I was a total addict…
In particular; sex, drugs and rock n roll – but additionally and chronically nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, meat, raw Jersey milk, and cake.
The dairy addiction was particularly obsessive; I drank about a pint and a half of full fat unpasteurised Jersey milk every day in about 7 or 8 cups of masala chai, and if I ever went away I’d have to freeze down several pints to take with me.
I’d start to get really anxious and edgy if I began to run out and had my own special freezer crammed with it. However it was my love affair with MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, commonly known as Ecstasy) that was the most profound, lasting for a good 23 years.
Having had a traumatic and abusive childhood where my natural exuberance, creativity and vitality was repressed, mocked and stymied by parents, religion and the education system, I became disconnected. A strange and lonely child who found emotional relationships incomprehensibly difficult. An equally troubled adolescence followed, complete with abusive relationships, eating disorders and self-harm – and a psychological addiction to MDMA.
I fell in love with MDMA right from the get-go. It dissolved all of my fears around fully expressing myself without shame, shyness or inhibition and it opened my heart and allowed me to be in a place where I could experience the most authentic feelings of love that I’d ever had. My feelings of disconnection and misanthropy would subside and I would enter a state of bliss, oneness and a deep sense of peace with my fellow humans.
Whilst I acknowledged that I was addict I had absolutely no idea how on Earth I’d even begin to start divesting myself of all the crutches and supports and props. Not exclusively the MDMA, but opiate-like compounds such as the casein in cheese, the refined sugar, the alcohol and the roll-ups – all the substances that I relied on absolutely and completely to get me through life.
Whilst visiting the Bosnian pyramids in 2013 I had a profound spiritual awakening – I inadvertently lay on the energy beam that the pyramid emits from its summit, received a massive power-up and returned home a very different person.
I started to explore the process of avoiding alcohol and drugs, and attended a life changing retreat!
Run by renowned raw food pioneer, Kate Magic, the retreat offered five days of exclusively raw vegan cuisine and kundalini yoga. My first ever introduction to raw chocolate was incredible – I literally leapt about with joy!
I felt happy, loving, connected and loved – and a wee bit high – not too dissimilar to an MDMA experience. Which, I was to discover actually wasn’t so odd considering that raw chocolate contains a compound called phenylethylamine, a compound shared by only two other ingestables: blue green algae and yep, you guessed it – MDMA!!
I also discovered that raw cacao is absolutely crammed with over 300 amazing chemical compounds including anandamide – a cannabinoid named the ‘bliss chemical’; tryptophan (used by the body to make serotonin), and MAO inhibitors which increase the body’s level of neurotransmitters resulting in an antidepressant effect, and very possibly an enhanced psychic awareness.
I subsequently began to eat a fair bit of raw vegan chocolate (for research purposes obviously!) and began frequenting Cacao ceremonies to explore this plant in more depth.
Feeling drawn to make my own raw vegan chocolates I contacted the two chocolate goddesses who’d been on the retreat: Anna Middleton of Rawsome and Aradhana Kaur of Enchanted Chocolate, both of whom happily shared their knowledge and advice.
My very first creation (which I share with you here) was called Full Moon Magic – a combination of Strawberry, Rose and Mugwort. I’d just recently discovered Mugwort, and she was to become my guide to meeting the Seed Sistas and taking their Herbal Apprenticeship.
Road tests on friends and family were exceedingly positive (they couldn’t get enough of it) so more flavours swiftly followed and, deeply stirred by the Vedic practice of blessing food I began to play sacred songs, music and mantras over the chocolate, consciously activating it, infusing it with Love and connecting to the Spirit of Cacao.
In terms of the flavour I’d always been a milk chocolate girl, so I looked to create the creaminess of chocolate made with dairy.
I found that a combination of creamed coconut, honey and yacon syrup created the taste I wanted. Yacon syrup is a very low GI sweetener derived from the Peruvian yacon root and is perfect if you have candida.
Where possible all my ingredients are raw and organic, and I use no refined sugar or dairy.
My honey is always raw and from artisan makers, or from the Local Honey Man who keeps bees on the roof of our studio in Haggerston.
Nuts and seeds are soaked to reduce the lectin content (which can interfere with the digestive enzymes in the gut) and then dehydrated; I dehydrate fruits such as bananas and papayas myself.
It’s a wonderfully nourishing procedure from start to finish and I personally derive a great deal of joy from each aspect of the process.
I feel excited when I receive the idea for a new creation and take real pleasure in sourcing an obscure ingredient or spending time making a crystal or gem essence – of which only a few drops will be incorporated within the mixture.
It’s a magical alchemy.
Equally enjoyable is the delight of those who receive and eat them – chocolate, I discovered is a beautiful way to connect with people and give them happiness and pleasure.
Not only did my relationship with Cacao bring me into new relationship with my heart centre, its nourishing and transformative properties gave me strength and courage to wean myself away from the substances I relied upon so heavily.
It brought me to the realisation that many of the staples that we as a society have consumed mindlessly to alter our mood or to keep us energised such as marijuana, fags, a cuppa and chocolate, in their raw unprocessed states have a pure consciousness; a consciousness that may be connected with on a spiritual level and should be honoured with respectfulness and gratitude.
