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How To Create Your Own Sacred Cacao Ceremony

If you find yourself in the holistic health circles, you may have noticed cacao ceremony emerging as a way for communities to gather and experience healing and connection.

Apart from being a superfood with a wealth of health properties, cacao (or raw “chocolate”) is a powerful plant teacher that has been used for centuries for her spiritual and energetic properties.

While I would encourage you to participate in a group ceremony, it’s also incredibly powerful to create your own personal cacao ceremony. In this introductory article I’ll share my rituals for creating a cacao ceremony with the hopes that you can use it as a reference point for creating your own experience.

So… What is cacao?

Cacao’s scientific name is Theobroma cacao which translates to ‘food for the Gods’. Historically, cacao has been used in ceremony by the ancestors of Central America and later by the Aztecs and Mayas as a ritualistic medicine. In the mythologies of these people, cacao was often said to be derived from the heavens and gifted to the people.

Today, ceremonial grade cacao is a cacao that has been cultivated according to traditional methods with the intention of being used in ceremony. While most cacao has been hybridised for the chocolate industry and therefore has lost many of its beneficial properties, ceremonial cacao retains healing chemical properties as well as the spirit of cacao, whom I personally refer to as Lady Cacao.

Drink the cacao

What is a cacao ceremony?

I love the definition of ceremony as declaration. In my practice, ceremony traditionally involves creating a sacred environment, setting an intention and allowing an energetic process to unfold around that intention. Setting an intention is the most important part of cacao ceremony preparation. You could create an intention and ceremony to:

To identify your intention, answer one of the following questions to yourself:

  • What do I want to release?
  • What do I want to call in?
  • What aspect of my healing journey am I honouring?

Because cacao is a ‘connection facilitator’, she aids in any transformational shift you are working towards. So the side effects of cacao ceremony can be quite powerful if you permit. Sometimes the intention can be as general as ‘open my heart to feel what it needs to feel’. Other times the intention of a cacao ceremony can be catered towards a specific goal such as expressing your soul through movement or healing a past trauma.

RELATED: Emotional Healing With Essential Oils

Once you have decided on your intention, here are the 5 steps to create your own sacred cacao ceremony:

1. Create A Sacred Space

Sacred space is a concept used to describe a space that is established for the intention of healing and connection. I love the tradition of establishing a sacred space because the physical details remind me that I am experiencing something deep and meaningful, and invite me to stay present in the moment. The good thing is – you can’t do it wrong!

Your sacred space can be anywhere – in nature, in a quite room in your home or any place that you’re able to host the ceremony and where you’ll feel safe and able to connect with your intention and energies in fullness.

Once you decide on a sacred space, you should clear any residual energy it currently holds. Some of my favourite ways to clear energy are to burn palo santo, sage, or any of the other sacred herbs.

Next, you can increase the vibration of the space by chanting or playing music. Other ideas to promote the vibration of your intention within the space can include lighting candles, setting up an altar, or calling in the four directions.

Be creative and most importantly, trust your intuition and create your own definition of sacred space.

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Open a sacred space

2. Prepare The Cacao

Sacred cacao is often provided in raw blocks. It’s important to note that you acquire high-quality ceremonial grade cacao. The most direct source of sacred cacao is from the cacao shaman, Keith, in Guatemala. There are other fantastic distributors; I would encourage you to look around and read about the cacao you are purchasing to ensure it is harvested sustainably, traditionally, and with the intention of healing.

Sacred cacao recipe:

Notes: I prefer the taste of cacao in its bitter form, but you can add a sweetener if that’s your preference. You can adjust the cacao-to-water ratio based on your personal preference for consistency, however this is a nice ratio to start working with. As you begin working more and more with cacao, you may want to add other spices such as those suggested. Explore and experiment to your heart’s content!

