Susan Morgaine February 1, 2016
In honor of Valentine’s Day and the exorbitant amount of chocolate that is given as gifts, this month we honor Ixcacau, the Mayan Goddess of Chocolate and Cocoa (the word “cocoa” comes from Her name).
Ixcacau was a symbol of strength. She was one of the Ancient Fertility Goddesses, a Goddess of the Earth, a Goddess of Abundance. Hunger was banished as She took responsibility to feed Her people. Her people never feared under her protection.
She was also worshipped in Central and South Americas, and for the Azteccs, She was Xochiquetzal, Goddess of Fertility, Flowers and Fruit.
There are several stories of Her that stand out in the Mayan legends.
Long ago, the Grandmother Goddess, Ixmucane was raising her grandchildren, as so many grandparents do. Her sons had been killed during a journey to the Underworld. I know not why they went to the Underworld in the first place. Ixmucane was a Seer; knowing the ways of the Earth. She was concerned as to what might happen when she and her grandchildren died out; what would happen to the Earth?
A young woman came to her, saying that she was pregnant with the child of one of Ixmucane’s sons. This woman told Ixcumane that her father was lord of the Underworld and she had shamed him by getting with child; she was banished.
As Ixcumane questioned this story, She set forth to test the young woman by telling her to go to the field and fill a large net with food. The young woman set out only to find that only one corn plant was growing. She began to pray,
“Ixcenil, Goddess of Seed, hear me
Ixtoq, Goddess of Rain, help me
Ixcacau, Goddess of Chocolate, see my tears
and come to my aid”
She received the seed from Ixcenil. Ixcacau taught the young woman how to plant and harvest each crop. She stayed to stand guard until all the plants had reached fruition, with the help of Ixtoq, Goddess of Rain.
The young woman returned to the home of Ixcumane and was welcomed into Her family.
As the peaceful matriarchal societies were conquered and overthrown by the violent patriarchal ones and the Goddesses were replaced or taken by the Gods, Ixcacau was forced to become the wife of the God of Commerce and watch as her cocoa beans became the money of the day. She then witnessed as her beloved chocolate was taken away from the people and given to only rulers and warriors, as it was now only “food fit for the gods”.
Annually, one of the people was offered for ritual sacrifice as part of the new sacred rites to the Sun God. Ixcacau offered her presence to this young man, staying by him, giving him goblets of liquid chocolate, as it was originally taken in a liquid form, for strength and giving him what comfort She could, She herself wishing that there was not a need for human sacrifice.
One day, Ixcacau was visited by Huicato, the Goddess of Love. She was concerned because there was no more pleasure in the life of the people, no more dancing in the fields, which angered the Sun Gods. Under patriarchal rule, they were working harder than ever and receiving nothing in return. The ruling class cared nothing for the people and their labors.
Huicato requested that Ixcacau do something; and, so She did. She taught the kings how to ferment the cocoa into wine to make it a heady aphrodisiac.
The kings became gluttonous, drinking huge amounts of this wine to give them energy for their harems, and strength for the petty wars with other kingdoms. No one seemed to be paying much attention to the Earth and her people. The land became a place of war, and the men conscripted to become its’ warriors.
One of the ancient gods, who had sacrificed himself for the people returned in human form and sacrificed himself again, banishing human sacrifice.
The fields began to flourish once again. Huicato was pleased with what Ixcacau had done and covered her in white flowers, as She returned to the fields, where the people once again danced.
She directed Her people to always take the time to slow down, rest from their labors, spend time with their loved ones, listen to music, dance, and most of all, take the time for Love, and so, Ixcacau became not only a Goddess of Fertility and Abundance, but one of love and pleasure.
Ixcacau reminds Her people, and us now, to slow down. We must take the time to rest, refresh and renew ourselves. We should appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. We should experience bliss in all it’s forms; rather like that feeling when eating a piece of chocolate – Ahh, Bliss!
Bright Blessings & Love!