I write this just short of a week after coming off the back end of my first cacao ceremony, led by the amazing life coach that is Lisa Fearon. Ours was a harvest moon cacao ceremony, taking place on the night of the full moon.
The importance of cacao (a superfood) dates back thousands of years to the Mayans and Aztecs, who saw cacao as the “food of God”. The cacao used in ceremonies is minimally processed (unlike the hot cocoa you probably enjoy at night). This helps it keep all its benefits, which include being full of magnesium, potassium and iron, being high in anti-oxidants, and aiding heart and brain health. Ceremonially, cacao is normally consumed in doses of 42 grams at room temperature (to help it keep its nutrient-dense formation) and this was the dosage that we were given by Lisa.
She preceded the ceremony by explaining that cacao is often used to help people with chronic pain, to clear trauma as it can bring about an intense emotional reaction, or to help you foster a deeper connection with your body. Hearing these benefits of cacao made me eager to try it, and – after heeding Lisa’s warning to not consume any if you’re pregnant, have a heart condition or are on anti-depressants – finished my cup and settled down on the mat, ready for Lisa’s guided meditation.
Although the meditation itself was relaxing and almost sent me to sleep, I didn’t begin to feel the effects of the cacao until about 30 minutes after consuming it. Unlike other substances meant to relieve stress, such as CBD or Valerian Root, cacao works less as a relaxing agent and more as what can only be described as a ‘guiding’ agent – if your intention is to find calm and serenity, cacao can take you there. If your intent is to be more alert and sociable, cacao can also guide you to do so, just like coffee.
For myself, as I had set no clear intention, I got a strange mixture of the two. On the one-hand, I felt a great sense of tranquillity and comfort – I was in no rush, I had no worries, no anxieties…I was simply walking along, exactly at the speed and on the path as I was meant to be on. But I was also mentally alert, and felt an onrush of attentiveness to my own actions. That was my immediate response to cacao.
Every person’s reaction to it will differ, and whilst some people in my ceremony group found the drink to bring them clarity, others were brought to the point of tears with emotion…and that’s perhaps the fine print of cacao.
While my first few hours after taking it were peaceful, the next few days were quite emotional, as Lisa had warned us they could be. Cacao does dig deep – just like processed chocolate can be an aphrodisiac or coffee a mental stimulant. Cacao, for most people, will elicit a noticeable emotional journey that may, after all is said and done, make it worth.
What I’ve found in my wellness journey building FLAURA is that many people wish to become well, to heal themselves, without actually looking at their wounds. As great as it would be for this to be possible, it simply isn’t. Cacao, even if faintly, forces us to confront some of the truths about ourselves and our lives, and to me that’s the only way forward.
If you suffer from chronic pain, anxiety, or stress then I would definitely recommend looking into cacao (you can get some great raw cacao at Holland & Barrett). Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you try it letting me know what you think!