Archive | August 2015

The Cacao Dieta Begins

I wasn’t actually going to post today. I haven’t had my radical rest even though it’s 9.45pm already! What?! 9.45pm?!! I didn’t think it was that late. I was going to lay down and watch some TV before bed, but now I’m thinking I might be better off just going straight to sleep.

While I haven’t really done all that much today I still feel like it has been a big day. I had a lot of dreams last night, however I didn’t write any down so I don’t really remember any. If there were any messages in them, I totally missed them. This morning I spent a lot of time cutting my cacao…

chopping the cacao

Yes, that is a Thomas the Tank Engine placemat 😛 While Mr Bee, now Master of the 4’s and heading into 5, still loves Thomas and his friends, he isn’t quite obsessed with them anymore. Not that he’s here to witness me using his placemat! I have managed to cut enough cacao that I have enough for another ceremonial dose tomorrow without having to sit there and chop, chop, chop it. It can get quite tedious to do, because the finer you chop it the smoother it is when you make the elixir. However, it is also quite meditative. I was listening to some very beautiful piano music by Michael Golzmane and I was doing my best to keep my thoughts positive. Not always an easy thing to do and I had to redirect my thoughts quite a few times. It’s nice knowing I don’t have to do any chopping next time if I don’t want to. I might do it anyway and chop down the last of the block I’m currently working with.

I complained a little in the chocolate ceremony group yesterday about the vile taste of cacao, which I am experiencing right now as I write this and try to eat a bliss ball before bed. The bliss balls are deceptive because they look so good and when you very first bite in to them they are coated in coconut so your taste buds get excited… unfortunately that excitement doesn’t last. The wise women in my group, the elders of the tribe, had some useful information and some wonderful insight which has also lead me on a slightly new course.

One suggestion was to use some tea as a base, peppermint was one of the suggestions and one of the teas I happen to have sitting in my pantry. So I used the peppermint tea as a base today and I have to admit it was much easier to consume this concoction…

CACAO01

See how luscious it looks, how tempting. It whispers my name with sweet promises only to bite me on the arse with bitter realisations. However, cacao (pronounced ka-kow in case you were wondering, not ka-kay-oh) IS a plant medicine and not all plant medicines taste good, depending on what medicine they will be bringing. I guess I feel a little ripped-off is all because it looks so sweet, so delicious and disappoints me every time. Like I said, however, the peppermint base helped a little today. Now that I know I can have the full ceremonial dose without any nasty side-effects I’m quite happy to just scull the whole lot down, which I did. It took me three takes before I got it all down then I put a bit more of the peppermint tea in the glass and swished it around and drank that for good measure.

Something else the lovely wise women in the group helped me come to on my own, was that the intention I need to set forth with when I work with cacao deva, is to help me release my addiction to sugar! The very fact that it is the sweet call of sugar I need to release from my body and my mind could be the very reason I am finding cacao so difficult to consume, so difficult to swallow. Like a bitter pill designed to rid me of a toxic drug.

I feel better, having this intention. I felt very unanchored today as there was no real intention for me. I went in with the intention of gaining any healing I may need and integrating any insights that might arrive. With that I didn’t meditate or do a healing, instead I drew my first mandala in awhile. I enjoyed it immensely, however felt like I didn’t get as much use out of the cacao medicine as I could have. Now though, now, I have a deep, connected and vital intention of healing that feels so right. I can now go in to my daily cacao work with the intent of shifting my addiction to sugar out of my body, loosen the hold it has on my mind, come to realise that I do not need sugar. I can survive without it. Not just survive, but thrive!! I know without a doubt this is something I desperately need to happen. Sugar is like a vice around my pituitary gland demanding I put more and more of it in to my body. This needs to stop.

So while day one of my dieta has felt like I didn’t accomplish anything, I have come to the end of my day and realised it has actually accomplished a lot. I now have 4 -5 more days of really focusing on releasing the hold sugar has over me. I now have 4-5 days to truly heal the emotional ties that have me imprisoned and thinking the only freedom I can ever feel is when I consume, consume, consume. Not just sugar, but dense, heavy carbs and nasty fats, not the good fats. Not just food either, but stuff. Stuff that I don’t necessarily need but I can’t seem to help but purchase. Four or five days left to sink in and allow Ixcacao to do her work on me, however that work shows up. Even if I do nothing but 4 or 5 more mandalas, I will accept that it what I need right now. I am hoping for more. I am hoping for a shift. I am hoping for a change. I am hoping I will come out the other side stronger. Strong enough to rip the chains, to cut the cords, to no longer succumb to the foods I know are not feeding me properly. Strong enough to eat the foods I enjoy eating and that my body enjoys me eating and that my soul enjoys me eating.

