Cacao and its benefits
Cacao has been used in ceremonies since thousands of years, especially in Central and Southern America for spiritual, medicinal and ceremonial purposes. Nowadays Cacao Ceremonies are becoming more and more popular in Yoga communities all over the world. Theobroma Cacao, the botanical name for the plant, is translated as the food for the Gods and is attributed with promoting inner awakening, creative guidance, heart opening and healing. As a nutrition it is rich in iron, magnesium and b-vitamins, improving immune functions, enhancing concentration and giving an energy boost. It is a natural plant medicine that induces feel-good hormones in our blood stream yet without any hallucinations or psychedelic effects.
My love for Cacao and Ceremonies
In Bali we are blessed to find high quality raw Cacao that we blend in the ceremonies with local spices such as Ginger, Cloves, Cinnamon, a pinch of Chili and a bit of Coconut sugar for additional sweetness. When I tasted the ceremonial Cacao for the first time, I was surprised how delicious it was, how rich and intense. It is very different from the sweet Cacao that we usually drink with warm milk. The ceremonial Cacao is much rawer and thicker in consistency.
When I lived in Ubud – the current Mekka for Yoga, healing and self-development – I joined many Cacao ceremonies as private events and big gatherings during Yoga festivals. After moving to Canggu in south Bali I started missing these events, so I decided to offer them at my new work place in Udara Resort. Why not facilitating them on my own, attract likeminded people and have a wonderful evening together? Luckily my boss and colleagues were very open and supportive and with a whole team in the background taking care of the logistics of preparing the Cacao, setting up the space with opulent decoration, we instantly manifested magical evenings. I am amazed how the energy becomes so strong during these events and how the participants, my fellow musicians and myself feel so uplifted, touched and opened afterwards.
Tradition and Progression
In the Yoga and spiritual communities, we are often faced with the question of how to balance tradition and modern lifestyle. As I have no background in Shamanic traditions yet and no profound knowledge about how the Mayans and Aztecs used to do their ceremonies, I adapted my ceremonies to a contemporary way yet without neglecting the deeply spiritual aspect of a ceremony. After having worked now for several years teaching yoga and co-facilitating retreats it felt like a natural progression for me to hold space at these ceremonies and guide the participants through their experience (You can read more about Holding Space in one of my previous blog posts). Anyone is welcome to Cacao Ceremony, no matter which religious belief or cultural background they have. I believe that it is immensely important to create our own rituals, lift each other up and bring more spirituality into our daily lives.
My Cacao Ceremony Offerings
In our ceremonies we blend chanting spiritual English songs with traditional Sanskrit Mantras, accompanied with Harmonium, guitar and percussion, we drink the Cacao as a sacred ritual, pray, meditate and share about our experiences and feelings in a conscious way. It is a beautiful coming together in a sacred space that allows for true connection to each other and to something much vaster than ourselves. I feel very honoured to guide people through these experiences and help them set powerful intentions, open their hearts and find their joy and authenticity through singing and sharing.
Ubud Raw, the local chocolate factory where I buy the ceremonial grade cacao has made a beautiful video of the cacao production here.