Cacao Gardener Vision · The Pagamento #2

Cacao Gardener Vision Series · The Pagamento


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The Pagamentos in the Sierra by Ricardo Leyva

The Pagamentos in the Sierra

TEXT & PICTURES by Ricardo leyva


The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is a unique and mystic place on planet earth. It is, since 1979, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, where the wisdom of nature converges with the indigenous people to create beauty and exuberance unseen elsewhere in the world. The magnificence of its snowy peaks, mountains, rivers, beaches, forests, wildlife, soils, foods, and habitants awakens profound reverence.


This magical place it´s also known as "The Heart of the World" and has been, for more than a thousand years the home of one of the oldest pre-Columbian civilizations: the Tayrona culture, the cradle of the four ancient tribes of “Older Brothers” Kankuamo, Arhuaco, Wiwa, and Kogui. The four ancient tribes believe that just as our body feels the beating of the heart, the earth also feels the beating of hers. Everything that happens in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta can be felt by the rest of the world, because for the indigenous world everything is connected.




Aluna is how the four tribes call the spiritual world, it is the invisible space where everything was created with thought before it was matter in the physical world that we know. Each tribe has its Mamas or also called Mamos, these are the men of wisdom who are prepared from children to understand Aluna. The Mamas teach us that to live in balance there must always be an exchange, the art of giving and receiving. This is why the Pagamento (Ritual Offering) is one of the most important spiritual practices for the indigenous communities of the heart of the world.


The Pagamento is associated with the vision of the perpetual motion of energy. Immersed in all the movements of nature, is the origin of this ritual and its practice is considered essential for the development of life. The ritual offering is a symbolic act that is based on thankfulness, on the cycle of giving and receiving between human beings and nature. The Pagamento is related to the conception that one is born from mother earth, that she gives us everything we need: water, air, and food, and therefore there is a commitment to caring for the natural world. Caring for the earth and what the Pachamama left behind is a way in which we also take care of ourselves. Pagamentos are conscious exchanges with mother nature. 


The Pagamento at Sierra Divina


Sierra Divina Project is a spirited cacao forest located at the heart of the world, in the vicinities of the Guachaca River, a place considered by the four tribes as sacred for its special power. For all the people involved in the project, to be able to collaborate with nature to produce the most exquisite ceremonial cacao beans, the Pagamentos are necessary.


Guided by Mama Miguel, from the Kogui tribe, we have done three Pagamento rituals at Sierra Divina. The first one was done before taking the first cacao seedlings from the nursery to the field, the second one was done at the establishment of the first nursery funded by the Cacao Gardener initiative, and the third one was done to receive blessings for the Cacao Gardener initiative and all its community.





These three Pagamentos are sacred moments for the project; nevertheless, the Pagamento is a constant state of mind that needs to be nourished at every moment with our thoughts, actions, and words. This is why we regenerate the soil through conscious and sustainable practices, enrich our community, and grow spiritually. We invite everyone to thank and revere every day to nature for all the abundance that she is endlessly giving us.


Have you done your Pagamento today?    


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.

Meet the Cacao Gardeners

Cacao Gardener Ceremonial Gathering

The Pagamento

December 20, 2022 · 7 pm CET

In English · 22€







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