Tomorrow is going to be a late day of ceremony as I get to find out what my MRI has said about my knee. No doubt it is telling me I need to lose weight. That is ok. I have begun.

Why eating Bliss Balls is torture!

Cacao Bliss Balls

These are my bliss balls. Not made with the sugary awesomeness of modern chocolate. Not even made with the commercialised, over-processed cacao you can get in health food stores that actually tastes reasonable. No. These are made with real, under-processed ceremonial grade cacao. These guys here have mejool dates, some LSA (crushed linseed, almonds and sesame seed), a dollop of honey, macadamia nuts, some pink Himalayan rock salt, some coconut milk and of course the cacao and covered in dessicated coconut.

They look awesome! The cacao turned out so smooth and creamy and rich that by looking at it your mouth could water. However just one bite…

bitten cacao bliss ball

… and I didn’t know how I was ever going to finish it! No matter what else is mixed with this stuff, the cacao over-rides it with a stubborn and persistently bitter zing. It took me almost 20 minutes to consume just the one and that is technically only 1/4 of a ceremonial dose! There is no way I could eat 4 in one sitting. It took me 5 bites and the last one I almost couldn’t force down my throat. Yes! It is THAT bad!!

Yet so worth it. One of the biggest things I’ve noticed since beginning my journey with cacao and exploring my relationship with it, is that I get a day or sometimes more without fatigue. I’ve had this sneaking suspicion for some time that I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. So tired I couldn’t even be bothered getting a diagnosis. I have to push myself through most days. But since I began this, and began drinking fresh juices every day, I have noticed some days without fatigue. Of course, I only notice it when the fatigue finally hits again and I think, ‘oh hey! I hadn’t been feeling this!!’ I’d love to notice it when the fatigue is on vacation so I could fully appreciate my feeling normal. Normal as in not like I’m constantly wading through mud.

Thankfully I only really made these bliss balls to experiment with dreaming. In fact, lucid dreaming. I have always been able to remember my dreams. I dream in colour. I dream in alternate realities. I dream from my personal point of view. I dream from a looking down or in point of view. I have even experienced manipulating my dreams before or changing the direction in my dreams if they begin to feel uncomfortable. The only recurring dream I have is when I need to go to the toilet and I’m refusing to wake up. Not that it is the same every time, just that it always involves one or more toilets in various situations and me sitting down to pee, peeing for the longest time, yet still feeling like I need to pee.

These wake-up-and-pee-dreams, as I’ve come to call them, have arrived in so many different ways. From me living in this caravan and going in to my toilet to pee but being able to see people outside, to me walking in to a public toilet where barely any of the toilets are closed in so people can see me going, to not being able to find a clean toilet, they are clogged or so dirty you wouldn’t even consider sitting on them, to a dream where I kept going to all these different toilets of different sizes, the biggest being a massive pink one I had to use a ladder to sit up on it. I’ve had so many of these dreams I think I could actually write a book about the different ones. I guarantee that they all have other relevant symbolical meanings threaded throughout them as well. Sometimes I can even register in my dream that I’m having a wake-up-and-pee-dream and actually wake myself up to go, usually my conscious mind gets the hint when I keep going and going to the toilet all the time but never feeling relieved and it clicks something in my brain. Thankfully those dreams are VERY persistant and won’t stop until I do eventually wake up and go.

I also seem to have this uncanny knack for being able to break-down and divine some very relevant meaning from dreams. I can hear any dream and seem to be able to interpret it and if the person is open enough and willing enough to hear the deeper meaning, the deeper message, be uncannily accurate about dreams. There are certain symbols and certain archetypes I have found that are universal. However, there are always going to be symbols that are NOT universal. For instance a cow in the western world isn’t going to have the same kind of meaning as say someone dreaming about a cow in India for example.

One of the universal symbols though is water. I learned a very long time ago how water dreams affected me and what they meant. Back when I was still relating with my mother I would get these dreams of MASSIVE waves crashing over me and me not being able to get away from them. Or there was another one where, even though my house was up a hill, we ended up flooded. Not too high, just to the knees, but the water was murky and muddy and when I woke up I thought of my mother. Sure enough, every time after a dream like this something would happen to cause emotional turmoil in our relationship. That was how I discovered what the water meant for me. So now, if I dream about water I pay attention to what kind of water it is, how I am feeling about the water, what the water is doing. I’ve dreamed of clear water where I’ve felt safe and calm and am watching all sorts of sea life swim beneath me, I have dreamed of a raging waterfall. I have dreamed of the muddy water, I have dreamed of fish tanks that are dirty and uncared for. The most common water dream though is waves.

