Community. Ceremony. Cacao.
Over the last year, the ceremonial use of cacao has been gaining popularity in the United States and some people even say it’s effects are life-changing. One article eloquently explains that, “When used with the intention of healing and opening the heart, cacao has tremendous potential for doing some very profound work.”
One of the most important aspects of Breath+Oneness Yoga Studio is community cultivation. We are creating a home for our tribe and that home is open to anyone willing to walk through our doors with an open heart and desire to connect. One of the ways we are building our community is through offering a variety of unique events designed to nourish your spirit and facilitate human connection in a safe and inclusive environment.
We recently held an event at Breath+Oneness that I feel really embodies the spirit of heart-opening community connection — a Cacao Drinking Ceremony led by the extremely gifted Yogini, Bayley Blackney and accompanied by the Sound Wizardry of Eric DeAratanha. Through this event I learned all about the magical gifts of Cacao and spent the evening participating in a beautiful exchange of ideas, songs, and stories with a group of wonderful spirits I’d never met before. This Sacred Ceremony created a space of warmth, love, and interconnection inside of me and I am inclined to share my experience with you:
Our cacao ceremony guide, Bayley Blackney, traveled to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, in Peru.
Live like a God. Drink Cacao.
The Incas considered Cacao a “Drink of The Gods” which later influenced the scientific name of the Cacao Tree being Theobroma Cacao derived from the Greek words theo (God) and broma (drink).
Cacao and the Body
Cacao is the purest form of chocolate you can consume and in its raw state contains 4x the amount of disease fighting antioxidants as dark chocolate and 20x more than blueberries. It also has important nutrients we need such as magnesium, riboflavin, and essential fatty acids making it a huge help in lowering cholesterol, improving heart function, and reducing the risk of cancer.
“This stuff gives you magical superpowers…”
Raw Cacao offers us many mood-enhancing benefits, such as an increase in dopamine and serotonin- chemicals known to make us feel fabulous, and endorphin-stimulation that helps us stay alert and focused.
Other superpowers of Cacao include vision improvement, stress decrease, memory boost, and because Cacao is a natural aphrodisiac it boosts libido and endurance helping us feel more in tune with our sacred sensuality.
Cacao and the Spirit
Cacao is a heart opener and allows us to open ourselves up to the Intentions of the Universe and our highest form of Self. It is a Shamanistic plant which guides us in releasing outdated patterns which no longer serve us so we may create space for new energy that supports our spiritual growth. Cacao provides a loving balance of Masculine and feminine energy which helps us cultivate a Yin/Yang balance internally. It also offers us a boost in energy and creativity making it a wonderful tool for enhancing our yoga practice and general work productivity.
Now that you have a deeper understanding of the magic that is Cacao, I want to share more about the ceremony which honors it.
Before we drink we sit in a close circle around the Cacao alter and get as cozy as possible- there are many bolsters, blankets, and mats to help us create our most comfortable arrangement. Bayley begins by welcoming us to the space and sharing all of the delicious benefits of the Cacao drink she has lovingly prepared for us as well as giving us an overview of how the ceremony will proceed.
After the introduction we spend time meditating on our intentions for the evening and opening our hearts. Then, we pour the elixir filling the space with the heavenly scent of chocolate and hold our cups close to our heart as we are guided in a sacred Cacao blessing. Next we sip our drinks together with a unified awareness and appreciation and we are immediately warmed from the inside out, the unique and intoxicating taste of this raw plant medicine dancing across our lips and tongues.
The rest of the evening is spent sharing intentions, wants, needs, and blessings with each other and the Universe. Together as we drink the diving potion we sing, we laugh, and we share who we are. One of my personal favorite parts of the evening is when we write and share out loud intentions for ourselves, things we release in order to call things we desire into existence. We later go outside and channel the passionate, “Kali-like”* qualities of Cacao by burning that which no longer serves us so that new energy may rise from the ashes.
In this particular ceremony we were lucky enough to be taken on a journey of divine sound healing by the Sacred Sound Healer himself Eric A. Never before have I experienced anything quite like this, his performance allowed me reach deep meditative states and upon completion left me feeling reflective and connected to the surrounding vibrations. Eric also leads us in collaborative song and dance throughout the evening which brings a vulnerable and fun, childlike essence to the space.
I could go on and on about the many beautiful moments I experienced during my first Cacao Ceremony but nothing I put into writing would do the experience justice. You must Be and you must Feel in order to truly Know. All I can say is that this experience has had a lasting effect on my heart and soul and I hope that by sharing this it may inspire you to attend the next Cacao Ceremony at Breath+Oneness, or any of the other community events. In a world which seems to become more and more individualistic, these sacred moments of sharing connection are more important than ever before. We are all we have; we must recognize and encourage the Light that pours out of each other.
With Love and Light,
Jess, Community Evangelist at Breath+Oneness
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