There are different types of cacao ceremonies, but in Yosi Ocha, we only perform those of the Shipibo Meraya tradition, the way they were done by Maestro Heberto’s grandfather. The origin of these ceremonies goes back to a Meraya ancestor who had a cacao plantation and a great connection with plants, especially with cacao, even before becoming Meraya. He felt a strong connection between his mind and his heart during those cacao ceremonies, and he also believed the energy of this plant was the key to improving relations among people in general, and between humans and animals. Through cacao ceremonies, he discovered that we come to the world charged 100% with energy and connected to all the elements of Mother Earth, but over the years, these connections get damaged and our life force begins to wear out.
It is said he was a very lucky man, who lived a happy life with his wife and seven children until a strange curse fell on his family. His children were dying one by one, and in the end, his wife also passed away. He was so desperate that he decided to take his own life since he thought that death would come for him anyway. He prepared a cup of poison and also a cup of chocolate, as he wanted to smell its aroma one last time before saying goodbye to his cocoa plantations that had given him so much pleasure throughout his life. As soon as he took the first sip of cacao, he felt its energy and heard a voice telling him to keep drinking so that it could show him the right path. As he drank more, he entered into a trance and information started flowing until he was able to reach the depths of his heart and feel great love for life and the need to serve.
That day his life changed completely, he decided to become a curandero (traditional healer) and he started dieting different plant medicines until he became a Meraya.
The spirit of cacao can help us let go of the pain caused by the many losses we suffered in the past – it redirects love toward oneself, the plants, and nature in general. It teaches us that when the minds and hearts of people are disconnected, they go against nature and Mother Earth, giving rise to ecological disasters. The spirit of cacao is love in its purest form, it is the spirit of affection and peace. Through the spirit of cacao, our soul can forgive those who have harmed us and we ourselves can be forgiven. Cacao illuminates and gives strength to our aura.
For the cacao ceremonies, we make chocolate using cocoa seeds in combination with other aromas and flavors such as cinnamon, chamomile, mint, or other aromatic infusions. The shaman sings ícaros, like the “kushun”, while the aroma of chocolate is inhaled, and the connection between the two activates the energies of the participants. The beverage is “ícarada” (programmed) by the shaman so that when entering the body of each participant, the cacao can do its work and get to the origin of the ailment. Generally, in about 45 minutes, one can already feel the effect of cacao which can last for about an hour. Very sensitive people may feel that their heart starts beating stronger, but in general, cacao makes a person feel full of life, strength, and joy. Generally, there are no visions, although some people may receive some kind of visual information, usually, it works more on the energetic and emotional level. Unlike Ayahuasca or San Pedro, cacao is very soft, it works and unravels past pain from a place of pure love.
At the end of a cacao ceremony, most participants experience the feeling of regeneration, like the awakening of a new, ligher stage in life. It is recommended for those who suffer from depression or carry childhood traumas. Also, when the shaman sings the necessary ícaros, it can help release blockages in the love life.