No matter how the water shows up though, I know it has to do with my emotions. For instance the fish tank dreams were about my body. How I haven’t been looking after it, so it’s quite toxic like the water in the fish tank. A number of the fish tank dreams are of me feeling like I need to feed the fish cause I know I don’t feed them enough and they are so hungry and I see the fish tank and it’s so dirty sometimes I wonder how they could possibly still be alive. Once I acknowledged what these ones meant I haven’t had another one since. The very last fishtank dream I had was of adding a new fish to the tank. The tank was cleaner in this one but I worried that there wasn’t enough room for this new fish to fit in my fish tank. I had brought it in from outside the holiday home where I had been swimming in the beautiful calming water with my husband. I put it in the fish tank anyway.

With the typing of the fish tank dreams just then I JUST realised it was letting me know I’d be bringing another person in to my family, in to my home, in to my energetic space. It showed me a concern for being able to feed all the fish, and having enough space. It showed me support from my husband, that he would be with me no matter what. It felt right to add that fish. There was this surety that it needed to be added to my tank. Well a week or two after I had that dream I opened my home to a clayton’s nephew of mine. Someone I’ve known since he was born, who is just 5 weeks younger than my 15 year old son. The first born of one of my closest, dearest friends. Wow! I just love dreams. I love what they can tell you. I love how the symbols can weave a story all of their own if you just know what you are looking for. I have consumed a bliss ball right before I started this, I’m not sure I would have had this insight without it. Yay Ixcacao! Thank you. So there, Constant Reader, is one of the first insights of this week’s Cacao Dieta.

My whole point is, that because I have this strong connection to dreaming and being able to figure out the symbols and the meanings and always bring it back somehow to the dreamer and what is going on, I thought it would be interesting to experiment with cacao dreaming. I have a lucid dreaming app on my phone that I haven’t tried yet. I’ll be experimenting with that this week and seeing what comes of it. I plan to have a cacao bliss ball before bed each night and perhaps take one up to bed with me to consume if I wake through the night to keep the journey going. The thought of this excites me.

So if you’re following me on this journey, I expect there to be some dreams to read about. I must remember to take a dream journal with me upstairs so I can write this stuff down before I do anything else in the mornings. There is so much knowledge to gain from dreams. I don’t believe they are just your brain dumping things. I think dreams are much more than scientists have ever dreamed of 😉 Pun totally intended. I love puns, they are punny!

Thank you for reading if you have. I’d love to hear your dreams. All dreams fascinate me. I love seeing all the different ways archetypes or symbols turn up for different people. Please, feel free to share a dream with me.

The Cacao Journey – Part One

I’ve been on this journey, taking timid steps, for a couple months now so I am still really learning what it’s all about and how it fits in my life and exactly where I want to take this journey to. During the process I have mentioned it a time or two on facebook and have had a number of people ask me about it. The stars have aligned and circumstances have occurred that are allowing me the time and space I need to really delve in to this sacred cacao stuff for a few days and I am going to share my experiences with you, Constant Reader.

So firstly I think it best if I try and explain what exactly cacao is, and perhaps what it isn’t. For starters, it’s isn’t modern day chocolate as you know it, with the additives and the sweetness. That kind of chocolate comes from Theobroma cacao, however the difference between commercial chocolate and ceremonial (super-healthy!) cacao is like the difference between chalk and cheese. Theobroma is a greek word and is translated literally to mean “god food”. The genus Theobroma has been traced back MILLIONS of years to the east of the Andes in South America. The first recorded use of cacao was dated back to around 2000BC.

The Aztecs called the cacao bean Cacahuatl. Their sacred cacao drink was called Xocoatl which is where the word chocolate was actually derived from. Cacao trees only grow within a 20 degree direction either side of the equator and are a tropical evergreen species. Possibly one of the few things on the planet that don’t need bees to pollinate it, relying instead on tiny flies! They produce flowers, beans, seeds and nibs. It’s the beans that are harvested to produce chocolate.

