the “food of the gods”; from theos , meaning ‘god’, and broma, meaning ‘food.
It is seen as a medicinal plant, and has been used for a number of spiritual, medicinal and ceremonial purposes throughout history. This much love needed to mean something right?
The history of cacao
Cacao was a big part of the ancient South American culture, it was used as a healing plant and in ceremonies when the community needed some guidance they asked cacao for help. When tribes have an issue that will be affecting the wellbeing of the community before having their conversations the leaders first drank their brewed cacao and then started their debate. The wisdom behind this tradition is that, having a cacao drink lets us connect to ourselves, our own intuition, knowing and inner guidance.
Thus, by talking from their heart rather than directly from the mind and getting ambitious or destructive, it will allow the leaders to have a compassionate solution that will be beneficial for the whole community.
This is where cacao ceremonies come to the scene, if there is a question on your mind or an intention or a decision to be made, it’s great to reflect on it with some cacao. It’s a great tool and a way of bringing this tradition to the future.
The modern cacao ceremony
Nowadays modern cacao ceremonies are performed by people sitting in a circle, where the cacao drinks are served and maybe some dancing and ancient songs are involved. You set your intention and drink your cacao by thanking the elders and the mother earth for this gift, and then meditate with an intention and allow the cacao to speak your heart out.
Ceremonial cacao drink usually contains ethically sourced pure high grade cacao mass with ceremonial grade raw cacao and cacao butter, some hot water or your choice of plant based milk and herbs or spices according to your intention. Usually spices like cardamom, cinnamon or cayenne pepper is preferred.
It won’t be as powerful as a cacao ceremony but how I incorporate cacao into my life is by making it part of my morning routine, before I start my day I have a cup of cacao rather than a coffee. I make it with an intention in mind for the day and sip it before my 10 min morning meditation. It’s full of goodness, warms and nourishes you. Also cacao can help to ease our everyday stresses and worries, as it encourages us to get more in tune with our positive, optimistic side.
Finally, if you want to have the full experience you can by joining a cacao ceremony near you or an online one just from your living room.
How does cacao allow us to speak from our heart?
The secret lies in its chemical formulation and how it interacts with our hormones. Cacao molecule has very unique components which includes;
- PEA (phenylethylamine) which is also called the love molecule as it creates a euphoric feeling of pleasure, reward, and joy. It is secreted mostly when in love and it’s the reason why everything looks better and we are full of stamina.
- Anandamite the name is taken from the Sanskrit word ananda, which means “joy, bliss, delight”. Thus this is another molecule in cacao that fills us with joy and delight.
- Serotonin which is a hormone that is responsible for our happiness in general.
- Oxytocine is a molecule about bonding, both with yourself, your body and all of your surroundings.
- Magnesium which is the most essential element in muscle relaxation. Magnesium relaxes muscles and increases circulation, and as the heart contains the highest amount of muscle this is how it lets us speak our heart.
Fancy trying a cacao ceremony?
Spicy Health offers both online and offline cacao ceremonies that you can book with a group or just by yourself online.
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Ceren is a dentist, yoga teacher, aromatherapist and the founder of Spicy Health. She offers health coaching for individuals & organisations and curates custom made wellbeing focused events for groups where she combines different aspects of wellness in a day: https://www.instagram.com/spicyhealth.uk/