A HEART CENTRED JOURNEY
Cacao, packed full of ecstasy and deliciousness, once said to be the food of the gods, is quickly spreading its magic around New Zealand. From yoga studios to dance floors and ritual celebrations, this delectable plant medicine is rising up to meet you on your spiritual path.
What happens in a Cacao Ceremony?
Is it really about chocolate? And how does it act as a medicine?
Is it psycho-active?
These are some of the most common questions I get asked so I invite you to take a moment to discover what these 'not chocolate' ceremonies are all about and how they can benefit you...
CACAO & THE ART OF RITUAL...
I began my journey with Cacao in a spirited fashion, under the stars and laser lights of an outdoor festival in Australia. Amidst a sea of people chatting loudly and buzzing on who knows what, I sat with my cup of bitter, gritty cacao, and slowly sipped wondering what all the hype was about.
I didn't know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised by the sensations of gentle heart-opening that washed over me. Despite the somewhat disorganised environment, I was in, I felt a sense of deep, inner peace and aliveness.
In the years to follow, I learned that there was a key component missing in my first cacao initiation. The Art of Ritual. When held and served in a container of sacred ritual - with deep intention and presence - cacao is both food of the Divine and a medicine.
I have dedicated the last decade to living the art of ritual and journeying with the spirit of cacao and I can say that every ceremony is unique. Whether alone or with others the foundations are set with a reverence for the great life force that moves within us all, and held with a focused intention and in-spirted state of presence.
The rest can be guided by a creative, soulful heART.
It is common to share prayers, songs, stories, dance, meditation, silence, drumming... there really are no limits to how the sacred space can be facilitated and expressed.
A Ceremonial Creatrix, Holistic Therapist and Mentor of Feminine Embodiment.
My work and passion is helping women, like you, become familiar with your inner dance to awaken to the precious gifts of power, delight, creativity and that most rare jewel – your authentic self.
Weaving together spiritual guidance, shamanic practices, sacred plant medicines, sound healing & conscious movement, I guide experiences of inner transformation and sacred ritual that awaken a heart-centered journey of self-care.
Or read on to learn more about the magic of cacao...
Hey I'm Jade
- Multiple DatesSat, 13 AugYoga Within, Browns Bay, Auckland
WHAT IS CEREMONIAL CACAO?
Traditionally grown in Central and South America, cacao has been used for hundreds of years by Mayan and Aztec cultures in ceremonial and Shamanic contexts. The cacao fruit is harvested, fermented for 7 days to remove the pulpy exterior, then the beans are ground into a paste and used to prepare the rich drink.
The important difference: nothing is removed from the bean’s final product, which makes it entirely unlike the cocoa powder you buy at the store.
In essence ceremonial-grade cacao is pure, whole food, alive in spirit. When prepared for a sacred purpose, ceremonial-grade cacao maintains its full range of nutrients as well as the potency of the plant’s heart-opening wisdom and healing properties.
I source my cacao from Seleno Health here in New Zealand. Corin and Sally (the creators of New Zealands most specialised ceremonial cacao paste) share a mission to bring ethical, sustainable, premium quality, therapeutic cacao made with love and reverence towards the indigenous people of Peru.
WEAVING SCIENCE WITH THE SACRED
AWAKENING THE HEART & HEALING THE BODY
The paste is prepared with intention, prayer, and a few practical ingredients: water, cacao paste, and if you like a sweetener like honey or coconut sugar. This combination creates a strong, somewhat bitter flavor, nothing like the hot chocolate of your youth. But meeting the plant in its purer form is a direct route to its nutritional and healing properties.
Cacao is said to have high levels of anti-oxidants, mood enhancers (neurotransmitters) such as serotonin, PEA and high levels of magnesium, an important mineral to help relax our muscles.
It also contains Theobromine a bitter alkaloid that is a gentle & grounded stimulant. This uplifting 'buzz' unlike caffeine is grounded and soothing for the nervous system.
The cacao ceremony itself can take many forms depending on the purpose of gathering and in many ways the facilitation of the ceremony contributes to the healing journey. In my ceremonies it is always held in a safe, sacred space, which could be outdoors in nature or cozied up in an intimate circle around an altar.
The ritual itself is a therapeutic process that accompanies the cacao journey.
IS IT PSYCHOACTIVE?
Cacao medicine is first and foremost a path to the heart. Unlike many shamanic plant journeys, cacao will NOT create an out-of-body or hallucinogenic experience. It does have the capacity to alter your state of consciousness and raise your energetic vibration, that is why so many spiritual communities are opening to its gifts.
As well as feeling a sense of aliveness and connection to a deeper, energetic centre of your being, on a more subtle level Cacao invites you into flow with life and the life force moving within. This heart connective journey can bring a sense of deep love both for the Self as well as the whole. It has the potential to heal pain around feeling separate or blocked from connection to Oneness, both during the cacao ceremony and in the days to follow.
IS CACAO FOR EVERYONE?
For most people, cacao is very safe! However, there are some specific cases where it may not suitable for everyone.
The theobromine in cacao is a vasodilator: it increases the heart rate and lowers blood pressure. Therefore it is not recommended for people with heart conditions, or women pregnant and breastfeeding. *If you have low blood pressure please be aware that although cacao is a stimulant it will lower your blood pressure.
Cacao also stimulates the production of serotonin and is not suitable for people taking (MAOI) anti-depressants and St Johns Wart.
In rare cases, people who are sensitive to theobromine may experience headaches or migraines (at concentrated dosages). As a general rule of thumb, if you are sensitive to any source of stimulant in your body you may find that a smaller (than ceremonial) dose is better and this is easily accommodated.
Cacao affects us all differently, we each have different sized bodies, different metabolic rates, different temperaments, naturally, the experience is unique for us all. This is one reason I think it's so good to use cacao in a sacred ceremonial setting: when we come to the plant medicine with a specific intention, and with respect for & awareness of the power of the plant to affect us, we create the best circumstances in which to get we what we need from the experience in the most beneficial way.
Sitting in circle sipping small cups of rich cacao, something undeniably mysterious, nourishing and beautiful unfolds. Whether drinking with strangers or with friends you know well, a palpable sense of connectedness permeates the space.
In my circles, there is an invitation to journey inward, to listen deeply, to share stories and gently open to whatever is moving within. It is a safe, sacred space where you can be, just as you are.
When I feel the magic of the cacao warming my body and beating through my heart, I am so awake and alive, and at the same time so soft and in love with all of existence. Cacao ceremonies are a part of my day-to-day life now, and are one of my greatest healers and guides on this path of Daily Alchemy.