How To Hold A Cacao Ceremony For Yourself
Whether you are experienced with Cacao, or just starting your journey of discovering what a powerful medicine it is, you most probably are aware that it’s not to be taken casually with the cup in one hand and a phone in the other. Receiving the heart-opening blessing of Cacao takes receptiveness and mindfulness - only then will we be able to unlock the full healing potential of this plant. Therefore, a way to treat this plant teacher with the openness and respect it deserves, is through a ceremony.
Cacao Ceremony is typically a communal practice, but it’s when we sit with the medicine ourselves that we tap into the thinner realms, the healing power of the Earth and the magic of our own. There is no right or wrong way to accessing your soul - that is why your personal Cacao ceremony is to be adjusted according to your inner calling; but in this article we have collected some key milestones that will help you reconnect with your most receptive and peaceful self - from this state, claiming the blessings of Cacao.
What will you find in this article?
- Preparation tips prior to your ceremony
- Why a sacred space is important and how to prepare your space
- Grounding techniques to get you in the flow state
- Ways to connect with Cacao and direct your intentions
- Activities to activate your intention: inner processing and self-expression
Because, while in ceremony, we are working with energy - it is important to make sure you’re bringing only what serves you into the space. Side note: Don’t feel pressed about experiencing difficult emotions before opening the space - those dense energies within yourself are for you to transmute. Whereas, what we do not want in our system and our field is toxins, stress and low-frequency information from the media. This is why, we highly encourage you to follow a preparation based on spiritual hygiene and clean diet.
Substance: Abstain from alcohol, nicotine and other heavy substances, such as drugs, unnecessary medication and caffeine.
Food: We recommend following a clean vegan diet a few days prior to your ceremony. The lighter your diet is, the cleaner your body and perception will be, when Cacao enters your system. Focus on eating fresh & unprocessed. Also, fasting is one of the best ways to prepare your body, and we recommend staying off food at least for 4 hours before your ceremony. Remember to stay hydrated.
Vibes: Keep your mind centered throughout the day - you want to wake up with an intention to stay away from unnecessary drama, fear-based news and garbage from social media. Take your time to decondition and unplug from the noise of the city.
2. Sacred Space
Sacred space is a concept used to describe a space that is established for the intention of healing and connection. Good news: there is no right or wrong! You are welcome to use any tools and physical items to remind you of how deep and meaningful your experience is, and do everything to make sure you are safe, comfortable and unbothered. It can be in nature or indoors - whatever makes you feel connected and present.
There are two common steps in preparation of your sacred steps: energy clearing and energy elevation.
Energy clearing is the practice of removing any low-vibrational information from the room. A tradition of smudging the space with sacred herbs can be found in nearly every culture around the world. Set an intention to purify the space you’re in from anything that does not serve your Highest good and choose what you feel most drawn to: Palo Santo, Sage, Sweetgrass, Tobacco, any other incense or your local herbs.
Now, energy elevation is when you fill your space with healing and loving energy. This can be done by welcoming Love into the room through prayer, setting up an altar, lighting candles, singing from the depths of your heart, or playing music. Remember to trust your intuition and do what makes your heart resonate - this way; you will never do something because it is widely practiced. but rather because your soul is calling you to create your sacred space in a most authentic way.
Before we get to the main part of the ceremony, we need to ground into the present moment to increase our receptiveness and tune in with our inner voice. Some of the many ways to achieve this state of flow and tranquility are:
- Mindfulness Meditation: observe your thoughts without judgement and attachment for 10-15 minutes
- Reconnecting with the Earth: in your mind’s eye visualize roots growing from the base of your spine, welcoming in Love and Peace
- Breathing Exercises: breath exercises are known for reducing anxiety, quieting the mind, and bringing relaxation
If you have some grounding techniques of your own, you are welcome to explore those in your ceremony and find what works best for you. Here we are going to provide two easy breathing exercises to reconnect you with your body, mind and spirit.
Step 1: Belly Breathing
- Sit or lie flat in a comfortable position.
- Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let your belly push your hand out. Your chest should not move.
- Breathe out through pursed lips as if you were whistling. Feel the hand on your belly go in, and use it to push all the air out.
