21 Day Cacao Challenge – The Importance of Ceremonial Cacao (Day 13)


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Why ceremonial grade Cacao…?

As mentioned in my previous blog, the industrial revolution would change how cacao would be processed and eventually go mainstream.

It was in 1828, that the Dutch Chemist and chocolate maker, Coenraad Van Houten, discovered a way to treat Cacao beans with alkaline salts to remove the bitter taste and make Cacao easier to dissolve in water, thus creating the ‘Dutch Process’.  Later, Coenraad’s father then developed an inexpensive way to separate cocoa butter from the cacao liquor, producing a cake that could then be pulverised into fine cocoa powder. 

Today, Cocoa powder is processed at high heat, destroying much of the nutritional value of the cacao bean.   It is then milled into a powder and often alkalized during processing (Dutch-process) to reduce acidity, resulting in a less bitter and more palatable taste.

The way cocoa powder is manufactured, means it has lost most of its medicinal properties, by the time it reaches you in the form of a bar of chocolate or a cup of hot chocolate.  Over time this powerful superfruit and master plant teacher has been confined to the confectionary section of the supermarket having been commercialised and commoditised.

Ceremonial-Grade Cacao…

Ceremonial-grade cacao is made by fermenting and lightly toasting organic cacao beans.  The fermentation process is necessary for cultivating the flavour profile and activating certain natural compounds.  The beans are then cracked and peeled, (usually by hand), then stone ground by traditional methods to create a paste which is then set into a block.  Nothing is added, nothing is removed. The bean’s fat remains intact, helping to balance its stimulating properties and facilitate absorption over a longer period of time.

From tree to cup, ceremonial cacao is cultivated with intention, it is energetically pure and in alignment with the spirit of Cacao.

The hidden ingredient in your chocolate…

It is sad to say that the more cacao has become commoditised, exploitation has increased and the hidden ingredient in your chocolate is child slavery.

Big chocolate manufacturers signed up to a pledge to stop the extreme levels of child slave labour that was being seen in the chocolate industry.   In reality, they have broken their pledge and Mars, Nestlé and Hershey now face a child slavery lawsuit in the US.

Conscious Chocolate…

There has been a growing trend over the years for more ethical sourcing of cacao beans and creating sustainable relationships with suppliers. 

I was having a look for conscious artisan chocolatiers and came across Conscious Chocolate and I loved that their business model ensures the welfare and health of their workforce.  The founder has strong values concerning the environment and health benefits of less processed diet.  Check them out… I know that's where I will be purchasing my decandent delights from!

Cacao is an essential aspect of my life and has played a large role in facilitating deep change over the last two years.  Her heart opening and grounding medicine is what we need to reconnect with ourselves and find balance in these challenging times!

#incacaowetrust

Cacao is a space holder for what you’re meant to bring into the world – Erin Eber

Enjoy life… eat ethically sourced chocolate!

Daily Intention:

To be creative.

What am I Grateful for today?

I am grateful today for my editing skills, not only in Photoshop, but my newfound video editing and podcast editing skills!

One thing today that made me feel ‘I Love my life’:

The sunshine!  It was glorious to sit outside and soak up this life-giving source of energy,

How did I follow my intuition today (with what results?)

I decided to take a break from the slog of sitting at my laptop and head outside to lie in the sun.

What Physical Changes are taking place?

I have noticed my memory is much sharper and I feel more energised.

Daily check in questions:

What difference did this Challenge Make to my day?

I love the immediate sense of stillness and connection I feel when I start to prepare my cacao and then mindfully drinking my cacao with gratitude for the journey she has had to be here in her re-discovered form.

How is this challenge helping me achieve my goals?

I have stepped away from doing.  Whilst I still have things that need to be done, I believe she is teaching me not be distracted and to focus on the things that add value.

How is this challenge impacting my relationships with nature, myself and other relationships?

Whilst I still have moments of stress or stress being triggered by others, I am now able to shake it off quickly and refocus.

Do sign up for The Owl and The Wolf Newsletter, to keep posted on when we will be hosting our next online Cacao Ceremony or check out our website here.

Wise and Untamed

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21 Day Cacao Challenge – Emotional Goodness (Day 10)


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The river of life doesn’t always go our way, and suddenly you hit a rapid.  Now what?

You can’t avoid the rapid and struggling will only make the situation worse.

