I first learned about cacao ceremonies on a trip to Bali. I wasn’t prepared for the experience that followed.
Hot chocolate brings me back to memories of my youth. My grandma used to make me delicious hot cocoa. Sweetly fawn, creamy, and sweet, it felt like heaven on earth, in a mug. So, when I found myself watching the sun set over the sea, and my guide and yoga teacher poured me a small cup of ceremonial-grade cacao, I wasn’t ready for its strong and bitter taste. But that night I learned that by experiencing the plant in its purer form you can fully benefit from its nutritional and healing properties.
What Is A Cacao Ceremony?
A cacao ceremony is when cacao is consumed with mindfulness and intention. There are many different ways to perform one. Mine revolved around meditation and inner reflection. The music created a safe and nourishing space, while the soothing voice of my teacher explained the breathwork part of the ceremony.
Sometimes, a cacao ceremony involves dance and bonding practices. This shouldn’t surprise you. You can trace the roots of cacao drinking back to shamanic healing ceremonies in Mayan and Aztec cultures.
What Are The Benefits of Cacao?
The cacao plant is rich in theobromine. The name literally means “food of the gods” in Greek; from θεός (theos), ‘god’, and βρῶμα (broma), ‘food’. In a study – albeit small – theobromine was linked to a significant improvement in cognitive functions. The participants showed less mental fatigue, allowing sustained mental effort. Cacao can be an effective antidote for the habits that are damaging your brain.
The anti-inflammatory effect of theobromine may also help with different respiratory conditions, including chronic cough and asthma.
Unlike other plants used in shamanic healing practices, cacao won’t make you feel out of your body or create hallucinogenic experiences. If you’re not into those, cacao ceremonies are a great way to safely experience new sensations.
How to Create a Cacao Ceremony
Put on your favorite playlist. Pick a meditative groove if you want to feel calm and relaxed, or a more upbeat one if you want to feel energized. Be mindful of your senses. What does the cacao smell like? Notice the warmth of the cup in your hands as you pour hot water.
You can keep your cacao ritual for yourself or you could share the experience. And you know that everything’s better with friends.
Sit outside, connect with nature, and face each other. Then, everyone should bring their cup of cacao to their hearts and declare an intention for the ceremony. When everyone feels ready, take your first sip together.
A great way to deepen the connection of a cacao ceremony is music. In my experience, every participant showed an expression of openness and connectedness with their inner self and with others. To help you recreate a similar experience, we’ve created a playlist of shamanic music for cacao ceremonies. Cacao is a feminine spirit, and she wants to encourage you to bring more joy and balance in your life.