My name is Emma and I have a chocolate addiction. True it’s dark and mostly fairtrade, but it’s still got sugar in it and I use it like a crutch. I was up to almost a bar a day, my last weeks of office bound London and I brought a big stash with me to El Salvador, knowing it would be hard to get hold of vegan friendly chocolate. Everybody has to have a vice. Mine are coffee and chocolate. I’m inconsistent with coffee and mostly decaff it, but in the absence of alcohol it’s nice to have the option to meet a friend for a coffee. Ritualistic, habitual, sometimes these things bring us comfort, familiarity and sometimes it’s good to be normal, if only for a moment!
At times I eat less chocolate, at times I eat more, but I am always going to eat chocolate. They might vary to the handmade, raw chocolates available to buy in parts of Guatemala, sometimes it might be a brownie, a chocolate mousse, but I am always going to have a rewarding love affair with chocolate.
What I didn’t know before coming to Central America this time around, was that chocolate, in a rawer, purer form can be used medicinally, as a non-hallucinogenic explorative tool, to cleave open your heart and make you feel connected to everybody and everything in a pure-hearted way.
Cacao, food of the Gods, it’s latin name – Theobroma, means just that. It was used as a currency in ancient times and kept secret by the Spanish for some time until it spread to the rest of Europe. It was the ancient Mayans who used it as a ceremonial drink during betrothals and marriages and it is here in Guatemala where it is being enjoyed by many as a way to raise their vibrations and take them through their spiritual or emotional journeying.
Most are introduced to this exploration through a Cacao ceremony, a shared experience of drinking chocolate and enjoying the group energy rising. In much the same way that you get a different experience after a shared versus personal yoga class, the group energy helps facilitate the experience. One such place to experience a Cacao ceremony is San Marcos de Laguna, Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, with many people travelling there just to use this shamanic journeying to work through whatever it is they need to. Cacao Keith, the Chocolate Shaman has a website with lots of information about working with raw Cacao for ceremonial purposes, although I can testify his Cacao tastes amazing in raw chocolates even if you are not taking it medicinally/ceremonially.
My own experience was at a ceremony held at the Equilibrio festival, facilitated by an experienced user of Cacao. It was a beautiful, at times emotional, joyful experience that left me feeling the bliss of having my heart cranked open for hours. The very same blissful feeling that I’ve experienced after intense yoga, pranayama and meditation practices, making me feel connected to everything and everyone with a feeling of pure love. My skin tingling with the sensation of interconnectedness and wanting to connect physically with others – I held a lot of hands that day!
An unexpected side effect is that is has increased the intensity of my healing abilities, with my Reiki energy immediately wanting to be shared and flowing with much stronger intensity ever since whenever I give massage or Reiki healing. Reading up on Cacao Keith’s website after, he also facilitates a lot of work with Empaths, of which I am one, and this may have something to do with that.
Two words of warning when working with Cacao as I experiment outside of the guided ceremony – insomnia and overdose. Raw cacao is a stimulant, and much like it’s sister stimulant coffee, if you take it too late, it may keep you awake. Like anything, too much of anything can be bad for you. The bitter chocolate can result in nausea or sickness if taken in too large quantities at one time or during a period of time. Again like anything, different things work for differently for different people. What’s right for one, could be toxic for you. Know yourself.
That day I stepped over a personal barrier of self-monitoring against perceived cultural and societal norms to be more freely myself. I feel freer and stronger. My love affair with Chocolate continues unabated, supercharged and I can’t wait to continue exploring further emotional and dogmatic release with a little nibble on bliss.