When we first moved to our little town in the Hudson Valley of New York State a few years ago, I hooked up with a women’s group where we danced, shared, and drank ceremonial cacao. I’d never tried the stuff before, but I loved it as well as the ceremony that went along with it.
Of course, then the pandemic happened, and group events were canceled. A few months ago I decided I could do my own ritual and have been doing it twice a week ever since. I find my little ceremony to be calming and uplifting, a way to slow down, ponder, and re-center. This helps me be more productive in the rest of my week, so I see it as an investment of time.
Ceremonial cacao is a drink made from cacao that hasn’t had the butter removed. The cacao has been lightly toasted and fermented, so it’s less processed than cocoa. There are numerous health benefits attributed to ceremonial cacao, but I don’t know how much its properties have actually been researched. I’ll just say that I feel great after I drink it. I purchase mine from Soul Lift Cacao, though there are several great sources.
Unlike, say, a cup of hot chocolate, ceremonial cacao has little to no sweetener. I put a small amount of honey in mine after the cacao cools a bit (raw honey is never meant to be cooked), but I’m moving gradually toward no sweetener. The flavor is bold because of the amount of cacao used.
Here’s how I do my personal cacao ceremony:
- Before chopping the cacao, I take a good, long sniff of it. It helps set the tone for my brain that the ceremony is coming.
- I gather my materials, including good, filtered water, spices such as cinnamon, vanilla, and a pinch of chili powder, and a special cup and saucer that’s fancier than my everyday teacups.
- I chop the cacao into small pieces so it melts more easily. I use 1/4 cup, but if you’re starting out, start with less. Too much too soon can cause the body to rebel.
- I heat the cacao with some of the water in a double boiler, heating it gradually and adding the spices.
- Once it’s heated, I take it off of the stove, let it cool for a few minutes, then add the honey.
- I then pour myself a cup and go to a quiet space with my planner.
- For planning, I use the Dreambook Planner by Dragontree. It works great with the spirit of cacao! You may have your own favorite, but the Dreambook Planner helps me set goals and intentions, but also acknowledge gratitude and self-care.
- Once I’ve settled in, I say a prayer of thanks for everyone who grows, processes, and ships the cacao to me. I also ask for guidance from angels, guides, and the Fair Folk.
- I review my week to see what I’ve accomplished, what I learned, what stressed me, etc. I also look at my monthly and quarterly goals to see how I’m doing.
- Next, I use this information to think about the coming week.
- While I’m doing these reviews, I take small sips of the cacao after each section to let it in. I think one of the biggest benefits is the process of slowing myself down.
- Once I’m finished, I give a prayer of thanks again and close the ceremony with a sip of cacao.
Since I’ve been doing this, I find myself more creative, more disciplined, and less scattered. If you feel so inclined, give it a try!