CACAO GARDENER VISION · THE CACAO NURSERY
01 Before the Beginning
02 Choosing the Right Seeds
03 The Cacao Nursery
04 Nourishment, Roots & Cycles
05 A Messenger of the Heart
06 Life Lessons from the Cacao Tree
Life Lessons FROM THE SACRED CACAO TREE
TEXT & PICTURES by SERAP KARA
At Cacao Mama we want to be close to the sacred Cacao not only spiritually, ceremonially and energetically, but also physically. We want to learn from the cacao fruit, the flower, from the cacao forest and about right ways of ceremonial cacao cultivation. Within the Cacao School, we have started to weave a bridge to the forest while serving ceremonial Cacao in Europe.
In 2012, I got to know a chocolate manufacturer who imported fresh cacao fruit from Ecuador. Although customs gave him a hard time, he continued to import them. Through the fruit, I felt closer to the cacao tree. I was able to create a bridge between my life in Berlin and the cacao forest, which began to speak to me for the first time. I studied the fruit, the colour, the appearance, the ripeness and the beans with and without pulp. I shared the fruit with people while pointing to the origin of chocolate. The pulp tastes fresh, sweet, slightly sour and is delicate on the tongue.
You can spend hours looking at dried as well as fresh cacao beans. Some beans are thick and round, others flat and delicate. If you pull off the fine, sweet flesh with the ultra-thin skin, you will see the subtleties of the bean. Some look like jewellery or gems, with fine lines and sacred patterns.They can be light or brown, reddish or purple. Some resemble a heart, others a kidney or the brain. Gently fermented dried beans are considered a superfood with countless nutrients that give strength and concentration while flooding the body with feeling-good hormones. A shaman once said to me that each cacao bean has its sound.
The Cacao fruit protects the fertile seeds and keeps them moist and warm under its hard shell. If you want to open the cacao pod, you need a tool, like a machete. A species of monkey who loves the sweet pulp knows how to crack cacao. This way, some seeds fall to the nutrient-rich forest floor and make their way into the dark earth.
Within the seed, a sprout comes to life that will first grow a root, then the plant. Sprouting cacao seeds reflect strength, expansion and growth providing the newborn cacao tree with a nest of fertile nutrients.
When we allow the cacao seed to connect with soil, a beautiful journey begins. The root grows downwards while the little cacao stem grows upwards. It seems that the cacao tree grows in two directions. The cacao bean nest remains attached to the plant for another 20cm until it is no longer needed and falls off the side of the plant.
In a self-experiment, I put sprouting beans into the soil, with the root mistakenly pointing to the heavens. With no connection to the earth, the sprouts didn't survive. Years later, a young cacao plant in Bali revealed the secret of its growth to me.
The Cacao tree seems to hold codes for a healthy connection to the tree of life. We need both a strong connection to the earth and the cosmic realms. Once you feel the ground beneath your feet you start harmonising with your tradition and culture. The rooting allows to manifest and feel belonging in a whole new way.
We share these findings with students in the Cacao School while cultivating an Elder tree within our inner landscape. The Cacao School has become Cacao Mama’s nursery, holding the seeds warm and fertile until they are ready to be planted. Welcome to the sacred teachings of the Cacao Spirit.
THE CACAO GARDENER VISION
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, Colombia. Join our family and become yourself a Cacao “Spirit” Gardener.
Our initial goal is to secure 450 sponsorships and maintain and plant a 1-acre cacao forest ecosystem with 1,111 cacao trees, 1,000 plantains, and 130 oaks that serve as mother shade trees for the cacao. Join us on a learning journey from seed to a cacao tree.
Within five years, we aim to help plant a total of 11,110 cacao trees, 10,000 temporary shade plants and 1,300 oaks, for a total of 22,410 trees on 10 hectares of land. We intend to create blessings, awareness and an environment that allows us to put our hands in the soil and feel a kinship with the natural world.
THE CACAO GARDENER VISION SERIES IS A CO-CREATION OF CACAO LOVERS WHO CONNECT WITH THE SACRED SOURCE OF CACAO AND WEAVE INTO THE VISION OF A HEALTHY, SPIRITED CACAO FOREST ♥︎