An Indigenous myth tells us whenever the balance between humans and nature becomes threatened, cacao comes from the rain-forest to open people's hearts and return the planet to harmony.
Ceremonial cacao has been recently embraced as a heart opening facilitator in many realms.
I first became interested in cacao while living in Nicaragua, munching on the beans for energy and curiosity about their unexpected distinctive flavor, completely different from the processed chocolate I had been accustomed to. Before moving to Nicaragua I had eaten some pretty dark chocolate and even some raw bar varieties sold in Whole Foods and such, but nothing like this experience of eating the beans right from the source.
My excitement for cacao grew during my travels to the spiritual community Pachamama in Costa Rica, indulging in delicacies from the Wild Treats Cafe featuring bitesized raw chocolates with super foods like maca, and my favorite item, the cacao shot with raw cashew milk.
I traveled to Pachamama for my level I & II of Clarity Breathwork Training. The training was emotionally and physically demanding, yet I noticed, the days I skipped lunch and headed instead to Wild Treats, I was gently in a state of alertness without being jittery AND the breathwork was so much more amazing. I felt the vibrancy of the life force or prana waking up the lazy parts of my lungs and I became my breath. Simultaneously my heart was opening so fast I didn't have time to shut it down!
Next into my life came my friend Melissa. You can check out her at yeslifeisawesome.com
Melissa is a goddess embodied in so many ways, and the way that pertains to this story is as follows: While in residence at Pachamama enrolled in the Clarity Breathwork program, I met this outstandingly sensuous woman who travels alone with her unschooled beautiful wild child, much like myself. Only she was way beyond me in giving herself total permission. She was a mentor and friend who taught me to allow and embrace my completely decadent love of chocolate; that it was all good. From her I first learned how to make raw cacao super food treats and to completely indulge my chocolate twin flame. We even traveled to Granada Nicaragua's Chocolate Museum and had chocolate massages. YUM! Yes, Melissa life (and chocolate) are awesome!
So I had this powerful opportunity of Breathwork partnered with this Holy Bean and it felt like I jumped off a cliff of where my life had been stuck for a very long time and have been floating in the stream of really living ever since. The Clarity was so potent in my life that I have manifested my life partner, Julian and we are now in flow together wherever it takes us, blessed to share this divine beauty with others
None of these connections were immediately apparent to me. As it is with energy and connection, once that contact is made, it becomes a circuit. The same is true with the Cacao Spirit in my energy field. I started hearing more and more about ceremony with this precious bean, to the point it became impossible to ignore the call. It's like driving a car of a certain make and color and seeing them everywhere. You become "tuned in" to that.
I started to do research and came across Keith, the Cacao Shaman from Guatemala. Thru correspondence with Keith and research on ceremonial grade cacao, I decided to order some blocks and give it a try with Julian.
I feel the cacao to be both vibrant and subtle as a tool for many things. Ceremonial grade cacao is 'raw' chocolate that has the quantity and balance of compounds and energies to properly support the Cacao Spirit in partnering with you.
Keith describes this: (and I couldn't put it better)
"Here I discuss another emerging world: spiritual and ceremonial cacao as a connection and partnership facilitator with an open-heart centering. The Food for the Shift.
•A sweet and deep creativity facilitator
•A productive focus enhancer (the best one i know in, say, a corporate or workplace environment) that keeps you better connected to wherever you source your insight, inspiration, and intuitition (unlike caffeine which gives only stimulation)
•A wonderfully deep connection partner in physical activity from long hours of dancing to creative snowboarding
•A practice facilitator, from yoga to meditation
•Ceremonial cacao takes breath-work to another level
•Therapy, coaching, or team building with individuals or groups, is easier and goes deeper... a beautiful cohesion emerges
•An important ancient tool for journeying and shamanic use
•A delightful facilitator for any group work, at about half a ceremonial dose
•A major multidimensional partner in accelerated inner transformation and emotional release with greater ease and depth
•The best dream and lucid dream facilitator around. Really!... 8-10 gm taken in the middle of your sleep cycle when you awaken to pee.
Perhaps this is not the chocolate you are familiar with."
I thank Keith for his trailblazing contributions to uncovering so much about the spirit of cacao and his beautiful, authentic, earthy ceremonial grade cacao from Guatemala. He does amazing retreats, is involved in small scale family farming, and a wealth of information both medicinal and spiritual on cacao. Find him and his handmade cacao Lava Love Ceremonial Grade Mayan Cacao at firstname.lastname@example.org
I have newly began working with a different Cacao energy from Belize. I met the chocolate maker Jonas at a Sound Bath event in San Francisco. One of my breathwork teachers, Dana Dharma Devi DeLong was playing her amazing flutes so Julian and I decided to go. Plus we began adding a small sound bath to our Breathwork and Cacao Ceremony so we thought it would be amazing to attend this large-scale sound bath.
Jonas was in the lobby with his bean to bar 85% cacao chocolates from his business fireflychocolate.com. (Please do take the time and visit his website, you will find it interesting and inspiring in every way.)
We began munching down his samples and we started a conversation about ceremonial cacao and breathwork. Almost magically, he pulled out a sample of his ceremonial cacao which we also nibbled happily at. Nearly instantly, (OK about 10 min) we began to feel the familiar effects of the cacao in our bodies, only this felt more vibrant, even more alive. Needless to say the breathwork we both did during this brilliant sound bath was enhanced by this cacao at much less than a ceremonial dose, (although we did eat many many samples).
We brought home all the varieties of the bars, and I couldn't stop thinking about the texture and vibrancy of the ceremonial grade sample he had given us. We booked a tour of Firefly chocolate in Sonoma County. Hearing his story, seeing the chocolate in different phases, learning about his engineering background, feeling into his open heart and connection to the spirit of this Holy Bean, We began to feel an even deeper drive to sample this in ceremony ourselves. It will be with great pleasure to offer this exquisite ceremonial grade cacao our June ceremonies in both Nicaragua and California.
Next blog post Part 2. Cacao as a Medicinal Plant