EDITION NO. 8 · SEPTEMBER 2021
IN CEREMONY NO. 08 TABLE OF CONTENTS
01 Cacao in circle
02 THE Medicine of the circle
03 THE Circle of life
04 Wheel of the year: Fall Equinox
05 Sharing circles
06 Circle culture at work
07 In circle WITH SANDRINE
08 GUIDED CACAO MEDITATION
CACAO IN CIRCLE
Text by SERAP Kara · Picture by rachael gorjestani
We love to sit in Circle; with a cup of Cacao, in presence with Pachamama, in rhythm with the Cosmic Father, with warm stories in our hearts, connecting to the ceremonial centre that the Soul of Cacao wants to gift. To this eternal circle we entrust our prayers and very best wishes.
To me, Cacao and the circle belong together. 20, 50, or 100 people in a circle radiate great power when harmonised. There are rituals that we experience better in groups and with other people. I believe that Cacao is one of those plants that need spiritual togetherness and community to work its full magic.
And perhaps you have had this experience before. You received a ceremonial Cacao in a group. You go home and prepare a ceremonial Cacao. You set an intention, go on a journey, and feel that the experience altogether is much more subtle.
Traditionally, Cacao was part of important social events such as births, weddings, and coronations. Its ceremonial use only for self-discovery, detached from its spiritual connection, is a new phenomenon. However, healing begins within the Self. When you feel nurtured and aligned, you will be able to share your energy with others.
We dedicate this edition to the magic teachings of the circle.
THE MEDICINE OF THE CIRCLE
Text & PiCTURE by SERAP KARA
I can't remember when I first encountered the circle consciously. What I know for sure is that the Spirit of Cacao led me there. Cacao forms a ceremonial centre and loves the circle.
We all know hierarchical arrangements - someone sits in front while everyone else sits in rows with a view on each other's backs. The further back you sit, the better you can hide, daydream and escape the attention of those "in front". I am thinking of school, cinema, theatre, seminars, and also yoga classes.
In a circle, it is not possible to sit in the last row. There is no hierarchy, and every position is equal. The medicine circle is anchored in the four directions, the above, the below, and the centre; the two-dimensional circle becomes a sphere.
The circle has been used for generations by various communities and traditions for healing, health, and wellbeing. In traditional circle gatherings, people come from the four directions, contemplate on a topic and then return to share their insights with their communities.
I love the circle. Here I feel the energy flowing evenly in one direction, from one person to the next. A good circle unites opposites, squares, harmonies and feelings, opinions, and perspectives.
And then there is that one moment when the energy harmonises. Everything flows evenly, from one person to another. What was mine or yours a moment ago is now one while separation dissolves completely. The circle then has a heartbeat, a rhythm, and a breath offering unity.
"Circles with a sacred center are ancient, the oldest form of social interaction. The fire was in the center as the people cooked and ate their food, heard stories, worshiped their gods and goddesses, and passed down the traditions and wisdom that kept them alive and healthy. " — Ann Landaas Smith
THE Circle of Life
Text by SERAP Kara & Lena Brandt · Picture BY Serap Kara
The Circle of Life can be found in the medicine wheel of the Native Indians, in the Celtic wheel, in stone circles, and also in the mandalas of the Buddhist tradition. In their respective cultures, the medicine wheels represent the forces that hold the world together. The archetypes can change and make the wheels look different but in their architecture, they have much in common. Four cardinal directions represent the four directions, the four seasons, the four elements, four phases of life, and many more. Adding the above and the below, a centre forms, turning the circle into a sphere. The circle of life is interwoven with people, the culture, and the land.
The symbol of the circle is an ancient, omnipresent, universal symbol with extensive meaning and can be found among various cultures and worldviews in different forms and types:
Ensō in Zen Buddhism
The Japanese word for circle, or circular form, is 'Ensō'. It is part of the teachings of Zen Buddhism and stands for enlightenment, perfection, strength, elegance, the universe, and the void.
Flower of Life
In many cultures around the world, the Flower of Life is known as a symbol of energy and can be found in temples and initiation sites across cultures, like Tibetan monasteries or Egyptian temples.
The term mandala is Sanskrit and translates with 'circle'. Basically, it describes a circular image possessing a magical or religious meaning. It is used in the practice of Hinduism, Buddhism, indigenous traditions, Islam, and other cultures around the world.
Circles in Christianity
The circle appears frequently in Christian texts and images as a crown on the head, a halo over the head of an angel or saint. It represents holiness, perfection, and the Divine chosen ones. It is also used as a symbol of a ring when two people are joined together in a sacred union.
Circles in Astrology
Circles are the foundation of astrology because everything that exists in the cosmos operates in motions and patterns of circles. The planets, sun, stars, galaxies - all are shaped in the form of circles or spirals; they all move in a circle.
