Just last week we touched on a pretty complex subject: Navigating Cultural Appropriation.
And while we covered a lot, this is a very nuanced topic and requires an ongoing conversation as we continue to unravel the effects that colonialism has had on our society and on the plant medicine world.
This is why this week, we hosted our very first Ora Cacao Community Forum, in which we had an open conversation about cultural appropriation and Cacao.
It was really beautiful to be in a space with open-hearted people who wish to continue deepening their own personal relationship to cacao through personal work, and we look forward to having more of these conversations with you all!
Here are some of the things that came up during our time together:
In essence, true permission to serve cacao to others comes from the Spirit of Cacao itself, and getting permission is an ongoing act of humility, learning, dedication, and respect to cacao as a plant teacher.
Our journey with cacao is nonlinear, and sometimes the spirit of cacao will ask us to take a step or two back before we continue serving in larger groups. Jonas gave us some really great questions to ponder and ask directly to cacao every once in a while:
- Where have I been in transgression?
- Where can I improve in my relationship to cacap and how I share cacao with others?
There are so many different ways in which we can work to ensure we are living in reciprocity with the spirit of cacao and the traditions it is rooted in. Here are some of the ways we as a community discussed in the call:
- When sharing in ceremony, we may choose to inform people of the effects colonization still has today and remind them that Indigenous remain alive.
- When receiving an exchange for ceremony, we may wish to share some of those funds to a cause that helps protect Indigenous rights and the sacred lands that remain. In the recording, Jonas shares a project that Ora has been working on to make sure the communities we work with are well in case of any emergencies!
- Giving the voice back to the wisdom keepers by inviting them into your space, or participating in events in which you can learn directly with them, in this way, giving back the voice to the roots of this incredible medicine.
Living in right relationship with a plant, especially if you are choosing to share it with others, is an act of becoming a scholar and advocate. This is not to say we don’t all have the right to have our personal practice. We most definitely do, and one thing that cacao has made abundantly clear is that it wishes to be shared and experienced all around the world :) But if you’re looking to deepen your practice and share from an educated standpoint, here are some resources:
Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galeano
The Chocolate Tree - A Natural History of Cacao by Allen M. Young
Chocolate in Mesoamerica - A Cultural History of Cacao by Cameron L. McNeil
One River by Wade Davis
Organizations Working in the Amazon Rainforest You Can Keep Up With:
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