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  • Writer's pictureJoey McCune: Free-Spirited, Sound Alchemist

Ceremonial Cacao: A Conscious Elixer

Updated: Apr 28, 2020

I was introduced to the use of chocolate as medicine over ten years ago and since then, have been exploring and learning with the cacao plant in her many forms, which has recently evolved into a deeply transforming partnership practice that I share with my husband.

A dear Shaman friend lovingly taught me that we do not simply serve and share cacao.

We must first get to know her.

Indeed cacao is a motherly plant spirit and offers a feminine, loving, warm and positive energy. It is one of the most powerful, gentle facilitators, teachers and plant guides on the planet. It is this loving energy, that we connect with, and once connected, can authentically and lovingly, share with others.

Ceremonial cacao can generate a warm and euphoric feeling not dissimilar to the elation some people experience when deeply connected with life in a beautiful moment. In its purest form, cacao is a powerful assistant for inner work, creative guidance and so much more. Ultimately, cacao is a partner, a tool for us to come together with intention, to share in gratitude and be present with our hearts. I’ve come to realize that any experience we may have when we share in cacao spirit, are always within us, and once we’ve connected, we can journey there and receive her medicine and messages.

I compare the ceremonial cacao body-state to what I felt when I first kissed my husband and realized that I was in love with him. This type of sensation is what is commonly referred to as the “heart-opening” feeling that ceremonial cacao generates.

When drinking about 1oz of high quality cacao, we experience increased blood flow, mood elevation, and a more expanded state of consciousness. Cacao is a vasodilator, meaning our blood vessels and muscular systems relax. When working with ceremonial doses of cacao, our blood flow can increase by up to 30%, meaning that this life force energy is moving through your body and nourishing all of your systems.

You may feel expansive, blissful, connected to self, inspired, connected to your intuition & vision, connected to spirit, grounded and the feel the movement of stuck energy.

The idea that cacao — most commonly thought of as a regular chocolate bar or a hip, exotic superfood— is a medicine for spiritual purposes can be a new concept for many. If you adventure into the spiritual aspect and open your consciousness and heart to receive, I believe you will find cacao a beautiful new, loving friend.

Cacao in its pure, traditional form, has been used by ancient mesoamerican civilizations for thousands of years in ceremony and celebration. The ancient Mayans and Aztecs used cacao for spiritual and ceremonial purposes as well as healing practices. Mayans worshiped the cacao tree and revered chocolate as the “Food of the Gods.”

Mayan written history mentions cacao being used in celebrations and to finalize important transactions.

Despite chocolate’s importance in Mayan culture, it wasn’t reserved for the wealthy and powerful but readily available to almost everyone. In many Mayan households, chocolate was enjoyed with every meal. Mayan chocolate was thick and frothy and often combined with chili peppers, honey or water.

When the Aztecs took over the Mayans, they too realized the value of cacao, and took chocolate admiration to another level. They believed cacao was given to them by their gods. Like the Mayans, they enjoyed the caffeinated kick of hot or cold, spiced chocolate beverages in ornate containers, but they also used cacao beans as currency to buy food and other goods. In Aztec culture, cacao beans were considered more valuable than gold.

If you are wondering what a traditional cacao ceremony even is, watch this absolutely beautiful video created by Cacao Lab in Guatemala.

Creating rituals imbued with ceremonial grade cacao offers the opportunity to reconnect and dive into your quiet and still center, emerging restored and rejuvenated, renewed and ready to receive the world from a place of deep inner peace.

It is my cacao ritual that has opened me to gratitude and grounded me during this time of collective fear and uncertainty.

Cacao practice opens my heart to grace, my thoughts to peace and my acts to kindness for myself and toward others.

With no prior experience required, it is always a perfect time to discover the ancient and modern history of cacao and explore ways you can partake in the healing gifts of this sacred and revered plant medicine.

Usually, a cacao ceremony is hosted by someone trained in preparing cacao and holding sacred space.

  • Prepare ceremonial cacao

  • Cleanse the space with sage, palo santo, copal or other cleansing herbs

  • Create a sacred space, often with an altar with crystals, flowers, cacao beans ad candles

  • Sit in a circle and open up the circle by going around and saying your name out loud, sharing an intention or a word you’re calling in

  • Pour the cacao and pass it around the circle

  • Hold the cacao, connect to the feeling of gratitude, and set your intention

  • Honor, bless the cacao, and give gratitude for cacao spirit

  • Set an intention for the ceremony

  • Drink the cacao

  • Breath work, meditation, sound journey, dance, music – from here, it’s up to the person leading the cacao ceremony and whatever tool they prefer to use to amplify and manifest the intentions created by the participants.

  • Close the circle – an important part of the ceremony that invites integration of the deep spaces you may have journeyed to during your cacao journey.

*When buying ceremonial cacao,

please always look for sustainably grown and harvested

cacao sourced with intention*

Cacao can be served many ways and it truly is really a drink served best from your heart.

I create mine with almond or coconut milk. (Do not let it boil--- do not let it burn).

Cacao can be served plain or with added natural essences.

My favorite way to serve ceremonial cacao is to add rose, lavender and bergamot. I also sprinkle crushed rose petals on the top.

I also enjoy serving cacao with fresh cinnamon blended in, as well.

The spirit of cacao is gentle, loving and forgiving but also powerful.

I wish you a happy, delicious, beautiful and loving journey into the heart.

Joey McCune, a free spirited Seattle Realtor turned Energy Practitioner, has traveled the world in her studies of deeply rooted spiritual traditions and rituals in many forms. She is a Sound Healer/Weaver, Gong Master, a Master Reiki Practitioner, works with Shamanic Energy, and now lives and practices in Tulum, MX.

Her work with clients focuses on achieving a sense of balance, wellness and soul fulfillment and utilizes a combination of crystals, color theory, chakra systems, sacred geometry and Sound Healing, Reiki and Shamanic principles.

The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and are for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

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