Ceremonial Cacao: Here’s Everything You Need To Know
Image Credit: Your Sacred Ritual

Ceremonial cacao, also known as ceremonial grade cacao, is a term used to describe a specific type of cacao that is prepared and consumed in a ceremonial or intentional setting. It has gained popularity as an integral component of various spiritual, healing, and ceremonial practices. Used by indigenous cultures in Mesoamerica for centuries in various spiritual and medicinal rituals, the ancient Maya and Aztecs considered cacao to be a sacred plant with powerful properties that facilitated communication with the divine and provided physical and spiritual nourishment.

Compared to most other types of chocolate, the beans for ceremonial cacao are roasted at lower temperatures to preserve its natural qualities. The cacao beans are usually sourced from specific regions known for high-quality cacao, like Central and South America. The beans are then carefully roasted, winnowed and ground into a paste or formed into thick blocks. What makes ceremonial cacao interesting is that it is meant consumed with intention and mindfulness. Often used as a tool to facilitate introspection, meditation, emotional healing, and connection with oneself and others, cacao ceremonies typically involve creating a sacred space, setting intentions, and consuming the cacao in a ceremonial manner.

In order to prepare a cup of this beverage, thin shavings of the cacao are blended with warm water or milk, with the addition of spices like turmeric, cardamom or cinnamon; as well as superfoods like maca root powder and spirulina. Those who advocate the benefits of ceremonial cacao, believe that it has various energetic and healing properties. Theobromine, a natural compound found in cacao, is said to provide a gentle and heart-opening energy. Cacao also contains certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and anandamide, which are associated with mood elevation and feelings of bliss.

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Along with this, sweeteners like honey or maple syrup are added in small amounts, resulting in a thick, grainy liquid. It is also believed that consuming ceremonial cacao can lead to a sense of emotional openness, vulnerability, and release, often attributed to the cacao's ability to stimulate the heart chakra and promote self-awareness, making it a useful tool in emotional healing practices. Although largely unregulated in its authenticity, it might be challenging to differentiate between a full-scale cacao ceremonial experience and one that feeds into the hype.

Like most other psycho-spiritual experiences, an individual’s experience with ceremonial cacao can vary from another. Some individuals may feel subtle effects, while others might have more profound spiritual or emotional experiences. It's important to approach ceremonial cacao with an open mind and respect for its cultural and historical significance. While ceremonial cacao is generally considered safe for consumption, individuals with certain medical conditions – such as heart issues or sensitivity to caffeine – should exercise caution.