Cacao – Sacred – Earthkeeper of Nuts (Queen of Pentacles)

Genus: Theobroma – Family: Malvaceae

Cacao is a nurturing and sacred spirit that wraps us in a blanket of divine love, reminding us of how precious we are.

Theobroma cacao, known as the cocoa tree is a small evergreen tree that grows between 13-26 feet tall. It is native to Central and South America. Cacao is one of 22 species of Theobroma. The genus name Theobroma is Greek for “food of the gods” — from theos meaning “god,” and broma meaning “food.” The word “cacao” comes from the Nahuatl word cacahuatl.

The Maya believed that kakaw (cacao) came from a sacred mountain discovered by the gods. The cacao tree was first domesticated by the Olmecs and Macayas more than 4,000 years ago and was consumed as a sacred beverage.

Cacao has been enjoyed as a beverage in Mesoamerica since at least 2000 BCE. Cacao seeds, known as beans, were also a major source of currency in pre-Columbian civilizations.

According to legend, Moctezuma II, ruler of the Aztec Empire, first introduced chocolate in the form of a beverage to the Spanish conquistador Cortes. Cacao was brought back to the Spanish court but didn’t become popular until 1544. France and England initially drove the demand for Cacao.

Today nearly 25 million acres are dedicated to the worldwide cultivation of cacao. Cacao trees begin to bear fruit in four or five years. Large pods that grow directly from the trunk or a large branch hold the cacao seeds. The pods are opened with a machete and laid out to “sweat” for several days. The beans are fermented and dried before they are cleaned, roasted and graded. The shell of each bean is removed to extract the nib. The nibs are ground and liquefied into chocolate liquor. This divine liquor is then processed into cocoa solids and cocoa butter that are blended to create various types of chocolate such as: dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate. Chocolate has become one of the most desired and loved foods and flavors in the world.

Message: Cacao reminds us to honor our sacred self by nurturing our mind, body and soul. This is a time to enjoy the sweetness of life in a way that will bring balance to our daily responsibilities. We are being reminded that our strong, independent nature is also compassionate and nurturing. Now is a time to indulge our self, without feeling guilty or depleting our resources.

Challenge: Being an over achiever that is consumed with work and defined by career and money. Experiencing an imbalance between work and play.