Wellness Benefits & History of Cacao

Woman holding a cup of cacao

Cacao ceremonies have been used for emotional and spiritual healing

Cacao ceremonies have been used for emotional and spiritual healing for thousands of years. When attending a cacao ceremony, the desire is to help balance all the energy within our beings so we can reset and restore our physical, spiritual and mental health.

The early days of ceremonial journeys are attributed to the Mayans. Cacao comes from the Mayan words “Ka’kau” which means “heart blood,” and chocolate come from the word “Chokola’j” which means “to drink together.”

The connection to the blood comes from the ideas that Mayan gods bled on cacao pods, to use them as an ingredient to make humans. Another belief is that Mayan Gods gave the gift of cacao directly to humans.

The scientific name for cacao translates directly to “Food of the Gods,” and so Mayans thought of cacao as a key component in reestablishing a sense of balance and connection to divinity.

There is a Mayan fable that speaks of cacao as the medicine that comes from the rainforest to restore the balance between humans and nature. Cacao serves to open our hearts and bring back our planet into harmony. This is the reason many shamans consider cacao a medicine for change, indicating an elevated order of peace and love, which is so important right now.

Traditionally cacao ceremonies were used for ritualistic purposes. We no longer perform the ritualistic part of the ceremony, where cacao was used to either to still spirits of humans being sacrificed, in marriage ceremonies, to aid in fertility, or to celebrate occasions such as births, or deaths, many native cultures still practice cacao ceremonies handed down by their ancestors.

The cacao ceremonies that westerners have embraced typically have a spiritually agnostic purpose and so can be either performed in community or individually at home. When we join community for the experience, a trained facilitator will lead the experience and will traditionally foster openness, inspiration, love, and deeper human connection.

Woman holding a cup of cacao

It is important to understand that ceremonial cacao is rare due to the limited processing and careful preparation that intends to maintain the complete assortment of nutrients and benefits that the cacao contains.

The physical benefits

For our bodies, cacao contains nutrients such as: magnesium, iron, calcium, and B-vitamins. Cacao has theobromine, which is a stimulant like caffeine, but lasts longer, and has a milder effect, more pleasant effect, because it doesn’t constrict your blood vessels like caffeine, instead it expands them. Cacao also leads to a release of dopamine, endorphins, and anandamide (the bliss molecule) which helps boost our mood and reduce feelings of depression. Lastly, cacao can help balance blood sugar levels, improve blood flow to the brain, and helps strengthen our level awareness and ability to focus.

The emotional benefits

Cacao is becoming more and more popular as it is being embraced by a new wave of individuals that embrace cacao and its ability to help them open up and heal. Cacao allows us to connect with ourselves more deeply, other people and nature. It helps reduce our stress by allowing the fears that are currently controlling us, to be replaced with a sense of peace, love, and joy.

Cacao can allow us to connect more deeply to our higher self, our inner willpower, our strength, and our authentic truth. As we open ourselves up to explore the fear, pain and traumas that are affecting us right now, we can more successfully feel our way through them and truly let them go, allowing ourselves the gift of living a happier and more present life. As we are reminded of who we are, and our unique skills, talents, and creative abilities, we can let go the thoughts of everything that we are not, allowing us mental clarity which can make our purpose clearer to us.

By easing our daily stress and worry, we can become more tuned into our more optimistic side, which is crucial when we are facing difficult situations that arise in our lives. By creating internal peace and understanding that we are not our thoughts or our fears it becomes easier to remain in a state balance and joy as we surrender to the energy of understanding that nothing on this earth is permanent, and life is like a game that we are here to enjoy in this moment.

When my spirit calls me to reconnect with myself or Mother Nature, this ritual of ancient medicine guides me to a deeper understanding of nature and the essence of my own being. I make a commitment to act in service to the collective consciousness and welcome the ancestral wisdom of Cacao, which serves to unifying my consciousness and helps weave an elevated consciousness of the collective.

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