IS CACAO THE NEW ECSTASY?
MDMA popularly known as Ecstasy has been in common use since the 1970’s, gaining hugely wide appeal when the rave culture took off in the late 80’s and early 90’s. In the 1970’s, Dr. Alexander Shuglin “rediscovered the MDMA compound” and the drug was promoted as a psychotherapeutic tool. Psychiatrists felt that MDMA enabled users to get an insight into their problems, many famously describing it as a “penicillin for the soul”.
Many used the drug because they wanted to change something in their lives and others because they wanted to connect on a more empathetic level.
MDMA mainly acts upon the serotonin neurotransmitters in the brain. Serotonin controls sleep, learning, mood, memory and appetite. MDMA releases large amounts of serotonin and so causes elevated levels of empathy and feelings of happiness. Dopamine, the brain’s pleasure chemical, production is also increased. Enhanced sensory perception is considered a given when using MDMA as well as users being incredibly social and flooded with empathy.
When used on the dance floor these feelings were heightened as hundreds of people stamped their dance out until the sun rose. The sense of tribe and this sense of love was felt by a generation of young people who had become otherwise disenfranchised from a world relying more and more on technology, personal success and the break down of the nuclear family due to economic pressures of migration for work.
Then came the comedown. On a physiological level, MDMA floods the brain with serotonin. However, MDMA only releases serotonin already in the brain, it doesn’t make new serotonin. The enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO) breaks down serotonin in the brain and continues to do so, even if there are only low levels left. After about 4 hours, MDMA uses most of the serotonin in the brain and it takes time for it to replenish naturally. This low level serotonin is what causes the downer and people can become depressed and irritable, and this can have long term effects. MDMA also increases the release of the flight or flight neurotransmitter and so puts the body under added stress and out of it’s homeostatic state (not working in balance).
There comes a time for most people where the comedown is no longer tolerable and the time comes to stop taking ecstasy. This is what happened for us. However, when this happened, we also stopped dancing in the rave scene. The all night dancing seemed to go hand in hand with the chemical stimulants, so to leave one behind meant we left both behind, and with it we lost our feeling of connection to others and a loss of our tribe.
Is cacao the new ecstasy? It seems to be e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e and it is being claimed to help us dance, open up our hearts and that it could actually be GOOD for us! In it’s raw state, raw cacao is one of the best super foods on the planet for opening the heart and feeding the feel good neurotransmitters in the brain.
According to David Wolfe and Shazzie’s book Naked Chocolate, it has over 143 active components or pyhto-nutrients in each bean (in varying amounts depending on the quality); the main one being magnesium. Magnesium is the most deficient mineral within the western diet. Magnesium supports the heart as it decreases blood coagulation, helps the heart pump more effectively and it lowers blood pressure. Magnesium can help increase flexibility, builds strong bones, relaxes your muscles, increases alkalinity and when combined with a good fat, it encourages good brain health.
ELIMINATION AND DETOXIFICATION PATHWAYS
Raw cacao can open up over 300 different elimination and detoxification pathways. It is also jam packed with great things like serotonin, tryptophan, dopamine, anandamide, phenylethymide. There are a whole list of long worded tongue twisting neurotransmitters that also have nicknames like the love chemical or the bliss chemical because they interact with your brain to help elevate your mood. So we can come up with raw cacao without the comedown.
COME UP WITHOUT THE COMEDOWN
We run an Ecstatic Conscious Clubbing experience called the Wild Chocolate Club. We offer our dancers a shot of delicious raw cacao to give them a bit of an energy boost before we start dancing. Is cacao the new ecstasy? Well, that isn’t for us to say. Cacao isn’t a ‘drug’ and the effects are much less apparent than Ecstasy. However, those mood enhancing properties seem to help our dancers feel less inhibited dancing sober. The feedback we get at the end of our events is that our dancers feel their hearts are opened after the cacao and during the dance.
At the Wild Chocolate Club and at the School of Ecstatic Movement we encourage each person to go inside and dance whatever they need to in the moment by using an eyes closed, room darkened method with amazing music, breath and rhythm. We know through holding hundreds of dances, that actually it isn’t the cacao or the drugs like Ecstasy that opens up people’s hearts on the dance floor; it is the people themselves who do it when they feel safe enough to do so. The cacao and the ecstasy give people an opening to allow themselves to be really seen and fully be themselves. This gives us back the feeling of belonging and that finding of our tribe that we all seem to be longing for.
At the end of the dance, people say there was magic on the dance floor. We have thought about this often and we’re not sure describing it as ‘magic’ gives the source of it the credit it deserves. Movement, breath and rhythm are the foundation keys to this method. However, the willingness of everyone in the room to trust that bringing their whole selves into the space; the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful, and being open enough to meet it all with kindness is the real magic. With that willingness and that trust (and when we say trust, we mean roll-your-sleeves-up-and-let’s-do-this kinda trust) and good music sparks the alchemy that happens in those rooms.
Not cacao. Not ecstasy. Just people.
So yes, those places are full of magic. Magic brought about by each person being willing to show up in their totality. In these changing and uncertain times, we can’t think of much more important than being able to drop into ourselves and clear out anything that just doesn’t serve us. In doing this, we become clear, grounded and open to the possibility of the ecstatic experience. With this as our centre point, we can make decisions and take actions rooted in a much more balanced place.
And the cacao we use on our clubbing nights? We love it. It is delicious, it is full of antioxidants, it is stimulating and it opens up our hearts. If it helps others feel the same way too, we are happy to have it on offer to our dancers so they can come up without a comedown.
We are Rebecca and Zoë of the Wild Chocolate Club and the School of Ecstatic Movement.
Come and join us dancing wild and free at a Wild Chocolate Club event.
We also train the teachers in this beautiful and powerful method. This course taking place over 9 months is so packed full of content, cutting edge scientific research, practical exercises that will help you really discover who YOU are and what lights the fire inside you.
You will learn everything you need to become a confident, empowered, joyful holder of sacred space and the Ecstatic Awakening Dance method.
Come and join us for an adventure into the ecstatic experience!