The cacao bean is a revered and magical gift believed to be granted to mortals by the gods. Cacao was a sacred elixir, a ritual aid, powerful medicine, a source of economical exchange and an indicator of spiritual standing. The Aztecs and Mayans believe cacao was discovered by the gods in the Mountain of Sustenance (which some mythologies indicate is likely near the Andes), along with many other nourishing life-giving foods. Quite possibly of the sort we now call “super foods”. Interestingly, considering the society stigma between women and chocolate in the modern world, it was said the sacred knowledge of how to prepare, roast and press the cacao beans in to the sacred chocolate elixir (which was believed to have gifted wisdom) was very specifically given to women as divine instruction.

An early, traditional recipe of the cacao elixir, Xocoatl, was for it to be mixed with roasted corn flower, chilies, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and pepper. This made it a bitter, savoury and very spicy drink, not at all like the sweet and creamy hot chocolate we consume today. It’s most common use was for medicinal, ritual, shamanic use and as a spiritual aid, mystical practice and religious sacrament. There are those who believe a powerful blend of cacao and psychedelic tryptamines were ingested with great appeal and reverence specifically for significant spiritual rituals and celebrations.

Cacao was deeply revered as a sacred plant medicine and healer. It’s healing and medicinal properties include, but is not limited to, aphrodisiac properties, longevity benefits, assists with an array of internal bodily pain, external wounds and burns, various disease, lung and abdominal issues. It was also given to warriors to help with courage and sustenance. Spanish priest, Bernardino de Sahagun in 1590AD, over a 60 year period, put together a codex listing around 300 medicinal uses for cacao. It wasn’t until the 1800’s that the processing and production of chocolate began to change, no doubt at the hands of a man! (Don’t get me wrong, I am not a man-hater, I love men, however I do think the masculine energy has destroyed a lot of what was once held sacred)

Cacao in it’s rawest form is an ancient super-food. The super-food of super-foods! It is completely riddled with essential minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants. It is also known to be packed with naturally-occuring, consciousness altering, significant components like endorphins, magnesium, histamine, serotonin, dopamine, tryptophan and more. Most people will have at least heard of a number of these but the most significant (for me) is probably the magnesium. I’ve been doing some research on magnesium over the years and discovered that a large chunk of the population is severely deficient in magnesium. It does so much for our bodies yet things like stress deplete it far quicker than what most of us are consuming to replace it. It is essential for memory, concentration and has a capacity to help relax the muscles and regular progesterone, the hormone responsible for mood-swings. It’s highly likely cacao’s super-high content of magnesium is a big reason for a woman’s body to intuitively crave chocolate around menstruation. In my personal experience I have noticed less migraines since I have begun to regularly experiment with ceremonial cacao.

There is so much amazing information about this god-food that I could likely write a years worth of blog posts about it. But I’m not a scientist and I’m not really interested in delving that deep in to the scientific nature or even the mythological nature of cacao – though I am very interested in mythology, so perhaps one day I will explore that aspect some more. For now though, for today, this moment, this coming week, I will be writing about going on a cacao dieta.

So now we know what cacao is, let me tell you what a cacao dieta is about.

Basically, I have been ‘tinkering’ with cacao. Getting my toes wet, seeing how it feels, experimenting, playing. A dieta is about deepening the relationship. You could think of it as immersion work or a cacao retreat. I will be ingesting cacao every single day for the next 5-6 days and devoting time to myself and my experiences and journey with ceremony and self-connection. I will be using it to help me heal some past wounds that desperately need healing so I can let them go and move forward without the baggage weighting me down. In a way I will be using it, also, as a regenerative.

During this week I will be detoxing. I will be getting synthetic sugar out of my system. I will be getting gluten out of my system. I will be filling myself with as many fresh and healthy nutrients and vitamins as possible. I will be paying particular attention to how my energy levels have been recently and how they are when I get to the end of the week and I am going to really focus on how much better I feel every time I go to reach for a coke at the supermarket, or go to buy a packet of biscuits or cake or get fish and chips for dinner cause I’m too tired to make something better. I will remember how much better I feel when I reach for the mash potato or the white bread or the pasta. I am using this week to kick-start a new lifestyle for myself. I’ve even got a friends xtrainer I will be borrowing!

A traditional plant medicine dieta is considered a form of apprenticeship and intensive training. Essentially it’s a commitment to a period of time where the primary focus is on deepening, exploring and learning from various plant medicines through personal retreat and extended ceremonial depth work. This intense form of work is best done with the use of other healing modalities, so I will be laying on my crystal bed a lot, surrounded but supportive crystals and giving myself reiki treatments. I have organised for myself at least 4 days of retreat conditions where I can withdraw or semi-withdraw from my normal everyday life. By allowing myself this container I am hoping to engage in transformational work and conscious integration and I am inviting you to witness this journey through my blog posts.

