EDITION NO. 10 · NOVEMBER 2021
IN CEREMONY NO. 10 · Samhain
01 Cacao Mama's Tribal ElderS
02 Samhain's Inherent Medicine
03 WITCHES, SAINTS & THE DEAD
04 HONOURING THE DARKNESS
05 INWARD FOCUS
06 A Sacred ELDERS Ceremony
08 An Altar for the Ancestors
Cacao Mama's Tribal ElderS
TEXT BY Serap Kara · PICTURE BY EMMA LÖFSTRÖM
Cacao Mama is nourished by a collective formed of mothers, midwives, and safe old grandfathers, yet our lineage is altogether very feminine; their guardians are ancient and hold medicine that sustains vitality, life-force, and a love for Spirit. We have a strong connection both to the heart of the forest as to the stars.
In my Cacao practice, I often work in urban settings. Here I must create a very harmonious space to be able to receive the messages. In ceremonies, I love the evening with its dark and soft Cacao space that allows me to connect with my heartbeat, breathe with Pachamama, and become still. Deep inside the earth, I hear the soft drumming of the guardians of life-force.
It has become essential to align with the power and prayer of the Elders who stand behind me. I love them holding my back, watching over me, and holding their hands over me. I dedicate the first sip of my Cacao to the guardians of wisdom, the ancestors, and Pachamama herself. I find it valuable to turn towards Spirit and never know myself alone.
Holding a cup of ceremonial cacao in front of my heart, I imagine a bridge growing from my heart into the heart of the forest jungle. I envision the colours, the sounds and smells, and want to thank the earth, the elements, the stars, and the people who have contributed to me being able to drink cacao and experience the dark medicine with all my senses.
I look into my Cacao cup and imagine myself travelling even further back, back into a time that is older than history, leading me to the stars to be one with the sacred origins and the ancient future. – Serap Kara
Samhain's Inherent medicine
TEXT BY Lena Brandt · PICTURES BY THE UNSPLASH COMMUNITY
Samhain (pronounced 'sow'inn') is one of the major festivals of the Wheel of the Year, for many pagan cultures the most important festival of all. The name Samhain can be translated with union or gathering. It is the sacred festival of death, dying, and letting go.
Samhain marks the beginning of the night of the year. It is the shamanic New Year's Eve. The Wheel of the Year turns once more, a new cycle begins, the old one ends.
Samhain heralds the darkest time of the year until the light is reborn on Winter Solstice. It is a time of contemplation and pause. The energy of the sun diminishes, its light fades, and it gets cold and quiet outside. The harvest has been gathered and nature lies down.
Like the creatures of the more-than-human world, we are beginning the descent into the dark cave of the earth, where rest and decay can be transformed into vital organic nurturing. This is the
time of the descent into potent darkness, of pre-conception, out of which new life, new ideas, will eventually emerge.
We may follow the invitation to once more reconnect with the natural world and the natural rhythms of the year and their seasonality as we journey into the fertile underground. Cacao Spirit teaches us how to connect to the cycles of Mother Nature and life itself. It guides us into the dark, nurturing womb of Mother Earth and deep down into our centre. In union with the Cacao Deva we are reminded of the everlasting cycles of life, death, and rebirth, and to find comfort and trust in these inherent rhythms.
WITCHES, SAINTS & THE DEAD
TEXT BY Lena Brandt · PICTURE BY jeremy lwanga
"For European pagans and heathens, the Samhain festival derives from ancient Celtic customs. Samain was the Celtic god of the Underworld and this feast marks the end of one year and the beginning of a new one. We celebrate Samhain on the night of October 31st. Some Witches prefer to celebrate on the new moon night in November, this is the old Celtic custom." (Simi Ninati, Sabat Magazine)
Over time the festival of Samhain was adopted by Christians. They celebrated All Saints Day (also known as All Hallows' = all that is holy’) on November 1, therefore making October 31 All Hallows' Eve or Halloween. Although they embraced it as a Christian holiday, it still retained elements of remembering and honouring the dead.
Festivals of the dead are known in many cultures and often take place at similar times. In Mexico, for example, Día de los Muertos is celebrated from 31 October to 2 November. A Mexican festival to connect with and celebrate the dead and welcome them into the homes.
HONOURING THE DARKNESS
TEXT BY Serap Kara · PICTURE BY GRIT SIWONIA
Our European ancestors believed that we must feed hungry Spirits and negotiate with the dark Goddesses who dwell in the underworld and realms of death. Traditionally this has been a time to open to the unknown.
We can see this time also as a reminder of the human journey which has been dreamed in the darkness of the womb; we come to life, see the light of day, enter the rites of passage, and transform in the eye of death. It is wise to visit the darkness from time to time and honour the mystery within.
