How to have a Cacao ceremony at home?

Holding a cacao ceremony is all about taking a moment to rebalance your energies and entering a state of mindfulness whilst focusing on gratitude and intentions.

You can prepare for this ceremony as little or as much as you like, there is no right or wrong way, it is all about going with what feels best for you. As a trained cacao facilitator and someone who personally incorporates cacao rituals into my own weekly routines, I have outlined my personal preferred way of hosting an at-home cacao ceremony whilst honouring this sacred drink and ancient traditions. 

I have started with a few frequently asked questions, however if you feel confident and are just looking for a new ritual ideas, you can skip ahead to the ceremony steps below.

When should I hold my ceremony?

You can hold your cacao ceremony at any time of day, however, I recommend holding them in the morning to avoid the busy distractions of life or late afternoon to make the most out of your intention setting for the day or week ahead.

What should I know before I start my ceremony?

Honouring the history of this sacred drink should play a role in your ceremony as you give thanks. The history of cacao dates back thousands of years, and  I strongly believe that the more you understand the ancient traditions and ancients discoveries, the deeper your connection will be with this sacred plant.

Cacao’s scientific name is Theobroma cacao which translates to ‘food for the Gods’. This is because the ancients believed that the cacao pod was in the shape of a heart and when you prepare a drink it has the colour of blood, and also the feeling they had after consuming the cacao, opened their hearts. Hence the uplifting bliss feeling you have when you consume it.

Cacao pod peru

Traditional ceremonies by ancient Peruvian civilisations date back as early as 5,500 years ago.  The Mayans were possibly the first to write about cacao in the form of hieroglyphs and pictures, found in their tombs and on the vessels to contain their liquid cacao.

One such vessel, dating back to 460-480 A.D., from a Mayan tomb in Río Azul, northeastern Guatemala, possesses the characters that translate to the Olmec and Mayan word, “ka ka wa,” or cacao. This word is a combination of the words meaning “man” and “woman,” referring to how cacao ceremonies represented the unification of man and woman to create life. This is also why it is know as the “rebirth” drink.

Ceremonies also depicted this in the use of molinillo, a specialised whisk that could introduce air into the cacao paste. The molinillo represented masculine energy, while the cacao vessel (your mug or jicara) represented the feminine and the process of whisking the cacao to create air represented the creation of life. Also, known as the “Spirit of Cacao”. 

Whilst we are just skimming the surface of cacao history here, knowing these sorts of insights into the history of cacao can help you shape your ceremony and the process you take to make your drink. 

When choosing which cacao paste to buy ensure you also understand what ceremonial cacao is.

Once you feel comfortable with your knowledge, it’s time to get ready to prepare your at-home cacao ceremony.

Steps to running your own at home cacao ceremony:

  1. Setting up your sacred space:

    First, setup the space or little nook you would like to hold your ceremony. You just need enough room that can sit down comfortably.

    You can put as much or as little effort as you like into your ceremony space. This space is going to be the area you dedicate or create for your connection and healing.

    Whether it is outside in nature or in a cosy nook of your living room, so long as you feel safe and are shut off from any distractions.

    I suggest placing a yoga mat and some cushions on the floor with a small space or table in front of you to act as your altar 

    Make sure you have a journal or piece of paper and pen placed close by ready for step 4.

    cacao sacred space

  2. What should your altar include?

    When thinking about items to have at your altar, firstly, think about something that might represent your intentions, such as a photo, or even write your intensions down on paper and place them on your altar (we cover intension settings in step 4).

    Secondly, remember this is a connection with nature so bring some natural elements in such a candle for protection with the flame, your molinillo whisk or a feather to represent air and a natural rock, shell or crystal to represent the earth.

    Also, we are honouring mother earth, so do not include anything that is not compatible with her, like plastic.

    Once you are happy with your altar continue on to the next step. 

  3. Prepare your ceremonial cacao drink.

    Your ceremony starts from the moment you start preparingSo at this point, it’s important to remember to mindfully connect with every element of the cacao-making process. 