Back in 2009 I was in Namibia; a few of us had decided to go canoeing down the Orange River… it had sounded like a nice relaxing and idyllic way to spend a long weekend. Sleeping out under the star studded sky of the Richtersveld and enjoying a bit of rugged bush living, whilst canoeing down the Orange River.

We were up early on the first morning, had breakfast and packed up anything we needed to keep dry in waterproof barrels and headed down to the embankment to find our canoes and embark on our watery adventure.

Before we left base camp, we were given safety instructions and one of these instructions, which made us chuckle, was if we happened to come out in a rapid, we were to get ourselves into Cocktail and Cigar position… as if you were chilling next to the pool with your feet up, a cocktail in one hand and a cigar in the other.  The bottom line was to surrender to the rapid.

I don’t think any of us believed we would find ourselves in this position; but what a life lesson I was paddling into.

The sun was sparkling on the river as we slowly paddled our way down the Orange River on our adventure. Day one, was serenely uneventful.

Day two dawned and we packed up and headed to our canoes with our supplies. A group that had camped further back from us were slowing making their way past us, down the river.  We had been given a heads up that we would be heading down our first rapid that morning and that we would be taking the left of where the river splits into three channels. The group that passed us should have been well down the river by the time we reached the split in the river; but we caught up with them, which created congestion… our group trying to back paddle, to stop from being sucked into the fast-moving pace of the rushing water.

My Canoe buddy and I weren’t able to successfully hold the Canoe back and we seemed to shoot forward, hitting a rock which catapulted both of us out of the canoe into the middle estuary.

I panicked and tried to grab hold of the canoe.  I realised this was a bad decision.  Light Bulb moment.  Just relax.  Feet up.  Cigar and cocktail in either hand.

I also recognised that by struggling or panicking I might break a limb; worse I might die.

Relaxing, I let the rapid to take me where it would. 

In the middle of where the three turbulent confluences met, I landed up on a rock, water rushing past me wildly.  By this stage, I was fucking scared and seriously clinging to that rock for dear life. (another life lesson here!) In reality… I would need to let go and get back into the river, if I was to reach the safety of land. 

One of the guides tried to encourage me to let go and after a few of attempts he decided his only course of action was to paddle up the rapid and rescue me.  I still to this day don’t know how he did it and how he manged to get me into his canoe… but being my hero is simply an understatement.

The moral of this story and one I revisit when I am going through a turbulent time, life is much like a river and there are times we drift along and then when we hit a rapid, you just lean back in to cocktail and cigar position and surrender… the time for calmer waters will come again and life will be sweet again, till you hear the next roar of an upcoming rapid and you just lean into surrendering.

And on this trip, the wildest rapid was yet to come! Sjambok (heavy whip) Rapid.

During wild times, feet up, cocktail in one hand and a cigar in the other. Surrender to the flow.

So, whilst there was not much I could do, but physically surrender to being washed down the Orange river in a rapid, there are tools that can help us safely navigate the rough waters of life, until we find ourselves in calmer waters again.

Cacao is a wonderful plant medicine and ally to help us through challenging times, not only because it is filled with nutritional goodness, but because it has mood enhancing compounds that can boost our emotional well-being.

Cacao contains two mood enhancing compounds Anandamide and Tryptophan that can help uplift you when you are feeling blue.  Both are natural antidepressants, and the bliss molecule Anandamide is responsible for producing feelings of happiness.

Cacao is also bursting with essential flavonoids, amino acids and over 700 antioxidants that have shown to ease depression and create feelings of wellbeing and happiness.  It has also shown to improve heart and brain health, blood sugar and weight control.

Healing comes from taking responsibility: to realize that it is you - and no one else - that creates your thoughts, your feelings, and your actions.

Peter Shepherd

Mood Diary
Today’s ritual is to start a mood diary.  The aim of this is to become aware of when our stress and anxiety is triggered and to record our emotional and mental well-being daily.

During the day we experience a lot of thoughts and feelings and often we forget all the positive emotions we felt throughout the day.  Keeping a mood diary helps us to us to understand ourselves better.  When we tune into ourselves, we can become more aware of our state of mind.

Daily Intention:

To honour where I am at.

What am I Grateful for today?

For stillness and making the time to connect with myself.

One thing today that made me feel ‘I Love my life’:

Laughter.  My team meeting this morning was filled with happy banter.

How did I follow my intuition today (with what results?)

I let my happy morning vibes carry me through the day and on my evening walk I discovered a community garden I didn’t know existed and I spent time connecting with the bees.

What Physical Changes are taking place?

I have noticed that my eyes are a lot brighter, and I am feeling more energised.

