Cacao benefits | Cacao ceremony | Cacao health | Ceremonial cacao
When Keith Wilson, founder of Keith's Cacao and catalyst for the modern-day Ceremonial Cacao movement, is asked about the best way to share Cacao, he always says, "There is no right way to share Cacao, only your way." This doesn't just apply to "ceremony" but also to how we share Cacao at home with our family and kids.
For Ditte Lessner, wife and mother of three, sharing Cacao with her family came naturally since all family members were introduced to Cacao at the same time. In 2019, a 7-month-long trip to Central America brought them to Guatemala, specifically San Marcos la Laguna, Guatemala, home of Keith and Keith's Cacao. They were soon drawn to their very first Cacao Ceremony. The kids –then aged 4, 10, and 12– all joined in. Ditte recalls specifically the effect it had on her youngest, who went wild with the drumming journey that ensued!
Returning home to Denmark with a sizeable stock of Keith's Cacao, Ditte incorporated it into her ceremonial drum journey offerings. Only last August, when she took the practitioner training course, she started drinking Cacao daily. As her own personal relationship with this plant spirit medicine grew, bringing it into the family was natural and inevitable.
At first, she introduced "family cacao ceremonies" for special occasions, such as bidding a family member farewell before a trip or when the family or any of its members were going through a challenge. With her two oldest daughters now in their teens, Ditte is careful not to make these family meetings too much of a "Ditte Ceremony"! She could go all the way when they were younger, doing the whole shebang. But she had to turn the ritualistic part a notch down with the teenagers. It took some overcoming her beliefs about ceremony to share with her family more casually.
There are days that she just invites the teenagers to sit and have a Cacao with her if they feel like it. The taste has definitely grown on her older daughter – now almost 17 and developing her own connection with this plant medicine and superfood. Ditte has been using Cacao with her older offspring as medicine to help her deal with the challenge and new demands of high school. This year, mother and daughter have also been healing from a knee operation and knee injury, respectively. Cacao is comforting to the youngster, just like the mother. Sometimes, the two pick out a goddess or angel card as they sip their Cacao together on the couch.
Ditte realizes that Cacao has acted like a bridge between her and teenagehood! Setting the tone and holding the family together was easier when the kids were younger. As the two older ones drift away in their natural need to break away from their parents' definitions of them and explore their own identity, Cacao has allowed the maintenance of the connection between parents and kids. Ditte has her own way of doing things, and her husband as well. The kids are seeking to find their own. And Mama Cacao is magically objective. She allows everyone to sit with her and have their own feeling, whether you come to it with a spiritual understanding or not. And it tastes so nice!
Ditte, who has her own story of doubling her iron deposits in half a year with Cacao, feels it is a brilliant supplement/medicine for teens. She has been using it to help her oldest daughter with her iron deficiency and regulate her menstrual cycle.
The little one, who often sits in ceremony with the grown-ups, likes it best with lots of oat milk, cinnamon, and sweetened with low-glycemic coconut palm sugar. Though not a daily drinker, she gladly partakes in the context of family ceremonies. These “ceremonies” have been very powerful and important for the family, allowing for much calmer conversations among its "fiery" members, keeping "explosions" at bay!
Ditte is no stranger to holding ceremonies for kids and teenagers. For the past 7 years, she has guided kids from kindergarten age to teens into drum journeys and mindfulness, yoga nidra sessions in person and online. For New Year’s Eve this year, she felt inspired to break with "tradition" and try something different. So she invited some friendly families to her house for a Cacao Ceremony. It was a one-and-a-half-hour event with 7 teenage kids participating, drum journeying and all! Her daughters were apprehensive at the beginning about what their friends would think of all this, but they all loved it so much that they didn’t want to leave!
Now, Ditte's older daughter has even started feeling confident to talk about Cacao with others, describing the process by which Keith’s Cacao is made and what her mother does with it in ceremony! But Ditte remains mindful not to push any “spiritual agenda” and let go of expectations when sharing with her family. Recognizing Cacao as a bridge that holds them together, the family is now on a path, figuring out different ways of using the Cacao to serve them as a family in different ways.
Looking for inspiration on making delicious healthy treats for your precious family using our incredible Cacao? Visit our Recipes blog for some kid-friendly Cacao dainties.