Cacao Gardener Vision · The Pagamento #1

Cacao Gardener Vision Series · The Pagamento


Read in this Edition

Living in Berlin, and being one with the land by Marcus Weber

Honouring the Earth as our Mother by Katie Kleinjans

Living in Berlin, and being one with the land


Part I: How I make friends with a tree


I live in Berlin, just around the corner from Arnimplatz. An almost quadratic square, maybe 100 by 100 meters, with old trees, meadows, benches, play areas. A large oak tree also stands there. It is the guardian, the keeper of the square. We have become friends. We met three years ago.


Back then, in May 2019, I had just returned from a trip through India and Nepal. A trip where I had started building “temples” – a story you can read here [Link: www.tempel-bauen.de/tempel]. My temples were not very big. They were made of sticks and little stones, flowers and leaves that I collected along the way, only to put them down a few feet away. At a tree, a brook, a meadow –combined with a greeting, a thanks to the land. 


So, one evening back in Berlin, I’m standing on Arnimplatz again, remembering my hike in Nepal, and I see this oak tree. I walk over and start to arrange a few sticks lying around the trunk of the tree. A few days later I come back. Always in the dark, so that no one can see me. Afraid of what people might think of me.



Over time, a small temple develops. I bring shells, feathers and incense sticks, hang Tibetan prayer flags in the branches, put flowers in the bark. More and more often I am at the oak, by now almost daily. I no longer care what people think about it. Some seem to like the temple. They have started to join in and put things there. Fortune cookies, jewelery, little notes. Again and again I get into conversation with people, explain to children how they can talk to trees. Other neighbours clear everything away and put it in the next trash can. Then I start over.


Yes, the place by the oak tree has become a ritual place for me, a place where I bring my prayers and gratitude, a place that gives me gifts, that connects me Witz pachamama. Almost every day I do Qigong here. I collect garbage from the meadow. On Samhain I put up candles, on the winter and summer solstice I make fire in my small grill...


Part II: Learning about living landscapes


There is Mama Miguel, he is inside me. I have no idea how to write about him. He is a Kogi shaman. I met him a few month ago, in our spirited Cacao forest in the Sierra Divina in Colombia. And now he is still here, in my heart, very close. 


Mama Miguel tells me to write from my heart – and when I do, I want to write the word “love”. That's what a pagamento is. Pure love, pure gratitude. It is being one. Mama Miguel nods to me. It's true: I don't go to my tree and connect – I go to my tree and realize: we are one. 


But first things first: The most important thing you need to understand is that the land itself is alive. The land, the place, the earth itself is alive. So are you. – And what do you do when you meet someone, a human being? Yes, you greet him. You introduce yourself and ask for his name. You ask how he is doing. – Now tell me: why don't you do that when you come to your place? And did you actually ask the tree its name? 


No, I hadn't. After three years of friendship and even my trip to Colombia, I still hadn't asked what “my” tree was called – until a participant in a ceremony asked me about it. So, this summer, I asked the “name-question”. Finally, says Mama Miguel, smiling at me. Now we both know the name of the tree and the name of the place; and we both know they want to be treasured.


Yes, says Mama Miguel, the land demands respect. You walk on it, every day, you let it give you gifts. you live here. You’re breathing the air of this land. It's time for you to start talking. Ask for its wishes, begin to heal the wounds. How to do it? Be there. And when you are there, be all there. Look with your eyes, listen with your ears, smell with your nose. Feel the wind, touch the grass, the bark of your oak. Be mindful. Sit, feel, let the images in your mind come and go. Pray peace, pray forgiveness. The oak is alive. The land is alive, as you are. You are one.


Honouring the Earth as our Mother



Together my girl and I make a payment to Pachamama. Offering a mandala of lined stones on the beach to create a moment of connection, a circle to honour the cycle of nature and her wholeness.


The bridge is created from the seen to the unseen worlds as warm footprints were laid along the dark edge of the tideline. We wandered along the shores of the deep ocean. A new world opened up as the land became soft and silent and we laid our eyes upon a radiant pool of salt water. 


Star fish pure as undulating bone, snapping clams become ancient faces looking through crystals within their caves opening and closing with fresh eyes. Bunches of sea barnacles bound to their mysterious magical castles, sea anemones pulse to the beat of the earth and almost invisible fish were seen. 


People walked by, dogs ran through and no one saw it and no one saw us. A portal had been crossed. This magical pool was invisible to the worldly eye. A wonder was opened up to us. Within these payments live a source of revelation, the secrets of the land, ancestral trails, and the power within. Full presence and focus are required. Giving from the heart offers a threshold into a new vibrational frequency to connect to the natural world in all her beauty. 



We are born into a commitment to care for Mama Earth. Reciprocity. We receive our senses and take in the gifts of life, sight, feeling, sound, smell, taste and love. We bring balance and harmony by kneeling upon the earth making offerings and payments of respect and giving gifts, presence, gratitude and asking permission. 


It is here we complete the circle of the journey offering a dance, a melody of song for death, for life, for all that returns and emerges into balance. Renewal, resurrection, transformation, circling, returning over and again we listen deeply, we ask permission, we listen deeper and only then do we gather. The land is forgiving and always ready to receive and for that we give thanks. 


We serve our Mama and bring the tender sweet opening of love and warmth to our hearts. Opening the bridge of connection to the dreams of our ancestors that have seasoned our path. Stories gathered along the way press deeply into our hearts and tenderly we know and we share our remembered warming trust with the spirits of the land. 

The Cacao Gardener Initiative

Cacao Gardener is a not-for-profit initiative with a simple intention: Working together to plant trees and restore a biodiverse, spirited Cacao forest in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia. Join our community and become yourself a Cacao “Spirit” Gardener and a guardian to a sacred Cacao Tree.

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The Pagamento

December 20, 2022 · 7 pm CET

In English · 22€


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