Updated: Jul 2
Fallen in love with cacao, but not sure how to have a ceremony at home? Here we chat to Suzie from Ahimsa Plant Healing, a natural healer and cacao ceremony leader. She explains how to create your own cacao ceremony at home.
What is the purpose of a cacao ceremony?
Today cacao ceremonies come in many forms. Each is based around the act of creating a sacred space to experience the deeply heart-opening and healing medicine of cacao. The ceremonies I lead are intended for personal healing and transformation while empowering Earth guardians. I look to inspire conscious change for the co-creation of a new, more sustainable world. But this is just me - you can create your own intention for your ceremony!
How to set an intention for your ceremony
If you're not sure what you want the purpose of your ceremony to be, I recommend getting a journal or piece of paper and a pen ready. Sit down, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Place one hand on your chest above your heart and ask, ‘What do I need?’.
Allow yourself to write down any answers that come. If you’re still unsure, that’s fine too! You can simply ask the mama cacao to take you where you need to go.
How often should we do a cacao ceremony?
I would recommend drinking a ceremonial dose no more than once a week. You can drink smaller amounts (less than 20g) every day if desired. Many people like to incorporate it into their morning routine.
How to create a cacao ceremony at home
There are no strict rules, so feel free to allow your intuition to guide you! Here are a few of my favourite ways to create your own cacao ceremony,
Prepare for your cacao ceremony
Plan the ceremony when you’ll have a couple of undisturbed hours. I like to choose the full or new moons, or other sacred days to enhance the energies.
For the cacao to be most effective, begin the ceremony on an empty stomach. It's wise to eat lightly and avoid caffeine that day too.
Before you start, I recommend taking a bath or shower (I like to add flowers, essences, and salts) to cleanse yourself. Alternatively, go barefoot in nature for a few minutes.
You might want to put on special clothes and jewellery, or perhaps just something super comfy, whatever feels right for you.
Spend a few moments contemplating or journalling your intentions. Check in with how you’ve been feeling and any challenges or blessings you’re experiencing.
Set up your sacred space
You might want to put on some relaxing music, light a candle, and cleanse your room using herbal sticks (like sage), incense, or resins (obviously being careful with fire). You can also call in protection or cast a circle.
Get your journal and pen ready if you have one. You may want to pull a tarot card or use another method of divination to seek guidance for the journey. I like to create a simple altar offering things like fruit, flowers, crystals to the earth and cacao.
Brew your cacao
Once you're set up, it's time to make your medicine! For a full shamanic dose, use 42g of ceremonial grade cacao. If you’re on SSRI antidepressants, have a serious heart condition, sensitive to stimulants, or pregnant, I’d recommend not taking any more than 22g. Start with less if needed.
Mindfully chop your cacao into small pieces, then add to a pan on a low heat and stir until melted.
Slowly whisk in 250ml plant-based milk or water. Add a natural sweetener if desired. Whisk until the cacao has dissolved and the brew has begun to thicken.
You want the cacao to be warm enough to drink but not too hot to destroy some of the nutrients. Quickly blend your cacao mixture before serving if you would like it to be creamy and bubbly.
Sing or speak your intention into your cacao elixir before serving to help increase its potency. Pour into your favourite mug.
Opening the ceremony
Sit in your sacred space with your cacao. Give gratitude, breath deep, and enjoy! You can follow a guided journey, listen to music, meditate, dance, move, write, relax. Enjoy whatever you’re feeling!
I recommend writing down any experiences or insights you have during the ceremony, or sharing them with others. This will help to integrate and ground what you received. It can also be beneficial to spend some time in quiet reflection or meditation in the days after, as cacao can work with us for some time after the ceremony.
Drink water as desired during and after the ceremony as cacao can have a strongly detoxifying effect on the body. A good way to ground your energy when the ceremony is finished is to eat a nourishing, healthy meal.
With thanks and acknowledgement to…
I must thank my teachers from whom I have learned so much, Serap Kara (Cacao Mama) and Rebekah Shaman (Ritual Cacao) who facilitated a beautiful deepening of my relationship with Cacao. I must also thank Jordan Cohayney, and Keith the Chocolate Shaman, for sharing so much, both in their ceremonies and online. I am grateful for the historical scholarship of Meredith L. Dreiss, Caermon L. Mcneil, and Allen M. Young. And for the nutrition research compiled by Dr Michael Greger, David Wolfe, and Chris Kilham. Most of all, I am deeply grateful to the Spirit of Cacao, Mama Earth, and my own guides, who work through me and support me with incredible patience and tenderness.
Dreiss, M. Chocolate: Pathway to the Gods. University of Arizona Press. 2008.
Mcneil, C L. Chocolate in Mesoamerica: A Cultural History of Cacao. University Press of Florida. 2009.
Sathyapalan, T, Beckett, S, Rigby, A S, Mellor, D D, Atkin, S L. ‘High cocoa polyphenol rich chocolate may reduce the burden of the symptoms in chronic fatigue syndrome’. Nutr J. 2010 Nov 22; 9:55.
Wilson, PK, Jeffrey Hurst, W. Chocolate, and Health: Chemistry, Nutrition and Therapy. Royal Society of Chemistry. 2015.
Wolfe, D. Naked Chocolate: Uncovering the Astonishing Truth About the World’s Greatest Food. North Atlantic Books. 2008.
Young, A M. The Chocolate Tree: A Natural History of Cacao. University Press of Florida. 2007.
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