Chocolate is known as a delicacy, a tropical product, but did you know that when you take a bite, you also connect to legend and ancestral tradition?
Kakaw is the name used at its origin in the mayan and azteca culture. It was used as a medicine and a way to nurture healthy values in the communities as it was considered a sacred plant, and consumed in special ceremonies.Some cultures also used cacao as a money exchange.
Through the years, it has been transformed and processed into the kind of chocolate we know and love today.
Tata Pedro introduced me to the cacao ceremonies in Guatemala, when I was living in the Americas. Tata Pedro Cruz is one of the few surviving members of the Mayan Council of the Elders of Tz’utujil, which is a branch of the Maya Qui-che. He passed in 2021 after sharing his teachings with some of his ancestors and members of his tribe. He integrates the wisdom of the elements of nature into the rituals.
In its original state, cacao heals our heart in a physical and spiritual way. So it is very apt that it is considered to be the medicine of the heart.
The Aliment of the Gods
Taita Pedro shared a legend of the cacao:
The lords of the underworld said: nobody should get close to this tree. It was prohibited. But a young woman named Ixquic, fooled the guards that were watching the tree. As she got near she found a skull. She put her hand out, and the seed of cacao fell into it. At that moment she was impregnated. Ixquic gave birth to twins. This is the origin of the sacred cacao.
Theobromine is an important ingredient in cacao; (theos) meaning (god). This active ingredient creates a sensation of being awake and energized yet also feeling relaxed – a fine balance of clarity and focus. Theobroma is the greek word for the cacao tree and means “The Aliment of the Gods”.
From generation to generation, the people of San Pedro la laguna (Atitlan) are known for their work in roasting cacao. They know exactly how long cacao should be roasted. The fire underneath has three stones; the cosmogonic triangle representing moon, sun and earth (pachamama).
Once roasted the cacao is pealed by hand and is ready for grinding. Our ancestors would work with the grinding stone and everything that is consumed after grounding transmits a sacred ancestral experience. After grinding the cacao we proceed by putting it in hot water.
It always need to be shaken. This is how the smoke rises as an offering to our ancestors.
Cacao in its purest form brings more oxygen into our brain and increases our blood flow. It is enriched with high quantities of magnesium which allows us to be stimulated and focused. It is also a major source of magnesium, supporting good health, relaxing the muscles and the nervous system.
Another powerful component of cacao is strieptocan which is a precursor of serotonin. The combination of strieptocan and magnesium supports serotonin relief from the brain. It is a natural anti-depressant, as it actively lightens our heart.
A Cacao Ceremony will open our hearts and minds. When we gather and drink cacao, it releases all stress and brings us together in a sweet and loving way.
When we drink or eat raw cacao after a meal, it supports the distribution of the nutrients within our body and balances our digestive system.
For vitality and boost of energy (fire element)
During cacao ceremonies the sacred fire is always there. Cacao provides strength and facilitates a profound healing experience. In their traditional language the name of cacao is “Kokow” – meaning the force. The rebirth of all good things in the world, the rebirth of peace and love.
The connection of fire and cacao makes the medicine that runs through your veins. It opens your mind and your heart, leaving fears behind.
Mindfulness, oxygenation and brain health (air element)
Cacao guides us on our journey to inner clarity. It brings us together in ways we would never have thought possible. Flavanols are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and have a direct affect on brain health.
Dr. Vyas hypothesized that consumption of dietary cocoa flavanols may reduce stressors on cognition, and may also be “modulating other neuroprotective mechanisms”. A 2021 trial observed a beneficial effect of cocoa flavonoids on cognitive aging over a 12-week follow-up period.
Sacred plant ceremonies (ether)
A cacao ceremony by a sacred fire is led by a spiritual guide. When the cacao is offered in front of a fire, the spirit of cacao is invoked. Health bringing ingredients support the transformation of emotions, heal hearts and boost oxygen and serotonin levels.
You can drink cacao before meditation, to say thank you for what you have, for who you are or for what you need. After taking a few sips, you’ll notice a liberating sensation, releasing stress and opening the expression of the heart.
During the ceremony you move through different emotions until you feel lightness and warmth in your heart.
When we drink Kakaw mindfully, we experience the spirit of cacao with respect and an open heart. Its smell, texture, color and taste leads us into a comforting and grounding experience.
When I arrived in Switzerland in 2002, I noticed that most people were not familiar with the origin and properties of kakaw. So, we co-created kakaw.ch with an experienced chocolatier from the area. These kakaw tablets can be consumed daily as a natural Superfood. You can eat them or drink with warm water with 3 tablets for an espresso cup.
Prepare your own cup of goodness at home.
For 1dl to water:
2 tablespoon of pure organic raw cacao powder
A touch of pepper
A touch of salt
A touch of cacao butter
Spices that you like (cinnamon, tarragon, honey, curcuma, …)
Hot water 60 degree celsius
Drink it with positive intention to release emotions and to nurture yourself. We recommend up to 20gr of Kakaw per day to maintain good health and vitality.