September 16, 2020

Ceremonial Cacao: Understanding the Power of this Heart-Opening Plant Medicine.


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I’ve been sitting in on cacao ceremonies for a few years now. 

But I realize that some people don’t even know what one is. As I’m sitting, overlooking the sea, sipping on my morning cacao, it has dawned on me that by sharing what I feel about this beautiful medicine, the more people can receive. (Especially now as we’re being asked to tune in more deeply to our hearts.) 

This year I trained for a couple of months to be an official facilitator and space-holder for this heart medicine. I believe in holding a safe container for others to receive and being humble to this work as we share these ancient ways more widely.

As our lives have been restricted this year, I’ve been holding ceremonies online and some in Ibiza—the real world. It’s been beautiful to witness those in ceremony tuning in to their hearts and receiving whatever is ready to come through.

So, what is cacao? What is a cacao ceremony, and why does there seem to be so many happening right now?

Cacao, a sacred plant, is mostly found growing in trees in Central and South America. The pods have beans inside that are then consumed in various ways: powder, nibs, and butter. When used raw, it is bitter to taste, so it’s often blended with other ingredients such as agave (to sweeten), spices, and alternative kinds of milk. Everyone has their own unique way.

Used in its natural form, cacao has many health benefits (not like the chocolate you find on the shelves, which are mainly sugar and dairy).

These include: 

>> Anandamide, which boosts mood and energy

>> Antibacterial properties which help boost the immune system

>> Antioxidants that help improve skin and reduce aging (we all love this, of course) 

>> Iron

>> Magnesium

>> Potassium, which can assist in lowering blood pressure

>> Flavonoids that have a positive impact on the brain as more blood flows there

>> Theobromine, a mild stimulant that helps to open the heart (mood booster)

Cacao actually translates to “heart blood,” which is why it is said to be a medicine of the heart and/or heart-opening. As we tune in to this medicine during a ceremony, we are tuning into our heart chakra, gently opening it up to feel into the deep wisdom that resides here.

Sitting in a ceremony is an opportunity to receive and create space and time to be with oneself. This is a time for tapping into our true and authentic selves, listening to the heart’s whispers, feeling love, connection, and harmony.

This sacred plant has been used ceremonially for thousands of years by the Mayans for spiritual and medicinal purposes; as we sip on this medicine, I truly believe it is infused with ancient wisdom and tradition.

It’s all totally legal and won’t induce a hallucinogenic effect like other plant medicines; it’s much more gentle on the body, the heart, and the mind. It brings you into a place of deep peace, connection, and unconditional love.

My personal experiences with cacao ceremonies have ranged from constant tears to ecstatic joy as I danced my heart out and sang the night away. Morning cacao with yin yoga melts me into the day, deep meditation, and sound journeys which have taken me to the cosmos and back again—each journey is unique and special in its own way. 

Ceremonies are held in different ways and are often done in collaboration with another modality such as sound healing, dance, and/or sitting in a circle singing and sharing. Some spaces can be more energizing as you move with the medicine, others can be more meditative and introspective. Each facilitator has their own unique expression and way of guiding the group.

I personally invite my receivers to do some self-inquiry; I want them to sit and tune-in to their hearts as we open up space together in a Shamanic ceremony. I use music as a way to assist the journey—sometimes it’s meditative, and other times it’s expressive dance, depending on the group. Together we weave our energies in the space and call upon support from all of the Wisdom Keepers, Guides, and Great Spirit.

I love to hold these spaces for others. I am honored to bring the lineage from the Andes into the hearts and lives of those who don’t otherwise have access to these places. These times aren’t easy in many ways, although it has brought us more together through the ethers of our collective consciousness. And as I was expressing in my last piece, now is the time to be finding our hearts and authentic selves. 

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time for ceremony!

If you have never sat in a ceremony before and feel intrigued, I invite you to feel into that more. If it’s a full-body yes, go for it. 

Enjoy, receive, and attend with an open heart, let go of any expectations and be fully open to receiving the medicine waiting for you. 

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