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 oz of cacao
  • Half a cup of water
  • Pinch of chilli or cayenne pepper
  • Sweetener such as honey or agave (optional)
  • Spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, or vanilla (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Enter a meditative and reflective mindset as you chop the cacao into smaller pieces so that it can soften into hot water
  2. Heat the water to just before a boil and add the cacao shavings
  3. Use a whisk to stir until you find a smooth texture
  4. In accordance with tradition, add the pinch of chilli
  5. Add the sweetener any any other spices you are including.

prepare the cacao

3. Give Gratitude & Declare Your Intention

Giving gratitude is one of the most effective and immediate ways to enter the heart-space. It is also perhaps, the most powerful healer. Before drinking cacao I like to take the time to thank the rain and soil that cultivated the cacao plant, the hands that picked and dried the beans, the clean water which we have to drink, and so on. You could give gratitude for these things also and/or that which you are grateful for.

After giving gratitude, reaffirm your intention by asking cacao to help you. For example:

  • “Cacao, allow me to work through the deep pain I am holding onto in my heart”
  • “Cacao, help me express myself authentically in my yoga practice“.

Practice affirming your intentions out loud. Our voices are extremely powerful tools and you may notice energetic shifts as your words echo through your sacred space.

Give Gratitude And Set Intention

4. Drink The Cacao

Smell the aroma of the cacao before drinking it and then indulge in each sip, allowing the medicine to permeate through your body. The cacao may be felt in your body immediately, or it may take around 20 minutes to begin feeling a buzzy. At this point you will experience more blood flowing to your brain and your heart, and focus may become easier. Release expectations and listen to your body as energies begin to shift.

5. Activate Your Intention

Allow the energy of cacao and your intuition to take you where you need to go.

  • If your intention is inner processing – you may find that you want to meditate, journal, or embark on a shamanic journey.
  • If your intention is self-expression – you may want to sing, create music, or practice a movement modality.

There is no right way to access your soul. Allow cacao to enhance the experience that is meant for you, whether is hiking through the forest or allowing your artistic side to shine through.

For additional information, I share further learnings about cacao & ceremony in this podcast episode (press the play button to begin listening):

Important Health Notes

  • Do not consume caffeine or alcohol prior to cacao.
  • Drink plenty of water, especially towards the end of your ceremony. If you find you have a headache you may be dehydrated, drank too much cacao, or are detoxing with cacao’s assistance.
  • Cacao can’t be digested by dogs and some other pets, so make sure to keep it away from them. It can be fatal.
  • Antidepressants with MAOIs contraindicate with cacao and can lead to severe headaches.
  • Cacao is a vasodilator and pumps more blood through the heart. Be mindful of your dosage if you have a heart condition.

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About Cacao Ceremony Training

If you would like information about the cacao ceremony training I provide, I’d be happy to share or discuss it with you. Please email me at [email protected]

If you’re yet to host a cacao ceremony, I invite you to first have a go following the process outlined above. This experience will help you understand what training and guidance you’d like from me, if at all.

And of course, feel free to ask me any questions or share your experiences, using the comment section below.

Have you ever participated in a sacred cacao ceremony? Or have you got a question for me about hosting your own? Help inspire the thousands of women who visit CASA DE KARMA each month, by sharing your stories and questions in the comment section below. I can’t wait to hear from you. 

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P.S. Who do you know that might enjoy this guide to creating a cacao healing ceremony? Share it with them now, they’ll thank you for it later!

Mona Moon
Mona Moon Shamanic Healing Practitioner

Mona is a shamanic healing practitioner, yoga teacher and workshop facilitator specialising in ceremony. After spending two years traveling through the Peruvian jungle to Venezuela's Caribbean Islands and learning from the land and studying from elders' Mona returned to the United States and found her first teacher of shamanism, who initiated her into the Q'ero lineage of mesa carriers. Mona continues to use the Q'ero teachings as the foundation for her healing practices. In 2016 she traveled to Guatemala to study with a shaman who introduce her to sacred plant medicine. Since then she's enjoyed working with cacao as a powerful heart-opening medicine.

SHOWHIDE Comments (35)
  1. Thanks for sharing this beautiful guide Mona… Could you elaborate on the healing chemical properties that ceremonial grade cacao retains? Would love to know more. Xx

    1. Of course! Cacao is a superfood, meaning it’s especially beneficial for health and well-being. Among its healing properties include:
      – Highest naturally occurring source of MAGNESIUM, which is used in brain functions such as concentration and memory
      – Highest naturally occurring source of CHROMIUM
      – Contains many neurochemicals and neuromodulators whose release create new neural pathways based on joy and connection. Among them are: norepinephrine (joy molecule), serotonin (essential for well-being), dopamine (vital for experiencing pleasure), anandamide (the bliss molecule), and PEA (which renders excitement and attention)
      – Contains the alkaloid theobromine, which relaxes blood vessels allowing more blood circulation. Blood flushes the heart and the brain, and nutrients are better absorbed.
      – Cacao is BITTER! The bitterness stimulates the liver and serves as a detoxifier, also stimulating a release of emotions.

      There are many more positive benefits of cacao, but it’s important to realize that it’s the combination of chemicals functioning together which produces the overall medicinal quality.

  2. This is brilliant Mona, so helpful and informative, thank you. I’m inspired to try my own cacao healing ceremony, but also to do one with friends.

    1. That’s great, Alyssa! Follow your intuition. You can drink cacao alone, with friends, or in a larger group. Keep us posted on how your cacao ceremony goes <3 <3 <3

  3. I remember seeing an event for cacao ceremony and thought it was so cool. Love the idea of creating the experience at home, will have to try it one day!

  4. I am in Bali on retreat and experienced Lady Cacao in a ceremony today (New Year’s Day 2018). As she coursed through my body during meditation afterwards, she encouraged me to seek training in her deep feminine powers. Can you please tell me more? Thank you.

    1. How beautiful, Kate! Which retreat were you on? And what perfect timing to experience the heart-opening magic of Lady Cacao. My recommendation is to take time to integrate after the experience, allowing her teachings to ground into your every day reality. You can continue working with her energy for many days afterward.

      Depending on your location, there may be certain in-person training programs that teach one to work with her energy. I offer online coaching via a 3 month program to develop your personal connection with her wisdom teachings. I can send you an e-mail with more information if you comment below!

      Much love,
      Mona

  5. Thank you dear Mona! The retreat is Bali Transform and Transcend Mew Year 2017 with Sydney Campos. I live in Sydney but your online course sounds great. Would love more information emailed to me. Deeply appreciated! In gratitude and love, Kate

  6. Hi Mona, thank you for sharing your experience! it was inspiring reading it as I am preparing for holding the space for a group cacao ceremony in Denmark.
    I was wondering if you have experience with any cacao other then Keith’s? If so, what type would you recommend, powder, paste, nibs, whole beans, should it be the ‘raw’ type?

    1. Dear Radu,

      How beautiful that you are preparing to hold space. It’s truly an honor, and I find that through holding space my heart opens even more deeply than I could have ever thought possible.

      I do enjoy sourcing from Keith, and prefer the cacao in a paste/bar as I find it has the most integrity. I do have another supplier in the USA (Firefly Chocolate) who I enjoy. I do not recommend powder, as I find that it doesn’t contain the essence of the plant. Cacao nibs are great for munching on, but not necessarily for ceremonial purposes.

      And yes, it should not only be raw but ceremonial as well. Not all raw chocolate has the ancestral genetics that carry the spirit of Lady Cacao. Make sure that you are sourcing from a ceremonial cacao supplier who sources the beans from sacred land, where the cacao is farmed with the intention of ceremony.

