Avoiding trends – Cacao is NOT a psychedelic as we know it
I was surprised to learn that there are more varieties of cacao than there is wine! And each variety of plant has its own variation in biology and genetics.
In general, the synergy of 300-1000 compounds, including flavonoids & alkaloids; phenethylanine, theobromine, enzymes and minerals gently co-operate with the body in a good, wholesome organic way. Like any healing plant, Cacao nourishes the body. Hence it has been used for thousands of years in Central and Southern America as a health elixir.
Unlike psychedelics, it does not take you on a chemical trip of its own and you wouldn’t lose vitamins or minerals by consuming it. Neither does it damage your organs. With cacao being a heart opener (by oxygenating your skin as well as activating the release of dopamine and detoxifying the liver and kidneys) it facilitates heightened sensation and empathy. To an extent, this releases you of inhibition and apprehension, which at times might not necessarily be a happy experience. It might bring forward what Chocolate Shaman calls: The Pain Body. This is when emotional release takes place.
Cacao is like a companion who helps you release both physically and emotionally. It is a focus-enhancer ‘The good gets gooder and the bad gets badder’. Again, unlike psychedelics or caffeine, this process is a very gentle one – Cacao merely assists you ‘to get out of your own way’.
Cacao activates the pleasure signals, and this is why for centuries it has been associated as a romantic gift. In old times they used to drink it in fertility rites.
Cacao, Cocoa, Chocolate…what is the difference?
Simply put, Cacao is the plant, Cocoa is the oil and Chocolate is the name of preparation.
Raw Cacao powder is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans. This process keeps the living enzymes in the cacao and removes the fat (Cocoa butter). Cacao seeds are bitter in taste and fermentation is necessary to release flavour. Cocoa looks the same but it is not. Cocoa powder is raw cocoa that has been roasted at high temperatures.
Chocolate has extra cocoa butter, sugar, flavourings (mainly vanilla) and lecithin (emulsifier) added to it in a process and at times milk is thrown in to soften the texture. Even dark chocolate has these extras added to it. Dark chocolate is simply chocolate liquor and it is made by grinding the centre of the beans into a liquid.
The commercial process that goes into making our commercial chocolates eliminates the cacao compound from the end result. Even Lindt and Green & Black (two of my favourites, actually) are hybrids of the raw plant with 80% of the original compounds missing in them!!
Most chocolate today is sourced in West Africa, half of it just from the Ivory Coast.
Who lives inside the chocolate?
Most practitioners of Sacred Cacao Ceremonies believe in the Goddess/Spirit of Cacao. Their embarking on the ceremonies often comes when they feel a call from the spirit. This rides on the ancient Mayans and Aztec lore that inside cacao plant resides the spirit of cacao. Some use raw cacao as it aids them in their intention of getting into ‘higher realms’.
Personally, I hold intense respect for the ancestors and I enjoy and revere the lore. However, all the sacred ceremonies that I facilitate (Tea, cacao, water, shadow & soul dance etc) having roots in spirit of life, are not riding on any particular belief or connection with any particular deity/entity.
Because it undeniably is!! Life is sacred, you are sacred, cacao is sacred, the ceremony is sacred, and this moment is sacred. It is my intention to bring sacredness back into our lives. Events such as Sacred Cacao ceremony are gentle invitations into that sacredness. The organic, natural cacao will help the process. It is personal, it is beautiful, it is blissful and if nothing else, it will give your body a good shot of magnesium. You can connect with yourself, you can allow yourself be. It is just so beautiful and holy. It is sacred.
You can imagine my horror when I read an article about how people (with different intentions perhaps) are now snorting cacao powder in order to attain a psychedelic high!!!
Sacred Chocolate ceremony is a safe and intimate place, where you can drink the right dosage of deliciously and lovingly prepared cacao, under guidance of the facilitator, among like-minded people, for a fabulously gentle yet lush experience.
By the way, I think the mixture of caffeine and cacao was amazing as my first innocent experience, however, in my ceremonies I only mix the cacao with complimenting herbs and spices and not with coffee.
Try it…I would love to hear how your experience went.