Cacao Ceremony

Beloved readers, consider this an intermission from my regular programming, I am skipping back a few entries to the last week of the Rainbow Gathering in Tasmania.

Near the end of the gathering I joined a cacao ceremony, spoken to me as an ecstatic, heart opening experience which led me into great interest, yet I was slightly cynical – with much experience in ceremonial psychedelics I thought that a substance such as cacao could have little effect. Today this one track belief was adjusted as I dove into the cacao embrace.

There were about fourty of us in all, we sat in the chai space while the facilitators prepared the brew in a large pot over the fire. Along with the basic ingredients of cacao and water went some spices to taste, those sitting would also throw their love and intentions into the brew. A shamanic drum was slowly beaten and words were softly chanted as the pot was stirred into a gentle maelstrom of deep dark chocolate brown.

We moved from the chai space into the open air and sat in a large circle, we had each a cup to receive the medicine and it was poured with grace as the cauldron went from person to person. Within minutes all were served and together we drank, the velvet liquid creeping down my gullet and settling with a grumble in the depths of my belly.

As directed the group stood, all of us a large circle of free folk upright in anticipation, a tingle of excitement, a spark of bliss, a gurgle of joy – or was that my belly rumbling? We stretched lightly then began some guided exercises to get the body opened and the blood flowing – intense shaking, I willingly vibrated my body head to toe, arms loose and wobbling by my sides, knees unlocked I felt like a French marionette. This went on for a while, a long while and near the end we let go verbally, our vocal chords pumping out sounds of their own willing, screams, howls, laughs, moans, it all came forth.

During this I could see Ray from the corner of my eye, my attention drew to her, observing movements without turning my head – a connection was forming. “OK, now join with a partner but remember consent” the facilitator called. This consent was levelled toward hugging, an open arm position indicating a hug and if answering no the potential receiver crossed their arms or put their palms together. Ray and I looked at each other each with identical knowing smiles, this connection was not just in my head, we had communicated without words, silently. We sat on the grass closely opposite and gazed into each other’s eyes, pure comfort, ease, grace – I felt emotion arise, joy, and before I could react I saw a change in Ray’s eyes, she could feel this simultaneously! We both broke into a smile at the exact moment, then giggled and laughed. As suddenly as it began, the joy stopped – sadness washed over me and a tear rolled down her cheek, this was real emotive contact, under  such a heightened reality our empathy was front and centre, a direct witnessed channel of sensory input – after the tears we levelled out and went into a hugging embrace for the remainder.

“Now DANCE”, the call came just as drummers took up their beat, guitars made repetitive melodies in complement. I rose and moved and stomped and spun, and let my body free from expectation. Never have I moved like this, boundless energy, total surrender, there was no mind, not a single thought was present as I felt my body swim through the air in perfect harmonious flow.

This body, devoid of shackles roamed amongst the other dancers, the celebration went on for time out of mind, my body felt no tiredness yet my movements full and vigorous. Through this I could feel the joy, I could feel the smile on my face, the buzz on my skin, the ecstasy throughout as every cell exploded in white hot bliss.

After a while of euphoric dance I began to have a thought creep in, in league with this etheric symbol was a feeling of tiredness, it was distant but I could see how the two were linked, the mind creating the feeling through expectation and false belief. As if these conditioned thought processes are the repressor for a natural blissful state, a normal state of complete joy and freedom. We suffer greatly through worry and hope, past and future all borne of the mind, could this experience be a glimpse of life without controlling thoughts?

Things slowed down, the group moved to a standstill and we looked around, satiated faces, relaxed eyes, slow heavy breathing. We returned to the circle, it felt like an hour or more since I last sat on the grass receiving my dose. A sharing went around, our name and a word to express the experience, it got to me and I voiced my one word description.


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