The Story Of Deya, CacaoAmor & Her Ceremonial Cacao Paste
Deya 'Cacao Sorceress' & 'Heart Opener'
Hola Im Deya, my name can be pronounced in many ways, the way I pronounce it is like day in Spanish; Dia. Like Cacao, I was born in Ecuador and I am of mestizo heritage. I grew up drinking Cacao prepared by grandma in the mornings to give me incentive to go to school and in the evenings for a good night sleep. Chocolate was part of my daily life yet it wasn't until I travel to Palenque, Mexico in 2012 that I learned about its use in ceremony.
I came to the UK in 2000. After finishing a degree in film and photography, I spent the next few years living and working in London. During this time, I had a number of profound spiritual experiences and increasingly felt the call to pilgrimage. Not to any particular site or monument, but a pilgrimage of self, a journey inward as much as outward. In 2012, during the media frenzy about the ‘end’ of the Mayan calendar, that call drew me to return to Latin America. I travelled to Mexico, where I happened across Gustavo & Paula Ik from ‘Kakaw Sana’ who invited me to attend a Cacao Ceremony they were hosting. At the time I had been documenting my travels and although reluctant at first they agreed that I could record the event. You can find the video I filmed and edited on the homepage of their website www.kakawsana.com In this 3 or 4 hours Cacao Ceremony, we shared, we sang and at some point after drinking, my heart energetically exploded. This is the only way I can describe it. It felt energetically like my heart burst open, filled with love, light and connection. It was the first time I had felt a full connection between my mind and my heart, fully within myself, filled with and experientially understanding what unconditional love is. I felt the spirit of Cacao, I felt her blessing me and healing my heart.
I spent weeks after the Ceremony integrating what had happened and some weeks later took some time alone to work on the video I had filmed. As I edited the footage I felt a strong call to work with Cacao, but wasn’t sure how. This question was answered after sending the final edit to Paola and Gustavo; they loved it and asked if I would be interested in visiting them, collaborating and perhaps learning more about Cacao and ceremony. I learned so much in my time with them, sharing their home, their wisdom and facilitating ceremonies. For weeks I delved deeper into the medicinal and ceremonial powers of Cacao and sowed the first seeds of ‘CacaoAmor’.
Six months later, through a dream received by medicine woman Gina LaVerde in the magical land of Joshua Tree, California, I was asked to facilitate a Cacao Ceremony at a gathering. The intention was to heal the feminine energy of the land. This was the first of many ceremonies that came to me: I would arrive at a place, then be asked to facilitate. For some time I responded to Cacao's call this way, until I fully accepted the responsibility, that Cacao had chosen me and I her, as an ally to spread joy and love in the world.
I have been sharing Cacao in Ceremony all over the world, in many collaborations and diverse ways. Cacao helps facilitate human connection, embodiment practices, sound healing journeys, breathwork, yoga, meditation and sexual empowerment workshops, to name a few. Depending on the intention and the collective needs of the group, and with the guidance of the Spirit of Cacao, each ceremony is unique. Due to the current situation in our planet, I am offering ceremonies online as well as online immersions. Please check my page of products to find out more. I also hold ceremony for private groups, such as couple's rituals, hen parties and birthdays, as well as larger parties such as weddings, events, gatherings and festivals.
CacaoAmor: Sharing Ceremonial Cacao With Intention & Integrity
After 5 years of sharing Cacao in ceremony, and growing increasingly more aware of the struggles faced by Cacao, I was inspired to do something. Seeking to help. CacaoAmor was officially launched in 2018, committed to respecting and honouring the Earth and Cacao’s natural environment, supporting sustainable agriculture in the form of small farmers and finding ways to help their families to flourish. Our aim is to keep alive traditional cultivation methods and to preserve ancient varieties of Cacao, as well as the ecosystems they support.
Cacao farmers do not get paid enough, for their hard work. It seems that big chocolate corporations, and to an extent consumers, care little about the lives of those who farm this magical bean let alone about preserving ancient varieties in the natural habitat where they originated. When I founded CacaoAmor, I made a promise to be more conscious of where the Cacao I use comes from and how those involved in its cultivation are treated. As such we pay farmers more than the set world trading price for cacao, as well as finding more ways to support their farms.
In our first year, we imported just 200kg of Cacao paste and sold out in just a few months! As the demand for quality fair trade heirloom cacao rises, so do the challenges faced by the communities. In an attempt to help the preservation of cacao, and considering our small batch import, we are now aiming to focus our efforts in areas where we can make a meaningful difference. As such we are narrowing down from working with 200 farms to just 3. These 3 remote farms grow cacao trees in their natural habitat, surrounded by many other trees and plants and under the protection of the jungle’s canopy. These farms have been hit hard by a range of environmental factors. They used to have at least four good harvests a year now they have one or two at most. Our goal is to support these farms to develop in harmony with nature and in turn import larger quantities of cacao at a time, to make the most of their good harvest.
In addition, we are establishing ‘In Cacao We Trust’ a fund to provide resources in support of the farmers and the land. £2 of every package of CacaoAmor sold goes towards helping create more sustainable conditions for the farmers and the trees, whilst benefiting consumers with top quality Cacao.
Furthermore, we will be teaching the women of the farms how to ferment and dry the cacao beans themselves, meaning they get better rates for their cacao where it will travel directly from the farms to our chocolate laboratory to be lightly toasted and stone ground into our signature ceremonial paste.
CacaoAmor is committed to respecting and honouring our natural environment through sustainable agriculture, supporting small farmers and their families to flourish. Keeping alive traditional methods and preserving ancient varieties of Cacao, as well as an ecosystem of many other plants, trees, and creatures living with the Cacao trees.
Cultivating True 'Ceremonial' Cacao Paste
CacaoAmor’s Ceremonial Grade Cacao Paste is fermented in wooden boxes, then dried in green houses with the sun. The Cacao beans are then gently toasted for a temperature and time, that ensures any pathogens are killed, whilst waking up the bio-active compounds in the cacao to more easily assimilate them in the body. We never heat above 70 celcius and we make sure it is optimum for ceremony.
The beans are stone grounded, ensuring all the good properties of the cacao are preserved. This is the best way to create quality paste for ceremony and to make nutritiously healthy chocolates, drinks and foods.
We believe that if you want to make a difference then you need to do something different. We are dedicated to encourage our customers to be contributors not only consumers. When you purchase Cacao from CacaoAmor you are contributing to the preservation of Cacao’s natural habitat and improving the quality of life of those who protect and care for it.
If you would like to learn more about ways you can support us please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org www.cacaoamor.com
In Cacao We Trust