Last week a package arrived from a dear friend and medicine woman, Nikiah Seeds of Red Moon Pathways containing beautifully crafted bundles of raw cacao paste, cacao butter, raw beans, and rose quartz crystals. Since early last Spring, Cacao Ceremonies had been coming into my awareness and inspiring a sweetness that I knew meant one day, events would unfold where I would experience this ancient and highly regarded medicine way.
Cacao is a plant ally like many other plants where relationships with the plant spirit can be cultivated and connected with during ceremony, for energetic support, and within your shamanic practice. The energy of cacao has the ability to both be gentle with it's heart-opening experience (as it is an entheogen but not a psychedelic) while also bringing more ecstatic opportunities through its natural mood enhancing and energizing compounds.
On the night of my first ceremony, my partner and I placed a piece of cacao paste, a cacao bean and a small rose quarts crystal into a large clam shell, made an offering of rose petals to this new plant friend, and set it in a place of honour on the altar. We began mindfully preparing the elixir together, warming complementing spices and herbs, whisking in ghee and setting our intentions. For hours beforehand I had been experiencing a familiar, very uncomfortable, physical sensation that occurs when I have picked up an energetic intrusion. Therefore my main task at hand was to tend to this immediately with a shamanic extraction and I hoped this could happen during the ceremony.
When the elixir was ready, we ladled it into our mugs and took our spaces facing each other and listened to a medium's channeled message that my partner had received earlier. Each sip was a bit like a warm hug on a cold winter's day - which actually it was with the largest snowfall in years! A peaceful, calm, and sleepy cozy feeling soon came over me and all I could think of was curling up into a big feather duvet to soak in the good feeling and tend to the intrusion which still caused me a fair amount of discomfort on both physical and spiritual levels. Into a journey I went seeking my extraction guide to remove the projected energy that didn't belong to me and restore myself to a "full cup" state to prevent taking on anything further. The journey was simple - my power animal performed the removal which was different than usual, and while it was in its clutches I saw a vulture circling overhead then come to a river bank to pull apart a decomposing salmon. A scavenger feeding. The intrusion was then passed to my extraction guide to complete the removal process. There were flashes of 3 different likely sources, but truly, the source wasn't my concern - just the healing. After the extraction was fully complete I noticed all of my senses were heightened. The ambient music, energetic awareness, and tactile experience were all very sensitive, alert and far reaching. I was still extremely cozy and super sleepy but with a euphoric and inward feeling. I began slipping in and out of the journey and was guided to channel the energy of cacao, of love, and reiki into the area on my body where the intrusion had been. I could feel immediate relief as I did so, but with a tenderness to it, like after a migraine one's head still feels tender, as if it could return if not carefully tended to. For the rest of the evening I stayed curled in my cocoon, cultivating the heart-filling gift of self-care, the good feelings of the elixir, and the sleepy coziness of a winter's night.
The next morning I marveled at how completely recovered I felt from the extraction and healing. I had not expected to feel so sleepy and cozy, thinking instead I would become energized and invigorated - though I can still feel the inspiration to dance, journey to the heart, and to create art that did visit me through the cushion my very quiet and inward focus had developed. Later, I read an article by Ruby Warrington where she says, "in ceremonial doses, raw cacao is a powerful heart opener that paves the way to transformation through self-love" This sentiment definitely resonates with my experience and was exactly what I most needed.
I will continue to cultivate my relationship with cacao in all the ways that one gets to know a new spiritual ally. I have added a cacao bean to my mala (medicine bundle), I will journey to the spirit of cacao, I will ingest micro-doses, honour it on my altar, embark on more ceremonies, dream with it under my pillow, read about it and listen to people's experiences, learn how to ensure environmental and humanitarian harvest practices, dance with it, meditate with it, and discover more ways that cacao can facilitate healing, how I may be able to support this plant spirit and its work, and listen for if cacao will become a regular part of my shamanic practice.
Please feel invited to share your experiences with this ancient and prized medicine plant either in the comments below or privately to firstname.lastname@example.org I would love to hear them!
A bean feasa of Gaelic heritage shares stories & insights from her animist and 'shamanic' practice on the West Coast of Canada.