The veils between worlds are thin; I can sense the presence of the Otherworld. My body and mind want to withdraw from the activity and expansion of summer. I will prepare a cup of Cacao with intention, light a candle and sit with the Elders to discuss the conditions for the coming cycle until everyone is fed.
TEXT By Lena Brandt · Picture BY Han Laroux
For the Celts the day did not begin at dawn, it began at sunset, it began with darkness. Light is born out of the darkness. And this darkness is fertile with all potential. It is a sacred space out of which new life, new ideas are born. With the portal of Samhain, we enter a phase of slowing down, rest, reflection, and dreams about new beginnings.
It is an invitation to adjust our pace, become still, and turn our attention inward. We may consciously prepare for the renewal of Winter Solstice and tend to our inner fertile soil, looking for
the seeds of visions to come. We may review the year that has passed, and look at what has worked and what hasn’t. What can be let go of and what can be invited?
In communion with Cacao, we can enter a deeper dreaming. The Spirit of Cacao gently guides us into our inner realms. Its medicine supports us in an honest, loving process of reflection, releasing, and composting. Cacao Spirit takes us by the hand while we connect with our shadow aspects to digest, accept, and heal them, and feel into what conditions will enable us to germinate the seed of our new intentions for the coming year.
A SACRED ELDERS CEREMONY
TEXT BY Serap Kara · PICTURE FROM CODEX FÉJERVARY MAYER LACAMBALAM
The guardians of Cacao revered the Cacao tree as the cosmic tree of the South, where it represented death, blood, and the ancestors. World trees could show the ancestors the way to heaven, but in Mayan iconography, the ancestors were also reborn as Cacao trees. Sometimes we see their faces depicted as skulls.
Other stories tell about Cacao's connection to the ancestors, gods and spirits, the innerworld and the underworld. Jaguars and pumas guard their entrances to protect the source of fertility and sacredness. People offered Cacao to the Spirits.
I am aware that we are undergoing change and losing old stories in the face of globalisation. But I also feel the value of the visions of our ancestors who captured an essence. I see commonalities between the stories of the people in Central America and Northern Europe and like to focus on what they had in common. Both honoured the sun, the moon, the plants, and the trees and we can feel a deeper connection to Nature herself. Imagine these Elders coming together in sacred ceremony, allowing them to sit and discuss the medicines for our times - perhaps we are invited to write new stories that tell an even older and original vision of the Cacao tree, one that offers orientation for the times ahead.
Whether we live in Europe, North America, or New Zealand, as a Cacao lover we can learn something essential from the ancient stories of Mesomerica that tell of the magical cacao tree that guards the South and connects the (inner) worlds.
TEXT BY Lena Brandt · PICTURES BY Mayank d & RICKY TURNER
During the portal of Samhain, the veils between the world of the living and the world of Spirit are at their thinnest. The gates to the Otherworld are wide open, boundaries dissolve. It is a time when our ancestors are most present and we can connect to our loved ones who passed away, by consciously reaching out, honouring them, offering hospitality to their spirits, giving thanks, and sharing stories of their lives with others.
Throughout Mesoamerica, Cacao was seen as a messenger between the worlds, a bridge connecting the living and the spiritual world. People believed that the cacao tree itself enables the communication between these worlds and the travelling from one to the other.
Cacao Spirit may connect us to the memories of our long-ago ancestors, creating a profound sense of belonging and community. By consciously calling in Cacao's qualities of compassion and unconditional love into our energetical field, we may bring healing into our ancestral lineages and the stories we share.
Maybe you want to create a loving Cacao ritual for your ancestors. Gather together with family and loved ones, light candles in remembrance of the loved ones, set an extra space for them to join you in your circle, tell each other stories about their lives, remember them, bring them closer.
Creating an Altar for the ancestors
TEXT & PICTURE BY Lena BrANDT
Honouring your ancestors is a very special thing to do at this time and can be done in many simple ways. 'An altar is a prayer made visible' - and a wonderful way to remember your ancestors and welcome their presence into your home.
You may want to decorate your altar with the following (choose as many as you like):
- Apples, nuts and berries, pumpkin
- Coloured candles (Black for death and endings, orange for the vitality of life within death, purple for wisdom, insight and inspiration)
- Leaves, chestnuts
- Your favourite crystals
- An incense
- A cup of water or milk
- Collected photos, heirlooms and other mementos of deceased family members, friends and loved ones
Consciously arrange the objects on your altar (you may choose whatever place feels suitable for you - a table, a sideboard, a special place in your home).
Light the candles for your ancestors while thinking of them & wishing them well. Thank them for being a part of your life. Sit quietly and pay attention to what comes up.
In EDITION NO. 11 · DeCEMBER 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.