Inside a Cacao Ceremony in Ubud, Bali

By Anjelica Jardiel

I come from a past of raving and psychedelics. I am a "why not?" kind of woman. So when my friend Adit brought me to Michi Creative Village in Ubud, Bali, and asked if I was going to partake in the "cacao ceremony," my response was the same. "Yeah, sure, of course...what's a cacao ceremony?"

Did you know that getting "chocolate wasted" is a real thing, and doesn't just mean getting stoned and binging on pints of ice cream while finishing an entire television series? I didn’t either, until the wolf moon.  But we were hardly wasted--rather, we were open, and able to use more of our hearts than usual. A yoga instructor named Tessa described it initially as drinking love--she imagined it as liquid gold. 

Scientifically named theobroma cacao, it's literally called "food of the gods" (translated from Greek: "theo" means god and "broma" means food).  It contains all the naturally occurring neurochemicals that make us feel in love. Transmitters serotonin and dopamine allow us to feel empathy, emotional connection, pleasure and joy, while modulator phenylalanine aids in the release of the former two, and amino acid tryptophan allows us to feel relaxation and calm. Rich in antioxidants, it not only nourishes our emotional well-being, but our bodies, as well. Cacao has been used ceremonially by ancient Meso-Americans for centuries. 

We set our intentions, as we always do during the full moon--this time into our warm little cups of raw chocolate, mixed with coconut milk and various spices. A Javanese woman named Sitti used an ancient Incan recipe, and gave it her own little non-dairy twist.

The night prior, my heart was bruised by a short fling that I had fell harder for than I realized. I was guarded and a tad insecure.  My intention was to let my guard down completely, for good, and to stop hiding my truest self. I sought catharsis, detoxification, and motivation to move forward without doubting myself. The experience turned out to be everything I needed. 

We sat around a fire alongside a river singing songs, exchanging stories, and being hypnotized by the light of the moon. We contemplated the rainbow ring around it and observed sporadic strikes of lightning in the distance. For long moments, I laid wrapped in an orange sheet on the concrete, noticing the stars in different places, unsure of the direction of our axis. We wrote letters to the moon, and then burned them, to symbolize letting go of what no longer serves us. 

These moments of stillness, silence, and simplicity are essential to achieving oneness. When living in a city, it's easy to get caught up in the rat race and forget that the Earth is spinning and everything is always moving. When we get too comfortable, it's easy to forget that we are capable of changing, of evolving.

We don't always get what we want, but we do always get what we need.