Cacao… It has become touted as a powerful superfood – full of anti-oxidants and other health-enhancing nutrients.  We also know of cacao when it is used as the main ingredient to make the beloved chocolate so many people around the world love to delight in.

cacao beans costa rica Chocolate seems to have us longing for the rich, sweet, creamy taste that so often leaves us feeling blissful, satisfied, and even aroused. Yet, as popular as cacao and chocolate have become, very few people know cacao as a plant medicine used ceremonially.  Growing in popularity, yet still, a very “underground” and avante garde activity are Cacao Ceremonies. There are various styles of these events where cacao is used as medicine, or even as a sacrament, in a spiritually based or healing orientated ceremony.

The practice of Cacao Ceremonies dates back to the ancient Aztec and Mayan civilizations, that were residing throughout Mexico, and down into Guatemala.  Over the last decade, the interest and growing trend of ceremonial use of cacao have been gaining momentum.

One of the main reasons for using cacao in a ceremony, or as a medicine, is for emotional healing. When used with the intention of healing and opening the heart, cacao has tremendous potential for doing some very profound work. Typically, the cacao that is ingested in a ceremony is not the typical chocolate bar or drink that most people have come to love and indulge in for pleasure.  Ceremonial cacao is typically drunk as a dark, rich, bitter brew, infused with additional herbs and spices to enhance the experience.

From a scientific standpoint, cacao is one of the foods that are naturally very high in magnesium, perhaps even the highest magnesium content. Magnesium is known as “the relaxer mineral” – it softens tissues, relaxes muscles, and eases tension. When we ingest a strong dose of cacao, the magnesium it contains goes first to the heart – physically assisting in releasing tension and constriction. This physical effect can assist in also softening the energetic aspect of our hearts – known by many as our ‘heart chakra’. By relaxing the heart both physically and energetically, this can allow our hearts to open and emotions to flow.

costa rica cacaoSome may ask why we would create a space to allow such experiences?  My response to that why is this… We live in a world where so many of us have been exposed to heavy doses of fear-based propaganda, sad and disturbing news stories, the reality of war, violence, suffering, and more. Most all of us have experienced great disappointment, trauma, or loss at some time in our lives, as well as what we term ‘heartbreak’. The world and the culture we grew up in has, in one way or another, taught us to push our emotions down, to repress them for the sake of productivity. We have been taught to move fast, get things done, and adapt to a stressful lifestyle. The reality of all of this has left the majority of people in our world with hardened hearts and blocked emotions. It is no wonder that heart disease and death from heart attacks has become so prevalent in many parts of our world.

cacao costa rica ceremonyCacao Ceremonies can assist us in healing, and even changing the reality of life on earth. In a Cacao Ceremony, cacao is revered and honored as a sacred medicine for helping us access our heart-based emotions – such as compassion, forgiveness, and love.  With compassionate and supportive leadership, creating a safe place for people to come together and be supported through a healing journey, attendees can utilize the heart-relaxing potential of cacao.  They can begin to open their hearts to safely move through those places that perhaps there has been repressed emotions, stuck pain, and energetic constrictions. As the emotions and energies of fear, sadness, grief, unforgiveness, and emotional pain are allowed to be recognized and released, this allows the heart to open more to the energies of love, compassion, joy, reverence, and gratitude.

In addition to magnesium, cacao also contains some very interesting compounds that seem to promote feelings of love and bliss. These chemicals include the neurotransmitter PEA compounds known as ‘love chemicals’, and another interesting one called anandamide, known as the ‘bliss chemical’.  These two compounds affect parts of the brain to trigger responses and sensations of love and bliss. Most likely this is what causes the cultural obsession, and a deep longing for so many people to consume chocolate on a regular basis. Subconsciously, or perhaps very consciously, we are looking to enhance these loving and blissful feelings.

The amount of cacao one ingests in a ceremony is much higher than your typical hot chocolate. This means there are much higher levels of these love and bliss chemicals being ingested. The potential for an emotional response is much greater.  As the heart softens and opens from the effects of the magnesium, this allows emotional blocks to be released.  Then the love and bliss chemicals can do their job to remind us of the nature we have been created to experience and share… a nature that is abundant in love, joy, and bliss.

I have been helping facilitate what we call Sacred Cacao Ceremonies since 2012. I spent several years attending and apprenticing in the art of ceremonial cacao before 2012. I have witnessed many profound experiences through using cacao as a heart medicine. I have seen stuck emotions released, and hearts open to being renewed with hope and joy.  Numerous people have entered into states of deep gratitude, compassion, love of self and others, and even ecstatic bliss. My passion for being part of creating and offering Cacao Ceremonies is based on a belief that humanity can achieve living in a heart-centered way when we make choices based on love, instead of fear and control.  We can live with compassion, joy, and unconditional love flowing from our hearts.  There would be no more war, poverty, pollution, environmental destruction, or suffering. It may seem like a lofty goal, yet to me and many others, returning to a love-based way of living, is the only viable option left.

Cacao is a gift, from our ancient ancestors and this blessed living planet, which can assist us in achieving this goal. In fact, there is a Mesoamerican indigenous myth that states – ‘whenever the balance between humans and nature becomes threatened, cacao comes from the rainforest to open people’s hearts and return the planet to harmony’.

I work with a group called the Mystic Heart Sacred Cacao Tribe. We bring our Sacred

Different approach to healing
Sacred Cacao Ceremony

Cacao Ceremonies throughout Costa Rica and beyond. Our style of ceremony includes live music, guided meditation, crystal and gemstone healing, energy clearing, anointing of essential oils, chakra activations, movement and ecstatic dance, and emotional support. Our Ceremonies are a safe container for the attendees to open their hearts, express and release emotions, connect to their spiritual center and with the energy of the Divine.  As well as access the higher states of compassion, gratitude, joy, unconditional love, and bliss. It has been a great honor to work with cacao as a heart medicine and a spiritual catalyst. I can see so many people receiving healing and inspiration. We encourage everyone who attends our Ceremonies to keep doing the inner work of keeping their hearts open, remembering love and gratitude on a daily basis, and to share that love with all they meet. This is our way of helping raise the vibration of life on Earth. It is our way of helping humanity heal their broken hearts, and return to a state of bliss – one Ceremony at a time.

To learn more about the Mystic Heart Sacred Cacao Tribe, our upcoming Ceremonies, or to invite us to bring one of our Ceremonies to your community, retreat or healing center, or other events – you can contact us at [email protected] 

WRITTEN BY:  Zahrah Sita

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