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I first heard about cacao ceremony when I was in Urubamba, Peru. My partner and I were touring the Sacred Valley on our way to Machu Picchu. (If you’re interested in my travel tales, you can read more about that experience here)
Over and over these flyers were jumping out at me that said “Cacao Ceremony,” “Sitting with Ceremonial Cacao” or “Cacao Circle.”
My lil heart as a spiritual seeker was intrigued… this was something I had to experience.
Being someone interested in holistic health, I was familiar with cacao. I knew it had antioxidants, healthy fat, and could be sweetened up for a healthy treat. But to be honest, I’d never heard of it being used spiritually or in a ceremonial context.
Something new and esoteric to try had my adventure seeking Aries heart enthused!
Fulfilling my wish of experiencing Cacao Ceremony
Unfortunately, our time in Urubamba was pretty short and I wasn’t able to make it to any cacao experiences while we were in Peru. But you know I stored that new perspective on cacao in my back pocket for later!
Back at home, I searched for a good place to purchase ceremonial cacao so that I could experience it for myself.
I eventually came across Soul Lift Cacao online. They’re a direct trade company that collaborates with cacao collectives in Guatemala. But not just any cacao collectives- they source directly from family-owned and operated cacao farms that care for and prepare the cacao in the traditional way, over wood fire.
The cacao Soul Lift provides us is stewarded intentionally for sharing with the world in a way that ignites healing and deeper connection. Not only that, but the Mayan indigenous preparers send the cacao off with their blessing to be used for spiritual enhancement.
The relationship that Soul Lift Cacao has with these collectives in Guatemala is beautiful and fairly benefits both sides. They model wonderfully what ethical trade should look like. I’m here for it!
Connecting with Soul Lift Cacao
After finding them online and deciding this was the one I wanted to try- I placed my order for a package of their Gateway 55% Drinking Cacao Mix. This one comes naturally sweetened with coconut sugar so you’re not put off by the potential bitterness of pure cacao (I’ve personally come to love it pure without the coconut sugar- more on that below).
When it arrived on my doorstep there was a kind lil hand-written-message on the outside of the package, thanking the Postal Service for what they do. I’d never seen that done before and thought it was such a nice gesture. I’m a sucker for “the little things!” I also know now that this message greatly reflects the kindness and moral goodness that Soul Lift Cacao stands for.
After trying my first cup, my heart melted. I felt grounded, inspired, open and just overall in a really good mood.
The Gateway Cacao Mix is just that, the perfect “gateway” to trying ceremonial cacao. (You’ll even see that on their website!)
From my Ceremonial Cacao Changed Heart
I’ve since expanded to trying all kinds of cacao (I’m kind of a cacao fanatic at this point, it’s low-key changed my life), but my favorite as of today is the Heart of the Earth Pure Ceremonial Cacao Paste.
You can read more about a few different types I’ve tried and my thoughts on each of ’em here: The Best Ceremonial Grade Cacao: Cups of Magic You Have to Try
After ordering from Soul Lift Cacao a buncha times, I started sharing about them here on the blog. Eventually this led to being offered a collab as an affiliate with them! So what does that mean for you, dear reader? It means I now have a personalized discount code that you can use anytime you order with Soul Lift. To take advantage of this discount just enter code BLOOM at checkout when you place your order.
Alright, now that introductions are out of the way… Let’s get into what cacao ceremony actually means and how to have a cacao ceremony yourself!
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What is Cacao?
To understand cacao ceremony, let’s first understand cacao.
You may be familiar with cacao or at least recognize the words similarity to cocoa.
Our beloved cocoa aka chocolate comes from the sacred cacao plant. The difference between cacao and cocoa is the processing and refining. Cacao is just pure, unrefined chocolate, to put it simply…
Central and South American cultures are known to have discovered and used the cacao plant and considered it to be a sacred gift from the gods. More on that below.
What makes it traditional ceremonial cacao?
