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Create your own retreat, sound bath, cacao ceremony

Originally posted on Patheos Pagan in 2020

In the strange times we are living in at the moment, one of the things I have missed is being able to attend retreats, gong sound baths and cacao ceremonies. The simple escape for a few hours or even a couple of days where you immerse yourself in candlelight, incense, warm cups of cacao and losing yourself in meditation.

My solution is to create one for myself at home.


Step one was to create a play list. I use Spotify but YouTube is also a good resource.

Starting out with sound gong bath music and moving on to some of my favourite chants and meditation music. These two in particular are my favourites:

Mars and Venus Gong by Mark Swan (balancing the sacred masculine with the divine feminine)

108 Sacred Names of Mother Divine – Sacred Chants of Devi by Craig Pruess & Ananda (Devi Prayer, Lalitha Ashtotram and Ganesh Invocation).

The gong bath clears and cleanses bringing about balance. I follow that with chants which then inspire me.

If you prefer guided meditation there are plenty to choose from, lots on YouTube in particular. There are a couple on my own channel too


A notepad and pen are essential, usually part the way through, inspiration strikes and I need to jot down my ideas.


Not essential but it does help with the ceremony of it all and I find it kick starts my creativity. Cacao is used in a lot of healing ceremonies.

You can purchase cacao powder from wholefood stores, online suppliers and Amazon. Mix the powder up with hot water to form a paste. You can add in all sorts of spices to taste such as chilli, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom. I like to add a bit of honey too. Once you have your paste gradually add in more hot water stirring until you get the consistency you prefer.

Herbal tea

If you don’t fancy cacao then creating and drinking a meditation blend tea helps with the process.


You need to stay hydrated.


Again, not essential but they set the atmosphere. Please do make sure they are in safe containers and on surfaces, away from draughts. You can also use candles specifically blended for meditation.

Oils or incense

Set the mood and atmosphere. If you use blends created for meditation it also helps.


Not everyone has a spare room, or she/he shed to set up a meditation space in. That includes me. I retire to the bedroom. It also needs to be somewhere you won’t be disturbed by children or pets. The candles and incense are set up on my bedside table and I lay on the bed.


Also, not an essential item, but crystals can be useful in meditation and journeying.


When you are lying or sitting in meditation your body cools down so make sure you have a blanket to cover yourself. I have the most beautiful handmade blanket, created and gifted to me by a lovely friend. I use it as my meditation blanket, so it is kept specifically for that purpose. But any blanket or cover will be fine. If you chose to lay down, I would recommend putting a cushion or pillow under your knees, it makes it more comfortable. A cushion for your head is useful too. You need to be warm and comfortable otherwise you will disrupt the whole thing.


My preference is to dim the lighting, close the curtains and light candles. Sometimes I also cover my eyes with a mask. But go with what works for you.


Your mobile phone is an easy option for listening to the music. You can just play it out loud, but I prefer to use earphones, I find it closes me off to the outside world more effectively. If you have speakers such as Sonos they work quite well particularly with the gong sound bath if you place the speaker at your feet, the sound washes over you. But a laptop or TV sound would also work OK.


Obviously, you need to schedule in some time. An hour is good, two hours is even better but I am painfully aware that isn’t always possible for everyone (I absolutely hear ya!). Sometimes though, self-care is paramount, and you must set that time aside. If you are drained, weary and fed up then you ain’t no good to anyone until you have recharged your batteries. Make time for YOU!

Set up

Preparation counts, get completely set up before you start so that you don’t have to get back up and go find something you forgot!

Set up your crystals and candles.

Light your candles and incense.

Turn the lights down.

Turn your phone notifications off.

Sit comfortably.

Drink your cacao or herbal tea.

Turn the sounds on

Lay down…and drift…

Don’t forget to jot down any thoughts or insights afterwards and GROUND yourself.


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