What is ceremonial Cacao?

In words of Abuelo/Grandfather Efrén Hernández , spiritual leader of the Maya Yokot´an indigenous community and Mayan priest in the territory of Tabasco in Miahuatlán / Mexico, he explains :


"From the Mayan worldview and as guardians of the sacred native Cacao plantations of the

plains at the Maya Yocotán territory: 

A ceremonial grade Cacao is a Cacao that keeps the  harmony and balance with everything formed and created. It is a Cacao that has been prayed and where the different ceremonies have been carried out within the Cacao plantation according to our ancestral knowledge and traditional practices."


What does this mean? 


  • A ceremonial cacao is a seed that comes from a cacao plantation where  there is great biodiversity and bio-culturalism; both plants, animals, insects, fungi and in  where care and management tasks are governed by ancestral Mayan agriculture. 


  • This type of Cacao cultivation takes care of the spiritual part, doing prayers and ancestral ceremonies  to the Cacao plantation, the trees, the plants and everything that coexists there.


  • The sacred Cacao seed, in the Mayan worldview, carries all this  spirituality, contains the light of the sun, the moon, the song of birds and the energy of all  animals that inhabit the sacred Cacao plantation, as well as the energy of the prayers , the songs of the  ceremonies, the work and energy of those who plant, cultivate and harvest Cacao.


  • Other  important element for a Cacao to be ceremonial grade is that it must come from an ancient 'Cacaotal'/Cacao fields. From our worldview an ancient Cacao is one in which has the sacred  codices appearing drawn on the cacao pod in a natural way. They are the representation of the  20 sacred nahuals (sacred energies from the Cholq´ij Mayan calendar), and it is this Cacao that will have the strength to heal hearts and souls,  diseases, or stimulate the organs of the body that are sick.  This old Cacao is also old because of the life span of the tree, along with all the  cultural and ceremonial activities that has accompanied it since it was planted. This is the Cacao that is used to  perform rituals, used for word circles, meditation circle or as medicinal Cacao.


  • A ceremonial Cacao is precisely used to perform a ceremony, but also to heal  our body, heal our family, heal our community and heal humanity. Because  one of the prophecies or predictions that we, as a Mayan Yocotán people, still preserve , is the prophecy of orality that has been maintained throughout the times until the present. Which  the grandparents always told us and continue to tell us: "The time has come, where the spirit of  sacred Cacao will heal hearts and open the consciousness of all humanity, it will heal hearts of towns where they have had war, where they have had catastrophes, where there is a lot of pain and anguish, the spirit of sacred Cacao will arrive to heal."


  • A ceremonial grade Cacao is one that has the strength and historical memory of the place where  it grows. It has to be a native Cacao, a Cacao that is often called criollo, but we call it  native Cacao. A Cacao that has been cared for since ancient (Mayan) agriculture, and that has that  charge of (Mayan) spirituality and that is cultivated from the lunar calendar, using the moons, in  all the management that takes place within the Cacao plantation. It contains the prayer and all this historical memory  of their Cacao-protecting lineages.


  • The ceremonial Cacao must have a prayer when it is going to be planted, a  prayer when it is going to be harvested, a prayer to ask for forgiveness from the spirit of Cacao, a  prayer when it is going to be transformed, a prayer when it is going to be grounded... Everything has to have that part  of the ceremonial ritual to carry all that energetic charge with it.


  • Cloned Cacaos , grafted Cacao or Cacao  that is produced using agrochemicals, or Cacao that is produced with human exploitation or  child exploitation, Cacao that are planted on lands that have been deforested and disposed  from their native ecosystem , cannot be ceremonial grade Cacao.


  • Ceremonial grade Cacao  maintain balance and harmony with everything that surrounds it. "


*Below some impressions of the sacred Cacao fields that Abuelo/Grandfather Efrén guards with his family/community in Miahuatlán/Tabasco*: