• What Is Ceremonial Chocolate? •
.:. The Origins of Cacao .:.
Cacao (Theobroma cacao) is what our modern day chocolate is made from, although if you’ve already tasted and worked with it, you’ll know that there are significant differences between a bar of Cadbury’s or Hershey’s chocolate and the mystical magical (and super-healthy) world of ceremonial chocolate.
The genus Theobroma cacao has been traced back millions of years to the east of the Andes in South America. And the traditions of cacao usage can be traced back to the rain forests and high lands of Central America. But there are many species of this tree that are being cultivated through out Central and South America, as well as South-East Asia, West Africa and the Pacific.
The Olmec, who were a mysterious Mesoamerican civilisation based around the Gulf of Mexico and considered to be forerunners to the Aztecs and Mayans, gave us our first records of ceremonial cacao use dating back to around 2000 BC. But it was really the Aztecs and Mayans (and in particular the Spanish conquistador records) that have gifted us with a rich history of ceremonial cacao use.
The ancients peoples of Mesoamerica really brought to life the magic of the cacao bean! It was profoundly revered in their cultures and considered as a divine and magical gift from the gods. It was the divine ambrosia, the elixir of life, a sacred medicine, ritual aid, potent aphrodisiac, a source of economical exchange, and provided political and social leverage and somewhat an indicator of spiritual status.
Both the Aztecs and Mayans held creation myths around the introduction of cacao and it was said that the gods discovered it in the Mountain of Sustenance (which other mythologies indicate is possibly near the Andes) along with many other life-giving, nourishing medicinal foods. It is said that the great god Quetzalcoatl, the magnificent plumed serpent, stole it and brought it on the beam of the morning star as a gift to the people of Mexico. The sacred knowledge on how to prepare, roast and press the cacao beans into the chocolate elixir (which was believed to gift wisdom) was originally entrusted to the women of the tribe.
The sacred cacao bean was also associated with Xochiquetzal, an Aztec fertility maiden goddess associated with love, beauty, childbirth, female sexual power and female crafts and practices. Also to Tlaloc (He Who Makes Things Sprout) – Xochiquetzal’s consort and fertility god, wrathful deity and overseer of rain, lightening, thunder, floods and drought. The sacred marriage and partnership of Xochiquetzal and Tlaloc were tasked with the care and adoration of the cacao tree and it’s potent medicine of pods, seeds and flowers.
Cacao was considered to be a divine ambrosia, spiritual elixir, sacred medicine healer and ritual aid, as well as a powerful sexual tonic and life-force elixir, which was regularly included as part of wedding rituals and life celebrations. Moctezuma, the Aztec emperor, is said to have consumed copious amounts of medicinal chocolate before entering his harem in order to join with all of his concubines, which propagated it’s reputation as a powerful aphrodisiac. In addition to this, Mayan baptism rituals were conducted with the anointing of the child’s head, feet, hands and face with a ground paste of water, cacao seeds and flowers, and cacao beans were ingested by pregnant women in long, drawn out labour to strengthen the body and support the birthing process.
Along with it’s aphrodisiac and longevity benefits, it was also used to assist a vast array of internal bodily pain, external wounds and burns, lung and abdominal issues and various diseases, as well as being employed to pre-battle warriors for sustenance, courage and fortification.
.:. Cacao’s Biochemical Gifts .:.
Cacao in its raw or naked state is an ancient superfood abundant in high-end nutritional goodness and alchemical magic! Not only is it teeming with essential minerals, vitamins and antioxidants but it packs a hefty punch in naturally-occurring, consciousness-altering pharmacologically significant components such as endorphins, anandamide (the “bliss” chemical), histamine, magnesium, arginine (nature’s viagra), phenylethylamine (PEA – the “love” chemical), serotonin, theobromine, dopamine, tryptophan, and tyramine.
This is the ground of it’s entheogenic alchemy.
One of the significant specialities of cacao is that it’s native MAO inhibitors temporarily suspend the breakdown of potent neurotransmitters activated naturally in the brain and released into the rest of the body, which means that these organically-occurring, mind-enhancing chemicals and celestial molecules are sustained in our system for far longer. We basically become elevated and healed through our own amazing neurochemistry!
There is some confusion over the idea that there is a high caffeine content in cacao. However, there is virtually no caffeine present at all and the stimulant encountered is actually a relative of caffeine called Theobromine. These two active alkaloids are similar in structure only though and have very different origins and impacts on the system. Although Theobromine stimulates the cardiovascular system, it does not charge up the nervous system in the same way that caffeine does. Rather, it helps to relax smooth muscle, stimulate the heart, enhance mood, act as a vasodilator enhancing oxygenated blood flood to the brain and major organs, as well as being a potent diuretic and wonderful aid in the detoxification process.
.:. A Deeper Alchemy .:.
“Indigenous myth tells us whenever the balance between humans and nature becomes threatened, cacao comes from the rainforest to open people’s hearts and return the planet to a state of harmony.”
– Keith, the Chocolate Shaman.
I find that many, many people are drawn to Sacred Chocolate but feel unsure as to how it works, or even what it really is.
Well, as it is with most things that are actually worth knowing, nothing beats your own direct experience. This is non-linear teaching, healing, wisdom and transmission. It’s not necessarily going to make sense to the rational mind. But – very obviously – that is the invitation, right there.
If you find some curiosity arising towards ceremonial cacao, my suggestion would be to pay attention and follow your instinct!
Cacao has always been revered as a sacred plant medicine teacher and entheogenic healer, although in modern culture it has been greatly overshadowed by some of the more popular and well-know plant teachers such as Ayahuasca, San Pedro and Psilocybin. Throughout the ages, our ancestors and indigenous elders have done their very best to continue to hand down indispensable knowledge and wisdom of the sacred plant teachers to help us heal not only our physical bodies but our emotional, mental, energetic and spiritual facets too.
A wonderful thing to realise is that many sacred plant teachers are earth medicines. This means that one of their core offerings is to help us heal, reintegrate and root into our bodies and ground our Spirit energy within the incarnation of the Here + Now, allowing and inviting deeper opening, clarification and the recognition of our true nature.
One of the most powerful transmissions offered by Ixcacao (the Cacao Plant Deva) is Her capacity to co-facilitate our embodiment. When I speak of embodiment, I am not merely referring to the dropping down and coming into the physical body as an alive, connected, felt experience of truly belonging in our own skin and the deep exhale that comes when we learn to utterly relax into the gravity of our own bones. Let’s go deeper still, beyond the idea of embodiment as the tangible, visible and visceral sense of this human form. What I want to name embodiment as here is the true incarnation and ever-unfurling actualisation of the Soul. It is one thing to be born into a physical body from the womb of our biological mother, but it is yet another thing entirely to consciously incarnate and activate as Soul, borne directly from the vast Great Mother.
Yes – that Soul that is the absolutely magnificent, elegant, kaleidoscopic aperture of pure divinity that is lovingly manifest in all of its perfectly messy, wild glory as the total precision and indisputable fact of YOU! It is your absolute, deep down core essence.
You may have a perceptible, visceral, felt sense of the texture, flavour and complexity of your own Soul. Or you may not. Nonetheless, it is my understanding that our Soul embodiment is the entry point for Truth to actualise as self-realisation, as the free, unadulterated manifestation of Pure Life and spontaneous wisdom through our intimate communion, experience and relationship as everything and nothing. It is through this sacred portal of our Soul that we can realise the unique truth of who we are, or perhaps more accurately, what we are – yet at a very distinct and unique level. The exact view of that is naturally your own Journey. But working with Alchemical Chocolate™ can most definitely be a treasure-handmaiden in the allogamy, growth and blossoming of that Journey.
In this sense, Ixcacao can be engaged with as a co-facilitator of the Coming Into Life, in it’s purest and most electrifying form. She literally supports the generation of concentrated power and life force energy with immense potency offered towards the felt discovery, mythical, mystical unfolding and realisation of the individuated soul. Yep… that’s You!
