Have you ever taken part in a cacao ceremony?
Having lived in London for 18 years, I knew about afternoon tea and tea ceremonies but I had never come across a cacao ceremony. It was only when I attended my first Ecstatic Dance event, I was invited to drink cacao before the start of the dance session. The cacao wasn’t just any old cacao from the supermarket, it was the type of cacao that was suppose to give you a “cacaogasm”. A cacao that opens your heart and gives you an oxytocin rush, showering you with the good feels. After finishing my Ecstatic Dance DJ & Facilitator training, I was inspired to include ceremonial cacao at the end of my Ecstatic Dance sessions too. I thought it was better placed towards the end of the dance, than at the beginning. I personally don’t like the thought of dancing with cacao in my belly 🙂 and I felt it goes along nicely with a sharing circle at the end.
How does Ceremonial Cacao work?
Ceremonial cacao comes from the Criollo bean, usually sourced from Peru. In my PDF here, I’ve included a few links as to where to buy the cacao as you can’t get it in a local health store, you mainly need to buy it online. Ceremonial Cacao is a subtle yet potent medicine that helps us be more present in our bodies, feel our emotions more vividly and open up to a deeper connection with ourselves. It’s a supportive companion for anything that requires presence and soft focus.
After having tried my first ceremonial cacao the other day, I noticed the cacao was making me feel more grounded. I could feel myself more anchored in my body. I didn’t necessarily experience a “high” but I felt more present in my body. I wouldn’t recommend the cacao on an empty stomach or late at night, but rather as a treat after having eaten a meal or in the afternoon.
How to make the Ceremonial Cacao?
10-30g Raw Cacao from the Criollo Cacao Bean (usually is sold as raw cacao liquor or paste and looks like a huge, thick block of chocolate or chocolate crumbles
200 ml Nut, Soy or Oats Milk
2 tbsp. Water
Agave Syrup / Stevia / Cane Sugar /
Coconut palm Sugar / Honey/ Dates Syrup
Vanilla Essence or Extract
Put all your carefully selected ingredients in a blender and then heat them up in a boiling pan or skip the blending part and put the ingredients straight into the pan. Do not boil the cacao so the yummy ingredients don’t get lost in the process.
Please note the below is from the active chemicals of true raw ceremonial cacao. Almost all regular chocolate on the market does not have the full bliss chemicals offered. No wonder ceremonial cacao was valued even above gold by the Mayans!
Serotonin: A neurotransmitter commonly known as the “feel-good chemical. Cacao not only supplies the body with serotonin, but also aids the body in producing its own serotonin naturally. Serotonin is well known for its ability to combat stress and improve our mood by promoting the feelings of comfort, contentment, happiness, relaxation, and well-being.
Phenylethylamine (PEA): better known as “the love chemical,” for its association with the giddy excitement one feels when falling in love. When ingested, PEA stimulates the central nervous system to release the body’s natural opium-like compounds called endorphins. PEA signals the body to promote the sensation of alertness, focus, and mental acuity, all while elevating one’s mood, speeding up metabolism, and boosting memory.
Anandamide: in Sanskrit, ananda literally means “bliss,” making anandamide the “bliss chemical” in chocolate. Anandamide is a neurotransmitter found naturally in cacao and also in the human brain (the only two places it has currently been discovered). Anandamide binds to the same receptors sites in the brain as THC from cannabis. Unlike THC, anandamide won’t leave you in a mind-altered state, but, does produce a feeling of euphoria.
Theobromine: this chemical acts as a vasodilator, meaning it relaxes smooth muscle. Benefits of this chemical include enhanced blood flow and oxygenation to the brain in addition to long-term antioxidant properties.
Magnesium: every cell in the body contains this mineral and requires it to function. Magnesium helps increase energy, calms nerves, aids in digestion, and relieves muscle aches and pains (among a whole host of other benefits).
What happens at a Cacao Ceremony?
The session is always set under a specific topic or intention on which the group or the individual would like to focus particularly. Perhaps you would like to devote yourself to a specific question or problem, or simply to give space to a feeling that appears spontaneously and is otherwise rather suppressed.
One or more meditations are also part of the cocoa ceremony. So you can find more and more to yourself, let go of thoughts and look inside. Sounds and chants can follow, free movement and dancing, but also conscious (body) contact with other participants. This, together with the cocoa, can create a trance state for some.
Either way, group gathering is the most original form of such a ritual. The common energies reinforce each other and create community, (self) love and a special collective experience. The cocoa ceremony can therefore have a therapeutic and healing effect, which is why we sometimes talk about healing. A consciousness is ascribed to cocoa, which can significantly determine the course of the ceremony.
In connection with the cocoa, the ceremony should above all have a heart-opening effect, i.e. create and release feelings, bring knowledge and strengthen intuition, vitality and creativity. It ensures a harmonious balance of the top-heavy everyday life. You may know it from the film Chocolat, as well as from numerous illustrations for cocoa and chocolate advertising: with the cocoa and the right spices, a touch of the exotic and a lot of sensuality is always conveyed. In addition, there is a modern, spiritual aspect in the ceremonies.
Click here for my full PDF on Cacao Ceremonies and how to hold Individual or Couple Cacao ceremonies yourself at home.