    Step 1: Measure yor cacao drops or shave your cacao block, you’ll want 30-40grams per cup for it to be considered a ceremonial dose.

    Step 2: Youll need a small sauce pan, place your cacao in the sauce pan on a low heat, pour 1 cup of hot water in.

    Note:  If you would like to add plant milk only use half a cup of water with half a cup of milk. (I prefer my cacao without milk, to have it in it’s purest form), you can add honey or vanilla to sweeten if needed.

    I like to use hot water from the tap or kettle, note, you do not want the water to reach boiling point. Boiled water can less the vitamins and phytonuritents in cacao.

    Stir your cacao until it has melted, whilst stirring start to think about your intensions and give thanks to the farmers and those that make your drink possible. Once melted turn off the stove and mindfully pour your cacao into your mug, save a small amount and set it to the side (this is to give to mother earth).

    Step 3: Using your molinillo (or small whisk), whisk your cacao until bubbles appear, take a moment to deepen your connection and see the whisk as an extension of you connecting with the liquid.

    Feel free to take a sip at anytime. 

  4. Set your intensions:

    Now it’s time to go back to you sacred space that you setup in step 1.  If using sage to cleanse yourself and your space, now is a good time to do so, before you sit down. 

    Light the candle on your altar.

    How to set your intensions: Some people like to set their intensions whilst making their cacao or before they begin, again - whatever feels right to you. I like to dedicate my sacred space to intention settings to bring in good positive energies to my space and altar objects. 

    If you’re unsure where to start with you intensions, an intension is just something you want to align with more in your life. This could be an aim or purpose, but most importantly your intension must come from the heart.

    An intension can be as simple as:

    “Today I will make conscious choice to only eat food that nourishes and energises my body” or “I accept myself as enough, i am beautiful and i accept my flaws and forgive myself for any past mistakes i may have made, i am ready to walk through life positively and I welcome abundance, i am enough”. 

    Some prompts to set your intensions:

    - What can I release or let go of in life to help me move forward more positively

    - What do I want to call into my life and how can I heal my self to allow space for this?

    -Is my intension internal or do I want to provide something to the community

    When you're ready write you intension down.

    Now hold you cacao drink to your heart and say your intensions outloud. Take a sip and feel the cacao.

    Connect through your body and spirit.

  5. Begin your ceremony.

    Well, technically your ceremony began the moment you started preparing your cacao. But now that you're seated and clear on your intensions. It’s time to say your thanks and honour this sacred drink. You can continue sipping your cacao throughout.

    Inspired by one of my cacao teachers, I have written my own cacao thank you prayer that you can use below if you need, I say this prayer when making and preparing all my cacao drinks, even in group ceremonies.

    Thank you great spirit, for this beautiful opportunity to work with this cacao. I ask you to help me connect with spiritual and physical humanity, to be present and guide me on my path.

    I give thanks to Pachamama, Mother Earth, for everything that she gives us, the farmers who made this possible and to the communities and cultures whom we have learnt this ancient  practice from.”

    Now Meditate for 5-10 minutes. Holding your intensions and thanks in your mind. Be present, still and simply ground yourself.

    You can use a guided meditation track or listen to a beautiful song, one i love to play is Cosmic Soul lotus, which goes for about 6 minutes. 

    Once your meditation has finished, end with 5 mindful deep breathes in an out.

    Hold you cacao to your heart and say “I am here, I am present and I will honour my intensions today and beyond, thank you mother earth, spirit and cacao. Thank you.”

And that wraps up your at home cacao ceremony. 

Remember this is just my own personal guide, you can altar this as much as you like. The main thing is to ensure you honour the drink and where it comes from whilst setting intensions from the heart .

cacao farmer
Photo: Rolando is a native Peruvian from the Amazonian jungle who is proudly dedicated to the production of organic and fair-traded cacao. Rolando's cacao represents the courage and perseverance of many farmers who decided to sow the best, finest cacao in the world in the face of adversity. Rolando is one of the amazing farmers our partners source our cacao from.