Yin & Yang in Chinese Cosmology
A circle is associated with the 'void' in Chinese cosmology, representing the space before anything existed. Out of this void emerged the yin and yang, the feminine and masculine, light and darkness, rotating together to begin the formation of our universe.
The Medicine Wheel has been used by generations of various indigenous tribes for health and healing. Different tribes interpret the Medicine Wheel differently. It may be divided into four or eight equal parts. The directions can represent either the four directions, the four seasons, the four stages of life, or else, as well as Father Sky, Mother Earth, and Spirit Tree.
"Circles are symbols of wholeness, no start and no finish, the unknowable origin of all time. The eternal. Source of life, destination of uncertainty. The circle signals repetition, movement within constancy, gateways, the act of centering. It is a signifier of quality, equidistance. Oneness." — Moon Lists
Wheel of the year: fall equinox
Text by Lena Brandt · Pictures by the unsplash community
On September 22, we honour the celebration of Fall Equinox, an event that occurs every year between September 21 and 23. In the Northern hemisphere, this day marks the beginning of autumn (whereas South of the equator, spring is about to begin, and therefore Spring Equinox is being celebrated). From then on, the days are getting shorter while the nights are getting longer. This will continue until we reach the Winter Solstice on December 21, when we experience the shortest day and longest night, after which the days will begin to get longer again.
During the Equinox, the sun crosses the celestial equator - an imaginary line in the sky that corresponds to Earth’s equator - which creates an approximately equal length of day and night. The name Equinox also refers to this occurrence of equal day and night time: equinox derives from the Latin word aequus (equal) and nox (night). In Pagan tradition, the Autumn Equinox is called 'Mabon', named after the Celtic god Mabon, whose name translates to 'Son'.
The belief in the spiritual power of the Equinox dates back to the Mayan time. The Mayans celebrated the Equinox with a sacrificial ritual at Chichen Itza, Mexico, one of the most famous Mayan ruins. A pyramid serves as a visual symbol of the day and night. On every equinox, the sunlight creates the illusion of a snake creeping slowly down the pyramid’s staircase. Symbolically, the feathered serpent joins the heavens, earth, and the underworld, day and night.
Coming into balance
Equinoxes are points of balance on the wheel of the year, dividing the circle in half, creating a balance between the highest and lowest point. These days also mark a place of balance between the
light and the darkness. This is a time of the great tides. A sacred gateway of the year. An energetic portal that emphasises achieving greater balance within oneself, and in relationship to the
outer world, inviting us to open to the forces of balance & oneness on the inside and outside through ritual, prayers, and offerings.
While the Fall Equinox marks the point of diminishing sunlight, it is also a time of harvest where we celebrate all that has come to fruition in the bright light of summer; an invitation to express gratitude for the bounty of summertime. Honouring both the abundance and the waning energies around us.
Light & darkness
With the diminishing light, we begin to slow our pace to orient ourselves toward the fall and winter, as awareness shifts to become more internally focused. When we attune our body, mind, and
spirit to the natural cycles of the earth, we harmonise our health, relationships, and life by becoming more sustainable, supportive, and abundant. We may step into rhythm with the pace of
nature’s journey as our own lives go through cycles of harvest, death, and rebirth.
For those of us in the Northern hemisphere, the days are now going to become shorter, darker, and colder. We are preparing to enter the inner world, the realm of shadow and fertile darkness. We are invited to journey within and face our inner darkness, to embrace its many lessons. Honouring both the light and the shadow is an integral part of life and being - there is no hierarchy between the two. We exist on a spectrum, we are indeed cyclical beings.
In its highest iteration, eight is the number that represents balance and infinity. The Buddhist path is eightfold, in Hinduism the eightfold geometry is used in the form of yantras, to represent the Great Mother Goddess. In Native American myth Grandmother Spider weaves her web of life with eight legs. We find this number in the Pagan, and specifically, the Wiccan wheel of the year, which symbolises the cycle of becoming and passing away in nature, creating a balanced circle. The wheel is divided into eight equal parts, whereas each corner represents one of the eight wheel of the year celebrations. Mabon, the Fall Equinox, is the 8th and last celebration of the year before a new year starts with Samhain in these traditions.
Text by SERAP KARA · Picture by Grit Siwonia
Imagine you are celebrating your birthday, a special occasion, or a rite of passage. You create a ritual and invite your guests into circle. You invite each person to say words from the heart or speak a blessing. No comments are allowed, but a moment of silence before the 'talking stick' is passed to the next person. This ritual can take as little as an hour while creating a wonderful connection between your guests.
Today we are not used to communicating with attention. In a sharing circle, we are invited to bring back attention, to speak from and listen with the heart. A good sharing circle is like medicine. When you speak, you can trust that what you are saying is the right thing, even though it may not be what you originally wanted to say. Something also happens when you listen with compassion and observe what is touched inside of you.
