Ceremonial cacao is my favourite spiritual ritual as it helps me nourish my mind, body, soul, and energetic body and all that I am – my being.
Taking part in cacao ceremonies is something that’s rapidly growing in popularity, as it’s considered to be a very esoteric endeavour with a high level of mystery and ambiguity, but also much misinformation that still surrounds this beautiful practice.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about cacao, what is a cacao ceremony, its benefits, and how to make your very first cacao ceremony recipe.
A very big misconception is that cacao is the same thing as chocolate. Well, not exactly, as the cacao used in a cacao ceremony is quite different from the regular chocolate we eat.
Cacao doesn’t taste anything like hot chocolate, so for some, its taste and texture might come as a surprise when you first try it. The best cacao for a ceremony is made from ground cacao beans, water, cacao butter and a tiny bit of unrefined coconut sugar, all mixed into a liquid which becomes very bitter but naturally high in iron, magnesium, B-complex vitamins, and a delightful warmth and taste to nourish the soul.
Cacao has been used in ancient ceremonies by South Americans (the Maya) for thousands of years, and it has an active ingredient called theobromine which can be translated into “Food of the Gods.” The word “cacao” actually came from the Maya word “Ka’kau” and the Maya word “Chokola’j”, which means “to drink chocolate together”.
As you might already know, cacao comes from the cacao bean, which is also used to make chocolate, one of our favourite treats. But the cacao plant is a powerful medicinal plant, the reason why it has been used for several spiritual, medicinal and ceremonial purposes throughout history and time. So, when we say that eating chocolate is the same as eating a salad because it comes from a plant, we are not lying! But only when talking about raw cacao, and not your typical selection box of chocolates, which is filled with sugar, milk, and only 20% cacao.
When looking at the cacao ceremony history, there is a lot of archaeological evidence that states that sacred cacao has been used since 5,300 years ago in the Amazon. Despite knowing the long history of human use of raw ceremonial cacao, we still don’t know much about ancient cacao rituals both because of the massive genocide of the indigenous population of the Americas beginning in the 1500s and because of how quick ancient artefacts deteriorate in wet tropical conditions.
However, what we do know is that for the Olmec, Zapotec, Mayans, and Aztecs, making cacao for their ritual showed the central importance of this sacred plant. Cacao is mentioned extensively in the Popul Vuh, the Mayan Creation story, and can be found in many engravings depicting ritual offerings. Another interesting fact is that Mayans created great storehouses of cacao beans and that cacao was used as a currency whilst also being consumed as a sacred drink.
From a Western context, attending a traditional cacao ceremony is a relatively new phenomenon, as people seek a new relationship with cacao outside of what the chocolate industry has always been offering.
A very important thing to know is that there’s no relationship between modern and ancient cacao ceremonies besides one’s desire to engage in a sacred relationship with the cacao plant spirit.
Some traditions, including the indigenous cacao keepers, believe that every plant, psychedelic or not, has a spirit. In the earlier days, humans lived in harmony with the natural world and saw plants as intelligent, alive beings and healers in their own power and light, a concept which has been slowly lost throughout time.
To put it simply, this is why we use supplements, herbs, superfoods and adaptogens, as they are a strong way to reconnect with this primal wisdom that’s becoming more and more available to us again. Once you’ve experienced an authentic ceremony, it’s impossible to think that cacao doesn’t have a spirit because you will feel it flowing through your being, especially through your heart chakra. Cacao spirit shows up differently for everyone, but generally, it is felt like a playful, gentle medicine that connects you to your deep-rooted wisdom within and with The Heart Of Creation.
And now, let’s get to the fun part of what happens in a cacao ceremony.
Usually, a cacao healing ceremony involves a beautiful gathering of people within a sacred circle, which has been cleansed and purified with intention, smoking sage, crystals, and many other techniques. Music is then used to immerse the mind into a more relaxed state of presence and joy, and of course, the ceremonial cacao drink recipe which has been prepared before the event takes place, with the highest healing intentions in mind possible both on an individual and collective level.
