Cacao Ceremonies


Cacao Ceremonies

As a Cacao Ceremony, we understand a meeting of people, during which a hot cacao drink is drunk together with the intention depending on the nature of the ceremony.

During this kind of meeting, the psychoactive property of 100% Cacao is used. It stimulates the heart center, acts as a natural antidepressant, activates feelings and thus allows you to “look inside yourself”.

cacao cooking

Cacao ceremony, meditation or a party?

Nowadays, it is a topic worth mentioning in order to clarify and dispel doubts. We find that many events have come to be called “ceremonies”, which causes them to lose their traditional meaning, their origin. 

Therefore, in this article, I will distinguish the traditional cocoa ceremony from the perspective of an indigenous person and contemporary Western cacao gatherings.

Traditional Mayan Cacao Ceremony

Referring to the teachings given to us by one of our teachers, Nana Marina Cruz Ajcac, who, while teaching at the Guatemalan Academy of Mayan Languages, wrote a research paper on the ancient use of cacao in the history of the Maya people, we can conclude that cacao was present in the traditional practices of the Mesoamerican peoples since millennia.

For the ancient Maya and their present descendants, cacao was and is used as a drink of celebration, gratitude, and a tool to raise the mood and mind to a state where the best decisions are made. Cacao has always accompanied tribal councils, both of a political nature, and when the elders shared with the young couple valuable advices on a successful family life.


Depending on the tradition, as for example in Guatemala are living 22 Mayan tribes that use cacao, its use, methods of serving and occasions differ. During holidays, births, and important community events, cacao is present and treated with respect.

Its symbolism in the minds of indigenous tribes is very profound. The seed itself on a mystical level symbolizes the seed of life that falls from the stars into the mother’s womb to bring a new soul. It is also a symbol of abundance and prosperity, and was used as a coin in ancient times.

calendar mayan cholqij

Mentioning a bit about the cultural meaning of cacao above, I will describe in a few words what such traditional Mayan Cacao ceremony can look like.

Mayan spiritual guides called “Ajq’ijab ‘” lead cacao ceremonies according to the Cholq’ij sacred calendar, which in practice, with the quality of the day often determines the intention of the ceremony.

The central element of such a ceremony is Cacao and the accompanying fire. Not all tradition leaders are working with Cacao, but all work with fire.

The first part of the ceremony is invocation, that is invoking the spirit of Cacao, ancestors, elements and qualities that will accompany participants during the meeting.


Cacao is “saturated” with the intentions of each participant for a given ceremony. After it is served and drunk by everyone at the same time, the middle part of the ceremony takes place during which the fire is fed with seeds, flowers, resin and candles. Depending on the leaders of the ceremony, time is spent on moments of silence, concentration, music, sharing. During ceremonies, when healers of tradition are present, the participants are often treated with healing, massages, “saturations” with plants and other treatments derived from the tribe’s folk practices.

The last, third part is to express gratitude to the spirits invoked before, give thanks to the Cacao, to the present elements and gather in a circle to express the sense of unity resulting from the old Mayan greeting that “I am another You and You are another Me”.


The traditional Mayan Cacao ceremony is therefore something quite exotic from the western perspective and in its form it draws from animistic and sometimes even shamanic practices. From my many years of experience of such ceremonies in the lands of Guatemala and in Europe during annual trips with elders, I can say that such ceremonies are powerful meetings, often resulting in profound and positive internal changes of the participants. During true traditional ceremony one feels that it is ancient and that it has been well preserved by the caring hands of the indigenous people.

positive mind

 Cacao “therapeutic” ceremonies or Cacao meditations

Due to the extraordinary property of 100% Cacao, strongly oxygenating our brain, this beverage allows us to enter the so-called meditative state of mind easier. In that state, we are more willing to concentrate, engage in arts, solutions often appear in our head, the imagination is stimulated and the general mood improves. When used in a group meeting, this effect can result in a beautiful collaborative practice based on art, music, and the expression of hidden feelings and emotions.

Well-conducted meditation or visualization on the beneficial effects of consumed Cacao can help participants make positive changes to their lives and better understand themselves. During such meetings, music is often used, participants are induced to relax, and sometimes they are encouraged to make therapeutic movements that help release accumulated stress and tension.


Extatic cacao ceremonies, celebration, fun and dance

In many cases, a good cup of Cacao, due to its properties, could successfully replace the need for drinking alcohol. Cacao can perfectly relax you, help you “let go of control”, improve your mood and motivate you to have fun. Under its influence, people often become more sociable and more likely to make friends. Drinking Cacao at the same time does not have the same side effects as are known from drinking alcohol.

Cacao likes movement. When drunk, its effects in the body are strengthened as we stimulate the circulation. This invigorating and enjoyable quality of Cacao is used during events where it is received and then celebrated, with entertainment with dancing and music, often played live.

cacao cup

Personal meeting with cup of Cacao

A Cacao ceremony or a Cacao ritual can also be called our small, individual work with it. A cup of warm Cacao alone, with a friend, loved one, close person. Time spent together in which we use Cacao beverage to direct our thoughts to the practice of meditation, common artistic creation, asking questions and searching for solutions, more positive thoughts and so on.

I wish you a pleasant time with your cup of warm Cacao. Alone or in a ceremonial circle.

If you want to experience the Cacao ceremony in any of the above forms with experienced leaders, and even with indigenous people of the cacao tradition, on behalf of the Gracias Cacao team, I warmly invite you to contact us.

Tomasz Czyba (Tommy Harevis)