Last night, I attended my second cacao ceremony. I asked a woman I’ve never met before to join me. She is the daughter of my good friends and is about my age. I remembered that she’s a naturopath and because none of my friends were interested in joining me (I apparently do weird things), I thought that this might be a good opportunity to meet her during her brief visit here.
I wasn’t sure what she’d say but she said yes and we arranged to go together. Her energy was strange over the phone, as if she was agitated, but when I went to pick her up, she was completely different; lambent and inspired. I learnt that she was having a tough time finding the space to be on her own to recharge with so much of her family around (she also has some aunts and uncles visiting her parents at the same time). I realized how great it was that I invited her to join me, as this experience would provide the perfect space for introspection and meditation.
She had never been to a cacao ceremony before, but we talked about what she has experienced as a naturopath and we found our conversation to graduate easily to matters of the soul, without need for buffer talk. She opened up to me about things she was unsure of in including energy work into her practice, which is not what she studied, but found it come naturally, despite her resistance. We spent about 2 hours together before the ceremony, discussing all manner of life and living. She made me cry with a story about a patient of hers; a young boy who is fighting depression and all he wants is to go for walks with his mother, who is too busy, and he is forced to socialize with his friends online, because that is how kids hang out today. He has been on psychotropic drugs for years and he mother brought him to the naturopath to get alternative medicines for him that were more “natural”. I knew this to be true, but hearing someone’s real story absolutely devastated me. Rather than change our world to fit the children, we want to change the children to fit the world that we have created.
The cacao ceremony is a beautiful ritual that involves a guide, who happens to be a beautiful spirit with whom I have spent time on previous ceremonial occasions, as well as in many online chats. She led us into mindfulness with her soothing voice, taking us on a journey deep into ourselves and inviting us to drink the beverage she lovingly prepares with ingredients grown on her property. We are invited to drink with awareness of what cacao is – a sacred medicine teacher that comes from deep in the jungle in times of need, when humanity is lacking in love and connection. There are chemical properties to cacao that increase blood flow and endorphin production, but the ceremony is so much more powerful that our physicality. Being mindful of our connection to the earth and to the humans who take the time to cultivate the earth and getting to know its bounty is a ritual that we would all benefit from, and drinking this sacred brew facilitates this understanding of the web of connection between us and nature.
Healing touch, smudging with sage and palo santo, and essential oils are used to heighten the sensations of connection, and the ceremonial leader has a strong but gentle healing energy, much like the cacao itself. We were invited to move as our bodies inspired us, and the incredible live drum music made me feel like I had taken root in the conductively crafted space ,and the energy of the earth moved me to get up and express myself through dance. It is a strange sensation to be in a small circle of people and to express yourself overtly through “unconventional” means, but dance is so natural to human expression and my intention for drinking the cacao was to be more confident in expressing my love of self and others. As such, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to be present in this moment of inspiration. Dance followed the tearful emotion of drinking the brew and I found release in a comfort in my surroundings. When I am in a safe space with people who are open to being in the moment, willing to experience what life is and what it means to them personally, there is no room for judgment of others. If only we can begin to live in this way in our every day lives, there would be no need for war or argument because we would have no blocks to expressing exactly what we need, which at the end of the day is not a whole lot. If I can sum it up in one word, it would be ‘connection.’