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"Indigenous mythology believes whenever the balance between humans and nature becomes threatened, cacao leaves the rainforest to open people's hearts returning the planet to a peaceful harmony." Indigenous Guatemalan Mayan Saying.

 What is Cacao?

Cacao (kə-ˈkau̇) is a bitter seed or bean found in the fruit of the Cacao Tree or Theoboma Tree, translated from latin to Food of the Gods (Theo=God and Broma=Food). The chocolate we eat and love is made from the cacao bean but it is highly processed and we know it more often as cocoa. To learn about the process of cacao, click here

We can think of cacao as the original form of chocolate, and cocoa as the processed form.

 

It's a plant medicine that has been used by the Maya and other Indigenous groups for over 5000 years in Central & South America. It's is apart of the  Mayan story of Creation, and before European interaction was used it in everyday life, traded it like money, as well as used in spiritual/traditional rituals. 

Formally there is no knowledge that ceremonies that solely included cacao existed up until the last decade or so. Cacao was always used alongside many other medicines, and seen as way of giving thanks to Mother Earth, and for a daily count the Mayan Calendar. 

This new wave of cacao, and cacao circles, offers us a chance to get to know this plant, as well as acknowledge, appreciate, learn, and share the wisdom that has been protected and kept by Mayan elders and other Indigenous wisdom keepers. 

 

Europeans through colonization, shamed traditional practices, and transformed cacao into the chocolate we know today. Which gives reason why we feel there is a bit of magick in a piece of chocolate, especially dark chocolate... because there is, just a very small amount in the processed cacao powder.

It's called medicine, as it has both nutritional benefits that helps the functions of the body, and contains spiritual and energetic benefits.  Making it a very usual and potent remedy. It enables us to connect to spirit, Mother Earth and our hearts. And be present with any low vibrations and energetic blockages that effect our thoughts, actions and relationships. 

Ceremonial Cacao is the most unprocessed way to receive it, and offers a much more potent dose of the medicinal, spiritual, and energetic properties of cacao. 

The overall energetic properties of the plant is called 'the Spirit of Cacao,' and comes with a consciousness that understands how to be absorbed by the body, and facilitates self understanding and connection to Spirit/Universal Consciousness. It's believed the energy of cacao is feminine in quality, but the plant itself is a hermaphrodite. So really is seen to be androgynous, and non-dual/non-binary. This is why it  helps us to face both the light and the shadow self, as it encourages us to bring an acceptance of the whole self.  Opening our hearts, and our minds.  Cacao is subtle, and doesn't shift your state of consciousness, as it is a non-psychedelic. In circle, or gathering it helps to facilitate an inner experience of self-inquiry, love, and awareness that can be healing, and enlightening.

 

Beyond the ritual and spiritual benefits of of cacao, it is also full of essential vitamins & minerals like magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc and electrolytes. As well as containing high amounts of Serotonin, Anandamide, and Theobromine. Which influences it spiritual qualities.

Beyond the ritual and spiritual benefits of of cacao, it is also full of essential vitamins & minerals like magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc and electrolytes. As well as containing high amounts of Serotonin, Anandamide, and Theobromine. Which influences it spiritual qualities. 

Tritopheme is something we are familiar with, as its the chemical that contributes to our system feeling happy, and unthreatened, while stabilizing our anxiety and mood. It switches the body into the parasympathetic nervous, bringing a calming state of mind, and bodily function, It not only contains serotonin, but also enables to the body to create it. 

 

Anandamide is a neurotransmitter. The first part of the word 'ananda" is the sanskrit word for Bliss, and so Anandamide is known as the bliss chemical that gives our body and mind a sensation of deep ease, love, and relaxation.

Dissolving the disconnect we have to bliss, while softening our heart, and freeing energetic pathways. 

It's is processed as an endocannabinoid in the body. This means it's received by bonding to the body's cannabinoid receptors, which stimulates a response like to cbd. 

Theobromine is a bitter alkaloid that is a gentle and grounding stimulate to the body and mind. It is only found in cacao. It is a vasodilator, which allows the blood vessels to relax and an ease of blood flow.  It increases cognitive function, reduces inflammation, and relaxes muscles tissues, which enables deeper and easier breathing. 

The combination of the cacao fibre and fat/butter in ceremonial cacao enables the minerals and vitamins to be more bio-available, and absorbed faster in the body.

