Updated: Aug 25, 2021
With the wonderful arrival of Living Koko into Maitri Studio last year & following on from my “Summer Heart Nourishing Workshop” I have had quite a few requests asking how to create your own daily cacao ceremony. So, this month's blog shares some ideas for you to create your own cacao ceremony at home. I have also included an Insight Timer link for one of my guided recordings.
A cacao ceremony can be a simple secular practice that when practiced daily can help us open & nourish our hearts & promote wellbeing. Ingesting good quality cacao promotes blood flow, improves cognitive function & creativity, is full of antioxidants (particularly helpful if you are dealing with cancer or an autoimmune disease), and is a natural mood lifter/antidepressant. Cacao has been used as medicine, as food, and as part of rituals for centuries. More recently it has been incorporated into the Western world with wellness-based practices such as dance, meditation, mindfulness, and yoga.
As I have mentioned before, I have personally found good quality cacao helpful along my own healing journey. I enjoy eating some good quality dark chocolate daily and now that I have found the magical & local Living Koko - huge thanks to Ana and Fipe (a photo of us all together below) - I enjoy drinking a cup or 2 of cacao husk tea or drinking cacao each morning too. It marries together perfectly with my morning meditation, mindful movement, and writing.
I find the Living Koko cacao husk tea has a delicious deep yet light roasted earthy flavour to it. And the drinking cacao has a more rich, thick, layered, and textured flavour. Both will encourage you to open your heart and develop a truthful talanoa (the Samoan word for conversation) with yourself, but the drinking cacao will take you deeper. Listen, which drink type will be most beneficial for you today?
The following is a description of the simple cacao ceremony I offer myself and others. There are many different types of cacao ceremony, choose to practice one which resonates with you.
My Cacao Ceremony Steps:
1. Bring presence to the process of making your chosen cacao drink. Create a clean space to both prepare and drink your drink.
To make 1 serve of Living Koko cacao husk tea (you can drink hot or cold)
Add 1 cup of filtered water to your kettle or into a clean saucepan.
Either fill your clean Cacao Tea Strainer with cacao husk and place into your favourite cup OR add 1-2 heaped dessert spoons of cacao husk to a clean teapot, add the boiled water.
Let it brew for at least 5 minutes (or more) to truly reach its depth of flavour.
To make 1 serve Living Koko drinking cacao (Heart & Heart / Gentle Heat / Go Easy).
Add 1 cup of filtered water to a small clean saucepan on medium heat.
Add 2-3 dessert spoons OR tablespoons of drinking cacao, the amount really depends on individual preference, so you may have to try it a few times before you find your “Goldilocks” amount.
Add 1/2 tsp good quality coconut oil (optional) and stir thoroughly.
Heat until it comes to a gentle boil, then turn the heat off.
Cacao is traditionally a bitter beverage (bitter taste supports the FIRE element in TCM, which corresponds to the Heart) and I encourage you to try it without any sweeteners. If you do need to sweeten your drink I recommend using a natural option like honey or maple syrup.
2. Once your brew or drinking cacao is ready, consciously pour it into your favourite cup. Take a deep belly breath and gently lengthen your exhalation (you may like to count breath-in for 4 and breath-out for 6).
3. Reach out for your cup and hold it in both hands, bring it close to your heart, close your eyes and take a deep inhalation. Smell the cacao.
4. Take your first delicious sip and truly let the taste linger on your tongue.
5. Now take a moment to acknowledge and recognise where this Living Koko cacao drink comes from. I have included a video (attached below) of my gorgeous friend Fipe explaining a little of her family history and life experience with cacao. Fipe comes from a family of cacao growers in Samoa. She and her small team make bespoke cacao products with alofa (love) in Melbourne / Naarm. All Living Koko products are sustainably sourced and support fair and ethical trade. The Samoan cacao beans are sourced through an organisation called Women in Business, which works with a network of female domestic plot farmers who use sustainable farming methods.
Pause and consider the many, many people involved, including the generations of cacao growers in Samoa, their families, the people who harvest and dry the cacao, the transport workers, the people involved in creating and producing the transport machines and packaging, the people who design & produce the thoughtful and environmentally friendly package materials of the final product…Fipe and her team in Melbourne, the chocolate makers….making magic with the cacao...all the thousands… possibly millions of people involved in allowing you to hold this drink in your hands at this present moment.
Take a moment to really acknowledge our interconnection… our connection with all these people... through this cacao....and I invite you to also acknowledge the involvement of our precious planet... the cacao trees, the sun, the rain, the little flies that pollinate the cacao flowers, the fertile volcanic soil, the seasons and cycles all required to facilitate the cacao growth …there is so much involved in allowing you to have this gift of cacao in your hands…
I invite you to take another conscious breath in, allow your heart to fill with gratitude...breath out and send gratitude to the thousands…possibly millions of people involved and to our precious planet for allowing you the gift of this cacao drink in your hands today. Give thanks.
6. As you continue to drink your drink I invite you to think of 3 more things you are grateful for today. It may be 3 BIG or 3 small grateful things. "Small things" are ones that we often forget about and take for granted, something as simple and precious as having two hands able to grasp and hold this cup... your cup of drinking cacao or cacao husk tea.
Visualise these 3 things you are grateful for today, again breathe consciously, allow your heart to fill with gratitude and acknowledgment for these 3 things you are grateful for today.
7. Finish with setting your intention for the day or for your (mindful movement and/or meditation) practice to follow. You might find this Leunig poem helpful.
God help us to
To move simply
To look softly
To allow emptiness
To let the HEART create for us
You may also find my guided recording of "A Cacao Ceremony To Cultivate Connection & Gratitude" on Insight Timer helpful -
Please let me know how you get on with your cacao ceremony or join me in the studio for one with our next workshop.
I wish you all the best with your practice,
Ceremony definition by Oxford Dictionary
1.1 An act or series of acts performed according to a traditional or prescribed form.