As we drink our cacao, we're told that the same refinement process is to blame for filtering out the hundreds of active ingredients that enrich the heart and soul. The cacao we're drinking hasn't been desecrated like that. There are three main types of cacao: there's the delicate Criollo, the regular Forastero, and then there's Trinitario, which is sort of a hybrid of the former two. Forastero and Trinitario are used to make cacao and chocolate for the masses, but we're told it's the Criollo bean you want to use for rituals. In Guatemala, where Ida bought the cacao, a kilo costs around 110 kroner [$16]. Purchasing the imported stuff in Copenhagen is about three times as expensive. Which means they've put about 15 kroner [$2] worth of cacao in a drink I've paid 150 kroner for.
The cacao is thick and heavy—it tastes as much like Cadbury as Velcro feels like puppy fur.
Four hours and a lot of prancing and rolling around later, everyone seems to genuinely feel a lot better. The once-lonely guy is the last to wake from the trance. His legs shaking, he sighs, smiles, and says "Thank you."It's a painful realization: I'll never be free and comfortable enough to dance in the tall grass, do a handstand, or ecstatically climb a tree while bleeding. I'll never enjoy the sounds of Buddhist monks chanting from an iPhone connected to a Bluetooth speaker, or having a circle buddy's dusty feet shoved in my face. I find it highly unlikely that I'll ever feel connected to Mother Earth, Mother Cacao, Father Time, or my circle buddies on some higher astral level. I find some fundamental contradictions in imitating Mayan rituals in a public park in Denmark by singing in English and playing Tibetan instruments. It's all there, I feel no different about these things. But while I'd normally have relentlessly mocked this scene, I now feel there's no point in being sarcastic about it. Why would I? It's my loss that I'm not feeling it, that I don't understand it.It's not necessarily bad that I can't get over myself: the hippies in my circle are all fighting personal battles. Christina and Ida claim they want to get closer to nature, but no one partaking in the ritual is actually there to strengthen their connection to the grass they're sitting on. We're all there because we are missing something in ourselves. And I feel that I'm missing something in me that's able to be as happy as my cacao circle buddies.After the seance, Ida and Christina relate that this has been the biggest and one of the most giving ceremonies they have held. We share some snacks—somebody brought Oreo cookies and there are wholewheat crisps and licorice-coated prunes, too. I eat some, but leave the circle and the park as soon as I can. Outside, I see an elderly couple stumble out of a nearby beer garden, a blonde girl speeding by on her pink Vespa, overtaking a full-bearded guy dressed in neon green on a bike. I'm back.The day after my trip, I feel significantly more comfortable in my own skin, but I'm not sure if I have the cacao to thank for that, or the fact that I allowed myself four hours to just sit and ponder things. I still feel a tightening sensation in my chest, for which the incense is no doubt to blame. And I've earned myself six mosquito bites, too.
I'll never be free and comfortable enough to dance in the tall grass, do a handstand, or ecstatically climb a tree while bleeding.