The Magic of the Cacao Ceremonies: An Ancient Tradition

Ancient civilizations highly regarded the cacao bean for centuries. They celebrated its unique qualities through sacred rituals, called cacao ceremonies. Today, this age-old tradition is experiencing a rebirth across the United States.

What is a Cacao Ceremony?

A cacao ceremony is a special gathering where people sip warm, frothy cacao beverages. But according to the good folk at Maloca Sound, it’s much more than just sipping hot chocolate. Cacao ceremonies combine music, meditation, and intention-setting. The goal is to create a heartfelt experience that opens you up spiritually and emotionally.

Practitioners believe the special cacao used in ceremonies has mind-opening properties. As you drink the rich, creamy beverage, you’re meant to tap into a higher state of awareness and connection.

The Ancient Roots of Cacao

Cacao is native to ancient Mesoamerican civilizations, like the Mayans and Aztecs. They considered the cacao bean as the “food of the gods” and used it in sacred rituals and for medicinal purposes.

The first cacao ceremonies emerged from the belief that people could connect with the cacao spirit by consuming special cacao brews. Honoring the spirit through focused intention and ritualistic practices meant one could receive wisdom and heightened intuition.

In cacao’s ancient use, no aspect of the ceremony was accidental. Everything from the ingredients to the music had symbolic spiritual significance.

The Cacao Ceremony Experience

Modern cacao ceremonies borrow heavily from these ancient roots but put their own spin on the tradition. A typical ceremony goes like this:

  • Upon arriving, you remove your shoes and find a comfy seat on cushions in a dimly lit, incense-filled room. An experienced leader or “ceremonial cacao server” whisks a hot cacao drink, chanting and drumming to bless the brew.
  • When the velvety cacao is ready, you accept your portion with an open heart and clear intention for what you want out of the experience. As you sip the beverage, you’re guided through meditation.
  • The effects can include feeling more heart-open, grounded, and introspective. Some report a natural “heart-opening” feeling or intuitive insights surfacing. Others simply feel relaxed and present as the ceremony creates a judgment-free space to just be.
  • Music, rhythms, and movements are often worked into the experience as well. The ceremony aims to quiet the mind’s chatter while awakening your senses.
  • After the meditation period, some ceremonies include sharing, creative expression, or group activities. Many finish with a simple cacao toast and hugs all around as you re-enter your day feeling relaxed yet centered.

The Magic of the Ceremony

Whether you approach it from a spiritual, cultural, or just curious perspective, cacao ceremonies offer a unique group experience. Fans say the magic lies in stepping away from life’s busyness to self-nurture and connect with others.

The ceremonial cacao itself contains some gentle mood-altering compounds like theobromine and anandamide. This may contribute to the relaxed-yet-focused state. Nevertheless, many feel the real power of the ritual comes from focused intention and being fully present.

As for whether an ancient cacao spirit really gets channeled, that part’s up to you to decide. Even skeptics find cacao ceremonies to be, at the very least, a grounding group experience that leaves you feeling recharged.

The Rise of Ceremonial Cacao

Cacao ceremonies are becoming increasingly popular, especially on the West Coast and in urban areas across the U.S. You can now find them offered at yoga studios, wellness centers, kirtan events, and even some big corporations.


Whether it’s sampling an ancestral tradition or just craving a deeply soulful experience, many are finding magic in these ancient-yet-modern cacao rituals. The rise of ceremonial-grade cacao products has made it easier than ever to taste what the cacao fuss is all about.

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