Jonathan Ott is undoubtedly the person who has written most eloquently and profoundly about Cacao. In The Cacahuatl Eater: Ruminations of an Unabashed Chocolate Addict, Ott delineates the fascinating history of this plant in Mesoamerica and, in so doing, creates a broader definition of the sacred and why certain plants have more cultural significance than others. According to Ott, “Mexican tradition holds that the man-god Quetzalcoatl had been led into the lost paradise, wherein dwelt the children of the sun god.
When he returned to the world of men, Quetzalcoatl brought with him the seeds of cacaoquauitl, our beloved cacahuatl.
Thus stimulated, he gathered disciples, taught them the civilized arts of agriculture, astronomy and medicine, and became the ruler of Mexico.”
Quetzalcoatl then cultivated cacao in his garden, nourished himself with its seeds and became inebriated with the liquor made from the fermentation of the pulp of the cacao fruit.
Ott also mentions another important characteristic of cacao as a medicinal plant and admixture: “Like ayahuasca, cacáhuatl was an all-purpose pharmaceutical vehicle for administration of many medicinal plants; both curative specifics and shamanic inebriants.”
In The Falling Sky, Yanomami shaman and social activist Davi Kopenawa tells the story of how in a remote past his ancestors were crushed or thrown underground except in one place where the sky finally came to rest on a wild cacao tree, which bent under its weight but did not break. The first people were then able to escape through a hole created by this tree’s canopy.