What is Ceremonial Cacao?
Ceremonial cacao is the highest grade of cacao and has been used to connect spiritually to self for generations by our indigenous American whanau.
Ceremonial cacao is kind of like what Kawakawa is to us here in Aotearoa - our direct link to Io. It is assessed by the quality and source of the bean, the process of making cacao, and the intentions that go into making it.
It is 100% pure cacao made from roasted and ground whole shelled cacao beans. Nothing is ever added, chemically altered or taken away. Unlike cacao powder, the cacao butter is left in, the best carrier of all of cacao’s benefits. It contains an abundance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and it’s full of stress relieving magnesium which is wonderful for us menstruators, particularly if we are keen to align a cacao ceremony with our menstrual cycle.
Physically, the theobroma in cacao stimulates blood flow to the heart and brain, hence the link to it being a true heart opener which can assist in deep emotional releases – particularity when it’s consumed with intention as part of a healing ritual.
Fundamentally, ceremonial cacao is about RESPECTING cacao as a sacred plant elder. It is an energetic standard, speaking to how the cacao is handled from seed to drink with love, respect, and intention. The process of making ceremonial cacao is a many step additive process: while not each step must be present, the more steps that are tended to the more effective the cacao medicine will be.
Ceremonial cacao begins with the communities that source the cacao. Unlike the majority of chocolate consumed globally, Ceremonial cacao is not sourced from centralized plantations and is only brought from small-holder organic farms, typically 0.5 acre to 5.0 acres in size.
Why use Ceremonial Cacao during your period?
Cacao embraces the power of femininity, sexuality and fertility in many of the world’s most beautifully connected cultures.
A natural gift from Mother Earth, cacao has been associated with connecting deeply with self and the divine. The high felt by consuming this natural chocolatey elixir is said to unite people with self and others during sacred rituals, due to these heart opening qualities. It has also said to be an aphrodisiac for the same reason.
This makes it pretty clear why when we are feeling lost, alone, distressed or unloved we often resort to chocolate. The problem with most commercial chocolate bars or cocoa powder is that they are highly processed and riddled with sugar, taking away the nutritional and emotional healing benefits originally associated with raw cacao.
However, if we select cacao in the right form, you can certainly use chocolate to help shift and transcend negative emotions, again if done with intention and purpose the elixir will help you move towards your goal.
Sacred cacao ceremonies have been around for thousands of years. The Mayans and the Aztecs knew that cacao increased energy, mental clarity, strength, courage and sustenance. For this reason they saw it as a magical gift from the gods and was a prized possession consumed by the nobility and used for ceremony. The Maya drank hot spicy ceremonial cacao as it was seen as a universal ambrosia, sacred plant medicine, a source of economic exchange, a tool for ritual and a special elixir for life.
On a vibrational level is said to accelerate spiritual connection, hence why those intelligent ancient cultures included the spice for both the physical and spiritual benefits.
Ceremonial Cacao Elixir
2 heaped tablespoons of Ceremonial cacao
Pinch of cayenne pepper, Himalayan salt and cinnamon
Honey to sweeten
Pop cacao and spices into a mug and gently cover powders with warm water until you form the preferred consistency. Add honey to sweeten
Spices – Chilli, ginger, ashwaganda or turmeric
Milk – Coconut milk, almond milk or ghee (Ghee will make the elixir creamier without blocking the healing compounds that cows milk will, as it has all the milk solids removed)
Hold your cup of cacao in front of your heart. Breathe in the rich, sweet fragrance. Close your eyes, take a breath and ground into the earth. Thank your cacao for its medicine and ask it to guide you. Then, ask your question, set your intention, or make your dedication. Sip slowly and feel the cacao warm your bones. Sit in silence, meditate, or journal your insights to integrate your experience. As long as you are completely present and aware of the feelings arising in your body.
Cacao was colonized with the "colonial conquest" of the Americas in the 1500s, when 99% of the indigenous inhabitants of the America’s was eradicated by disease and violence in a massive cultural genocide. So much wisdom, culture, and spiritual practice was lost.
Rainforest ecosystems became managed as a "resource" rather than a "living system", and cacao became one of many rainforest products extracted for the benefit of the colonizers. Widespread deforestation, species extinction, and loss of native strains continues to this day.
All consideration of cacao as a sacred plant was lost on the colonizers. Instead, white supremacy justified slave labour, poverty level wages paid to farmers, all to get more cacao, cheaper. Political interference by Western & European interests has caused major suffering and corruption in Central & South American political systems. Major social movements have been undermined by foreign interests, inhibiting the thriving of the indigenous populations. To this day cacao is still grown in the context of an extractive capitalist system in countries where political and economic realities are determined by the descendants of the original colonizers, and the ancestry and land based knowledge of cacao is largely disregarded. Think about that when you reach for you choccie bar fix.
Here’s how you can help to decolonise Cacao
- Honouring and treating cacao as a sacred plant, as it was done in pre-colonial times. This is a practice that can be done on the individual level (by practicing relationship through ceremonial cacao rather than consumerism through chocolate bars) as well as at the level of corporations, non profits, and governments.
- Ending all unsustainable deforestation and mineral exploitation. These extractive practices degrade the tropical ecosystem that serves as the genetic reservoir for cacao and home for indigenous communities that have tremendous knowledge of the rainforest which cacao calls home.
- Respecting indigenous self determination and ancestral indigenous claims to territory. The true wisdom for rainforest stewardship and historical knowledge about cacao lies with the very people who ancestrally lived where cacao grows, and their way of life and cosmo-visions are critically threatened.
Want us to send you some free Ceremonial Cacao to try?
Keen to try Ceremonial Cacao? We are giving away packs to all orders of 3+ pairs of AWWA while stocks last. Order your AWWA now and you will be sipping your heart opening elixir in no time