Winter Solstice & The Holiday Season: Bring On The Magic!
By Moses Draper, co-founder, embue cacao
We are approaching a special time of year, one that has been honored and celebrated for thousands of years, if not far longer! It’s a time of year that encourages us to slow down and create space for more meaningful connections. In taking the time to honor the seasons, to give gifts, to gather and feast and to create rituals that affirm our place in the world, we are actively creating and recreating a more connected fabric of life.
As a child, the holiday season was always such a magical time of year. The traditions were the structure that allowed us to come together as a family to spend more time together, to think about each other and how to express that love in physical gifts, and to weave ourselves into a larger cultural fabric. As a father, I get to create that experience for my children, both in keeping traditions alive, and in creating new variations that more fully express how we want to be as a family. It is this intentional approach to the holidays that brings us together and creates the meaningful experiences we are all looking for.
In celestial terms, we call this time the Winter Solstice; the darkest day of the year. It is a turning point as well. We are entering the fullness of winter in all it’s cold and quiet, yet the days are beginning to get longer & brighter again. It is also our holiday season, with many traditions celebrating around the same time. For me, it’s no coincidence that so much rich cultural, religious and spiritual tradition is celebrated around the same time of year and it allows us to connect with a deeper current in the celestial & natural rhythms.
Given that the holidays are all about magic, love & connection, ceremonial cacao is a great addition to this time of year. Think about the classic hot chocolate experience and take that to a whole new level with pure cacao and all its benefits, physical, emotional and spiritual. Cacao will help to enhance anything you have planned and bring new depths to your gatherings, traditions and rituals.
Here are some brief tips & ideas to incorporate cacao into this holiday season:
Winter Solstice Ceremony
As the year comes to an end and we approach the darkest day of the year, there is an opportunity to gather together and honor the turning of the seasons, within and without. Solstice is a time to acknowledge both the darkness and the gift of light that is just beginning to return. Many traditions honor this time of year with ceremony and the gathering of community. After serving up cacao, consider ways to acknowledge the inner and outer darkness and light. This can look like sharing about our wounds & shadows and about our gifts and passions. It can look like creating an altar of candles or doing a candle walk at night. Find some stories and songs that embody this time of year that can be shared.
At our home, we dip our own beeswax candles and rise at first light on the Winter Solstice to stand outside. With candles lit, we watch the coming of the dawn, and then feast together with special foods.
New Year Ritual
New Year’s is a great time to reflect more intentionally upon the year that has passed and the year that is to come. After serving up a ceremonial dose of cacao, invite people to share their accomplishments, challenges and things they are letting go of from the previous year. Then share what you are inviting in for the year to come. This can be a powerful way to witness and support each other. You can dive more deeply into this process with vision boards, journaling and a sharing circle with a talking object.
What better way to share the love this season than to gift cacao to someone you love. Perhaps you have a friend or family member who hasn’t experienced it yet, or someone you know loves pure cacao. Either way, consider sharing the gift of cacao with some ideas on how to use it to experience the benefits most fully.
Our 3.5-ounce ceremonial cacao bar is designed for just this, as it’s a smaller, easy-to-use starter.
Replace the booze with the cacao at your holiday party and watch this plant work its magic! Keep it loose and informal, just serve a moderate dose of cacao to each person. We recommend 1-1.5 ounce (3-4 tablespoons) of cacao per person for a party like this. Turn on the music, play games or just sit and chat. Cacao will bring a little extra buzz, a little extra heart, to the whole affair. If you’re tired of the usual drinking scene, just change the drink over to cacao instead and see the holiday spirit of connection and community naturally emerges.
We love this approach because it doesn't require any formal facilitation or getting everyone on-board with deeper ceremony. It’s light, fun and connective.
Regardless of what you get up this holiday season, I’m wishing you and yours a beautiful season of meaningful connections, deeper love and the magic that comes when we open our hearts to the flow of life.