Do you feel drawn to the beautiful plant spirit of cacao? This powerful plant can connect you with your feelings and help you access deep spiritual insights. Cacao ceremonies are becoming more and more popular, and for good reason! In this blog post, we will explore the sacred magic of cacao ceremonies!
What is Cacao?
Cacao (Theobroma cacao) is a tropical evergreen tree that grows in the Amazon Basin of South America. The beans of the cacao tree are used to make cocoa powder, chocolate, and other products. Cacao has been used by indigenous people for centuries and has many health benefits.
Cacao is steeped in mystery and legend. The ancient Mayans and Aztecs believed that cacao was a gift from the gods, and it was used in religious ceremonies to connect with the divine. Cacao is deeply rooted in shamanic traditions and used as a tool for spiritual exploration and healing. Cacao ceremonies are a modern-day version of these ancient shamanic rituals.
Unlike some plants, you are perfectly okay to drive after consuming cacao. Cacao’s health benefits include improved mood, increased energy, and reduced stress levels from MAOi which interacts with the serotonin in your brain, so just be sure to not be on any other MAOi medication when sitting with cacao to be on the safe side. Cacao also contains caffeine so just being aware if you are someone who is sensitive to caffeine. Today, we know that cacao contains high levels of magnesium, iron, calcium, antioxidants, and other nutrients that support health and well-being.
How to prepare cacao
If using blocks, the cacao is chopped into chips while singing a song to infuse the cacao with intention. Most of those trained in Cacao ceremonies are trained in Guatemala where the Maya once lived, and where there are many beautiful cacao songs sung in Spanish passed on to students. The plant has now touched many lives in many regions (you can find cacao ceremonies all over the world) and there are songs dedicated to cacao in English. When it comes to song, there is no perfect offering, you can sing a song you know, or begin humming a melody and see what words in song pour from your soul.
The cacao is then simmered with water and spices like cinnamon, ancho chili, and vanilla bean. Once it has cooled slightly, it is ready. You can also replace water with plant milk for added creaminess. Usually, if you are using cacao that comes in chips or blocks, you have natural fats still in the cacao which is amazing and creamy on its own as well. If you go with a cacao powder, you may want to use creamy plant milk to add some fat to make it easier to drink and digest.
Two Birds Church Cacao Recipe
- one part cacao chips to three parts almond milk (we get cacao in bulk)
- simmer on stove and stir with love until cacao chips melt
- add cinnamon and non-refined sugar to taste
- pour in cups
- sprinkle rose petals or lavender petals on top
- serve to the community and then begin cacao ceremony, cacao ceremonies are now every Sunday 3:00pm-5:00pm at Two Birds Church (event calendar)
What a Cacao Ceremony is like at Two Birds Church
Once you have your cacao, it is time to prepare for the ceremony. Cacao ceremonies are typically led by a facilitator with a group, but you can also hold cacao ceremonies for yourself! At Two Birds Church, we rotate between facilitators and members of the church, since so many people have so many wonderful things to share.
Energy of a Cacao Ceremony
The plant of Cacao is known to be heart-centered, so wherever there are feelings involved, drinking Cacao opens us up and allows us to feel them. Some other things that can affect a cacao ceremony is the personality of the person leading the cacao ceremony, the themes of the ceremonies, the members who make it out that particular day, and the feeling from the weather and the seasons all contribute to the energy of the cacao ceremony. Some examples of different energies the ceremony leader brings can be playful, loving, serious, or deep.
At a cacao ceremony, there is often a theme. Themes could be related to the change of seasons, a holiday, or something personal to the ceremony leader. Themes help to set the stage and provide an intention for the ceremony. For example, a Winter Solstice cacao ceremony’s theme can be “going within” since that is what winter is about – a time of introspection, slowing down, and hibernation. Themes can also be related to what is going on in the world or in your personal life. For example, a theme could be “healing” if there has been a lot of chaos and you are looking to bring some peace into your life.
At Two Birds Church, we start with an intention setting and then drink the cacao while participating in the theme of the service. It might be a guided meditation or sometimes we have guests come to share spiritual tools like breath work. Then, we take some time to go around in a circle and pass a “talking stone” and while holding the stone, each person has the opportunity to share with the group how they feel if they would like to. During this, we practice authentic listening. Authentic listening is when you listen with the intention to understand, not to reply. This is a powerful tool that can help us open up and feel heard by others. After we have listened to each other, we then take some time for silent reflection before closing the ceremony.
After the ceremony
After the ceremony, you are welcome to hang out with each other on the deck or porch or check out the church gift shop which helps support the church. Sometimes people go to get dinner together after, so if you are looking to spend more time with people just ask around if anyone is looking to go get some food, usually a group will form!
Drinking Cacao at Home
When doing a cacao ceremony at home, you can do them alone or with a loved one. When drinking cacao with a loved one , it can be a very intimate experience. It is recommended to set an intention before drinking and then just see what happens! If you would like, you can even create a small altar with some things that represent your intention. For example, if your intention is to connect with your ancestors, you could put up pictures of them or something that reminds you of them.
You will need:
-Cacao chips or block (about 40-50 grams)
-A stovetop or teapot
-An optional sweetener such as honey, sugar, or agave (to taste)
Optional: cinnamon, cayenne pepper, vanilla extract (to taste)
Finding Good Cacao to Drink at Home
The best kind of cacao is usually in chips or blocks. You can find some great ones that are organic and fair trade. You can web-search “ceremony-grade cacao” for options. Two Birds Church buys cacao in bulk from Ecuador since we have cacao ceremonies so often, so you can always grab a jar in the Two Birds Church gift shop before or after a Sunday Service, and you can bring the jar back for refills.
Deepening your relationship with cacao
Your relationship with the spirits of plants can deepen over time. Just like any relationship, the more you work with them, the more you get to know them. You may find that there are certain plants that you feel a stronger connection to than others. Cacao is a plant spirit that can become like a best friend – someone who is always there for you when you need them, and who helps you open up and see things from a different perspective.
Whether you have been to a Two Birds Church cacao ceremony before, or if you are new, we are so excited to be now having cacao ceremonies every Sunday 3:00pm-5:00pm 🙂 If you are looking to connect more with a community of people to explore your spirituality alongside and drink some delicious cacao, we would love to have you! Visit our website to learn more about our services and events.