.:. Alchemical Chocolate™ Ceremonial Elixirs .:.
Alchemical Chocolate™ is a delicious, rich elixir made from ceremonial-grade cacao, blended with super foods and healing tonics to support practice, inner journey work, ritual, embodiment and healing.
In particular, the spirit of the Cacao plant offers a profound medicine for the heart and opening of the stomach sphere and is an incredible facilitator for emotional clearing and integration, creative exploration, tantric presencing and deepening connection with Self, Body and Life.
Cacao as a sacred planet teacher and entheogenic guide and can be communicated with as such, as well as receiving Her healing, guidance, initiations, empowerments + wisdom teachings.
I currently work with two distinct strains of Cacao sacrament imported from the Guatemala Highlands and from the Indonesian island of Bali. They are both 100% ceremonial grade cacao, fair trade, organic, sustainably resourced and lovingly produced. The Guatemalan strain is rich, deep and dark whilst the Balinese variety captures the exquisite balance of light and dark. The Truly Raw™ Balinese Cacao is produced by Big Tree Farms and is, as far as I’m aware, the only guaranteed 100% raw cacao available due to their low-temperature/cold-pressed fermenting and grinding process, which allows all of the delicate biochemical, entheogenic and nutritional magic to remain fully in tact.
Alchemical Chocolate™ elixirs are dairy, gluten and refined-sugar free although dear vegans, please note that it is often blended with the medicinal helpers of raw honey and bee pollen. It is possible to also adjust the recipe/dosage for those who are pregnant, breast feeding or following a raw food diet but please let me know if you have any food-related allergies as sometimes a little nut milk is used to soften the drink.
Cacao is a wonderful and safe way to experience sacred chocolate as an entheogenic plant teacher and transformational facilitator. The only contraindications are mixing cacao with some older forms of anti-depressants, if you are undergoing chemotherapy treatment, or if you suffer from serious heart conditions.
.:. Post-Cacao Care .:.
Cacao has a truly wonderful, sentient way of working to clear whatever is in the way of deeper connection and recognition through the heart, mind and body. This subtle clearing and recalibration process can last around three days – throughout this time transformation, release and realignment are taking place. It shouldn’t affect whatever else you need to do in your daily schedule, although it is beneficial if you are able to give the medicine some space to land and integrate fully. The best way to support this process is to just accept, open, receive and be patient and compassionate with your self and your experience. Allow the heart-blood river of the Cacao Deva to wash through you…
Post-cacao experience can show up in a myriad of powerful and subtle ways including through dream work, physical detoxification and gentle emotional release and realignment. It is possible to support this process by being kind with your self, and supporting the physical and subtle body through clean, nurturing foods, embodied movement and practice, time in nature, Epsom salt baths, bodywork, rest, meditation and stillness.
Cacao is a powerful diuretic and transformational aid so it is very important to keep well hydrated for 48 hours after an event – this increased fluid intake supports the energetic and physical purification process. Very occasionally, there may be an experience of headache/ nausea, which is often an indicator of resistance-pockets, important information landing for you and/or part of the general clearing process – if this last for more than half a day, you are welcome to contact me for support and clarification.
Most of all, enjoy your Meeting with this incredible, sentient, nurturing and powerful Sacred Plant Teacher ~*~
.:. Alchemical Chocolate™ Practitioner E-Training .:.
If you would like to deepen your relationship, healing, transformation and inspiration with the sacred plant teacher of Cacao or initiate as a Cacao Medicine Carrier, I offer an in-depth, comprehensive online training program for those who are receiving this Call.
It offers everything you need to know to begin crafting Alchemical Chocolate™ elixirs for your own personal practice, as well as tools and maps to support you in creating and facilitating Sacred Cacao Ceremonies for your community – all contained within a wonderfully accessible training journey that is instantly accessible and possible to explore at your own pace.