We are so happy to have this wonderful offering as a regular monthly session at our Shala! On the 2nd Sunday of each month Murphy will prepare our space and energy vibration for ceremony. Here we can expect to go deep into meditation with the help of Mama Cacao.
In her words;
I’d like to share some information with you before we come to ceremony about what makes cacao ceremonial? How is it different to a hot chocolate or cacao powder?
In coming to sit and work with cacao, it is important to understand the foundations on which she stands, how this affects us on both the physical & energetic planes and how we integrate the gifts she brings us.
Let’s start at her humble beginnings.
From seed to sprout to harvest and on, ceremonial cacao is prayed over, blessed and the utmost care and consideration is gone into the growth and cultivation of her trees and precious pods. She is grown in harmony with her landscape and free of pesticides and chemical nasties. This same level of care and consideration is also taken to ensure the happiness and comfort of the farmers who tend the sprouts, grow the trees, and grind her beans to paste. It is their energy and their intention she is surrounded by daily; their prayers, their blessings. It is crucial they are cared for too.
And ceremonial cacao is raw. Once the fruit has been harvested and the beans fermented, they are very lightly toasted. Not enough to affect the bean, but just enough to remove the skins - which are similar to a hazelnut or a peanut skin. The beans are ground to a paste and poured into trays, all the while receiving prayers and blessings. Nothing else is added. Not sugar, or flavour. Not fats or stabilisers. She remains in her purest form.
So what of cacao powder, is this ceremonial? And the short answer is no. Raw cacao powder is a contradiction. To get the cacao to powder form, to cocoa, it is heat blasted again and again, therefore killing the majority of its macro and micronutrients. Apologies if I just ruined your smoothies.
Even in the preparation of the cacao I make for our ceremony, along with stirring in prayers and singing in blessings, great care is taken to ensure temperatures are not pushed beyond her capacity to retain her nutrients… of which there are so many!
On a physical level she is incredibly nutrient dense. Going gram for gram she contains fourty times the antioxidants found in blueberries and she has the highest magnesium count of any whole food. She is also rich in iron, zinc and loaded with over 300 macro and micronutrients & major and trace minerals as well as amino acids.
She is also coffee’s cousin, but without the drama. Rather than caffeine, she holds theobromine - a vasodilator that expands our blood vessels and our heart space, respectively; so if you feel your body temperature raise a little or your heart rate quicken, that is theobromine working its magic. Along with the other compounds found in cacao, these work together to reduce blood pressure and clear blood vessel walls of fatty deposits therefore assisting full body oxygenation by reducing the load carried by the heart.
Some of her more magical ingredients are her nootropics and neurotransmitters. She contains Anandamide, the bliss molecule; serotonin, our happiness chemical; dopamine, the pleasure and reward transmitter and PEA - the love drug.
Anandamide is a neurotransmitter that is found mostly in our brains, but its receptors can be found all throughout our bodies - in our major organs, our central nervous system and in our white blood cells and thus its effects are felt widespread. Anandamide gets it’s name from the Sanskrit word Ananda, which means happiness, pleasure, joy and delight.
So from bliss, we ride the chemical wave to love or PEA - to phenylethylamine. PEA is the neurotransmitter that floods your brain when you are in the stages of new love, increasing and triggering the release of the happiness chemical serotonin; so from love and pleasure we move into happiness and wellbeing.
With all this goodness, who needs sugar? Sugars are avoided because they block your body’s ability to uptake all the incredible nutrients that cacao is rich in; and the energy of sugar competes with the energy of cacao for centre stage, creating a restless meditation. Sadly, chocolate as we know it has been adulterated beyond her nutritional means - along with chemicals to prolong shelf life it contains milk, which completely disrupts your body’s absorption of her huge scope of nutrients and with milk comes even more chemicals to prevent the milk in chocolate from turning nasty. Our ceremony’s brew will have the addition of cacao butter (from the same farm). Over a process of trial and error I have found this addition makes for a much deeper meditation. I hope you enjoy the inclusion as much as I do.
Our ceremonial brew will also be free of sweetener & milks and this can be a little strange at first for those who are more familiar with hot chocolate, block chocolate and more readily available chocolate snacks as we have come to know them. Because of this, some of you at first may find the cacao a little bitter - however this does ease and I do encourage you to connect with the medicine and the energy of her to move past this (the pay-off is absolutely beautiful). Long time cacao drinkers do not notice this at all as their palates adapt and come to prefer this traditional way of drinking cacao.
The idea with cacao as a sacrament in ceremony is to keep the brew as pure as possible… so when we sit, we sit within the scope of her medicine.
I hope this has answered a few questions you may have had surrounding some of cacao’s physical attributes. When we come to sit, I will speak a little on her energetic signature, the nature of her spirit and her historical significance in the cultures that carried her as sacred for millennia.
With much aroha, and chocolatey goodness…
Director & Facilitator
Mobile: 0417 698 284