Mood Diary: 

I felt quite cheeky and full of life this morning and then I felt lazy and snoozy towards the end of the day.

Daily check in questions:

What difference did this Challenge Make to my day?

By making time for sacred time, I am finding that I much happier and my cheeky side is starting to blossom.

How is this challenge helping me achieve my goals?

By becoming more playful, I am becoming more creative and relaxed.

How is this challenge impacting my relationships with nature, myself and other relationships?

By connecting into my true nature, I am finding more joy in my day-to-day activities and I am connecting in more with what my passions are.

With love

Wise and Untamed

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21 Day Cacao Challenge – Welcome to Week 2 (Day 8)


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During week one, I created a sacred pause in my day to sit in ritual each morning, to be present with myself and to attune myself more deeply with the spirit of Cacao.

As a Cacao Practitioner, I have been working with this loving plant medicine for more than 2 years and this is the first challenge I have done.  I can honestly say, hand on my heart, that this challenge has been expansive, I am feeling more grounded, more connected to myself and my intuition.  I am looking forward to what week 2 will bring. 

As my relationship grows with the spirit of Cacao, I can feel her tenderly helping me see old conditioning and patterns that need to be released and opening my heart to guide me through the process.  Her presence supporting me as I lean into the uncomfortableness of change.

The smallest changes made over time can result in profound life altering change.

When we trust the unfolding of our path, even when we don’t know how to proceed, our deeper knowing helps us to surrender and we can step forward and welcome in a new beginning.

As an active participant in co-creating with life, I welcome in whatever changes I am guided to make over the course of the next 2 weeks; however, it is also important to take the time to find experiences that lights us up throughout the day, so we can begin to shine from the insideout.

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.

Robert Brault

It’s the little things in life that make the biggest impact.  Receiving unexpected, beautiful flowers can change the course of your day.  Here are a few things that can make a difference in your day:

  • Breakfast in bed.
  • A smile from a stranger
  • Your music
  • An opportunity to be creative
  • The moment after the rain stops
  • A new recipe that comes out perfectly.
  • The feeling of sand between your toes.
  • A small gesture of support.

Today, I decided to find a space in nature to enjoy my Cacao.  The sun was shining, and it was truly beautiful day here in Scotland. 

I got in the car and pointed it in a direction and drove, whilst I was enroute to wherever, I remembered a tiny little Community Orchard I used to visit, when I lived in Portobello.  The Orchard feels a bit like a secret off the map location, a place that you would only know existed if you were a local. 

And that’s where I landed up, the perfect secret place to drink my Cacao and get bare foot and dance in the dirt.

I drank my cacao, sitting amongst the butter cups, with the soul soothing sound of a trickling stream and bees buzzing. I felt so at peace and blissed out.  This is what I needed today.

Today’s ritual was to put on our favourite music and dance barefoot on the earth and that’s exactly what I did.  Took my shoes off and danced around feeling the soft grass under my bare feet, to the natures sweet music.

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love to dance and to move.  Movement can help shift emotions we need to release, leaving us feeling re-energised and refreshed.  When we dance with mother earth beneath our bare feet, we can feel her support and love and we can release whatever we need to, directly into mother earth through our feet, for transmuation.

Dance is the purest expression of every emotion, earthly and spiritual.

Anna Pavlova

Daily Intention:

To move through my day with ease and grace as if I was dancing.

What am I Grateful for today?

I am grateful for sunshine and beautiful skies being able to be in this tiny little community orchard by myself near a ommunity orchard by myself near a trickling stream, listening to the birds twittering, the bees buzzing and the sound of the wind rustling through the trees.

One thing today that made me feel ‘I Love my life’:

I loved being able to sit, with my barefeet on the ground, in a magical space with no one else but me and the birds and loving this open-heart space amongst the wildness of the orchard and the buttercups.

How did I follow my intuition today (with what results?)

I followed my inner compass, to a beautiful Community Orchard in Portobello, which was the perfect place for me to rediscover and bring magic to my day.

Daily check in questions:

What difference did this Challenge Make to my day?

I remembered a beautiful space that used to bring joy to my heart and returned there to be re-enamoured.

How is this challenge helping me achieve my goals?

The slowing down is connecting my to my playful and creative side, which is helping me to think more creatively about how to achieve my goals.

How is this challenge impacting my relationships with nature, myself and other relationships?

I am remembering who I am and recognising where I need to nurture myself more.

With love

Wise and Untamed

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