My Journey with Plant Medicine

Apr 23, 2023

Hey there, Outlaw Tribe, and welcome back to the Outlaw Priestess podcast. I'm your host, Ginger Parker. 


Today I am going to share with you my favorite plant medicine that I work with pretty much daily and give you a little bit of background about the experiences I have had so far in my life. So this is potentially a heavy topic for some people, because I will be talking about something that was very jolting in my life. So just know that this is an opportunity to pause and exit this transmission if you're not feeling in an emotionally grounded place, this episode might be a little tough to hear in some parts. 


So the plant medicine that I work with is ceremonial cacao. I start pretty much every morning with what I call my joyful cup. I don't generally partake in a ceremonial dose each morning. I'll talk a little bit more about that later on in this episode, but it is something that, again, I have almost daily. 


So ceremonial cacao is pure unadulterated cacao. This is not going to the gas station and melting down a Hershey's bar and making a ceremony out of it, although, by all means, do you.


What makes ceremonial cacao so special is the land and energy that is imbued into the process. The cacao beans are sun roasted. Generally, ceremonial cacao does not touch any heavy machinery. It's really about extracting from the land and utilizing the sun and then using your hands. 


So the company that I work with is formerly known as Heartblood Cacao and the owner Moses is such a genuine, beautiful human. Here is a 10% discount code if you are inspired to bring ceremonial cacao into your own personal practice. It really comes to me as a grandmother energy. It's for me a very feminine earth based medicine. I think most people feel that way. Utilizing it to work with our heart space or our heart chakra, you know, our heart is our center for compassion for self compassiont. So, you know, that center being so powerful for those emotions, I mean, you can imagine that this is also the area where heavy emotions can get very trapped, community and unity, our worthiness of sharing love. 


Cacao has just been a very supportive and transformative medicine for me to work with, healing my own self love and self worth, as well as the experiences that I'm going to be sharing with you shortly. 


Just to give you a little bit more compounds like the naturally occurring chemicals in cacao is theobromine, theobromine is a vasodilator and what that is doing in the body is it's causing the heart to beat a little bit faster coursing your blood through your body more swiftly more easily and what is our blood doing, delivering nutrients and energy and life force throughout our whole body, our energetic system. Theobromine is an alkaloid for those of you that are into some of the more science-y stuff. 


The other chemical is anandamide, and that is a fatty acid neurotransmitter. Referred to as the bliss molecule. It is what is responsible for inducing feelings of euphoria and ecstasy and pleasure and joy. 


You know, cacao, when experienced in a group setting, it can be so powerful for making strangers just feel instantly connected and comfortable with each other. Also, I feel like cacao is not a psychoactive plant medicine. So this is not like your ayahuasca or your psilocybin.You're able to work with cacao to support you in journeying and meditation. 


There's absolutely an opportunity here working with cacao to have more profound experiences. So it's really a supportive medicine, but it's not truly going to go in and cause you to have hallucinations. You're going to be able to drive while cacao is in your body. You're in complete control of your senses, you're just elevated, you're heightened.


I also feel it's very important to share that there are two contraindications for cacao that I'm aware of and that I've learned about. So the first one is people with severe heart problems, severe blood pressure challenges. Again, I just taught you about theobromine and that's a vasodilator. So for someone who's experiencing any dis-ease of the heart or challenges with their heart, you know, theobromine can influence any heart related medications. So it's really important to check in with your healthcare provider before partaking in ceremonial cacao. If you ingest chocolate in your normal life, you know, I feel like it's safe for you, but do right by yourself. If you know you have severe heart problems, please make sure that you check in with your health care provider before you go on a cacao journey. And the other contraindications are for anyone on MAOIs or SSRIs. If you are on them, you know what those acronyms stand for. For those of you that are not familiar with those pharmaceuticals, they support people with depression or anxiety. Now, the reason why cacao is contraindicated for any pharmaceuticals of that nature is because the anandamide, that fatty acid neurotransmitter, which is responsible for turning on our our bliss and euphoria, when you've got these types of drugs in your system, that are already working to influence block or change the brain chemistry, the serotonin, etc. cacao can potentially make those drugs less effective. Also, your experience with cacao opinion here, you know, your senses are a bit dulled from those particular drugs. So again, the invitation here is to consult with a trusted health care practitioner and see if ingesting and experiencing cacao is appropriate for you. 


