Everyone knows that chocolate tastes good and even makes you feel good, but did you know that Chocolate in its pure raw form, Cacao, is actually a natural plant medicine* revered for its physical, mental, and spiritual healing effects. Cacao, Pure Chocolate, has been given as a gift or offering during special occasions like Valentine's Day, Wedding Ceremonies, and birthdays, as a token of love and as a way to indulge in delight and yumminess. The indigenous people of the Central and South Americas regarded it as the drink of love, and Theobroma Cacao literally means Cacao - "Food of the Gods." The Aztecs called it "Heart Blood" because they were aware of its health benefits such as it’s ability to increase blood flow to the heart and all the extremities.
What's a cacao ceremony? For more info click here
Cacao is a Heart-centered, Holistic Sacred Plant Medicine* and a Superfood that has numerous health benefits for the mind, body, and spirit. It is a natural anti-depressant and MAO inhibitor, meaning that it releases Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin, and Endorphins, known as the feel-good chemicals, and then keeps them in your brain for longer. Promoting an overall feeling of well-being, connection, joy, and pain relief.
Theobromine, the active compound in Cacao, is similar to caffeine in its stimulating effects, it increases energy, mental alertness, motivation, and focus. Unlike caffeine though, theobromine contains chemicals that support your cardiovascular system called flavonoids. Flavonoids are the largest family of polyphenols found in cocoa. These polyphenols increase vasodilation - flexibility of arteries- which lowers blood pressure, increases blood vessel health, improves cholesterol levels, lowers the risk of heart disease and heart attack. It also increases blood flow to the brain, increasing cognitive function, and decreasing the risk of Alzheimer's disease and stroke.
Cacao contains Phenylethylamine PEA, an adrenal-related chemical that is created in the brain that also makes us feel good! It gets released when we are in love and increases relaxation, mental clarity, and focus. Cacao also is also the only plant known to contain and increase the amount of Anandamide, known as the “bliss chemical,” in the body. This neurotransmitter is one of the chemicals in the brain that is released when a woman gives birth, aiding in a feeling of unconditional love and connection, the feeling that is felt when a mother first encounters her child. Cacao is also a good source of Magnesium. It increases communication between the left and right brain which is expressed as being able to see things from a wider perspective and to see connections between concepts/ideas not seen normally, thereby increasing creativity and inspiration.
Cacao facilitates meditation, energy healing, connection to your higher self, the universe, and the divine. Due to its physiological effects, emotionally and energetically it is felt as very heart-opening, allowing us to connect with the vibration and feeling of unconditional love and to that of the divine healing energy of unlimited potential. When used with intention and in combination with meditation, yoga, self-reflection, art, music, and other creative endeavors, it helps inspire creativity and flow states. It facilitates connection to your true self, your partners, your community, environment, and nature, by helping you drop processes of the mind that produce, anxiety, destructive criticism, judgment, and other self-sabotaging thoughts, beliefs, or ideas.
When used in combination with psychotherapy or deep emotional healing work, or even deep conversation, it can facilitate the release and processing of emotions. This high vibrational plant medicine can loosen dense energy in the body; aiding the release of tension, trauma, and blockages that are stored in the muscle, connective tissue, and energetic memory of the body.
From my personal practice and work with Cacao, I have developed a simple Ceremonial Cacao practice, known as the “Yoga of Chocolate.” The “Yoga of Chocolate” and/ or a Cacao Ceremony are simply the act of taking a few moments out of the day to count your blessings and give thanks to all that you love and are grateful for in your life.
It’s taking a moment to become present and connect with your heart, your breath, the Earth, the Universe, and all of its elements, and recognizing your interconnectedness with all things.
In gatherings and ceremonies, Cacao allows you to share this practice with others. It is a great beverage to share in social settings as it facilitates deep and meaningful connections and conversations. Since it is slightly stimulating and is also mood-enhancing, often people feel more comfortable sharing with others from the heart and expressing themselves authentically after consuming Cacao. Drinking Ceremonial Cacao as a daily ritual or in moments of celebration is a practice in gratitude, mindfulness, and unity. It is a practice in developing more connection and overall more joy, compassion, and happiness in your life.
If you are interested in purchasing Pure Raw Cacao from Guatemala, I am taking orders here. This cacao is different from store-bought cacao as it is completely Raw and Ethical, directly sourced from an indigenous Women's Collective in Santiago Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. By purchasing this cacao you are supporting the women of the Casa de Amor Family Farm, in San Antonio, El Tun y La Chirimia.
This past January 2021, myself and the participants of the Cacao Immersion Retreat, visited the farm, met and shared a cacao ceremony with the local women and producers of this beautiful, potent, and decadent cacao. To see the process of how these women make cacao, from bean to drink, watch a video of us participating in their demonstration in our YouTube video here.
This cacao comes from the plant species Criollo Cacao, which is a subspecies of Theobroma Cacao. Criollo Cacao is considered the original species that grew in Mesoamerica, cultivated by the Mayans for over 1500 years ago in places like Guatemala, Mexico, Central America.
This cacao in particular is revered for its spiritual, energetic, and healing properties. While different cacao strains produce similar chemical effects on the body, this cacao, in particular, is known to be very heart-opening, more grounding, and is felt more in your body versus the other cacao that can be more stimulating for the brain and mind. This cacao carries a delicate, sensual, and heart-nourishing feminine energy that leaves you feeling open, grateful, and full of love.
Plus in my opinion, this small batch is some of the most delicious, soft, and feminine Cacao that I have tried.
Want to learn how to work with Cacao? Want to learn how to heal yourself and bring more healing to the world with this loving ritual?
I offer One-on-one Coaching Courses, Embodiment Retreats, Energy Healing, and Ritual Facilitation training. For more info click here.
By Carla Jannette Gonzalez-Guerra
* © 2020 Carla Jannetten Gonzalez-Guerra ALL RIGHTS RESERVED