So you’ve decided to try Ceremonial Cacao. Congratulations! You are about to embark upon a delicious (and bitter!) journey into the heart center. Unlike other plant medicine which can literally take one on a journey outside of themselves, cacao simply amplifies and elevates the energy we bring to the ceremony. It pairs beautifully with any heart-centered practice, be it yoga, meditation, or my personal favorite, Yoga Nidra. There are a few things you should know before joining me in ceremony. Keep Reading!
Ceremonial Cacao has many benefits, physical, mental and spiritual. It’s botanical name is Theobroma cacao, which literally means “God Food”, or Food of the Gods. Cacao is said to open the heart, expand consciousness, and relax the body. This is because Cacao contains many neurotransmitters and neuro-modulators already present in our brain, most notably:
Norepinephrine – The joy molecule
Serotonin – Helps with wellbeing, and creates resistance to stress. Cacao also has MOA inhibitors, that inhibit re-uptake of serotonin.
Dopamine – Gives feelings of motivation and pleasure. Cacao also has MOA inhibitors, that inhibit re-uptake of dopamine.
Anandamine – The bliss molecule, it moderates pain, and is associated with the “runners high” effect. Cacao also has N-linoleoylethanolamine, the re-uptake inhibitor for anandamine.
Phenylethylamine (PEA) – Helps with excitement, alertness, attention. Gives the perception of time slowing down.
These compounds make it possible for us to experience feelings like joy, bliss, relaxation, connection, and general wellbeing. And as if these amazing benefits were not enough, Ceremonial Cacao is also high in antioxidants, is full of healthy fats, and contains several essential vitamins and minerals (it has the highest natural source of magnesium found in any food!).
Please read the contra-indications/ conditions list below to see if Cacao Ceremony would be appropriate for you!
*Fasting (take smaller dose)
*Migraines (take smaller dose – Cacao contains caffeine which can aggravate migranes)
*Pregnancy or breastfeeding (safe in half ceremonial dose, very commonly used in Guatemala by mothers and midwives during long or difficult labor)
*Anti-depressants (USE CAUTION/ Not Recommended- Many Anti-Depressants do not mix well with the Tryptophan and MAO inhibitors in Cacao)
*Heart Conditions (USE CAUTION- Cacao can increase heart rate and blood flow by up to 40%, and is a vasodilator)
*Low body weight or Children (Not Recommended, or very small dose)
*Chemotherapy (Not Recommended)
If you decide to join me in ceremony, please dress in layers so you can stay comfortably warm during ceremony. If you have your own props, you are welcome to bring them. I have a few extra blocks, and bolsters, but am short on blankets. I recommend the use of an eye pillow (I have some for sale in the apothecary). Please bring a your favorite mug or tea cup as your ceremonial cacao vessel (I have extra if you need one)! A ceremonial dose is 2-4 oz of liquid, and between 27-40g of fair trade, small farm, ceremonial grade cacao.
And last, but most importantly, bring an open heart and get ready to share the love!