Imbue Your Cacao With Intention
Working with cacao, whether for your daily ritual or in a deeper ceremonial way, can be transformative, especially when used regularly over time. While many people know of cacao as a heart-centered medicine, it has many different ways that it supports us. So we wanted to dive more deeply into the topic of intentions, as this is the starting point to experiencing the full power of cacao.
Cacao is a doorway to more connected, open and in-the-flow states of being and the way we access those states will change from ceremony to ceremony. What we need in a given moment changes, and so do the ways that cacao supports us. It’s this versatility that makes cacao such a powerful ally in our spiritual work. Sometimes it helps us be more alert in our meditation practice. Other times it might help us get some much needed rest. Sometimes it’s a blissful, heart-wide-open kind of experience. Other times cacao supports us in working with the painful places within.
That’s why our intentions are so important, and what we imbue our cacao with, literally and energetically comes right back to us. When we take the time to connect with a clear intention, our energy is focused and we can more easily get what we need. When we approach cacao, or any healing work, with unclear or unrealistic expectations, usually that same energy is reflected back to us, and we may leave feeling disappointed or unsure what the value was. In the world of psychedelics & ritual, we call this the importance of set & setting.
The first step in this process is recognizing cacao as a plant medicine. This means that we hold reverence for the plant, and are also open to the deeper guidance, or spirit, that comes through in working with it. This orientation allows us to be open, with our cup empty, ready to receive whatever gifts cacao has to offer. When it’s just another mindless habit, we aren’t paying attention to what is coming through.
The second step is getting clear on our intentions. There are many techniques and ways to do this, but the important thing is that you end up feeling a positive resonance with a deeper truth in your life that you are cultivating. Whether it has to do with your external circumstances, or inner states of being, there is a feeling in the body we get when we hit on something powerful. Getting clear on our intentions is about listening to ourselves, to what is unfolding in our lives and to where we want to be headed. As we do, we can distill down a manageable intention that is present for us at this moment.
Quick tips on setting an intention
- Hold your cup of cacao to your heart & close your eyes
- Take 3 deep breaths, relaxing your body
- Ask the question: “What am I needing right now?”
- Allow thoughts, images & feelings to arise without judgment
- Notice which of these creates a surge of positive energy or truth resonance
- Distill that down into a short phrase
- Speak them out loud or write them in your journal
The third step is to imbue the cacao with that energy as you prepare & consume it. An important part of a cacao ceremony is the process of making the medicine and bringing it into your body. When we do this with awareness, then we stay connected to the intention we have set and keep that energy flowing.
Once you’ve consumed the cacao and the ceremony has begun, it’s helpful to release the intention, trusting that it’s now working in it’s own magically, mysterious and synchronistic way. When we try to hold too tightly to it, we start to close down and to believe that we know best. It’s time to follow the flow of the ceremony and the energy you’re feeling from the cacao. Let it guide you in whatever practices or rituals you have planned out for the rest of your time in ceremony.
Some common pitfalls in working with intentions:
- An intention that is too narrow. When we get caught up in the details of exactly what we want, we can lose sight of the deeper need we are fulfilling. Instead of “I want a million dollars”, we can connect with our desire to feel abundant. Instead of “I want the most attractive romantic partner’, we can focus on our desire for authentic connection and to feel cared for.
- Setting unrealistic expectations. If we’re truly honest, the universe is a mysterious place and we can never fully understand it, especially in a linear way. Things come in their own time and way, so it’s important to not try to force everything at once. We grow, heal and create one step at a time, in an organic, winding way. Try working with intentions your heart knows are realistic and possible. Instead of “I want to heal all my wounds right now”, try focusing on opening your heart as wide as possible in this moment right now.
- Thinking we know best. We are but a tiny piece of an infinite puzzle, and we trap ourselves sometimes by thinking that we have all the answers. In working with intentions, we need to leave room for the magic that unfolds when we’re open and ready to receive. There is a humility in this that leaves space for life to surprise us! With intentions, be mindful of jumping too quickly to comfortable answers about what you need and want, and allow deeper truths to emerge.
Intentions are a powerful energy and it can take practice to get comfortable with the process of working with them on a deeper level. It’s always helpful to start with a beginner’s mind, bringing ourselves back to a place of openness and stillness, with curiosity, so that we may always be evolving and growing.
If you’re unsure where to start, here are some common intentions to imbue your cacao with: