GODS OF CHOCOLATE AND DRUNKENESS. EASTER!

OR, JUST TO START YOU OFF LADIES (AND GENTS!) ON THE HUGE PANTHEON OF MAYAN GODS.

IT’S EASTER WEEKEND SO THIS IS FROM ME TO YOU, HAVE A GREAT ONE! I will still be in Mexico where they love a good religious festival and a bit of a party and interestingly the Mayans and Christians do it side by side at the local churches, or at least share the church grounds. When I first arrived and I was moving into my new flat, went past a church where some Mayans in full dress were dancing and chanting. I was very surprised but it’s a regular occurrence apparently. For Easter in Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala, where I was last trip, they are famous for this union of celebration. It seems things can be combined amicably if you have the right mentality, after all we normal people all want peace don’t we?

What’s not to love? Chocky and booze preferably together. Who hasn’t polished off a box of chocolate liquors at Christmas? I thought I’d start with chocolate and booze to pique your interest. I will add the major gods as we go on our journey through my Mexican journey. As with all their gods they do morph a lot and are considered more as spirits that in some cases you could outwit with cunning!

IxCacao, the goddess of chocolate

ixcacao.The Mayan goddess of the cacao tree and chocolate

Ixcacao made from the fruit of that tree. Prayed to along with the Corn Mother, and other agricultural deities. Chocolate is the term that refers to items made out of cacao beans The word comes from the Aztec word “xcoatl”, which was the word for the very first beverage made out of cacao beans.

In a process that remains unchanged to this day, the Mayans made chocolate by first harvesting the seeds from cacao trees. They fermented and dried them, roasted them, removed their shells, and ground them into paste. They often combined this paste with water, cornmeal, chili peppers, and other spices, then poured the spicy, bitter mixture back and forth between two containers to create a frothy head that was much like how we love the froth on a cappuccino. This nutritious drink seems to have been the most common Mayan method of consuming chocolate. The elite would drink it at the end of a meal,Although chocolate was clearly a favorite of Mayan royals and priests, common people likely enjoyed the drink on at a few occasions, as well. Many ancient Mayan artifacts are decorated with paintings of the people gathering, preparing, or drinking cacao. It appears to have been a truly integral part of their religious and social lives.

Cacao and Maize in Maya Tradition | Chocolate Class

The beans and drink were used in a variety of religious rituals honoring the Mayan gods, the liquid chocolate sometimes representing blood, and were considered “god food” indeed nectar of the gods.The Maya were so fond of chocolate that they not only gathered cacao beans in the forests, they grew the trees in their gardens. The cacao tree is native to the tropical rainforests of Mesoamerica, or the southern and eastern portions of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and parts of El Salvador and Honduras. Even Mayan groups living in the Yucatán, where the climate wouldn’t support a tropical rainforest, apparently found ways to grow some cacao trees. They also had extensive trade networks that helped ensure steady supplies of cacao throughout Mesoamerica, even in areas too cool or dry for cacao trees to thrive. Just shows we all love a bit of chocolate and when you gotta have it you gotta have it.

In the tombs of their rulers, they included cacao beans and various vessels and utensils associated with cacao consumption. The chocolate drink was also exchanged between bride and groom during the traditional marriage ceremony. And in Mayan baptismal rites, ground cacao beans mixed with ground flowers and pure water from tree hollows was used to anoint little Mayan boys and girls. What a lovely idea.

olmec | Chocolate Class
 A Mayan figurine of court dwarf bearing a cacao pod.

chocolate drink recipe a la mayan.

If you want to go all authentic or show off to your mates you can try the recipe below. We have a lot to be grateful to the Maya (and more anciently the Olmec but there is no record as to how it was prepared) for providing us with the basic cacao preparation even though we add other stuff to it now including milk and sugar but some chocolatiers have now added chilli and you can buy chocolate of a much higher percentage rate which is indeed more bitter and more as the Mayans would have tasted it in liquid form.

Pin by Oly Kulkin on TEA, COFFEE & CHOCOLAT | Mayan art, History of  chocolate, Aztec art
Holding a huge cocoa bean.

recipe for mayan hot chocolate drink.

2 cups of boiling water
1 chile pepper cut in half seeds removed
5 cups of milk (or cream)
1 vanilla pod cut lengthwise
2 or 3 cinnamon sticks
8 ounces dark chocolate at least 70 percent
Add sugar or honey to taste (although sugar is cheating and at least they had honey)
In a pot over medium-high heat, add pepper to boiling water. Cook until liquid is reduced to 1 cup.
Remove chile pepper; strain water and set aside.(or again skip this step,

Put a saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk (or cream), vanilla pod and cinnamon sticks until it bubbles.
Reduce heat and add chocolate and sugar or honey; whisk often until chocolate is melted and sugar dissolves. and it froths up.