To make traditional ceremonial cacao, hand-selected cocoa beans are lightly roasted over a fire, then sometimes milled into a powder or combined into a paste.
Because it is so minimally processed- it retains a ton of antioxidants and health benefits that are typically lost in the chocolate making process.
On its own, cacao can have a bitter taste but is packed with:
- Anandamide (the “bliss molecule”)
- Theobromine (aka “Food of the Gods,” improves mood and cognitive function)
When cacao is prepared in this traditional way- the benefits and sensation it provides are amplified. Thats why true ceremonial cacao is different from baking cacao you might find at the grocery store.
To know if you’re getting true ceremonial cacao, look into the sourcing. Where did your cacao come from? Who farmed and prepared it?
Soul Lift Cacao is my trusted source for true ceremonial cacao. You can use code BLOOM for a discount when ordering from them!
You might also like: How Ceremonial Cacao Protects Your Energy & Strengthens Your Connection To Purpose
What is Cacao Ceremony?
You’ll notice below, “cacao ceremony” is not an indigenous practice. Though cacao has been used by indigenous cultures for ages, the practice of gathering to have a ceremony or spiritual event centered around cacao is a modern western practice.
That being said-
In modern terms, cacao ceremony can vary depending on the facilitator, but its usually a gathering with other like-hearted people who come together to drink cacao with the intention of healing, connecting, manifesting and so on.
When I host cacao ceremonies, I tend to do them in conjunction with the moon cycles or with another intention like manifesting, healing or releasing.
At a cacao ceremony, everyone gets a serving of ceremonial cacao to connect with and enjoy. The facilitator will guide you to connect with the cacao and invite the spirit of the cacao plant into your heart so that it can assist with the intentions of your ceremony or gathering.
I like to add in information about the specific cacao I’m using like- where its sourced from, what the effects can feel like, how I tend to use it, and anything else that feels relevant to the circle.
You may also like: 10 Surprising Ceremonial Cacao Benefits
Depending on the intentions of your cacao ceremony, you can expect to experience a variety of the following:
- Guided Meditation
- A chance to share your reflections
- A space to be seen, supported and celebrated
- Journaling (freestyle or guided by prompts)
- Heart-centered conversation
- Vision boarding
- Creative projects or candle magic
- …. the possibilities are endless. It depends on your facilitator and the intentions of the ceremony. Cacao can enhance any kind of ceremony, really!
A Brief History of Cacao
Here at Bloom and Manifest, we prioritize respecting the culture from which our modern rituals originate from. We always strive to pay respect where it’s due, give credit where deserved, and apply effort to learning about the cultures and origins of our spiritual practice.
That being said, let’s have a brief history check on cacao ceremony to ensure the roots of this sacred plant are being acknowledged and respected.
First discovered by the Olmecs in 1500 B.C.- it has served as a source of food, a form of currency, and of course- a sacred part of religious ceremonies.
Important to note: cacao itself was not used as a ceremony focus, rather it was used to enhance or just included in other rituals. The “cacao ceremony” stuff we see today is of modern making, despite the importance & sacredness of cacao.
RECOMMENDED READING: Cultural Appropriation of Cacao
Spiritual Benefits of Cacao Ceremony
The benefits of cacao ceremony can be deeply spiritual if you intend so and have the right environment set.
Many consider cacao ceremony to be a shamanic experience- just without the “out of body” or hallucinogenic effects. The benefits can be inspiring, uplifting and very healing.
Opening the Heart Chakra with Cacao Ceremony
Enjoying ceremonial cacao can work wonders on the heart space and most certainly open up the energy in your heart chakra.
If you’re struggling with self-love, compassion or forgiveness- this could be life changing for you. It stimulates a deep connection to yourself, to others and to the universe.
This often results in feelings of joy, release, openness, and absence of fear.
When connecting with your ceremonial cacao, you can envision your heart space connecting directly to the cacao in your mug. Envision your heart chakra expanding and sparkling.
Regain a Sense of Balance
Cacao ceremony can balance the masculine and feminine energies within us (we all have both of these FYI)- leaving us feeling centered, peaceful, at ease and grounded.
