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  • Writer's pictureLeah Dawkins

I'm a Cacoa Convert

“My turn,” I say as I step in front of my friend Katie.

David graciously steps asides and allows me to join in celebrating our fellow yoga instructor. We join hands and dance to the lively music playing on the sound system, a studio favorite “In Dreams.”

This is only my second Cacao ceremony. My first was done several months previously to convene a weekend retreat, so the occasion was a bit more serious. Tonight, it is all about the fun. We are celebrating Katie’s new path in life, one different than the one she had planned. One that would take her to a different state. So, of course, emotions are high, and the celebrants fluctuate from laughter to tears.

During the first Cacao ceremony I attended I learned the steps of the process.

I watched as my teacher deliberately set the stage for the ceremony by setting the intention for the ceremony. She simply stated the purpose of the ceremony before lighting her smudge and preparing the space. Once done, she lit the incense and began to brew the Cacao. The cacao is not cocoa, it is special. A high-grade ceremonial cacao. It is chocolate at its purest form, minimally processed and maintaining its nutrients and energetic properties. My teacher’s recipe includes almond milk, cacao, pinch of cayenne, agave, and vanilla.

Once preparations are complete, the ceremony begins. We all sat around in a circle with a teacup filled with the cacao mixture. Our teacher starts by sharing her gratitude. Gratitude for her community, for the opportunity to positively impact the students, and for breath. She then opened it up for others in the circle to share a gratitude. Once completed, the drink was consumed, but not gulped! Slowly and with mindfulness, the drink is swallowed, almost meditatively. Once complete, everyone is feeling grounded and energized. At this point, we began socializing and discussing the plans for the weekend retreat. But, perhaps in your ceremony journalling, or meditating would feel more authentic. Whatever the spirit calls for you to do, do.

The circle must be closed, so once again, we gathered together to show our gratitude and what the ceremony revealed to each of us.

And so, when it was time for Katie to leave our local community, she requested a Cacao Ceremony. And she wanted dancing and laughter. So, this is what we did. We showed gratitude for our fellow yogi, we consumed our beverage, we danced, we laughed, we cried, and we closed our circle by sending her off to her next chapter of life as she requested.

And, as with any new experience I enter into with an open mind and open heart, I too, was touched and moved by the ceremony. How such a simple act, done with purpose and intention, can change you in profound ways. I watched as those more experienced practitioners immersed themselves into the process, immediately able to embrace the purpose while those of us who were newer to the process shyly partook and quietly declined to verbally express their gratitude. I watched as Katie was mentally, physically, and spiritually ‘hugged,’ accepting without reservation the love and light of her tribe. A young woman full of vitality, brightness, and hope dancing in the studio in her white flowing dress and long brown hair looking every bit like an ethereal spirit.

And I thought to myself, why not? What is there to lose if I put myself out there and embrace a new experience.

And so, I did.

“Katie, may I have a turn?”

She let go of David’s hand and turned to me, both hands extended. I reached out and clasped her hands. And, as we danced in circles, laughing as other’s joined us, I began to understand the sacred connection ceremonies give to the events of our lives. The importance of the ritual. The marking of the occasion.

I can hardly wait to experience it again.

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