Cacao ceremonies 101: Your crash course

By now, most health-conscious people have heard about cacao.

It was quick to become a staple superfood, known for its high levels of antioxidants, the come-down-free energy boost it gives, and how it makes us feel like we can enjoy something that kind of tastes like chocolate, without the guilt.

If you dig into most people’s pantries, you’d probably find cacao powder – perfect for smoothies or baking. But in this form, what you’d miss out on is the potent feel-good chemical mix that pure & raw cacao has – and its ability to open your heart, expand your vision, and deepen any meditative practice. Enter Ceremonial Cacao.

You might have seen or heard about cacao ceremonies before – people gathered together, sharing a somewhat hot chocolate-like brew, catapulted into states of deep awareness, connection and peace.

More than just a modern-day fad, cacao has been used ceremonially by ancient tribes across the Amazon for thousands of years.

Once served to nobility and worth more than gold, cacao has a rich and sacred history.

Not only was it revered by many different tribes, but it was a much-loved component of shamanic rituals designed to help the consumer access higher states of consciousness and deepen into greater self-awareness.

Fortunately, it is something accessible for everyone today, allowing us to build a self-connection and cacao ritual into our everyday lives.

Ceremonial cacao (well, a good one anyway) is made up of cacao beans that have been fermented and ground into a paste – nothing less, and nothing more.

In this raw form, it contains bioactive chemicals like theobromine (an energy hit without any yucky side-effects), along with tryptamine and tryptophan, two amino acids that support the production of our own good-feeling chemicals.

Science aside, like any plant medicine, the magic is ALSO in the way it is prepared and consumed.

A true cacao ceremony – one that pays homage to the sacredness of the plant, and the ancient traditions that belong to it – begins from the moment you start preparing your brew (see recipe below!).

Unlike drinking a coffee or a wine, which serve as a momentary activity, a cacao ceremony is about creating space for yourself to consciously experience… Well, your SELF.

With the ability to open up your heart space, deepen your meditation, and help you to experience an elevation of your mood, here’s how to prepare a ceremony at home.

  1. Add 30-50g of ceremonial grade cacao paste (make sure it is from an ethical source!) into a pot of simmering water.

  2. As you whisk it together slowly, take a moment to bring awareness to your breath, and to the present moment. This is a wonderful opportunity to tune into the feeling of gratitude.

  3. Let it simmer on low (you never want to boil cacao!) for about 10-15 minutes until thickened. Whisk/mix regularly. While it is simmering, you can set up your ceremony space. Choose a place where you won’t be disturbed. Light candles or incense, create a cozy spot, get your favorite crystals out, grab your journal… Whatever feels good for YOU.

  4. If you’re a sugar fiend (though I recommend going natural, baby!), you can add in 1-2 teaspoons of coconut sugar here.

  5. If you’d like it a little thicker, add 1-2teaspoons of maca powder.

  6. You can either serve it as it or blend it all up with a stick blender for a thicker, bubbly brew.

  7. Enter into your ceremony by blessing the cacao and setting an intention for your journey. Once you’ve spent a few minutes giving gratitude and thanks, sip your cacao slowly, pop on your favorite meditation playlist, lie down, and allow the magic to work through you.

The effects of cacao can come on within 5 – 20 minutes and can last anywhere from 60 minutes to 4 hours! Once you’re complete, you might like to journal about what came through for you, so that you can take your insights with you into your day.

Cacao is powerful healing medicine, so take your time to enjoy it!

Jacqui Sive is a holistic high-level personal & spiritual development coach, who helps people around the world to heal themselves and transform their lives through coaching, ceremonies, programs, courses and retreats.

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