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A Sip of Serenity: My Experience With a Cacao Ceremony

3 min read

Forget everything you think you know about hot chocolate. This past weekend, I ventured into the world of ceremonial cacao, a practice with roots in Central and South American cultures, and since then my usual date with this comfort drink is not the same anymore.

I’d heard whispers about these gatherings for a while – a chance to connect with yourself and others through a ritualistic drink of ceremonial cacao – so when a friend of mine invited me to join her, I couldn’t resist taking the plunge. In the end, aren’t journalists supposed to research and write about what’s going on in this world?

Originating all the way back to Mayan and Aztec traditions, I soon realised these rituals, often described as a blend of introspection, and connection, speak to a growing desire for alternative approaches to personal growth. In a world dominated by fast-paced living and external pressures, cacao ceremonies can offer an opportunity to slow down, reconnect with oneself, and find strength in the community; a safe space for women to confront uncertainties, explore possibilities, and chart a new course for the next chapter of their lives.

After all, isn’t cacao supposed to give you a burst of energy, help you focus and improve your memory? That’s what exactly makes it a big creativity enhancer and facilitator of deep inner meditation and connections.

We began by setting intentions, focusing on what we hoped to gain from the ritual. Our facilitator, a midlife yoga teacher and with a gentle demeanour and infectious enthusiasm, explained the history of cacao and its use in ancient cultures. Then came the main event: a cup of ceremonial-grade cacao. Unlike the sugary cocoa mix of childhood, this was a rich, bitter concoction with a hint of spice. The facilitator suggested we savour the drink slowly, focusing on the taste and the sensations in our bodies. As I sipped it slowly, setting an intention for the ceremony (mine was for clarity and inner peace), a feeling of gentle openness bloomed within me.

The ceremony unfolded organically. We engaged in guided visualizations, journeys into our own inner landscapes accompanied by soft, meditative music. Tears welled in some eyes and smiles spread across others. There was a sense of vulnerability, a shared space where emotions could flow freely without judgment.

Depending on the facilitator, people can sit in a circle and set intentions, pray, and sing together with heartfelt music or sound healing, while others can even dance ecstatically.

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In this case, after sipping our cacao, we moved our bodies with gentle stretches and mindful movement. It wasn’t about achieving perfect poses, but rather about connecting with our physical form in the present moment. As I stretched my arms towards the ceiling, I felt a sense of expansion, both physical and emotional.

Finally, we came back together in the circle to share our experiences. Words flowed easily, tinged with a newfound sense of connection. There were stories of insights gained, emotions processed, and a feeling of being more centred. While my own journey wasn’t quite so dramatic, I left feeling grounded, with a newfound appreciation for the power of intention and mindful presence.

Now, there are some criticisms surrounding cultural appropriation in these ceremonies. It’s important to be discerning about the facilitators and ensure they’re respectful of the traditions they draw from.

Leaving the ceremony, the world seemed a little brighter, the air a little crisper. The experience wasn’t a magic bullet, but it was a powerful nudge in the right direction – a reminder of the importance of self-care, and opening my heart to the possibilities within.

The cacao ceremony itself is just the beginning. Ideally, the insights and connections gained during the experience can be translated into actionable steps for moving forward. The important takeaway is that the ceremony empowers women to take control and become active participants in shaping their next chapter.

If you’re a midlife woman navigating a period of uncertainty, consider exploring the world of cacao ceremonies. You can find events on MeetUp, Eventbrite and even at your local yoga studio. If you’re still not sure about it, you can even attend a guided cacao ceremony online. Just make sure to research facilitators who specialize not only in well-being and spiritual healing but also in working with women in transition.

Remember, the journey of midlife can be a time of immense growth and transformation. With the right tools and support, it can also be a time of profound joy and self-discovery. So, consider giving cacao a chance. Just be prepared for an experience that’s far more than just a cup of Hot Chocolate.

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