A good circle follows rules. It is advisable for one person to lead the sharing circle, share the topic and mark the beginning and end of the circle with a sign. This person can also tell how much time each person has to speak. A talking stick can be helpful, an altar can support the power of the centre of the circle. Speakers should say the essentials in the first person. The others listen without commenting, interrupting, or judging. The circle is closed at the end.
circle culture at work
Text BY Lena Brandt · Picture by Veronica Schucan
Sitting in circle and ceremony with Mama Cacao has taught me a lot about conscious, sacred ways of communication and interaction with others. When I recently started a new job, I wondered:
How can I bring these circle culture customs that I am so familiar with into my workspace, and especially into the meeting culture?
I soon realised that there are many opportunities to weave what I had learned in circles and ceremonies into my daily work life. I want to share some of them here with you:
Set a clear, shared intention for your meeting or get-together.
Before you begin a new work week, come together as a team, or start a meeting, take a moment to set a shared intention. You may do this by asking: Why are we doing this? What is our purpose, what is our achieved outcome of the time together, the upcoming week, the meeting? There may be different views but aim to find the underlying common sense.
Start your meeting with one minute of silence.
This allows everyone to fully arrive in your shared space and focus on the set intention. Oftentimes we rush from one meeting to another, one last phone call, just one last email - our mind is scattered and we’re losing focus. So by taking a minute to arrive, we become present, and leave everything behind that is not necessarily needed in this moment.
Be fully present.
Our fully committed presence is probably the greatest gift we can give to one another. So maybe next time you’re in a meeting or attending a presentation - stop scrolling through your phone, stop answering emails, and just give the person in front of you your undivided attention. Consciously listen to what they have to say.
Name a 'master of ceremony'.
In every circle and ceremony, there is a 'master of ceremony‘, someone who holds the space and leads the other participants through the time together. I made the experience that it makes a great difference to have a 'master of ceremony’ in your office meeting, as well. Someone who takes the lead; who keeps an eye on the time; who cares for equal participation of all attendees; who simply holds the space.
IN CIRCLE WITH SANDRINE · CACAO IN WOMEN's CIRCLES
Text by SERAP KARA · ARTWORK BY ALEXIS ARONSON · Picture BY Tarun Ram
We are delighted to be In Circle with Sandrine Giacobino from London, UK. Sandrine is a facilitator of metaphysical anatomy healing, an abdominal and fertility massage therapist, yoga teacher, and Cacao lover. Sandrine integrates Cacao's medicine into women's circles where she offers womb work and the 13th Rites of the Womb, among others.
Serap & Sandrine talk about the gentle medicine of Cacao especially in women's circles, the power of feminine energies, and how the Cacao Mother resonates with the intelligence of the womb. Sandrine will speak about her why, and share subtleties, experiences and practices that support the respectful use of Cacao in womb and women's work
In Circle with Sandrine · Cacao in Women's Circles will be available as a pre-recorded video and audio lesson for download at the end of September in Cacao Mama's offerings. Visit Sandrine Giacobino: https://www.sandrinegiacobino.info/
Cacao is a wonderful companion and a strong medicine by itself. You can have a wonderful experience when Cacao is the centre of the Ceremony. However, due to its effect on the heart, brain, emotional, physical, and spiritual body, Cacao works in synergy with other ‘disciplines' and healing arts.
Cacao can be lovingly combined with yoga, dance, sound, bodywork, and womb work. Each healing art requires a unique setting which may raise questions about quantity, timing, or logistics. We invite experienced teachers to join us IN CIRCLE and share their expertise and vision.
GUIDED CACAO MEDITATION · The TIMELESS CEREMONY
BY SERAP KARA
We have recorded a guided Cacao meditation for you. Prepare a nice cup of Cacao with intention, make yourself comfortable and follow Serap to a timeless ceremony that is happening in this very moment within sacred time and sacred space.
IN EDITION NO. 10 · OCTOBER 2021
In CEREMONY · CREATIVE DESIGN SERAP KARA · CONTENT LENA BRANDT & SERAP KARA © CACAO MAMA · MAIL
We at Cacao Mama witness people opening to LIFE IN CEREMONY. The Cacao Spirit forms a centre around which one can feel this particularly magic moment when everything connects and comes alive. Feelings of compassion arise, a deep connection to Pachamama and a coming home to the Self. We have entered the present moment and feel the invisible harmony that surrounds us. In the 12 editions to come, we open Cacao Mama's apothecary and invite you to be in Ceremony with us. Together with our plant family, we weave rituals, stories, songs and recipes to offer a soothing medicine for you to connect with Pachamama and her powerful allies. Our land is Europe, and we weave the Cacao intelligence along with the European medicine wheel, while we tend to our roots, the land, and its wisdom keepers.