So I spoke earlier about how I pretty much start every day with cacao, because I started experiencing quite a bit of anxiety, particularly induced from the job environment that I was in, but story for another time. And I now use and work with cacao daily to start my morning and it still brings me what coffee did. And I love, love that I can work with this medicine to be uplifted. It's the way that I start my morning to be supported and stimulate the digestive tract, for those of you who love your morning cup of coffee because it gets everything moving. I use approximately one ounce of cacao to approximately seven ounces of water and in my daily cup that's where I'll add you know some coconut cream, different adaptogens. I love putting adaptogenic mushrooms into my cacao as well as different herbs. Currently I've been putting a tea bag of burdock root ingesting it in that way, you know, feel free to spice it up, zhuzh it up.

Ceremonially, I've been taught and I personally choose to subscribe to the pure way of serving cacao, which I believe is to really leave it alone, serve it straight up, with just a dash of cinnamon and a dash of cayenne. In a ceremonial serving, it is two ounces of cacao to approximately seven ounces of water. Here is my recipes for y'all to peer over. And again, if you end up choosing to work with cacao, then you'll have at least an outline of how I brew it. 


Cacao entered into my life back in 2019, I was working with a Mexican priestess for spiritual support work, as well as business support. And she had shared cacao with me. It was the first time I had ever heard about it. And I just didn't do anything about it right then and there. I received it, but I guess I didn’t have that strong pull to explore it. Then a few months later, I went to a women's entrepreneur empowerment summit in San Diego, and I met a couple of women at that event that were serving ceremonial cacao, not at that event, but in their practices and their offerings for their communities. They were working with that medicine. I was kind of like, okay, spirit, God, you're putting this in my ears again, you're bringing this to my attention again. So I am going to honor that and explore that. So, I contacted the women that I met at that event, and I asked for their best recommendation of where to buy cacao because it is and was very important to me to make sure that I'm I was buying a sustainable product and that whomever I was purchasing from had respectful and thoughtful practices for the land and for the Indigenous people that this comes from. By the way, MBU sources their cacao from Guatemala. And if I didn't already say this, they do work with a single family farm in Guatemala that grows and harvests this particular cacao.  So these women turned me towards Heart Blood. Heart Blood became MBU, so one in the same. I ordered my first pound of ceremonial cacao. One of the things that I was experiencing around this time, the loss of my father in August of 2018. I was still riddled with grief from that loss. I'm a daddy's girl, my dad just cherished me and was just such a great man and force in my life. His loss in this dimension really debilitated me in so many ways. I found the grief to be so consuming and my heart felt so heavy. In 2019, when I started learning about cacao, I started learning from these women that they were using cacao in grief ceremonies, supporting people with honoring their grief process and softening some of that working through it. So when I bought my first pound, that was my intention. I started sitting with cacao and solo ceremony. What I mean by that is brewing a ceremonial dose for myself in my home and then bringing my brew to my altar. Ingesting the cacao with intention and speaking prayers and intentions like please help me move through this grief, please let this grief teach me. And it was just a profound experience, I built this relationship with cacao sovereignly and my heart began to mend and feel more whole. 