      All the best,
      Mona

  7. Hi there, thank you for this amazing post! I am co-facilitating a Cacao ceremony in Oxfordshire, UK. Warm wishes Amanda

    1. You can drink Cacao any time your heart calls for it. Just remember that it is a mild stimulant, so it may keep you up for 2-3 hours after drinking. I typically drink cacao in the AM and host ceremonies in the early evening.

  8. thankyou so much for this – I am hosting my first cacao ceremony for friends at my home. i am excited to heal and open together, Would you happy if i used some of the cacao scientific information in my facebook invite to my friends? thankyou and love xxxx

    1. Dear Kate,

      I’m so glad that you enjoyed the article! Congratulations on hosting your first cacao ceremony – an intimate gathering is so nice and always brings forth connection. Feel free to share this info with a link back to the main article!

      Many blessings,
      Mona

  9. Dear Mona

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom about Cacao – really helpful and inspiring.

    In meditation this morning, a message clearly came to me about working with the Cacao plant and holding ceremonies.

    I went to a Cacao Ceremony in London a few years ago, hosted by Rebekah Shaman. Other than that, I like good quality high percentage dark chocolate 🙂 and know that in her true form, she is deeply powerful yet gentle and heart-opening.

    I am transitioning to work with breath, movement, sound, voice and energy healing. (I am a yogi/shaman – working with the Inca lineage – the Q’ero). I feel that I want to connect more with plants and plant consciousness. Holding cacao ceremonies would weave beautifully with the work I do and important to help people on their journey of full heart awakening.

    I would be interested in doing the 3-month on-line training with you, if that is still open. I would appreciate you contacting me via email xx

    Love & blessings

    Sabina

    1. Dear Sabina,

      I’m so happy that the article was helpful and inspiring for you. And what a beautiful message to receive from the cacao spirit. If you feel it in your heart, then you are ready.

      I will e-mail you privately so that we can connect about the training.

      With love,
      Mona

  10. Hi Mona,

    Thank you for sharing this. I really enjoyed reading and learning.

    I have recently started hosting women’s circles and would love to share a cacao ceremony with them. Do you think that would be safe or it can it be dangerous for me to do this with no real training with cacao ceremonies for a group? Do you have any advice on how I should move forward?

    Thank you!

    Alice xxx

    1. Hi Alice,

      I’m so glad that you enjoyed reading this article! And how exciting to hear that cacao ceremonies are calling your name.

      Preparing cacao for oneself and friends is a beautiful way to spend time together, but hosting a ceremony is an entirely different ballgame 😉 I highly encourage anyone hosting ceremony to receive training in cacao ceremony facilitation. There is a wealth of experience that goes into hosting a ceremony – mythology, the goddess, emotional release, the energetics of ceremony, shamanic journey, etc.

      I offer a 4 month cacao facilitation program that prepares you to host ceremonies for your community. This is the perfect way to get started! I’ll send you more info in your e-mail.

      With love,
      Mona Moon

  11. Hi Mona!

    Like Alice’s comment above, I am interested in hosting and holding ceremony as well and am interested in the training you offer. I am starting to co-host yoga/ meditation and wellness retreats and would love to incorporate this as well.

    Thank you!

    1. Dear Christine,

      I’m delighted to hear that you feel called to complement your offerings with the transformative presence of cacao. I’ve sent you an e-mail with information about the cacao facilitation training.

      I look forward to connecting soon!

      With love,
      Mona Moon

  12. I have met Kieth, and I would not consider Kieth a “shaman”, but thats my own personal experience.
    And I believe in buying locally. Cacao is grown in many different countries in the world. So I would strongly disagree with your statement that you should buy from Kieth unless only you are in Guatemala. Is he paying you to advertise for him? Why would someone doing a ceremony in Ecuador buy cacao from Kieth in Guatemala since there is better cacao available in Ecuador???

    1. Dear Ryan,

      There are certainly many opinions about where and who to buy cacao from.

      Buying local is always a beautiful option.