I hope this has been at least a start for you to understand what this cacao thing I keep going on about is all about 🙂 I’m really looking forward to going inward and giving myself some time and space to shift some old, dug in conditioning and festering wounds. I’m ready to become all I can be. I’m ready to be healthy and in love with myself. I am ready to stop being so affected by other people and their criticism. I’m ready to surrender all that I am to all that is. I am ready to be that which I am.

My future blog posts probably won’t be as structured or knowledge based as this. Mostly it will be a story-telling of my journey, what I did, what insights arose, what healing took place, etc. Just for this post I wanted to help people really understand what sacred ceremonial cacao is and what it is used for. If you have any questions you’d like me to answer about it please feel free to leave a comment and I will answer them in following blog posts if I can.

In Joy! I love you. You are welcome here in your true form of authentic self-expression. You are beautiful.

I don’t know what it is…

… but there is this definite push to get moving lately. The more we get in to the last half of the year the more my Inner Dialogue (ever notice that makes ID… for identification, and what else is your identification than your Inner Dialogue, HAH!) keeps hounding me to take action. Take action. Take action.

So I spent far more time than I realised it took to photograph, edit, upload, tag and describe all my recent polywork creations.

 Polyclay Play

It doesn’t really look like that much to me when I view this photo. But it did quite literally take me hours! And for what? To sit in my Etsy Shop for 4 months doing nothing? Probably. Why? Because I’m clueless! I put them up there, I tagged them… well now what? Why aren’t they flying off the shelf? Because no one is seeing them. At least that’s why I hope they aren’t flying off the shelf and it’s not because they are all horrible and no one likes them!! Isn’t it wonderful how our Inner Critic loves to gallop away to the most drastic conclusions?

Why isn’t anyone seeing them? Is it really because I haven’t spent any money on advertising? Really? Is that all I have to do? Put some money in to advertising my shop? I don’t know. I guess the only way I will find out is if I actually try. Clearly just putting it out there on my personal and business pages on Facebook is not enough. Especially not on the business page thanks to the ever harder ways it is for your fans to actually see your posts without having to spend money there as well. Is that it? Do I have to spend money on Etsy, Google and Facebook to get these things out of my house?

What about blogging? I tried blogging, as you can see by previous posts, yet very few people actually read it. I have to assume I don’t have anything interesting to say. Or perhaps people don’t understand the twists and turns my mind makes. Or perhaps even still the topics I write on are not of any interest to anyone but me. I do not know. What I do know is I always end up coming to this place of wanting to throw my hands up in the air and give up, throw the towel in, crawl in to a dark little hole and cry my eyes out.

On a more spiritual note I know it’s because I have this great big tug’o’war happening. This push and pull of wanting to be seen and not wanting to be seen. It’s like a World War only my body is the world and the voice in my head are at war. Blood does get spilled but no one ever dies. They just go on and on arguing about the same things round and round like I’m on a merry-go-round. I guess that is why I keep feeling this shove to take action. I don’t know if it’s me, my Nana in her spirit form nudging me, the moon cycles, life cycles, or what, but it’s there and so I am here. Here typing my first blog in months because I keep hearing this whisper telling me to get to it. I keep having this desire to type or write or just dribble on about whatever comes to my head.

I think I have become so sick of listening to the inner debate that I am actually doing something. I am actually, meekly, weakly, timidly, putting myself out there to be seen then holding my breath as I wait. What am I waiting for? Some kind of action… or inaction. Y’know, inaction to prove that Inner Critic right about not being wanted, not being good enough, not being smart enough, loud enough, not wanting it enough, not having the proper skills, and on and on and on. Yet here I am. Typing to whoever bothers to read this (no one) and hoping something happens (nothing will). Don’t you just want to slap that Inner Critic? I do.

So we are sinking down to the new moon at the moment. The new moon is on Saturday. The day before my husbands birthday. It’s funny. I have known my husband since he was 17 and to think he is turning 35 on Sunday blows my mind away. When I think about turning 40 at the end of the year it’s ok. I almost feel like I’m already there anyway. However, my husband, my YOUNGER husband, is getting old *laugh*…. aaaaaand I went on a tangent.

As we sink toward the new moon, it’s a time of shedding the old and unneeded things in our life. It’s a time to wrap up projects and finish those things that are laying around waiting. It’s a time to start thinking about what you can let go of now in order to bring in new and fresh things with the new moon. So tell me, Constant Reader, what are you shedding right now? What is it you need to finish or let go of?