I felt this really strong calling to share cacao with other people and in the beginning of 2020, I had my first cacao ceremony. One of my girlfriends here in Tucson owns a lash and skincare studio, and I reached out to her and asked if I could share cacao with her and the women that work for her and host a ceremony for them. That was my first time holding space and introducing other people to cacao. And then we all know the shit storm that happened in 2020 during which I was not able or didn't feel able to continue offering in-person ceremony. In the beginning of 2020, my life would change again. My mother received her third diagnosis of triple negative breast cancer and this would be the time that it consumed her. She had battled cancer on and off three different times since 2005, she got that third diagnosis and it was in her bones and in her brain. For anybody who, you know, has had their lives touched, I mean, I feel like everyone has had their lives touched by Cancer. Brain Cancer is very ugly because it's difficult to break the blood brain barrier with chemotherapy and different treatments. On the world stage, everything was breaking down and in my personal life, everything was crumbling, being faced with the acknowledgment that I would be losing my mother at some point in the very near future while the world experienced what it experienced. At this point, I've had about a year or so of working with cacao. Because 2020 was the way that it was, when we as a family needed to initiate hospice care for my mother, we chose to do in home hospice because none of us found it acceptable that if we put her in a hospice facility, that we wouldn't be able to go in and see her because of what was going on in 2020. So we started in home hospice, and I entered a role that I never in a million years thought I would imagine myself being in, which was becoming pretty much a full time caregiver to my dying mother. I did have support from a few friends, but I mean, I was definitely in the thick of it, on the front lines supporting her as she continued to get fragile. With brain cancer, she just started to not be very lucid and I’d never been so up close and personal with death and I found another opportunity to bring cacao in as a tool as a support system for the grief, I felt like my wound of my father passing has been reopened to be losing my mother, by the way, my parents were still married. My parents had been together since 1980. 


I started doing research about death doula and really holding space for the dying. I learned that it's really important to have very low lighting, pretty much no sound, so no TVs on no, no loud music, if you can refrain from cooking around the dying, because all of these things, even if they are not lucid and in a responsive state, the body is still going through its dying process and can pick up on those stimulations and kind of keep the dying anchored here when really we want to create a space that is easy for their soul to transcend and to to exit the body so the body can die.I would sit in the darkness of my mother's living room and hold space for her and pray and I invited the angels and I just feel like cacao supported me in being able to really be present and witness her dying process in a way that I just really don't think I could have done had I not already been doing this spiritual work, had I not had the support of the spirit of cacao. I'm just so grateful. It was a very, very powerful time in my life. The relationship that I cultivated with Cacao is what I really bow in deep reverence to because I wanted to drown myself in a bottle of wine, I wanted to numb myself out, there were times I did that, I'm not above that. I have alcoholism in my family and I recognized that that was not how I wanted to honor my family and honor my parents and honor myself. So I made the choice to sit with my grief, to watch it, to watch death unfold in front of my eyes. 


I know that may be heavy for some of you to hear. I'm surprised I got through that without crying. I want to express that Cacao is not by any means limited to the heavy emotions, the shadow work, the grief work. It's beautiful for that, and it is also such a loving, ecstatic, joy-filled, love-oozing medicine. Once I was able to start offering in-person cacao ceremonies again, that was something that I so enjoyed bringing to the community and giving people an opportunity to be in sacred space. and have reverence, but then to also play and explore, to be in sisterhood or community. Cacao is also something that I have found to be deeply supportive in my business. It supported me with my creative endeavors, birthing, creating, germinating new offerings, I’ve got many of my clients on to cacao and empowered them to bring it into their personal practice and work with the medicine in a sovereign way.


I have really loved partaking in cacao prior to going to concerts and or doing any type of dance. I have a really juicy event coming up here in Tucson for women that is going to be blending cacao and static dance. So if that turns you on, please make sure that you're following me on socials. 


It's a liberating medicine that I feel electrifies the body and the heart and allows you to move with freedom. 


Also, cacao is an aphrodisiac. So for consenting lovers, to have intentional conscious intimacy. 


I feel like that is my transmission for today that feels complete.I'm sending you so much love, Outlaw vibes and cacao blessings.


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