Whilst such plants can offer personal growth, learning and deep insights, industry has completely appropriated them for their physical properties, exploited and debased them, and left contemporary Western society utterly ignorant of their authentic nature.
The sacred Cacao bean has been turned into the industrially processed chocolate bar – a sugary, body-rotting confection far removed from its esteemed Mayan heritage.
Tobacco is a prime example too. Transplanted from its original role in sacred ceremony and reincarnated as the modern, chemical-saturated cigarette it has become a poisonous, addictive substance.
Poisonous addictive substances are a coping strategy for many of us in this contemporary culture, a culture where we’re not taught how to deal with and heal our wounds. Rather than looking within to our Hearts for the healing that we need we have looked outside of ourselves. Resorting to substances often appears to be the only viable and visible option to numb the consistent and persistent pain of being.
As part of their toolbox for healing fractured states of mind, body, heart and soul, traditional Shamanic societies worked with natural plant entheogens (literally meaning the God Within Us); psychedelics which give rise to transcendent states of communion with God/Source/Life Force/Creation/Great Spirit.
Foods such as chocolate are more than simply food; activated and worked with in the right way they become powerful medicine for the heart and soul bringing us closer to ourselves, closer to the God within ourselves – and closer to each other.
Recipe: Full Moon Magic
Strawberry Rose and Mugwort
1 cup Cacao butter
1 ½ cups Cacao powder
1 packet Creamed coconut
1 cup Yacon syrup
2/3 cup raw Honey
1/3 + cup Strawberry powder (Tree Harvest)
3 – 4 drops Medicine flower vanilla extract (rawliving.eu)
1 pipette Mugwort tincture (Sensory Solutions)
1 – 3 drops Rose essential oil
1 pinch Himalayan salt
If you want a little more texture add a handful of buckwheaties to the mixture. They add a pleasing biscuity crunch.
First of all, cleanse your space – you’re working with a sacred plant! Use essence sprays, smudge sticks, tuning forks or a rattle. Set an intention around working with the cacao; call in Spirit of Cacao if you like and ask her to connect with you and guide you.
It’s like a working meditation.
Choose some appropriately themed music or mantras that you’d like to work with during the chocolate making, which are aligned with your intention. Press play! Keep it going throughout the process; I switch it off only after the very last utensil is washed up.
Next, set up your chocolate moulds and ensure that you have made ample fridge or freezer space to accommodate them.
It’s important to note that cacao is very sensitive to heat; if you over-heat it, it will denature and separate.
Hence be super-careful with the temperature and don’t allow it to rise above 48 degrees centigrade – which is the magic number for raw veganism!
Never place the cacao butter straight into a saucepan or allow it to otherwise come into direct contact with heat; set up a bain marie or use a heatproof glass basin set over a pan of water (I do the latter).
Make sure the water isn’t boiling away violently; a gentle simmer is sufficient.
Slice the cacao butter into thin slivers or shavings (this helps it to melt more evenly) and place in your bain marie/glass dish.
Heat it slowly over the lowest heat setting on your hob, stirring until nearly melted.
Add the creamed coconut and continue to stir until melted.
Remember to hold your intention and keep connecting with the cacao throughout; at this point I’m generally singing along and properly feeling the love haha!
Add your sweeteners of choice and stir well.
Add the strawberry powder, stirring to ensure even distribution.
Add your Mugwort tincture; you might like to bless the tincture before adding.
Add the Rose essential oil; again, bless it if you wish.
Remove the cacao butter from the heat and continue to stir.
Add the cacao powder in increments, stirring to fully incorporate the mixture; if you wish to add a handful of buckwheaties do that here.
Work swiftly and precisely.
Taste your creation; according to your personal preference you may feel it requires a little more strawberry/Rose/salt etc
Transfer to your moulds and place in the freezer to allow to set.
Because the chocolate has not undergone the tempering process it will melt at room temperature; I find it keeps best in the freezer.
Once set (2 hours is generally enough) enjoy this sublime treat on your own or with friends.
Just to note: it’s generally advisable to avoid enjoying it before bedtime as you may find yourself bouncing off the walls.
Just to note #2: chocolate in its raw state can be a very potent aphrodisiac. Enjoy 😉
For focus & drive
Contains: Ginger (exchange), Hawthorn flowers (virility), nettle syrup (fortification)
This combination of herbs can be used at any time where extra focus and drive is needed, for when times of weakness can hold us back. Great for moving us through procrastination!
As a circulatory stimulant, warming us from the inside to out, Ginger moves things to the surface allowing us to face them with increased awareness and greater confidence.
Delicate Hawthorn Blossoms are gently warming and bring a feminine side to masculinity. Action, drive and focus are masculine traits and can all be achieved in a feminine way. We have chosen the flowers here to bring that temperate energy to the mix.
Nettle – the warrior of Mars – brings the full force of action and protection, supporting the kidneys and the emotion of fear, helping us to face uncertainties with strength.
These drops support:
- Getting things done
- Times When focus and drive is needed
- As a coffee/stimulant alternative
- Trapped wind
- Digestive support
- Circulation issues