When you meet cacao with intention and purpose, it brings out the ceremonial magick or qualities. It allows for the spiritual work to enfold in an exponential way. 

Receiving downloads of higher information, intuitive foresight, and ancestral connection.

Allowing us to get out of our head, and into our hearts. 

What is  a Cacao Circle?

It is is a modern adaptation of the traditional use of cacao, for interpersonal work, heart healing and group connection.  It's a ritual that invites the spirit of cacao, and acknowledges it's indigenous ancestry, and colonial trauma. Cacao helps to calm the mind, ease the body, and open the heart which when in a circle enables us to become aware of our heart's, bodily blockages, wounds, and shadows. The group offers a chance for us to be open, vulnerable and empowered in sharing, and healing together. Cacao helps to facilitate this work in a subtle and loving way. 

 

A circle is about coming together to connect and share with  other humans in the quest for Earth connection, healing, harmony, respect and love. 

 

What to expect in Cacao Circle:

Opening Meditation with breath work. 

Invitation of Cacao. 

Drink the Cacao.

Oracle card pulling to receive some insight from the universe. 

Group discussion.

Journal Prompts/Dyad conversations (an introspective conversation witha partner).

Group Share. 

Final meditation with sound medicine. 

As well as tons of magick, and intuition. 

How Chrys Found Cacao

I found myself first exploring the benefits of cacao in 2009 while in Guatemala and El Salvador. Husking freshly roasted cacao beans by hand as a karma yoga task. I travelled back and forth to Central America for 10 years after that, where cacao always made itself known to me, as a part of my journey, and as tool to bring ease and awareness to myself. I even got a cacao massage while in Nicaragua, that was truly amazing, and almost unexplainable. 

I got the call in 2019, while in Guatemala during a Cacao Circle, where the Spirit of Cacao told me that it is time to share her medicine through my voice and wisdom. I listened and I'm so glad I did. Since then I have been in constant  study with cacao as I hold circles and educators about it. 

It is with the utmost care, respect and love that I share this plant medicine and knowledge.

I honour the Maya, the Aztec, and the many other indigenous groups that have grown and taken care of cacao over thousands of years, keeping it a secret during the terrible and ignorant colonial, and post-colonial era.s. One cannot not use cacao without honouring it's ancestral heritage and homeland. 

I hope you can join me in circle, and take the step to connect to Mother Earth, yourself, and collective consciousness. 

*Chrys does not take the title of Shaman, or Ceremonialist, or holds any authority over Cacao. He considers himself as a, Earth Mystic and a humble educator of Cacao, and it's spiritual usage.

He acknowledges his privilege of being a human without Mayan or Latin American Indigenous ancestry and how cultural appropriation can easily be at play with cacao without the right awareness, acknowledgements, and respect.

 

He actively tries his best to listen and learn from Indigenous elders who teach, share and encourage the use of cacao. 

He has and continues to learns a lot about cacao through Nana Marina, an Mayan Guide and Elder in San Marcos de Laguna on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.

 

He constantly gives a portion of his circle proceeds to the Mayan community in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

He is particular about the sources of cacao he uses in circle, as well as in daily consumption. 

Chrys tries his best to respectably bring together the traditional approach to cacao, with a modern, and yogic approach to his circles that promote a heart-centred approach to healing and self-awareness. 

 

A short video of Cacao origins by a great cacao company called Cacaolab.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mr1_8ndB0I&feature=youtu.be

Cacao Recommendations 

Chrys recommends using these "brands," as they are the most ethically and authentically sourced cacao with indigenous roots/acknowledgements, direct trade, fair treatment of grower/workers, as well as affordable for Canadians.. 

1. Nana Marina's Cacao From Guatemala

2. Ruk'u'x Ulew Cacao from Guatemala 

3. Giddy Yoyo Cacao from Ecuador

4. Keith's Cacao from Guatemala

Chrys also activity supports the indigenous cacao community by sending a percentage the revenue made by his cacao circles.

 

 

Click here if you're interesting in giving direct support to Cacao wisdom keepers, producers, and the Mayan community. 

 

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© 2020 by Chrys Yoga.

 

"We can never become truly happy unless we

ourselves undergo a personal transformation" 

Daisaku Ikeda