Have you asked yourself the question, "why partake in daily ritual or ceremony?"
According to Webster, ritual is defined as an act of ceremony always done in the same way, a repetitive action with a specific purpose.
According to some Indigenous elders, ritual and ceremony are the way to put our lives into order and, in turn, bring the cosmos into order.
“As above, so below, as within so without.”
So how can ritual (repetitive action) help us as humans? Clearly, our ancestors were onto something as so much of humanity is being called back into daily ritual…
Ritual can help ease anxiety, bring a sense of peace or strength and support in the most uncertain moments.
This is why cacao can be such a magnificent spiritual ally. Cacao brings us into daily presence, back into our bodies, deeper into our hearts.
Ritual can be simple, something nurturing yet impactful like a short moment of gratitude before you begin your day, or before drinking your cacao, speaking into your cup, stating what your intention is for the day, what you need, what you’d like to offer on this day.
Let’s explore some of the ways ancient traditions communed with cacao and what practices remain today!
Usage Of Cacao Over Time
The history and usage of cacao are sadly largely undocumented due to the consequences of colonization. Over 99% of the Indigenous population was eradicated by disease and violence in a massive cultural genocide during the colonial conquest of the Americas in the 1500s. Consequently, so much wisdom, culture, and spiritual practice were lost.
We are very fortunate that more and more grandmothers and grandfathers, guardians of these traditions, are rising up and beginning to share their wisdom and practices with us. These practices, rituals, ceremonies, and ways of relating to life are not something you can find in a book but rather wisdom that is rooted in oral tradition.
Here are some things we know based on anthropological discoveries:
- Cacao was used for burial rituals by the Olmecs.
- The Maya used and continue to use cacao for the baptism of boys and girls.
- Cacao was used as an offering to the gods by the Aztec culture as it was considered “sacred blood.”
- Cacao is also actively used to celebrate weddings, Sunday celebrations with family, and midwifery in the Quiche Mayan tradition.
Anecdotal Experience Of Cacao Use
There aren’t many words to express the gratitude we feel for the experiences we’ve had throughout our journey with cacao as a teacher. As an ally, cacao has brought us to so many surprising places and to meet such incredible humans, amongst them, elders who care for the medicine of cacao. So here we share just a few ways we’ve gotten to experience ritual and ceremony with both Tz’utujil and Yucatec Maya traditions.
During important and impactful energetic days, the community gathers with their spiritual guide, known as an Aj’ Q’ij, to have a fire ceremony. This is a ceremony of counsel with the elders and the spirit of fire. It sparks conversation and connection with yourself, community, and the energy of the day. Cacao is drunk (with no added sugar to fully receive cacao’s force) as one gathers around a fire surrounded by candles, offerings, copal, and tobacco. Offerings are made, and the spiritual guide speaks, bringing guidance around whatever is currently going on in the world, energetically or within the community.
Within the Yucatec Maya tradition and many others around the world, for that matter, there is something called a Pagamento. “Pagamento” means payment; it’s a ceremony in which payment and offering are given to Mother Earth and Great Spirit to bring balance to our lives. In essence, to be in a reciprocal relationship with life so that we aren’t constantly taking but also giving. In these ceremonies, in southern Mexico, a special drink is made with cacao, originating from Chiapas. This drink is called Tascalate and is made with cacao, achiote, cinnamon, corn, and sweetened with piloncillo. This drink is then poured into the Earth and shared amongst the participants as a symbolic way of returning our blood to the Earth, asking for the healing of humanity, for war to cease, and for the unjust loss of people to end. Cacao is also representative of “thoughts of gold,” living in harmony, and as sustenance for the spiritual body with which one engages during this ceremony.
*Please note, this is not an in-depth explanation of these intricate and sacred ceremonies. We simply wish to share with you that intentionally ingesting cacao can create significant shifts within your being - something traditions have known longer than we can imagine.
Cacao can help strengthen your connection within yourself and, therefore, your sense of belonging on this Earth. The playful plant spirit of cacao teaches how to live from a place of connection to our hearts and spirit, as it has always been and was always meant to be.
So, we’d love to know, what are some of your most supportive rituals? Are you ready to commit to your daily ritual?
With love and cacao,
Jonas & The Ora Cacao Family
December Cacao Suggestions
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