Is Cacao an Entheogen?
Since the beginning of time, humans have sought out ways to alter consciousness. All over the 5 continents, historical evidence and accounts of travelers have told the existence of rites and rituals that involved trance, intuitive dance, psychedelic journeys and hallucinations. Since we produce cacao for many years now, often we come to the same question asked – Is Cacao a Psychedelic?
Nowadays in Western cultures, it seems that the practice of “losing ourselves” is more often associated with recreative experiences. Seeking the fun, the release, and the extraordinary moments, generally speaking. In indigenous cultures on the contrary, these kind of journeys of perception have traditionally been understood more as ritualistic or medicinal endeavors– oftentimes from a spiritual rooting.
The substances ingested for these journeys can be called entheogens. Entheogenic experiences are commonly associated with psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca vine, peyote or toad venom. Rarely is Cacao included in this list. Considering its history, its effects on the human perception, and its traditional use, however, Cacao definitely fits the concept.
Is Cacao a Psychedelic?
Entheogens are defined as substances with psychoactive effects like altered perception, enhanced moods, modified cognition, or behavioral transformation. It also includes substances that are taken with a holistic, spiritual or sacred purpose. Traditionally they are served within a wide diversity of practices in order to support journeys of transcendence, together with prayer, chanting, dance, music, or meditation, for exemple.
Entheogens support the mystical and transformative effects of experiences that foster non-ordinary forms of consciousness, often described as ego dissolution, trance or epiphanies. These kinds of experiences don’t necessarily require the entheogenic substances. They already induce psychoactive journeys by themselves. But the medicines amplify, assist, accelerate or trigger the inner mechanisms that are at stake.
The etymology of the therm entheogen comes from the ancient Greek “etheos” and “genesthai”. “Etheos” translates as “full of the god, inspired, possesed”. It is the root of the word “enthusiasm”. And “genesthai” means “come into being”. In ancient Greece they were used to describe and praise artistic creation and reception. Therefore entheogens can also be associated with inspiration and creation.
Cacao is a psychoactive substance. Not only is it one of the most powerful natural stimulants, but it also contains neuroactive microcompouds like serotonine, theobromine, anandamide, or salsolinol (a dopamine composite). These elements elicit mild alternative states of consciousness for humans. They cause a sense of willingness associated with a lightening body energy and mental clarity. It will exponentially expand and amplify feelings of ecstasy, joy, excitement or bliss that one may feel when dancing, meditating, breathing or experiencing connection, release, or ecstaticness.
Cacao has historically been used ceremonially and spiritually. For thousands of years in Mesoamerica, cacao was at the heart of the cosmovision of different major civilizations. Cacao was prepared and honored for a wide variety of the most important occurrences: astrological events, diplomatic ceremonies, and spiritual rituals. Considered as one of the foods of the gods, it would prevail for experiences that involved connecting or traveling into other dimensions; but also as an offering that would bring balance in the subtle realms.
Ancient artifacts and narratives from the colonial period tell us how cacao was prepared for different kinds of ceremonial practices– sometimes for several days and nights of dance and music. Together with alcohol, another mild entheogen (made with wild yeast, as what would be called today “artisan brew” which doesn’t create the same substance), and other psychoactive foods. These practices were of utmost importance in the mayan cosmovision.
Cacao is nowadays associated with mood enhancing, ceremonial and transformative practices. All over the world it has been integrated into the ceremonial movement, the ecstatic dance scene, meditation, breathwork, sharing circles, transformational therapy, and much more. We can not summarize the amount of different testimonies we have received from space holders and healers from all over the word sharing how much Cacao has had a deep and fascinating impact on their practices.
On the contrary to the consumption-oriented and passive perspective of chocolate, focused on taste and pleasure, cacao is expanding to a holistic focus on deep connectivity, coherent to its potential effects in our lives when sourced, transformed and shared properly. But also coherent to its ancestral identity, and its contemporary perspective for a quite providential movement : permaculture and agroforestry in tropical climates.
When we allow it, Cacao may be a great ally in transcending the illusion of separation from oneness and nature, exploring some of the mystical endeavors of our ever evolving Now, experiencing grace and ecstasy, or simply resting into bliss. It offers a delicious panoply of entheogenic qualities that we recommend to you dearly, so that you can let us know how it went, and we can keep on sourcing the medicine with the most nutritious passion.