Taking part in a cacao ritual helps you to connect with your heart centre, whilst being a gentle guide through a powerful transformational consciousness shift, both during the sacred ceremony as well as for a long time afterwards. The most important thing to know is that there’s never a rigid formula about how this ceremony should take place or be prepared, but here are some usual elements which you’ll most likely come across if participating in various ceremonies around the world.
Before taking part in any kind of ceremony as such, make sure that the whole event is hosted and organised by one or several people trained in preparing cacao and holding sacred space. Now, if you are thinking of going to a cacao ritual but you have no clue about what’s going to happen, don’t worry, as you’ll be safely and gently guided through every step of the way, similar to these:
When it comes to the cacao ceremony benefits, the list is endless! When consuming a cacao ceremonial dose which is 42g of cacao paste mixed in a cup of liquid, it serves as a powerful tool for connecting to the energetic space of your heart, as well as to the people and energies around you. It has been used for at least 5,000 years by several communities around the world, on a metaphysical level and spiritual and physical.
On a spiritual plane, making a cup of nourishing cacao before a meditation practice, yoga, or during group gatherings, it’s an amazing tool to go deeper into your inner work, whether it’s journaling, visualisation, or shamanic journeying. In my experience, a ceremony with sacred cacao can also greatly assist you in energetic healing and receiving clarity in the areas you need the most, whether it be love, life purpose, intuitive abilities, career, or personal growth. When you decide to create your cacao ceremony intentions, either by yourself or in a ceremonial group, something truly magical takes place: you will feel softer, more present and loving, and your creativity will skyrocket. Having a cup of sacred cacao is especially powerful before you engage in creative writing, working on projects that ignite your soul, making art, and anything else that makes your heart beat joyfully and in sync with The Beat Of The Universe.
On a physical plane, there’s plenty of research that proved that chocolate is good for you, but not any type – we’re talking about either raw, unprocessed cacao or nutrient-rich dark chocolate. Yummm! Raw cacao ceremonial grade is a superfood containing a unique mix of phytonutrients such as sulfur, magnesium and phenylethylamine. It’s an amazing source of monounsaturated fat, cholesterol-free saturated fat, vitamins, minerals, fibre, natural carbohydrates and protein. Even more interesting? It has more calcium than cow milk and up to 40 times more antioxidants than blueberries. Cool, right?
Cocoa contains theobromine, which is a chemical that has a similar structure to caffeine, but the very important difference is that instead of being a nervous system stimulant like coffee, theobromine dilates the cardiovascular system, which results in opening up the blood vessels, giving you a sense of alertness and relaxation at the same time.
Therefore, cacao is a very poor source of caffeine and, in fact, is a wonderful substitute for your morning latte if you want to reduce your caffeine intake.
Whilst there’s no actual cacao ceremony preparation that you must do before attending your first ritual, there are some things to keep in mind so you can enjoy the experience to its fullest!
A lovely way to start your glorious day if you don’t want to participate in a ceremony with sacred cacao is by making your own ceremonial cacao from the comfort of your home! Once you wake up, open your windows, make your bed, take a deep breath in, and start sipping on the cacao while setting intentions for your day, followed by meditation, breathwork or yoga practice. How does that sound? I know, Divine!
So, the first thing you might wonder is where to buy ceremonial cacao from, and one of the best organic sources from Peru is Forever Cacao. However, there are many other trustworthy sources, just make sure you do the research well when buying it to get the exact type of cacao needed for sacred ceremonies. Dark chocolate won’t do!
Once you’ve found your sacred cacao, simply follow the steps below to create your own heart-opening cacao recipe, and why not share it with a friend?
Optional ingredients could be a splash of nut or seed milk of your choice and 1-2 teaspoons of coconut oil to make it extra creamy.
