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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)
I kept seeing information posted about cacao ceremonies, and received a few invitations to attend. I felt a nudge to find out more- there was something my soul wanted to experience.
Though I was familiar with cacao (being someone always interested in holistic health), I had never experienced using it in a ceremonial way. I knew it had positive health benefits and was a good alternative for a sweet treat, but using it to open up the heart and have a spiritual experience was new to me. It is not, however, new to indigenous people who are stewards of cacao. Its been an important part of southern and central american culture for ages.
Unfortunately, our time in Urubamba was short and I wasn’t able to make it to one during our stay in Peru.
I did however talk with our tour guide who was a local- and he shared some valuable information with me about the history and sacredness of cacao ceremony– I’ll get into that below!
When I returned home- I searched for a good place to purchase ceremonial cacao so that I could do my own ceremony based on what I’d learned in Peru.
I tried several brands until I eventually came across Soul Lift Cacao– which has become my favorite true ceremonial grade cacao to use when I need a little heart opening or soul lifting. If you’re interested in trying it- you can use code BLOOM for a discount.
Lets dive in!
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What is 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. It’s been utilized for spiritual, medicinal, and ceremonial purposes throughout ancient history. More on that below.
To make cacao, cocoa beans are lightly roasted over a fire, then sometimes milled into a powder (or remains as a paste) which is used for the sacred drink.
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)
It contains very little caffeine but helps sustain energy without a “crash.”
You might also like: How Ceremonial Cacao Protects Your Energy & Strengthens Your Connection To Purpose
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 the 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
The origins of cacao and the cherished air surrounding it can be traced back to several mesoamerican native cultures. The Olmecs, Maya, Toltecs, Aztecs and Incas are a few native cultures known to have used cacao. Its use in ceremony, ritual, and celebration can be traced back to over 4,000 years ago. No wonder it’s such a powerful ceremonial focus!
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 and uplifting if you allow.
Open the Heart Chakra
Connecting with cacao through ceremony is a great way to open 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.
Balance Masculine and Feminine Energy
Cacao ceremony can balance the masculine and feminine energies within us- leaving us feeling calm, centered, peaceful and grounded.
This contributes to a feeling of harmony and 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 when it comes to the masculine and feminine energies.
So often we repress one or the other and this can create a major disconnect from our true selves.
Partaking in a 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. Its a beautiful way to get inspired and express the gifts that want to come through you.
Peace and Healing
Again, in cacao ceremony, many of our inner blocks are dissolved. This allows us to sense deeper peace and partake in the healing of things that may have been repressed and stuffed under the surface.
The heart opening properties of cacao will bring these things up for review and serve as a container in which we can allow for release and enhanced healing.
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. Its 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 may be revealed. Powerful healing can occur if you allow it.
How to Have a Cacao Ceremony
Cacao ceremony is typically known to be held in a sacred group- but you can have one on your own too.
All you really need is your intention and the cup of cacao.
Ceremonial Cacao Recipe
3 TBSP of Soul Lift Cacao
1 dash of Turmeric
1 dash of Cayenne
1 TSP of Honey
¾ Cup of Water
¼ Cup of Oat Milk
The packaging on Soul Lift’s cacao includes directions for preparing the beverage. In summary, dissolve 3 tbsp of cacao in about ¾ cup of hot water.
Stir until you see the cacao dissolving then add about ¼ a cup of your favorite milk (I use oat milk), a teaspoon of honey, and any other additional ingredients (cayenne, turmeric or cinnamon). Stir until combined. You can experiment with this recipe and adjust it to your liking.
Steps for Ceremony
- Prepare your cacao. I suggest using a specific mug that signals ceremony and experiment with the recipe above. This cacao ceremony set includes pretty much everything you’ll need.
- 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. Connecting to the frequency of gratitude is the best and quickest way to open the space up to positive healing and upleveling.
- Ground your energy and draw in light. 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 occured.
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