The first time I had a plant ceremony was with raw chocolate; also known as Cacao. Traditional Maya’s referred to the sacred plant as ka’kau. But today, the scientific given name to the plant is, ‘theobroma cacao’. In latin, the word ‘theo’ means ‘god’ and the word ‘broma’ means ‘food’. Cacao is quite literally the Food of the Gods.
Cacao was traditionally used in a few different ways..
- Cream – Boiling the cacao pulp in water creates a butter-like cream. It was then used as cream for their hair and skin.
- Currency – The cacao beans were used to exchange food or clothes. It was a very valuable currency and used daily. The Maya God of merchants and trades, Ek-chuah is known for being the patron of cacao. And one of the Maya Twin Heroes, Hunahpu was known as the one that gave the cacao to man.
- Wine – Indigenous people would cut open the cacao pods, remove the seeds by hand and then put the seeds in their mouths; removing the pulp from the outer layer of the bean to separate the bean from the pulp. They would allow fermentation to happen naturally by putting the pulp inside a bottle and filling with water. 5 days to a few months later, they had cacao wine.
- Xocoatl – The Maya’s traditional chocolate drink was made from heating the cacao beans, then grinding into a powder. The cacao powder was added to water and spices; usually cinnamon and chili powder and other spices. Depending on the dosage of cacao, the xocoatl drink is used in ceremonies and meditation to reach higher states of consciousness.
In order to enter spiritual realms and reach that higher state of consciousness one must understand the three important ingredients that are in the cacao bean itself.
Anandamide: known as the “bliss” chemical. When a person feels true joy the chemical anandamide is produced naturally in the brain. Anandamide has only been found in one plant, and that is cacao!
Phenylethylamine: a chemical that is naturally produced when a person falls in love and known as an aphrodisiac. Phenylethylamine also plays a part in increasing alertness.
Theobromine: a chemical compound similar to caffeine because it is a stimulant, but absolutely isn’t caffeine.
These three main ingredients that make up cacao are what facilitates a person in a ceremony. Because cacao works directly with your heart chakra, it is known as the sacred plant medicine to open your heart. It increases blood flow by 70% throughout the body, known as a teacher plant and a powerful guide for inner work. There are many health benefits to cacao but more than that there are spiritual benefits.
I love to incorporate cacao with my meditations. It brings an inner interaction with the self and provides focus within. I feel compassion, happiness, and overwhelming loving feelings. My emotions flow freely and I am able to connect with my true self. I honor the sacred plant to guide me along my journey. When I am feeling stuck with my thoughts or am seeking inspiration, cacao is my guiding plant to sit and meditate with.
It can also be used to relieve a pressure headache, thrown in a morning smoothie for a boost of energy, or if used in a higher dosage can be used for a shamanic journey.
- If you’re using cacao beans, grind beans into a powder. If you’re using a block of cacao, chop the block very finely.
- Heat 1 – 2 cups of water with pinch of chili powder. Do not let water boil!! Remove water from stove right before.
- Pour hot water into a tea cup with 4 tbsp of cacao powder/shavings and whisk.
- Add cinnamon, honey or vanilla for optional sweetener.
- Burn palo santo as you sit down with your cacao and swirl around the cacao and you to introduce yourself to the plant.
- Create an intention for your practice with the sacred plant.
- Hold the cup of cacao to your heart and whisper your intention into the cup before taking a sip.
- Drink at your own pace, using a spoon to stir frequently (the cacao will settle at the bottom).
- When finished with your cacao, close your eyes and start your meditation practice.
*Ceremonial Grade Cacao used for the brew
BANTIOX ( Thank you in Mayan:) )
*People should not use cacao if they have any heart issues, are on blood thinners, have hypertension, on antidepressants or sedatives.