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This blog post is an excerpt from the original writings of Keith Wilson, the Chocolate Shaman, which were first published in 2012. For more recent info on all things Ceremonial Cacao, visit our main blog For the Love of Cacao.
Let's look at a few other common misconceptions published on various sites with a negative stance on Cacao.
• Cacao is a drug that makes you sick. This was copied and sent to me from Paul Nison's site, a well-known raw food proponent. Nison's site has a reputation for publishing absurd fear-based distortions about Cacao. I couldn't find it myself as the site doesn't allow access to the post unless you are a member! "I ate a bunch of Cacao last night because I kept hearing such great things about it from other raw foodists. I felt like I was on some serious drugs last night and did not feel well at all!! I woke up at 6 am with an awful headache and threw up. Now I feel so sick!!" This is a typical example of an overdose story given as an intelligent understanding of Cacao. Would you consider an avocado or pizza binge as a thoughtful understanding of the overall nature of a raw food diet?
• Cacao kills animals. Indeed, the genetics of dogs, cats (half as sensitive as dogs per body weight), parrots, and horses do not include the metabolic enzyme that handles theobromine. They eat Cacao, have a heart attack, and die. So is that about Cacao or genes? I learned, a long time ago, that half-truths coupled with sensationalism (it kills animals!) is a manipulative literary device called yellow journalism. Have a look at the definition of yellow journalism here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_journalism. Need I mention that Cacao can help in clearing agenda-driven motivations? Perhaps you can relate to my sense of humor!
• Animals do not eat Cacao; therefore, you shouldn't either. Maybe one should consider that Cacao's purpose is not to feed animals and that the only part meant for them is the sugary pulp surrounding the seeds of the ripe fruit. Perhaps Cacao's purpose is to help you get to that place where you can address your concerns directly to the Cacao Deva, the Spirit/consciousness behind the form called Cacao. Believing one gets answers to such questions solely on a rational/mental level is a fear-based toxic addiction and consensus reality norm. Need I mention that Cacao can help? Three gold stars if you get it that someone with a major addiction –and in denial of it– might be rather negative about anything that would be a threat to their mental habits. And that they would tend to project that negativity onto Cacao. The energy essence manifesting as the Cacao plant is a species of consciousness, a being. Are you arrogant enough to determine Her purpose without ever having had a chat with Her?
• Native people do not eat Cacao, except ceremonially. I know there are raw food websites where the authors repeatedly explain how much research they have done, and then tell you that no native peoples consume Cacao except ceremonially, but go visit the Kuna. In the late 1990s, medical researchers became aware that these tropical island indigenous Panamanians did not have the expected high salt diet equalling high blood pressure. The understanding that Cacao consumption might be the reason for that triggered the current scientific interest in Cacao. The islanders drink Cacao as their primary fluid intake, five or more servings per day; that's Cacao, not pulp, and mostly, traditionally processed.
I have read quite a few papers in the scientific literature on the Kuna and their Cacao; see http://www.medsci.org/v04p0053.htm. Unfortunately, some reports are not online and, therefore, cannot be Googled. I suggest checking out Chevaux KA, Jackson L, Villar ME et al. "Proximate, mineral, and pro-cyanidin content of certain foods and beverages consumed by the Kuna Amerinds of Panama." Also, Journal of Food Composition and Analysis” (2001;14:553-63), for those who would accept the native-peoples-not-consuming-cacao authoritative statements repeated on the 'toxic' Cacao raw food websites. Check it out for yourself; Cacao is the principal Kuna fluid intake – and as I calculate it, it's 0.9 ounces (25 gm) per day of their traditionally processed Cacao.
In Central and South America, I know of indigenous peoples who consume Cacao, in and out of sacred ceremony. Yes, I know a raw foods teacher who spends a lot of time in Costa Rica, whose website features a photo of a Costa Rican Bribri child eating Cacao pulp to reinforce his argument that native people eat the pulp, but not the Cacao. My experience, and also of others who work with indigenous peoples in this region, is different. It is my understanding that there are also people, indigenous and not, in southern Mexico who consume locally processed Cacao on a regular non-ceremonial basis. Cacao travelers passing through my town in Guatemala have told me of their time with them, whatever that's worth. So do other natives in the remote Mosquito of Honduras and Nicaragua and in many areas of South America where Cacao grows.
An agenda-driven story
Once upon a time, there was a person of great understanding, who cleaned out with raw foods, and their body became amazingly physically perceptive. This person influenced many others and may have had a website or few to assist them in the process. Naturally, to minimize life dramas and increase fulfillment, Higher Self wished that certain inner issues on the life-purpose schedule be cleaned up. As the physical house was in order, it was time for the mental and emotional houses to follow suit. So Higher Self brought gentle teacher Cacao into this person's field, there being a kindred resonance between them.
