What is Cacao?
Ceremonial cacao or ceremonial-grade cacao is a 100% pure cacao-bean paste that contains a much higher quantity of beneficial, health-restoring, and mood-elevating compounds than any other cacao-based product on the market (like cacao powder, non-ceremonial cacao paste, dark chocolate, etc).
The word “cacao” comes from the Mayan words “Ka’kau” meaning “heart blood,” and “Chokola’j” meaning “to drink together.” This blood connection comes from the belief that the Mayan gods bled onto the cacao pods, and cacao was considered one of the ingredients used to create humanity. It was also believed that the gods gifted cacao to the people directly. The scientific genus name for cacao is theobroma, which translates to “Food of the Gods,” and the Maya believed that cacao was a key ingredient in restoring balance and connection to the divine.
Cacao ceremonies are helpful for getting clarity, setting intentions, and doing healing work & inner-processing. Being in a sacred space helps you get out of your normal frame of mind, allowing you to experience new insights & perspectives. Depending on the intention of the ceremony they can also be wonderful places to connect with people in a safe, open-hearted environment. Sharing cacao brings us into the same energetic frequency. This often results in deeper more intimate connection with ourselves and each other.
Cacao is beautiful and powerful medicine. Due to the current constant availability of chocolate, one may underestimate Cacao's power. Most chocolate contains a small percentage of industrially processed Cacao. Ceremonial Cacao is made of the whole bean and is much more potent. Cacao has psychoactive but no psychedelic properties. Compared to other medicinal plants, Cacao opens the layers of consciousness in a gentle, loving way and ties together what may have been disconnected; on a physical, emotional or spiritual level. Not everyones experience will be the same in a Cacao Ceremony. Cacao can be uplifting, healing, nostalgic, and may also bring an emotional release. Be gentle with yourself, respectful towards the Spirit. Cacao is meant to be drank with intention. Cacao is a diuretic and additionally helps to detoxify the body. Water (before and after) is essential to keep the energy flowing, also drink water if you feel a slight headache or slightly nauseous shortly after drinking cacao.
To have a more pure experience, it is encouraged to refrain from drinking any caffeine or eating food at least 2 hours before a cacao ceremony.
Things to know
Ceremonial doses of Cacao are not recommended for those:
on antidepressants (cacao contains MAO inhibitors)
has a serious heart condition
has very high blood pressure or suffers epilepsy
Please speak to your doctor if you consider taking ceremonial doses of Cacao in any of these cases. Raw Cacao contains Histamine. Pregnant women should take smaller amounts.
Madleen's Cacao Journey
Madleen's passion for serving cacao and hosting Cacao Ceremonies developed after seeing the impact it made on her through generational and trauma healing. It has inspired her to feel compassion, forgiveness and love for herself and others. She believes her mission on earth is to inspire those around her to express their authentic self and believes cacao and yoga are wonderful tools in allowing the space and vulnerability in doing so. She loves incorporating breathwork, yoga and cacao together as they help us open up and align with the physical and energetic chakra system in the body. Madleen looks forward to connecting to one another into the same energetic frequency through the wisdom of cacao, breath and yoga practice.
Where do I get my cacao from?
My partner Paul and I, had the privilege of meeting some incredible human beings (Natalia, Jorge, Don Elias, & Irene) who are a part of the Cacao Agroecology Association Producers of Guatuso in Costa Rica. The Association is made up of 43 family members (non-indigenous and indigenous) on the Maleku tribe reserve. The board is made up of all women who are in charge of making decisions regarding anything involved with the logistics of the land (farming, planning, and distributing) while the men focus on harvesting and taking care of the lands.
The Maleku are an indigenous tribe of Costa Rica located in the Guatuso Indigenous Reserve near the town of Guatuso. Between 1868 and 1900, Nicaraguan rubber farmers migrated onto Maleku territory to extract the rubber trees, they claimed traditional Maleku territories destroying the cacao farms. Because of this violent incursion, cultural and economic imposition, the Maleku population decreased from 6000 to 600 members becoming the smallest tribe in Costa Rica.
Don's grandfather discovered the town of Guatuso, saw the unfortunate outcome and believed his mission was to help revive the land, recover the cacao, and rebuild the community and culture of the Maleku. He gathered a group of people to replant the trees and bring back the heart opening medicine, cacao. Today it is survived by his grandson, Don Elias (third generation cacao farmer) his family, and the other 43 members of the association.
What makes their cacao so special is the nourishment provided by the Ceiba tree, planted by Don Elias grandfather. The Ceiba tree one of the three trees the Mayans believed was a portal to the higher spiritual realms. We are so grateful to have a connection with this beautiful plant, the land, and the people who have helped create the opportunity for us to enjoy this delicious heart opening medicine.
Don (left) and his wife Irene (right)
Top: Don, Irene, Natalia & Paul. Bottom: Jorge & Myself
Paul & I with the Ceiba tree.
Don with his Machete & a cacao fruit.
What People are Saying
I attended a Cacao Ceremony facilitated by Madleen and it was a very special experience! She attracts participants who have a lovely energy because her own lovely spirit comes through in all her offerings. I recommend attending any of Madleen’s events that you can because each one is sure to give you a lift and lighten your heart, your load, and your soul.
-Erin G, RP III. RMT, HeartMath Mentor
Wow. My heart is SO FULL and I am SO IMPRESSED WITH MADLEEN AND PAUL. The music, the guided movement, the different parts of the workshop.. it was very clear that this experience was crafted with so much love and intention.
-Alcy, Private Chef
After experiencing a car accident the night prior, I knew coming to this event would be the medicine I needed to feel safe in my body again. Walking in to the space you immediately feel held and supported by soft lighting, genuine smiles, and deep breaths. You can let your guard down. The cacao was incredibly delicious, relaxing and allowed me to sink into where my body needed extra love. I felt invited to join in the breath work, movement, and music at the exact flow and pace I needed. The way the whole experience was intuitively curated was incredibly soothing and inspiring. Afterward, the room of people were beaming with peaceful presence. Hugs, laughs, smiles, offerings, and stories were shared as we shuffled our way out the door. Paul and Madleen have a great gift in gathering, supporting, creating magic and showering people with the love we all crave.
-Rachel H, Property Manager
This event was absolutely amazing!! We have been to a few cacao ceremonies before in FL, but this blew us away. The music was absolutely incredible and the ceremony, poetry, and all the little details made this a fun, warm, & inviting space and was just what we needed. I loved the community aspect where everyone was able to share about their experience too. Thank you for making this such a wonderful ceremony!! We will definitely be attending another cacao ceremony!! ☺️
-Andrea R. Business Owner, Reiki Practitioner
Madleen’s events are so much fun!! I always try to attend when I’m available!!
-Tom K, Software Architect