Place all your ingredients in a blender and blend them until they become creamy. Start on low speed, slowly increasing to high while allowing the intention for your cacao ritual to crystalise, feeling gratitude for the cacao spirit.
If you want to make your sacred cacao without a blender, you can simply combine all ingredients in a pot on low heat and let the cacao melt while constantly stirring it, but make sure it won’t get to boil. Personally, I prefer this way of making my cacao as it allows me to gaze into the beautiful process of melting the cacao, feeling the heat raising its spirit, making me feel like I am being almost embraced by its love and gentleness.
Then, pour the cacao into a cup that feels special to you, and optionally, add a couple of rose petals on top if you have any at hand. Rose and cacao is a truly magical combination with a very rounded, soft flavour and an even more powerful heart-opening effect.
Once you’ve poured your cacao into your cup or mug, you can gently hold it in front of your heart, and now I invite you to do a little gratitude and intention ritual (see below).
Close your eyes, and whilst holding the cacao, say out loud or silently in your mind’s eye or headspace:
Feel free to add anything that comes up as it’s your own cacao ritual, so expressing what your heart is guiding you to say and feel is the best thing to do! Once you’ve given your gratitude to all that is, take a couple of deep breaths with your eyes closed and allow your heart to be and beat in sync with The Beat Of The Universe. When you’re ready, slowly open your eyes, sip your cacao gently, play ceremonial music and listen to the messages that come through, write them down in your journal, dance them out, begin your yoga practice, or do whatever feels right to you at that time.
A very beautiful and heart-opening song that I love to listen to during my cacao ritual is Mother I Feel You by Windsong Martin, or alternatively, I found this beautiful Cacao Ceremony Music Playlist on Spotify that I defiantly recommend!
Once your ritual has finished, you are free to do anything that makes your heart feel at peace, inflow and joyful, and don’t forget to practice your Spiritual hygiene techniques to nurture your mind, body, and soul after the cacao ritual and throughout the day!
Cacao is the feminine energy and power that can help you see that life is meant to be fun and that this is what we’re here for. A ceremony with sacred cacao allows you to fully surrender to this energy and to step into a higher dimension, where you’ll realise that nothing here on Mother Earth is permanent. All of life is simply a game to be enjoyed right here, right now, in the exact beauty of it.
If there are still things in your mind or heart holding you back from living the beautiful life you’ve always dreamed of, such as old wounds or past traumas that are not clear in your conscious mind or you haven’t fully healed from, cacao will help you get clearer on what these things are, helping you to receive the strength to move forward, let them go, and create space for better things to come in. You will then be able to learn how to start living a healthier life in your mind, body, heart, and spirit. You will be able to ease your everyday stresses and worries, feeling encouraged to get more in tune with your positive side.
From my experience, when I feel at peace within and understand that I am not my fears or problems, nothing can get me off balance. Because everything is well, and I am in the right place, at the right time, perfect in my imperfection, as I am one with Creation.
To conclude, my final thought about participating in a ceremony with sacred cacao is that after this experience, you will be able to strengthen your connection with your higher self, which will then help you connect to your inner power, strength, and truth. It will help you realise that releasing pain makes space for more love and light to come in, as it will bring much clarity to your mind, reminding you of everything you are. And then you will truly begin to let go of all that you are not, regaining balance between your inner masculine and feminine energies so you can co-create your reality in complete harmony and filled with universal energy.
Learning to open our hearts is the most important thing we must do as spiritual beings having a human experience, as this is the portal that will allow us to open wide to our true potential and embrace our authentic selves. And the more we connect to love and awareness in ourselves, the more we can make more loving and conscious choices for the greater good.
If you have any questions about attending a cacao ceremony for the first time, or if you just want to find out more about the spiritual healing opportunities available to you at this time, please take a look at my Spiritual Healing Services page. In the meantime, keep an eye on my Blog, where I post soulful articles regularly. Also, if you’d like to book an appointment, contact me, and I will get back to you as soon as possible!
Sending you lots of love and light,