The other use for choclate

This was a very silly blog I made about the trial of effectiveness of a chocolate Easter egg face mask. I did it on my terrace in the sun and was rather drunk at the time so it neatly ties in the chocolate and alcohol subject of this post.

Acan. The god of drunkeness.

Now girls we all like a tipple so I pray to Acan rather a lot while travelling now. Although I don’t care for mead which is the most similar drink. We all are boisterous when we’ve has a few and act the clown just like our newly discovered god. Of course you have this category of god in many cultures. Now these were not always about getting pissed but clearly a lot were and a lot were incorporated in religious rites and ceremonies. The list below just shows that alcohol was an important part of life everywhere!

Aztec version

Now girls we all like a tipple so I pray to Acan rather a lot while travelling now. Although I don’t care for mead which is the most similar drink. We all are boisterous when we’ve has a few and act the clown just like our newly discovered god. Of course you have this category of god in many cultures. Now these were not always about getting pissed but clearly a lot were and a lot were incorporated in religious rites and ceremonies. The list below just shows that alcohol was an important part of life everywhere!

Acan is a very boisterous God who loves to make a fool of himself while under the influence. His name means ‘groan’ or ‘bellow’ and by all accounts he does a lot of groaning — particularly during the morning after. Acan is responsible for the honey and bark intoxicating drink known as ‘Balché’. This cocktail was – and is – very popular among the Maya. A specific subspecies of stingless bees were treated as sacred. The Maya called these bees Xunan kab, literally meaning “royal lady”. Hives would be kept by families for generations, like pets. These nearly extinct bees would gather nectar from the pollen of a local plant and a local tree which contained ergoline compounds that produced psychotropic effect to the resulting balche’ elixir.  Trances induced by the elixer would provide a glimpse into a sacred, invisible world. In some cases, Acan was also represented as a close friend (or aspect) of Cucoch, the Mayan god of creative endeavors, thereby also underlining how artistic flair was seen as an extension of recreational activities. I know I do my best work when I’ve had a few and many other artists have been well known for their heavy drinking and wild escapades so I feel this all makes a lot of sense.

ACAN - the Maya God of Alcohol (Maya mythology)

Acan is a very boisterous God who loves to make a fool of himself while under the influence. His name means ‘groan’ or ‘bellow’ and by all accounts he does a lot of groaning — particularly during the morning after. Acan is responsible for the honey and bark intoxicating drink known as ‘Balché’. This cocktail was – and is – very popular among the Maya. A specific subspecies of stingless bees were treated as sacred. The Maya called these bees Xunan kab, literally meaning “royal lady”. Hives would be kept by families for generations, like pets. These nearly extinct bees would gather nectar from the pollen of a local plant and a local tree which contained ergoline compounds that produced psychotropic effect to the resulting balche’ elixir.  Trances induced by the elixer would provide a glimpse into a sacred, invisible world. In some cases, Acan was also represented as a close friend (or aspect) of Cucoch, the Mayan god of creative endeavors, thereby also underlining how artistic flair was seen as an extension of recreational activities. I know I do my best work when I’ve had a few and many other artists have been well known for their heavy drinking and wild escapades so I feel this all makes a lot of sense.

Balché’ is still used by the Maya in Yucatán as an offering in planting ceremonies and to ward off trickster spirits who might try to damage field crops.

8 Rabbit ideas | rabbit, mayan art, mesoamerican
Aztec drunken rabbit god. Don’t even ask!

Other indigenous ingredients for Maya “happy hour” included a tobacco plant more powerful than present varieties, mushrooms called “k’aizalah okox” [the “lost judgment mushroom”], peyote and seeds from the morning glory (later used as an ingredient in xtabentún), and bufo marinus, a large tropical frog.

The Spanish reported the Maya added tobacco or toad skins to their alcoholic beverages. Apparently, glands in the frog skin are a powerful alkaloid compound that is poisonous in large quantities, but small amounts gave their balche’ an extra kick. Balche’ wasn’t just a beverage. The Maya used an enema apparatus to introduce the alcoholic or hallucinogenic substances into the colon for faster and more potent effect.

It is believed that to be able to come closer to the god, the Mayans would drink till they are completely intoxicated in hopes of seeing even a glimpse of their god, some would even take certain substances to get high, like mushrooms and tobacco. In fact this is still a common practice today, where people would gather to drink together. Imagine all this happening around their pyramids and sacred sites in the moonlight or around fires. Transport yourself to a bit of Mayan madness, the equivalent to a rave these days.

List from Wiki

This extensive list from Wiki gives you an idea that worldwide people have always loved a drink or two, either for religious reasons or just to get merry. Cheers!

Me protecting my mojito in Chiang Mai that was served dramatically with dry ice.

over and out from your very own goddess of alcohol.

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