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If you don’t know much about what happens at a cacao ceremony then now is your chance to find out.
If you don’t already know, cacao is the rawest form of cocoa/chocolate, it is not processed at all.
Phanganist invited Noot and Nancy into the office to talk about their Cacao ceremony. Facilitator and Shaman Noot originally comes from the North of Thailand where she has a shamanic centre in Chang Mai, she travels the world and South East Asia to spread her knowledge which includes cacao ceremonies and came to Koh Phangan for the first time in July this year and has already held the ceremony two or three times here.
“I travel Southeast Asia and Bali and have am connected to the cacao community over there , now these people want to travel here to Koh Phangan to feel the energy so it’s like a bridge to bring more people to this island in a spiritual way”.
Where did you learn about cacao?
The knowledge is traditionally coming from South America, and the cacao itself is from there. It is one of the medicines we use in shamanic healing and it has many benefits but in particular we use it for therapeutic work.
The cacao has the property of medicine itself and heart opening, when people drink it they will feel relaxed, bliss, just like chocolate. I learnt from my teachers, my shaman teachers and also I combine it with many native Thai healings.
You are a shaman yourself, is that what makes your ceremony unique?
I am a local shaman yes and the cacao ceremony is one of the healings of the shamanic world. Many shamans use different medicines to help people, the cacao has the property to work directly to the heart. It can be on an emotional, physical and spiritual level.
Talk us through a ceremony….
The ceremony is a ritual, we are gathering together and to create an altar and in a meditative way we create a flower mandala. We meet around the campfire and everyone sets their intention for the cacao ceremony. The shaman is connecting to the spirit of cacao and also offers the intention to the spirit and angels the guardians of the land
Most intentions will be asking for love, joy and peace, it's also the intention for the individual and the collective. After that the shaman will sing, chant and trance with drums to bless the space.
Whilst everyone drinks the cacao with the intention after about 30 minutes the group or individual will start to activate or have the effect from the cacao.
During that time we also use movement, we use the music to hold the space and express more with their bodies and the circle. Sometimes we use live music and sometimes we just use the rhythm to help the group to open up, their body opens up their space.
The energy of the group will be very high energy as the heart opening creates a very high frequency of love. Everyone will be laughing and smiling, they will help each other and give each other love.
This will be around one and a half hours and at the end we gather again in a circle for 30 minutes of meditation. We sit quietly with the fire, with soft music or live music and at this moment the shaman will bring essence, smell and aroma from incense or a special oil to smudge the space, to calm the people and come back to the centre.
The circle will hold hands with each other for 10 minutes, sharing the love, the silence with the hearts and feel the support from the group.
Sometimes we also hold space in the sauna, after closing the meditation we go to relax and that’s the closed ceremony with the intention of peace, harmony and blessing for all.
What are the physical effects of cacao?
Cacao has properties that are special for the heart, the energy and opening of the heart chakra. It means love, it means heart. When we use the raw cacao it is a very strong property for healing and therapeutic when we hold space with an intention and brings feelings of connection.
You feel uplifted, release emotions or start letting go, you can have a very dynamic experience with the physical feeling of movement.
In terms of healing, what have you seen this help with?
The stress, people have long term stress so this can become a weekend activity, they express a relaxation with cacao.
How has it helped you personally?
I like to have raw chocolate, it’s very healthy like a superfood, you have cacao and have lots of energy. I feel my heart is joy and I start to to give this to my patients on many levels.
With treatment I begin with cacao so they can go into deep healing, I use cacao to break through. They feel happiness, it gives you that blueprint of happiness like a dose of high endorphin.
Cacao has many different ceremonies but the one we do here is more of a basic one, we don’t want to open up the deep dose, it’s more just to be happy, to have an activity without alcohol, to jump up, dance and feel open.
The intention is creative space for the community, to meet each other and share with each other and share many levels of connection as cacao brings a very happy mood.
Nancy, how did you meet Noot?
We met the first time here but had connected before through a friend. I joined Noot’s Cacao ceremony and other healing sessions.
What's your role in the cacao ceremony?
I support Noot and assist her, I am also learning it so that if Noot is not on the island then I can hold the ceremonies.
I have lived here for one year, I came for the first time in September 2013.
What else do you do here on the island?
I am a Yoga teacher, reiki master and offer ayurvedic treatments. I left my home country Germany, stepped out of the corporate world and wanted change. I wanted more meaning in my life, to get on the spiritual path with more balance for my body, mind and soul.
I discovered Koh Phangan by accident when I was backpacking through Southeast Asia and Phangan was literally on my path from Koh Tao where I had been doing my dive open water. I discovered what it’s all about here, the detox then the spiritual world with yoga and all of the healing’s offered.
Why your interest in cacao in particular?
Because I like chocolate, and more this becuase I like the gathering around, the coming together and connecting of people from their hearts. The putting intention to surrender the opening of the heart from the cacao. With all the spiritual background and for people to get together and share, to dance together around the fire and be creative.
Especially for me, what Noot is doing specifically, this goes to heart directly, the awareness that we bring to the activity, we have connection to the nature with the flower mandalas and ask mother nature to release and bring whatever the people want to bring in.
How has it helped you in life?
I would say it has helped me come back to my temple, my heart, to open and connect with other people from my heart. It makes me soft, gentle and loving. In the ceremony there’s nothing but being lovely to each other, no judgements, no negative thinking, only bringing positive vibes into your life.
This feeling of sharing and connecting as a community even if you don’t know the people sends a message of unconditional love.
Why do you think Koh Phangan attracts such open minded people?
Noot - For me Phangan is the same as an alternative community, it has same group of people who are seeking for the alternative way of life so cacao fits perfectly. It’s a tool for us to get together socially and also to be an event like a festival and in a fun way.
It’s a benefit for many levels and many people walk away feeling very light and have new friends and their heart feels very open.
Nancy - Phangan is known as the biggest spiritual and yoga community in Thailand and people come to experience things such as cacao ceremonies, special workshops and events which are opening their hearts and finding something which they look for. This island has such a high vibration to attract these people.
Why have you chosen to hold the ceremony at the Dome?
We hold the space at the Dome as we think it’s a space of healing because of the sauna and community space. You can connect with nature and it brings us to our relaxation because of the surroundings and the concept, the sauna with the thai herbs and the fire under the sky gives the freedom and the tribe of the cacao ceremony.
And leave us with your life philosophy….
Love, it's just love, to feel love and give love then life is easy. That’s what my ceremony is all about, that is the message, it’s about love.
Come to the place and share the heart, it’s a space of love, a space of freedom where everyone can share, the cacao can prey for us and help us.