This feeling of harmony allows us to “get into the flow” of life. It also makes it easier for us to manifest the things we deeply desire.
Many of us are out of balance from causes like stress, not living our purpose, being isolated, and so on.
Cacao ceremony can help us find a balance between the “doing” and the “being.”
Enhance Creativity and Connection
Cacao helps to dissolve creative blocks and connect us to the energy of creativity.
You may notice ideas flowing to you or inspiration appearing to deliver visions and guidance of creative ideas.
With the container of love and heart opening- creativity can appear and flow to us clearly. It’s a beautiful way to get inspired and express the gifts that want to come through you.
Peace and Healing
Many of our inner blocks are dissolved, or at least revealed, when using cacao in a ceremonial way. This allows us to sense deeper peace and experience the healing of things that may have been repressed and stuffed under the surface.
The heart opening properties of cacao can bring things up for review and the ceremony can serve as a container for us to release and finally heal.
Clarity, Insight and Realization
If you’re at a crossroads or feeling stuck in life, a cacao ceremony could be just what you need. It often reveals insights and solutions to us. It’s amazing what comes up when we set the intention for and create the space for our higher selves to come through.
You may experience realizations on what you need to do next or perhaps something you need to change. I love to state a gratitude affirmation like. “Thank you for the revelation + clarity, cacao!”
How to Have a Cacao Ceremony
Ceremonies usually take place in a group, but you can totally have one on your own too! All you really need is your intention and the cup of cacao.
Use the guidance below to have your very own cacao ceremony. (or scroll to the bottom of this post and get on the info list for potential virtual cacao ceremonies!)
What You’ll Need
Ceremonial Cacao (you can order from Soul Lift Here: Soul Lift Cacao)
Ceremony Mug: I like to use one dedicated mug for all my cacao rituals. This elegant glass mug in pink is perfect, check it out here.
Milk Frother (if you like to add milk): Shop my favorite Milk Frother here
Stirring Spoon: I use this to blend my cacao into a paste so that it doesn’t separate when I add more water. Plus, it makes it feel more like a ritual when you have a special stirring spoon! I use the gold one. Check it our here: Gold Sleek Stirring Spoon
Ceremonial Cacao Recipe
Approx. 3 TBSP of Soul Lift Cacao
Splash of Honey (if you want to sweeten it up!)
Cup of Hot Water
For more in depth instructions on preparing ceremonial cacao, download my free guidebook below.
Steps for Ceremony
- Prepare a sacred space for your cacao ritual. Light your favorite candle, energetically cleanse the area + yourself, set up a comfortable place for you to sit and gather everything you may need.
- Prepare your cacao using the guidance above and from my Cacao Recipe + Ritual Guidebook.
- Begin in meditation or prayer. Use this time to connect to spirit and see through the eyes of your higher self. Set your intentions for the ritual and clarify why you’ve decided to partake in this ceremony.
- Bless the cacao and give thanks. Say a short prayer thanking the ancient cultures who’ve come before us, your ancestors, the cacao plant and the knowledge of its power. Give thanks for all the hands it travel through to get to you. Connecting to the frequency of gratitude is the best and quickest way to open the space up to positive healing.
- Ground your energy and draw in light from above. If grounding practice is new to you, read my how to ground yourself article, then come back to this.
- Sip your cacao and allow for heart opening. Pull your shoulders back and sit up straight. Focus on the feeling of openness and receiving as you begin to drink the cacao.
- Allow your intuition to take the lead. Once you’ve begun to drink- pay attention to the energetic shift that occurs within you. What do you feel called to do? Some want to dance, cry, sing, journal, sit quietly in meditation, sit outside in nature- do what feels best for you and follow the messages that your intuition shares with you.
- Once you feel the ceremony has run its course, sit quietly once again to give thanks. Reconnect to gratitude and give thanks for any insights or healing that occurred. Connect to your intention moving forward after the ceremony.
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