Guardians of cacao
Found in the Book of Omens “Tonalámatl”, the legend tells the story of how compassionate gods, watching the hardships of the Toltec civilization, were resolved to help them. The gods chose Quetzalcóatl among them who, as a human being, descended upon the city of Tollan on a beam of light of the morning star. And so he did, amazing the Toltecs due to his gleaming dresses and his white, curly and also gleaming beard. And from then on these people started adoring him and abandoning their old clay idols. Along with Quetzalcóatl reigned the god Tláloc (“the lord within the earth”), master of rain and giver of life and also his wife Xochiquetzal (“beautiful flower”), goddess of happiness, beauty and love.
Gods were benevolent and peace bloomed. Quetzlacóatl taught the toltecs the secrets of the sciences and arts. He, who loved them deeply, also gave them the gift of a plant that he stole from his fellow gods, a plant jealously guarded that was the source of a drink reserved only for them. He stole the small bush with dark red flowers, long leaves and dark fruits and planted it in Tula. Then he asked Tláloc to feed the plant with rain and Xochiquetzal to embellish it with flowers. The little tree gave fruits and Quetzalcoatl taught the Toltec women to roast and grind the kernels of the fruit and prepare the bitter chocolate drink.
The Toltecs became wise and rich, artists and builders, they enjoyed chocolate and were happy. The gods became jealous at first and then infuriated after discovering that the “food of the gods” had been stolen. The gods called on Tezcatlipoca -"the fuming mirror"-, the god of darkness and the night. This god was the sworn enemy of Quetzalcóatl, who was the god of the morning star. Tezcatlipoca came down to earth on the thread of a spider and taking on the guise of a merchant, approached Quetzalcóatl determined to cause his downfall. The god of the morning star was in his palace that day. He was very very sad. He had dreamt that the gods were plotting against him and he was worried for his people the Toltecs. The false merchant tricked him into believing that the drink he was offering him would bring joy and happiness to him and to the Toltecs.
Quetzalcóatl, who loved the Toltecs, drank the juice, which was pulque, a drink made from fermented agave. He drank and drank and drank until he was completely drunk. He danced, and jumped about, and made all sorts of hand gestures to the people outside the palace who did not know what to make of the strange behaviour of their beloved god. Exhausted, he finally felt asleep. When he woke up with a painful headache and a foul mouth, he understood that the gods had dishnored him and that the fall of the Toltec civilization and the city of Tollan was near.
Feeling that he would never be able again to see the same people who he taught to be honest and benevolent without embarrasment and not willing to face the destruction looming upon them, he decided to leave Tollan and head in the direction of the evening star.
He walked all the way to the land of Tabasco, close to the sea. When he reached the shore he placed unto the ground the last seeds of cacao he had left in this hand. The seeds, with time, flourished and became the last gift of the god of the morning star to the people of Mexico. And then he entered the sea and on a beam of light of the evening star he left for his home of light.
Mexican cacao farmers are the guardians of these first cacao trees left behind by Quetzalcóatl until this day.