Cacao Ceremony is a South American tradition that has recently become very popular in the West. Cacao has been used as tool for meditation for many centuries as a natural medicine which helps you connect to the essence of your heart and to your creativity and sensuality.
Before embarking on your own cacao ceremony, I recommend doing your own research about the tradition and see if you can find a source to buy ceremonial cacao that clearly supports the people who grow it and have passed on this tradition to us. The magic of ceremony happens in realising the inter-connectedness of things. This is a fundamental aspect of shamanism. I feel that it is important to honour where the practice comes from and try to give back to the cultures we appreciate, not simply take from them. I will recommend a Mayan-owned, Indigenous cacao source below.
Ceremonial cacao is a totally different substance to the chocolate you find in the supermarket, it comes from Criollo cacao plants that have been consciously grown for ceremony and when the beans are harvested, they are naturally dried, fermented and then ground into a paste that uses the whole bean (which otherwise is usually heavily processed and separated into cacao powder and butter to make chocolates). Having the pure cacao paste in this form means it is has both a different flavour and effect on the body due to it's composition. Ceremonial cacao is full of antioxidants and it contains the active ingredients Theobromine and Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) which have a natural antidepressant effect as well as anandamide, known as the 'bliss molecule', which activates the heart and creates a similar feeling to being in a deep state of bliss or love.
Put simply, a ceremony or ritual is an 'intentional action'. It can be as simple as lighting a candle and it can be as elaborate as thousands of people singing and dancing with outfits and props. You can create your cacao ceremony however you want, the key is having a clear intention - it could be “to nourish your body” “to listen to your inner guidance” or “to source inspiration and creative energy for a project”.
You can set your intention before you begin to make your cacao or you can see what intention arises as you go through the process, remember to notice how your feeling and complete the actions mindfully. Journaling at the end of your ceremony can add to the personal benefits received.
Okay so let's get into it!
25-40g of ceremonial grade pure cacao paste (This is my favourite shop and I buy the Ruk’u’x’Ulew variety because 100% of profits go directly to the people who produce it. Use my community discount code CACAOZADRO )
150ml hot water
100ml of plant based milk (or heaped 1 tsp of nut butter or coconut oil with an extra 100ml of water)
Spices: Cinnamon Cayenne pepper, Salt
Other spices like Vanilla, Cardamom or Rose
A sweetener like date syrup, agave or honey
Medicinal mushrooms (my current favourites are Neural Nectar, Reishi and Cordyceps from Superfeast. Use my 10% discount code ameliazadro )
1. Light a candle before preparing your cacao to open the ritual and and welcome in 'light'
2. Chop the cacao into a rough powder
3. Add the cacao, water, spices and nut milk into a pot on the stove, stir slowly as the mixture heats up OR just add all of the ingredients to your blender, buzz until smooth. Whilst the cacao heats, sing, dance, chant or simply think about your intention as you stir to infuse it into the drink.
Try not to allow the cacao to reach boiling temperature or it will lose some of it's powerful nutrients.
4. At this point the cacao should naturally bind with the water and milk and become a smooth creamy drink you can also add the mix to a heat safe blender to make it extra creamy and frothy.
5. Create your ceremony. Set your space however feels good for you- you could light a candle or incense and buy or pick some fresh flowers. Tune into how you feel in the present moment and your intention. Drink with mindfulness, notice the smells, texture and flavours. It takes around 15 minutes to feel the effects of the ceremonial cacao. Plan a meditation - some of my favourite types are dancing, free writing or finding a guided meditation on You Are Magic or Insight Timer.
I have also created a free guided morning cacao ritual for you when you sign up to my mailing list here.
I'd love to hear if you enjoy this practice and what you're favourite personal touches are!