Cacao as a Key to the Sacred Self: Embodied Spirituality, Healing, and the Emergence of Tradition


Taylor Lynn Burby (University of Oregon)

Over the last seventeen years, cacao has become a sacrament within increasingly popular syncretic religious ceremonies that promote the "quantum healing" of the sacred self. Cacao is a psychoactive substance that is regarded by some devotees as a sacred plant medicine; when mixed with water and imbibed, practitioners believe they are ingesting the physical manifestation of “Cacao Spirit,” a fifth-dimensional being known for her transformative “heart-opening” and “grounding” properties. This presentation considers ethnographic research data to explore the emergence and composition of these entheogenic ceremonies and what it means to practitioners to achieve numinous healing experiences with cacao’s guidance.

Part of 24-01 Contested Traditions, Alternative Realms, Transformational Experiences, Tuesday, October 19, 2:15 pm–3:45 pm