How do you contain 25 super powerful Cacao Sourcerers on one off-grid farm for a week of magic and medicine? Step one is obvious for the fairies, and that is open your heart and let the love in. Lucky for us we are very well trained in this practice. Step two? RECEIVE! And in these last 7 days of cacao making, education, origin-tracing and singing, this whole big extended family received a lot. Thanks to the Cacao Source Training Program for blessing up the space with their deep dive into the origins of cacao and how to use it today to support rainforest ecology, social business, and creating cacao circles for community healing.
It is interesting to see the power of our favorite plants as they consciously spread themselves to the places they are needed most. The Cacao spirit has been singing loud and strong, calling leaders and lovers from all over these sacred lands of our dear Mother to learn and grow together. Recharged, reconnected, we spread across the globe with medicine in our bags, hearts and mouths. So subtly, and with nothing but her warmth, Cacao uses us as her arms and sends her embrace with us to share wherever we go. It is humbling to see how humanity exists to serve these sacred plants by cultivating their growth, supporting those who tend them and sharing their teachings in places where the impact is greatest. And it is a true honor to host this heart magic here in our off-grid, sustainable eco-village.
Cacao is a beautiful plant spirit with a complex history. Ixcacao, the goddess of the cacao, is depicted as a woman with an abundance of breast-like pods growing from her body. The name “Ix” comes from the Mayan Nawal and it means “Spirit of the Mother Earth”, “Magician”, and “Jaguar”. It refers to a type of magic that only the deepest parts of nature can hold.
The name cacao has origins from the Nahuatl language, which is ancient, and has influenced many indigenous languages here in Latin America. Today, the word “cacao” is the same in English, as well as Spanish. The Spanish language uses genders, so nouns that end in “-a”are generally feminine and “-o” are masculine. Referred to in the feminine because of the connection to the female spirit, “CacaosiTA” became “cacaosiTO” when it made the transition from food to currency. In this way, the medicine honors both the feminine and masculine in its story. As a farm family member insightfully posed, “We must honor both the ta and the to.” Together, through the Cacao Source Training Program, cacao lovers dove into the history and cultivation of this magical bean as well as spent intimate time learning history and tradition with Quiche Mayan Elders Nana Odylia and Tata Juan Carlos.
The tradition is beautiful, but the history is not always kind, or even talked about. Our beloved cacao stays with the people thanks to the courage of generations of guardians of the medicine. These guardians were almost wiped out entirely by a wave of colonization, and we honor them each and every time we share this medicine. We take that awareness and apply it today, understanding that the reason so many local people in cacao-friendly environments no longer connect ceremonially with the medicine is because they were simply not allowed under threat of death. We realize that this tropical plant requires rainforests which are being destroyed at an alarming rate, and to ensure with integrity that the cacao we are sourcing comes from spaces which honor biodiversity and strong, natural ecosystems. Time learning together in this training inspires a desire for transparency in production and a focus on reforestation so we may continue to enjoy the many medicinal benefits of our favorite bean. Awareness helps us to develop sustainable business models where farmers are paid fairly and the land is treated with respect. A reverence for cacao’s history translates to our own personal and shared rituals, encouraging us to create respectful containers for heart opening work. We understand how it has been abused and diluted by commercial production and this empowers us to act differently. Like any relationship, we meet her with deep intimacy.
Creating this intimacy begins with opening a sacred space for both our guests and our guest of honor, Ixcacao. Beginning the experience with a ceremony gives all involved the opportunity to welcome cacao into their hearts with reverence and love so we may learn of her medicine in depth. The pillars that this training stands on are transparency, integrity and authenticity. Each is brought to life as together, guests move from the magic of ceremony into the practicalities and movement of cacao as a sacred plant, from the planting and cultivation to the production and sale. Intimacy lives somewhere between the facts and the magic, and in inspiring those who work with cacao to honor both tradition and sustainability when working with this powerful fruit of the heart.
And heart is at the very center of all this work. We work with cacao because we love cacao, because we have experienced her power to help us to love bigger and deeper than ever before. Whether it is history, cultivation, ceremony or production, it is done from a place of deep devotion. The container is held with love and awareness, so each guest can feel safe and held to travel even deeper in their relationship to this divine medicine. Heart means awareness of every detail of our individual relationships with cacao, and a willingness to change what is out of alignment to better both sides of the connection. Heart means a commitment to sustainability and diversity, an understanding that we can never own these gifts of the earth. Rather, we can become symbiotic with her, with cacao, with one another.
That level of heart? This depth of devotion, inspired by chocolate?
That’s the most powerful medicine of all.
If you’re interested in sharing the magic and wisdom with us and the incredibly inspiring Cacao Source family, you have another chance to join the journey in March. For more information and to register for the upcoming training, click here.