Teacher Cacao found many channels disconnected or clogged in the emotional and psychic departments –nothing unusual here– but also found a finely perceptive physical body, which is not so usual. Through Cacao's forte of facilitating communication with other levels –in this case, the subconscious– some inner resistances were gently suspended; perhaps you know this as grace. And along this now-ready body pathway flowed one metaphor after another to spread before this person a map of the inner density that was ripe for healing, for Cacao respectfully presents one with choices to be made from their own empowerment. Magnificent, even magical, wouldn't you say? Is it not understandable that Cacao was once considered divine?
Alas, the symbolic messages about inner density, naturally a tad on the negative side, were misinterpreted as toxicity since feeling feedback about toxicity through the body was an essential part of this person's healing roadmap. You see, this person had never been taught about those whispers from within; some call them symptoms; Perhaps you haven't either.
Cacao presented new metaphors, louder metaphors, more specifically pointed metaphors. These metaphors aroused a great uneasiness deep within, as that part of this person knew where each metaphor pointed and had been given the supreme task of keeping them 'safe' by protecting that programming. It kept selected pathways closed or restricted and put a one-way-only lid on certain emotional depositories. As this great one continued to consume Cacao, this situation became entrenched resistance, like an inner war. So, soon the relationship with Cacao was terminated, as you might imagine under these circumstances.
But all did not live happily ever after. A disturbed inner part remained and was worried that teacher Cacao would return. To protect this one, and in league with other parts-of-self, a plan was hatched. Projection and blame arose from within and pounced on a defenseless mind. Without the knowing truth of the heart, the mind, having experienced similar painful scenarios from other areas of life, bought the whole story, and as you may have guessed, soon a new plan arose: Cacao vendetta… 'toxic' Cacao… spread the word!
And that word fit right into the larger plan of keeping people not ready for the next cleanse away from Cacao and from the ceremonies of those who taught it. Thank you, 'toxic' Cacao. Others left the raw fold –some abandoning raw eating some not– because they dared consider the possibility that their beliefs about any food may have more effect on their body than the food itself — thus opening the door to also cleaning up other beliefs and fears. It's all good.
Perhaps some of these 'toxic' Cacao folks would like to look into their 'addictive' issues. If you go through Cacao's door and have addictive issues, will you judge it in blame, get lost in it in addiction, or choose to use the healing potential available in the light? Those who believe that choice is just about the Cacao will surely have difficulty with the personal level on which this facilitator works.
• About that level. Why do you suppose real Cacao has waited until now to re-emerge and become known again, and with whom is She working? My ceremonies and groups –in which Cacao is not necessary and often not used though helpful for many– are training and experience in navigating that level. They are not for everyone. In modern terminology, we could say this is one way of blending your expanded, ordinary consciousness with higher dimensions for the practical purpose of remembering, using the flowing inner art of healing, and creating one's reality in partnership with Higher Self and the Light.
Cacao can be used in an addictive counter-productive manner, and I've met people who do this. If you don't want to deal with your addictive issues, don't eat the teacher. These issues will arise in another way since they have been put there for a good reason. There are many ways to address one's inner density: trauma, drama, pain, struggle, and suffering are popular and time-tested - you can even do them with Cacao. That's ok. Cycle through it until you're done. "The difficulties are necessary until you realize they aren't." Eckhard Tolle
So here is the real deal. We hear it all the time: "I had the best Cacao from David (Big Tree Farms, Bali), and it gave me a headache... and all the buzz... I heard you say the hybrid varieties like that Cacao usually have a lot of caffeine...". [David's Cacao is low in caffeine]. Cacao is hugely variable - please don't judge all Cacao by what is out there, whether or not it is said to be raw. Real raw Cacao does not taste like chocolate, just as unroasted coffee beans do not taste like coffee.
Know that 99.5% of the 'raw' Cacao in the global market is heavily roasted as machine peelers do not work if the beans are not. This scam is widely known, but most raw fans just want to be told it is raw; and that is enough for them.
Remember, your beliefs about any food have far more effect on the physical body than the food itself. We make Cacao in the same basic way the shamans have used for thousands of years, giving it a light toast for hand peeling. The shamans understood this was best for the human body. We recommend letting go of giving away your power to external belief systems like vegetarian, vegan, and raw, and listening to your own body instead. It might take some time to understand the difference between what your body really wants and your body manifesting your beliefs about a particular food, so be patient.