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A World Of Chocolate ~ Beyond The Milky Way And Mars!
Cacao, or chocolate, from the Theobroma cacao tree is an ancient super food evolving around 15,000 years ago where the tree grew wild, blossomed and thrived in the moist tropical rainforest floor of the Amazon basin. Sacred Chocolate has been appreciated as a medicinal food for about 2,600 recorded years. The history of Cacao and it's current political pressures are fascinating, covrting everything from ancient beginnings to current corporate feuds.
Early Mayan records from 2,600 years ago show that Cacao has been appreciated and cultivated as a medicinal food plant. It is believed that the Olmecs were the earliest cultivators of Cacao from 1200 BC -400 BC, while they didn't leave much record of their cacao use we do know that the Aztecs and Mayans of modern day Mexico esteemed cacao where it played an important role in their society where cacao beans were used as a currency and included in sacred ceremonies, rituals and celebrations.
The deep, bitter raw cacao drink was enjoyed by most of the Mayan population from 250 AD to 900 AD. The Mayans were also the first to develop Cacao plantations to increase the yields of this important crop. Mesoamericans knew by 1,000 BC that Cacao didn't do well as a monocrop. Cacao requires an integrated rainforest ecosystem with balanced diversity of other crops to attract sufficient pollinators and to minimize the tendency of Cacao to develop pod rot, which destroyed Costa Rica's Cacao crop in the 1980's. Nature always knows best and will always win against man's interventions.
Xocolatl (ho co la tol) meaning bitter liquid was what the Aztecs called the unsweetened cacao drink which was blended with chili peppers, vanilla or honey. Many medicinal herbs were often used, nothing tastes better than the combination of Cacao and Maca. Maca is an ancient Andean food that has traditionally been used to enhance stamina, strength and sexual vigor. Maca is an adaptogen herb with the ability to harmonize and balnce the body's energy and hormonal levels. If your body requires energy, Maca can help without over stimulating the body. It has a slight, natural sweet taste and benefits the adaptability of the entire body.
New Years was celebrated by the srrival of the Possum God who carried the Rain God bringing Cacao offerings to the people. One of the few Mayan books that escaped burning by the Spanish conquistadores shows the representation of the Possum God, it can be found in the Dresden Codex. The Dresden Codex: Drawings of the Pages (Mayan Studies : No 3)
The Toltecs worshipped Quetzalcoatl, or the star that comes in the afternoon. This star is known to us as Venus. They built him a large 5 story temple. There were other Gods who followed Quetzalcoatl teaching the people the wisdom of the seasons, the plants, architecture, masonry artistry, the arts and sciences and how to follow the stars. These were gifted people of intelligence, commonly mistakenly viewed today as primitive and unlearned.
Quetzalcoatl cared for his people and gifted them a sacred plant that was reserved for the Gods. The people were instructed on how to care for the sacred fruit, how to pick the pods and roast the kernels. They called this bitter drink Chocolatl and it was reserved just for royalty, priests and Gods. When the other Gods discovered that Quetzalcoatl had stolen their sacred Cacao secrets and shared it with the Toltecs they became enraged and jealous of this prosperous and educated people. They would choose to go to war on Quetzalcoatl and those who followed him.
The arch enemy of Quetzalcoatl was the God of the Morning Star, Tezcatlipoca, who disguised himself as a merchant and approached Quetzalcoatl with the intention to deceive and disgrace him. When Tezcatlipoca learned that Quetzalcoatl was fearing for his downfall and the safety of his people, the false merchant gave him a potent alcohol fermented drink made from the Agave cactus, it was called pulque. He tempted Quetzalcoatl by lying and telling him that drinking the drink would make him and his people happy. Trusting the deceptive God, Quetzalcoatl drank himself silly and caused his people to get drunk too, only adding to his disgrace.
Quetzalcoatl lost face, felt disgraced and shamed when he was mocked by the other Gods. Not being able to face the physical destruction of the magnificent city of Tolan and the death of his people he left, headed in the direction of the evening star. Passing from the land of his people he was discouraged to see that the sacred Chocolatl had changed into thorny dry plants and had turned themselves into Agave cactus, the very drink that the false God had deceived him with! His walk continued for days. Walking to the sea he planted the last Cacao seeds which would flourish and be known as the last gift from Quetzalcoatl to his beloved people of Mexico.
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