WHAT IS A CACAO CEREMONY?
"...ritual and ceremony are sacred technology that heals, enables us to understand our life purpose, and reconnects us with our inner sacred feminine..."
- Katalin Koda, Fire of the Goddess
In a sacred ceremony, we step away from everyday life and into a safe, held space for a few hours, so that we can journey deep within and connect to our inner voice, receive intuitive guidance from spirit and release whatever "stones" we may be carrying in our inner bowl, weighing us down & blocking the flow of our vital energy, our life force. In modern western cultures, this is a much-needed practice which our souls are crying out for as we recognise the need for healing our relationship to ourselves, each other and all that is sacred and alive in nature.
In a cacao ceremony, we do this with the assistance of cacao, an ancient sacred plant. The tradition of using cacao ritually dates back thousands of years to the Olmec and Mayan cultures of Mesoamerica. Working with a sacred plant - in this case cacao - in ceremony, we are calling on the spirit, the energy of this particular medicine. We do this ritually, by gathering together and honouring the plant medicine (and, as a non-indigenous person, I will also always acknowledge and honour those who have an ancestral connection and who continue to cultivate the trees, their seeds, and the sacred medicine of cacao) in our presence, sharing the intention which we are bringing to this particular circle, and ingesting the medicine mindfully. You will then lie down and be guided on a deep inner journey to allow you to shift into a more intuitive, receptive state of awareness in which you may connect more deeply with the spirit of the cacao and receive her wisdom and assistance.
WHAT HAPPENS IN A CACAO CEREMONY?
I won't go into too much detail because it's best to come with few expectations!
But, in short - I work with small groups of women in my public ceremonies, and also offer private one-to-ones and small groups. (I only work with women.) We'll sit in a circle and after my introduction & opening, you have a chance to state your intentions, we drink the cacao together, invoking the spirit of the plant through some simple rituals, and then you will lie down, close your eyes and be guided on a deep inner journey. After this, you'll be brought back gently and given time to process through journaling. There is also an opportunity to share a "gift" you may have received from your experience with the group in a closing circle, or remain silent and reflective/receptive if this is what you need.
Although the tradition of honouring cacao as a sacred plant has strongly Mesoamerican heritage, I like to be clear that I am not claiming to offer a "Mayan cacao ceremony" (in fact, the Maya traditionally worked with several different sacred plants in their ceremonies, there was not a specific ceremony only for cacao). The ceremonial grade criollo cacao I work with grows in the Peruvian Amazon, cultivated and harvested by Ashaninka indigenous communities. This is in harmony with my own personal initiation as a cacaoista (a practitioner of cacao plant medicine) through a plant medicine practitioner whose own apprenticeship took place in the Peruvian Amazon 20 years earlier.
Consequently, my ceremonial style is essentially a traditional plant medicine ceremony with Amazonian roots rather than Mayan ones (and also, therefore, different to the more "new age" cacao ceremonies which bring in other practices eg kirtan & ecstatic dance). I am interested in sharing cacao as a sacred plant spirit, a gift from Mother Earth, ingesting her medicine together so that we can commune with her loving, heart-stimulating energy and feminine wisdom, calling on Ixcacao (the cacao plant deva) to assist our inner journey and facilitate healing and spiritual insights.
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