What Is a Cacao Ceremony?
Cacao ceremonies are cultural rituals most famously practiced by Mayan communities. They have recently grown in popularity in the West and have evolved in the process. Modern Cacao ceremonies are not religious
but can feel spiritual, much like a yoga or breathwork class.
Because the cultures who have cultivated Cacao have varying methods, facilitators may lead Cacao ceremonies differently. However, Cacao ceremonies in general maintain some commonalities:
A gathering of community members (all newcomers welcome) in a safe space
A blessing, setting of an intention, or collective "dropping in"
CL circles include a modern interpretation and discussion of Mayan or Western astrology
Drinking Cacao together during group discussion or journaling
A meditation guided by the facilitator with words or sound
A post-meditation check-in
Why Attend a Cacao Ceremony?
Cacao ceremonies are supportive experiences that build community. Some of the added benefits can include:
mental and emotional clarity
a connection to your inner child
moving through emotional blockages
self-love and self-care
deeper self-connection with an elevated mood
The Ceremonial Space
Modern Cacao ceremonies are popping up everywhere. From yoga studios to workplaces, drinking Cacao in circle or ceremony is a popular way to bring people together, no matter where you are. There are some techniques that help create a safe and inviting environment while respecting some of the cultural traditions around Cacao ceremonies. You may find an altar, often adorned with flowers, candles, and other representations of the sacred elements (earth, water, fire and air).
You may also find instruments. Cacao ceremonies often include traditional songs or a sound bath as a part of the experience. Many facilitators cleanse the space by smudging, or burning of herbs, wood, or resin.
How to Prepare for a Cacao Ceremony
To prepare for a Cacao ceremony, we suggest you leave your expectations behind and come as you are. You may want to arrive with an intention, while leaving room for your intention to change or evolve. We recommend you have an empty stomach (eat a few hours before), so you can more quickly digest your Cacao. Cacao is psychoactive not psychedelic, so you may experience a change of state like other mild plant stimulants. Feel free to bring a journal if you enjoy writing your thoughts and insights. Wear comfortable clothing. Please alert the facilitator to any allergies or potential contraindications you may have.
What to Expect from your Cacao Facilitator
A Cacao facilitator’s job is to create a safe container for expression. Facilitators are sometimes called “guides” because throughout the ceremony, they will lead you through an experience that includes mindfulness practices known to support emotional connection, presence, and community connection. You can expect that your facilitator has been working with Cacao for some time and is in mentorship with someone more deeply connected to it than themselves. While it is recommended, not all facilitators are trauma informed. This means that you should research your facilitator, the lineage they come from, and their teaching styles to decide if they are right for you. Cacao and Cacao ceremonies are an inclusive practice. If at any point your facilitator or the community makes you feel unsafe, unseen or unheard speak up or step away.
How Do I Integrate My Experience?
Cacao ceremonies can often feel transformative. You may receive immediate insight about yourself or your life. You may also continue to digest your experience slowly over time. After the Cacao ceremony has concluded, make sure to drink lots of water and be gentle with yourself. Keep a notepad or journal nearby to jot down any thoughts. Feel free to share your experiences with friends and family.
How Can I Benefit from a Cacao Practice Without a Ceremony?
Cacao ceremonies are wonderful, but they are not for everyone. Remember that Cacao ceremonies are a cultural practice that may not resonate with you. You can still integrate Cacao into your regular life. Try drinking it before meditation, or have a cup at the start of your day as a coffee alternative. A regular Cacao ritual just means you consume Cacao with consistency in a way that is meaningful to you. You can drink it alone, or in communion with someone special.
You can also use it in cooking, adding it to smoothies or making your own chocolate at home. The possibilities are endless. Get creative or head over to our recipe page for some quick and easy Cacao recipes.
Want to learn more?
Join our Cacao 101 with Florencia Fridman to understand Cacao more deeply