Cacao beans | Cacao experience | Ceremonial cacao | Homecoming
Before I went to my first Homecoming 2022, I thought I knew more or less everything there was to know about Ceremonial Cacao.
My journey with Cacao had begun 4 years earlier. The first year, it was diligent attendance of weekly ceremonies. Then, a year of daily personal Cacao practice at home, followed by my completion of the Power of Cacao Practitioner Training online course. In year 3 of my journey, I started offering my own ceremonies, participated in all Keith's Cacao Immersions, attended almost every Practitioner Call, and got actively involved in the Practitioner community. This then evolved into employment with the Keith's Cacao team as a content developer and chief editor. In that capacity, I read Keith's Original Blog word for word, studied many scientific studies on Cacao, covering its history, benefits, synergies, uses – the whole works!
I had been told and had read that San Marcos La Laguna is a magical place for more reasons than one. It is definitely the "hippiest" –and possibly the prettiest– of the indigenous villages around Lake Atitlán. It has a distinct cosmic vibe, an alternative, creative, artistic, and spiritual scene, and such lush greenery! And it could not be more different from where I grew up and still live, the shores of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Still, they say home is where the heart is, so as a lover of Ceremonial Cacao, I guess I knew that my heart was partly beating in San Marcos, home of Keith's Cacao, long before I ever physically got there. But what I did not know was the extent of ease and familiarity I would feel walking its colorful meandering alleys and gazing over the captivatingly serene and utterly mystical Lake. More than a peaceful feeling of intimacy, it was a subtle yet certain sense of remembering - like an inexplicable deja-vu.
This feeling of ease and familiarity extended to the circle of like-minded, big-hearted Cacao lovers from around the globe who gathered to share, learn, grow, and rejoice at the 2022 Homecoming Retreat. I got to embrace, sit, and relate with, in person, the people whose faces and voices I had grown to love over zoom: Rick, Nicole, Jodi, Beau, Jennifer, Yael, Mariana, Grace... and, of course, Keith himself.
It's hard to describe what it feels like to be in this beautiful man's presence. The love emanating from every fiber of Keith’s being, his intuitive understanding of the shadows within each and every person in the circle, and his tender, persistent guidance in their transmutation are unmatched. All done with so much care, so much love that's all-embracing; and highly contagious!
To me, Keith feels like a walking embodiment of the Cacao Spirit. And his business is amazing to behold! Keith has created a team of open-hearted workers, both men and women, who treasure their work making Keith’s Cacao. In my 30 plus years in the working world, I have never seen more love exchanged between workers and "employer." I was so moved to see how much pride the workers feel for the far-reaching effects of their labor. These people are a true inspiration, and I felt profoundly honored and humbled to witness the grandeur of their hearts, ethos, and integrity. Keith's Cacao is produced and handled by the most loving and kind human hearts and hands.
As for the Cacao itself, for all my "knowledge," I was unprepared for the explosive taste and near-perfect balance between the bitterness of the fresh purple-colored Cacao bean and the exceptional sweetness of the white pulp that envelopes it. Or for the pungent smell of the fermenting beans and the mouth-watering aroma and eye-striking visual of the Cacao liquor.
The Asaro tribe of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea has a beautiful saying: "Knowledge is only a rumor until it lives in the muscle." At Homecoming, all the information I knew in my head became a visceral knowing, an indelible understanding of the meticulous loving process that leads to the creation of Keith's Cacao, from harvest to heart. I feel so much richer for knowing that.