Cacao ceremonies are ancient rituals that involve drinking a beverage made from cacao beans, the raw form of chocolate. A sacred cacao ceremony almost always incorporates spiritual practices such as meditation, yoga, dance, or breath work to enhance the ceremonial cacao's renowned ability to open the heart chakra and facilitate a connection with your higher self. I'll cover the ins and outs of a cacao ceremony, as well as giving you a recipe so you can make your own ceremonial cacao at home.
Cacao is more than just a delicious ingredient for chocolate lovers. It's a powerful plant medicine. In fact, indigenous cultures in Latin America have revered cacao for centuries for its numerous health and spiritual benefits.
Today, more and more people are discovering the the heart-opening wonders of sacred cacao through cacao ceremonies. In these ceremonies, participants experience the power of the spirit of cacao's ability to raise their vibrational frequency.
We'll explore what cacao ceremonies are and how ceremonial cacao differs from regular cacao powder or chocolate. In addition, we'll explore how you can participate in or create your own cacao ceremony. You'll also find a recipe for making your own sacred cacao below.
What Is Ceremonial Cacao?
Most importantly, to have a fulfilling cacao ceremony, you need to pay attention to two key elements: the cacao’s quality and your own intentions for the ceremony. These elements comprise the heart and soul of this ancient ceremony and shouldn't be compromised.
Ceremonial grade cacao is very different from normal cacao mixes, or even the best chocolate! Indigenous communities in Central and South America organically and ethically produce heirloom strains of cocoa beans. These beans are minimally processed to retain their nutrients and phytochemicals, resulting in a 100% pure cocoa product.
Producers of ceremonial grade cacao prioritize its use for spiritual growth and practice. This focus on spiritual benefits is a defining characteristic of this type of cacao.
According to indigenous beliefs, cacao has a spirit that resides within the plant. When you drink it you receive the the guidance of the cacao spirit, the keeper of ancient sacred wisdom.
The cacao spirit connects with the energy of the divine feminine, the emotional body (the heart chakra) and the voice (the throat chakra). It also acts as a conduit to communication with spirit ( the crown chakra).
By drinking cacao in a cacao ceremony, you can open your heart and connect with your higher self. This, in turn, allows you to access higher states of consciousness. Ceremonial cacao can help heal old wounds, release stagnant energies, and invite more joy and love into your life.
The cacao spirit, sometimes referred to as Mama Cacao, activates the sacred fire within, assisting you in burning away what no longer serves you. You may find that you're able to cut cords with toxic behaviors, renewing your sacred connection with spirit. Think of it as a loving embrace for the soul that helps you align with your true purpose.
Ceremonial cacao is consumed as a drink or a paste that's often flavored with a natural sweetener and spices. It should never be sweetened with refined sugar.
What Is A Sacred Cacao Ceremony?
A cacao ceremony is a sacred gathering that brings together people from all walks of life to experience the healing power of this magical plant medicine. Cacao ceremonies are, at their heart, a form of shamanic healing.
As part of the ceremony, the facilitator will guide you through a range of spiritual practices. These might include chanting, meditation or work with sacred sounds. The ceremony is designed to help you access deeper levels of consciousness and tap into your own intuition. With an open heart and a receptive mind, you'll experience a heightened sense of awareness and a profound connection with the universe.
But it's not just the cacao that makes this ceremony special. It's also the intention and energy that everyone brings to the circle. Each person is encouraged to set their own intention for the ceremony. You may or may not choose to discuss your experience with the other participants. However, many people find that sharing their unique eperience with like minded souls makes them feel part of a larger spiritual tribe.
Attending a cacao ceremony is a unique, transformative experience that can help you connect not only with yourself, but others and our larger universe in a profound and intentional way.
The History Of Cacao
Ceremonial cacao has a long and rich history in the cultures of Mesoamerica, where it was revered as a sacred gift from the gods. In fact, the ancient Mayans and Aztecs revered cacao beans so highly that they used them as offerings to their deities and as currency to trade for other goods.
They also concocted a bitter and spicy cacao beverage called xocolatl, which means “cacao water.” Xocolatl was consumed before battles, religious rituals, weddings, and other important events. Xocolatl was honored as a giver of strength, energy and courage, as well as a bridge to communication with the divine.
Cacao was also used for medicinal purposes, such as treating diarrhea, coughs, fevers, skin problems, and snake bites. Ceremonial cacao was mostly an upper-class luxury in Aztec societ. Lower classes could enjoy it on special occasions.
Interesting fact : The most famous Aztec chocolate lover was Montezuma II, the ruler of Tenochtitlan, who allegedly drank gallons of xocolatl every day for vitality.
Where To Buy Ceremonial Cacao
Remember, ceremonial cacao isn't just for group ceremonies. You can also make it a wonderful part of of your own spiritual self care practice.
- Ora Cacao: This brand sources its cacao directly from small family farms in Latin America and makes it fresh in California. They offer pure cacao as well as enhanced cacao with superfoods like mushrooms, spices, and herbs. Orca Cacao were formerly known as Firefly Cacao, so if you're a regular cacao customer, you may recognize them by that name.
- Cacao King: Cacao King offers 100% pure ceremonial cacao paste that's organic, fair trade, and vegan. They also have cacao nibs that can be added to smoothies, oatmeal, or granola. .