      At the same time, I honor the ancestral heritage of plants. Because cacao was held sacred to the people of Meso-America, the cacao grown there still retains much of this ancient memory. I enjoy buying from Guatemala and her surrounding regions because the mythology of that region resonates deeply with me and I feel the cacao spirit alive in the plant. Other people may have connections with different parts of the world, and that’s what brings diversity and color into the world of ceremony. I don’t view it as a point of disagreement; I embrace it.

      As for buying from different regions, I have international students from all over the world … many who grow and send me their own cacao. I think this is wonderful! If you take the time to read my article and aforementioned comments carefully, you’ll notice that I say intention and the method of cultivation is the most important factor.

      Is the cacao grown with the intention of ceremonial use?
      Is the cacao grown sustainably, in harmony with nature?

      I don’t believe in right or wrong “beliefs” or that one type of cacao is “better” than another. I always suggest you follow your heart!

      With respect,
      Mona

  13. Hello Mona !!

    My name is Emily and I’ve recently been reading about the benefits of cacao and cacao ceremonies online. I find it all really interesting and I’d love to learn more about it!
    I’m a certified yoga instructor and I think that someday I’d love to host a cacao ceremony of my own. Do you think , with enough research and care, I could hold a ceremony even if I haven’t attended one? And do you know of any cacao ceremonies in the states? I’d love to hear back from you 🙂 thank you

    1. Greetings Emily!

      Cacao ceremony is a beautiful complement to yoga. Cacao is like an activator: she enhances any physical exercise or experience allowing you to connect more deeply with your body.

      In terms of hosting ceremony – this is a wonderful question and one that I receive often. I’m delighted that you thought to ask!

      I’ll share with you my opinion: a cacao ceremony is a sacred offering, much like sweatlodge. One can certainly read directions about how to host a sweatlodge, but that doesn’t prepare one to host one. Similarly, knowing how to do sun salutations does not qualify one to teach yoga.

      What’s important is that the spirit of cacao chooses you, and that you take the adequate mentorship to prepare yourself for the journey as a ceremony guide. This preparation will look differently for everyone.

      Some facilitators go to cacao ceremony training programs, which are more like yoga teacher training. Some engage in a virtual mentorship, which I offer. Each has her/his own path.

      For those who are just beginning to connect with cacao, I recommend indulging in your personal connection first. It’s the intimate bond with the cacao spirit that provides a safe and sturdy foundation to host ceremony.

      If you search Facebook for cacao ceremonies in your area, you’re bound to find a few! Good luck on your search, and please don’t hesitate to ask more qiestions.

      With love,
      Mona

  14. Hi Mona,

    In the last few years I have experienced many different ways to get back in touch with the essence of life, which in my opinion is love. Love for ourselves, followed by love for others, nature and last but definitely not least animals. One of the most powerful experiences was a cacao ceremony I did on Koh Phangan! It really opened up my heart and I felt strongly connected to literally everything; emotions, my body, the past, my passions, and the whole universe.

    I have always known with certainty that my purpose in this life is to help heal the planet, I just never knew in what way I could have the biggest impact and was scared to fail I think. First I thought to save animals, or maybe educate people about how to work with nature instead of against it, but also those things never felt 100%.
    Then I discovered that I first needed to completely heal myself before I could truly live up to this purpose, which was a extremely difficult but beautiful process (and still is off course).. Anyway, I feel I have now finally found my part of the big puzzle and that is to focus on also helping others to heal themselves, from where they will automatically also treat the environment with all its beautiful creatures better.

    Currently I’m bursting with ideas and am super motivated to act them out. I would love to know how I can learn from you about hosting cacao ceremonies as I know how much it could help me help others! I would be great if you can email me about this.

    Im 29 yo and from the Netherlands btw.

    Hope to hear from you soon,

    Cheers Thaila

  15. Wow, Talia!

    What an inspirational post. I’m honored that you chose to share your journey here, and have savored every single word.

    I will send you a private e-mail with some possibilities for getting started.

    With love,
    Mona

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