Cacao comes from the cacao tree– Theobroma cacao. It originates from the pre-Columbian cultures of Mesoamerica, specifically Southern Mexico. To the Mayans and Aztecs, cacao beans had divine status and were regarded as “food of the gods.” Although it is the core ingredient to what we now know as chocolate, today’s version has very small amounts of cacao and has become a sweet, highly processed, and largely ineffectual version of its original form. Ironically the word chocolate comes from the Aztec word “chocoltl” which means “bitter drink.”
Originally cacao beans were held in high esteem by the Aztecs, having their own highly psychoactive attributes. They were used in a bitter beverage for rituals and religious ceremonies. They were also used in conjunction with the teonanacatl mushroom (psilocybin Mexicana) a psychedelic mushroom, which also held a high level of status
What Do Anandamide and Phenylethylamine Have to Do with it?
So here is the core of this magic combination– There are neurotransmitters found both naturally produced in our bodies, and also in cacao.
Phenylethylamine stimulates the brain’s pleasure centers and produces feelings of giddy attraction. Anandamide, when released in the brain creates a euphoric feeling. Anandamide is known as the “bliss” chemical. Cacao also contains enzymes that inhibit the breakdown of Anandamide, which is why sensations of “bliss” are associated with raw cacao.
The Evidence is Clear
There are many ancient Aztec vessels unearthed that depict the ritualistic use of cacao, specifying how it was used in religious ceremonies. Cacao use is also prominently depicted in engravings and old texts.
Cacao residue has been found in ritual drinking vessels dating back as far as 4000 years ago. The cacao beans were so valuable that they were used as currency. Spanish explorers documented what the cacao bean’s value was and what it could purchase.
Ceremonial preparation involved roasting and fermenting the beans, grinding the beans into a paste, and mixing that paste with water, corn, and chilli peppers. A frothy foam was achieved by pouring the mixture repeatedly between pots from a height. A fermented cacao beverage was a major aspect of their religious ceremonies like marriage, death, and sacrifice. The Mayans considered cacao to be part of the creation myth.
Make a Cacao and Magic Mushroom Drink
You will need to obtain high-quality raw cacao beans. They must be untreated and their skin still on.
Make the base:
1. Dice up your mushrooms or truffles into small pieces. The smaller the better. More surface area means more infusion.
2. Heat water– hot but not boiling.
3. Place the shrooms/truffles in a container and pour in the water.
4. Steep for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Strain into a cup
Prepare the cacao slur:
1. Smash your cacao into pieces in a Ziploc bag (30 to 50 beans per person)
2. Separate the light skin from the heavier pieces
3. Grind up the chunks of cacao into a fine powder (15 seconds at a time so as not to build up heat)
4. Extra stone grinding is optional but nice.
5. Mix the mushroom tea and the cacao paste and stir until blended.
6. You can sweeten it up if desired, just avoid anything refined.
Enjoy your journey, and while you are there, thank all the Mayans and Aztecs that have gone before you.