- Keith’s Cacao: This brand is founded by Keith Wilson, who is known as the "Chocolate Shaman" in Guatemala. He works with indigenous farmers to produce high-quality cacao that is hand-peeled and stone-ground. He also hosts online cacao ceremonies and workshops.
- Soul Lift Cacao: This brand distributes ceremonial cacao from various regions and cooperatives in Latin America. They also offer cacao kits, bundles, and accessories to help you create your own cacao ceremony.
- Legacy Cacao: This brand claims to have the world’s first "ceremonial" cacao, which is made from rare heirloom cacao beans that are hand-selected and processed by Mayan elders in Guatemala. They also donate a portion of their profits to support the preservation of Mayan culture and traditions.
Health Benefits Of Ceremonial Cacao
Ceremonial cacao contains various vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, calcium, iron, and antioxidants like flavanols. Here's a brief overview of the health benefits of ceremonial cacao:
- Antioxidants: Ceremonial grade cacao can lower inflammation in the body due to its high concentration of antioxidants that fight oxidative stress and chronic diseases.
- Gut Health: Drinking ceremonial cacao can support your gut health by acting as a prebiotic that feeds the beneficial bacteria in your digestive system.
- Heart Health: It supports heart health by cleaning the deposits from your arteries, lowering blood pressure, and improving blood flow.
- Blood Sugar Control: It helps control blood sugar by regulating insulin levels and reducing cravings for sweets.
- Mood Boosting: By stimulating the production of serotonin, dopamine, and anandamide, which are neurotransmitters that make you feel happy, motivated, and relaxed, ceremonial cacao acts as a natural antidepressant. One of the reasons ceremonial cacao can increase serotonin is because it contains tryptophan, a heat sensitive amino acid that converts to serotonin in the body. Usually it's“cooked out” of conventional processed chocolate. Ceremonial cacao preserves the tryptophan content by using low temperatures and minimal processing. Because ceremonial cacao has the ability to increase feelings of love, it plays an essential role in many spiritual practices.
- Reduces Anxiety: Ceremonial cacao has one of the highest concentrations of magnesium known to man, with about 103 mg per 28 g serving. Because magnesium is is essential for muscle relaxation and nervous system function, the mega doses you get of this important mineral will help with stress management.
The Benefits Of A Cacao Ceremony
Cacao is so much more than a beverage; it's a powerful tool for transformation, healing, and spiritual connection.
When we come together in a cacao ceremony, we create a sacred space for deep inner work. The cacao plant, known as the "food of the gods" by the ancient Maya, has been used for centuries for its medicinal and ceremonial properties. Its heart-opening qualities help you connect with yourself and others in a more authentic, compassionate way.
As we sip the warm, rich cacao elixir, we allow ourselves to be fully present in the moment. We let go of distractions and open our hearts to the wisdom of the plant and our inner selves. We set intentions for the ceremony, and invite the cacao spirit to guide us on our journey.
The effects of cacao are subtle yet profound. You may find that it helps you release emotional blockages and enhances your creativity. Many report a feeling of euphoria that helps them connect with their inner child.
But most importantly, a cacao ceremony is a reminder that you're not alone on this journey! It's a space where you can feel supported by a larger like minded community. Let a cacao ceremony serve as a reminder that we're all connected, and that the love and compassion we cultivate within ourselves can ripple out into the world.
If you're feeling called to explore the magic of cacao, I encourage you to seek out a ceremony in your area or create your own. Allow yourself to be open to the transformative power of this sacred plant, and let it guide you on your path of self-discovery and healing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can have a cacao ceremony by yourself. In fact, some people prefer to have a solo cacao ceremony as a way to connect with their own inner wisdom and guidance. A cacao ceremony by yourself can be a great opportunity to practice self-care, self-love, and self-expression. You can create your own ritual that suits your needs and preferences, and you can choose the activities that resonate with you the most. For example, you can journal, meditate, do yoga, listen to music, paint, or dance after drinking your cacao. You can also set an intention for your ceremony and ask the cacao spirit for assistance or insight. The most important thing is to be present and mindful of your experience, and to honor yourself and the cacao with gratitude and respect.
Ceremonial cacao is generally safe and beneficial, but it can have some side effects and interactions for some people. The side effects can include anxiety, nausea, headache, or allergic reactions, and the interactions can involve medications or supplements that affect the nervous system or the blood. To avoid these issues, cacao should be consumed with respect, awareness, and moderation.
Ceremonial cacao can make you feel warm, energized, joyful, relaxed, and clear. It can also help you connect to yourself, others, and the divine. Use it to enhance your inner journey and spiritual practice.
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Cacao Ceremony Recipe
- 1 ounce (about 2 tablespoons) ceremonial grade cacao
- ⅔ cup almond milk *or plant based milk of your choice
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup *or agave nectar or coconut sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
- Heat your water or milk to 170 ℉ (77 ℃). Like green tea, using boiling water with cacao could heat out all the powerful nutrients.
- Place the cacao in a blender ( a bullet blender is perfect for this) or a small pot and pour in the heated water or milk.
- Add the maple syrup, salt, vanilla, cinnamon and cayenne pepper and blend or whisk until smooth and frothy.
- Pour your cacao drink into a mug and enjoy! Set an intention for your ceremony before drinking it.
- It's very important that the water or milk used to make ceremonial cacao is not fully boiled. If it's too hot, many of the beneficial properties of the cacao will be nullified.