- Do this breathing 3 to 10 times. Take your time with each breath.
Exercise 1: 4-7-8 Breathing
- To start, put one hand on your belly and the other on your chest as in the belly breathing exercise.
- Take a deep, slow breath from your belly, and silently count to 4 as you breathe in.
- Hold your breath, and silently count from 1 to 7.
- Breathe out completely as you silently count from 1 to 8. Try to get all the air out of your lungs by the time you count to 8.
- Repeat 3 to 7 times or until you feel calm.
- Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.
Exercise 2: Roll Breathing
- Put your left hand on your belly and your right hand on your chest. Notice how your hands move as you breathe in and out.
- Practice filling your lower lungs by breathing so that your "belly" (left) hand goes up when you inhale and your "chest" (right) hand remains still. Always breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. Do this 8 to 10 times.
- When you have filled and emptied your lower lungs 8 to 10 times, add the second step to your breathing: inhale first into your lower lungs as before, and then continue inhaling into your upper chest. Breathe slowly and regularly. As you do so, your right hand will rise and your left hand will fall a little as your belly falls.
- As you exhale slowly through your mouth, make a quiet, whooshing sound as first your left hand and then your right hand fall. As you exhale, feel the tension leaving your body as you become more and more relaxed.
- Practice breathing in and out in this way for 3 to 5 minutes. Notice that the movement of your belly and chest rises and falls like the motion of rolling waves.
- Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.
4. Setting Intentions & Drinking Cacao
You are sitting in a room full of candles; the smoke of Palo Santo is rising towards the sky - you are tranquil, peaceful, and ready to go deeper. It’s time to get to the main part: your cup of ceremonial Cacao. If you are not sure where to get ceremonial Cacao or how to prepare it for your ceremony - do not worry, follow the highlighted links and let them take you to all the information you need.
Before we get to the first sip of this godly drink, we often set our intentions and appeal to the Spirit of Cacao. You may apply this to your practice however you see fit. but an intention or a request for the medicine is a crucial part of the process - what are you going to find if you do not know what you are looking for? Some questions you might want to ask yourself before finding an intention that speaks to you in this moment:
- What do I want to release?
- What do I want to call in?
- What do I want to find out about myself?
- What part of my life could use more Love?
- What aspect of my healing journey am I honouring?
When you have found the question, press the cup against your chest and realize that all the answers are within yourself. The medicine is simply a guide, a gateway to the deeper parts of your soul. Direct your intentions into your Cacao, and, when you feel that connection between your heart center and the medicine is at its peak - start drinking.
5. Activating your intentions
What comes after, once you have physically connected with Cacao, depends on what was the intention you had set. The practices within a Cacao ceremony are infinitely diverse, varying from facilitator to facilitator, and are chosen according to what one is trying to achieve in their communication with the Spirit. But, as soon as we zoom out, we’ll see that there are two broad categories: Inner Processing and Outer Expression.
If you intend to get to know yourself better and work on your reactions, emotions or experiences - it is best to go deeper within. Some techniques you may find very powerful in this case would be meditation and shamanic journeying, self-reflection practices in the form of journaling and oracle card reading, or perhaps, some more serious breath work, such as holotropic, rebirthing or shamanic breathing.
On the other hand, if you have a desire to shine your light and feel your brightest, most authentic and confident self, you may find yourself called to many beautiful ways to express yourself and tap into creative realms. One of the powerful effects of ceremonial cacao is enhanced creativity and deeper focus - so singing, dancing and creating with your hands are a way to go. Also, you could find yourself very alive and physically alert: in this case, you could direct this energy into bodily movement.
6. Closing the ceremony
When it feels like you have found what you were looking for (or maybe even something bigger that you’d thought), take your time to give yourself some caring attention before you close the ceremony. You might want to have some rest in the space you have created for yourself. Contemplate, recharge, nurture. It’s a good idea to express your gratitude for the medicine, for this space, for all the healing and Love present in your ceremony. Maybe, you’ll realize you want to share this warm presence with someone - tell your people how loved and appreciated they are, or simply in your mind’s eye direct this love to a place where it’s needed. State what you are grateful for. Shine your Light. Embody the Love.