Steve is in Guatemala and speaks to Keith The Chocolate Shaman. This interview was recorded in 2013. Apologies for a few chickens and cars in the background, there was no podcast studio in Guatemala!
Keith lives in the Mayan highlands of Guatemala, where he has become known as the Chocolate Shaman by way of a journey with the cacao into understanding the use of cacao/chocolate for spiritual and shamanic purposes.
You can find his website and buy cacao from him by clicking here.
We speak to Keith about cacao, what it can do for you, and his opinions and guidelines for having a spiritual relationship – whether that be a spiritual relationship with your friend, business partner, or lover.
Steve: Hi, Keith!
Keith: Greetings. Thank you for having me.
Steve: Let’s start by going through how you found cacao and where you started with your spiritual journey.
Keith: I was trained in a meditation and channeling group in the late ’80s and early ’90s by several higher dimensional beings not in bodies, who spoke to us through members of the group and told us that we were being trained to teach the people waking up now on the planet (so they could teach the third wave), many of whom are children now.
About 10 years ago, I came to Lake Antigua in Guatemala and realized it was the place that I had been prepared to be and teach, at least for a while. I found a place to live and started being a healer, teacher, energy worker.
A few months later, I had a visit from the chocolate spirit. The cacao spirit suggested that I go find out why and how cacao or chocolate was so important to the ancient Mayans and others in this part of the world.
My search led me through the local shamans who use alcohol to induce altered states for students’ training, and through anthropologists and a lot of web searches. Nobody had any idea what the purpose of chocolate was in ancient Central American or South American spirituality.
I went back to the chocolate spirit and said that I could feel there was a major disconnection there. Something that was that important is now completely unknown, it just doesn’t fit. So I’m in, where do we go from here?
Two weeks later, I had my chocolate from a small community on the other side of the mountains from here, tried it, and in about 40 minutes was aware that I was working with one of this planet’s most important teachers, facilitators, assistants. Over the next three years, I travelled from Mexico to Panama sampling chocolates, working with indigenous people, with growers, buying it in the markets and learning.
I began doing my own cacao ceremonies. I began sharing it with other people. I found out that almost all the processed chocolate in the world is missing most of the active ingredients. They are removed in the processing.
The standard commercial brands in North America are missing over 99 per cent of these active ingredients; Lindt or Green and Blacks, In continental Europe and Great Britain, they are missing about 80 per cent. The organic chocolate varies widely here depending on genetics more than on the processing.
Steve: What are these active ingredients?
Keith: There is about a dozen of them, and according to the biochemists, other than the caffeine-related compound called theobromine, there is not really enough of anything in the cacao to affect your consciousness. Maybe it’s synergy. No one really pays a lot of attention.
In the 10 years that I’ve been spreading the information on cacao, having up a website, I now get several emails a week from therapists, teachers, healers, people journeying inside in shamanic ways, people working with their creativity, working inside their relationships with their sweethearts using this kind of chocolate.
They are using chocolate with the active ingredients, to connect to whatever they want to connect to. If it is connecting to a productive workplace or corporate focus, cacao is excellent for that. It connects you to your intuition, your insight, your understanding. When people in a group take this kind of chocolate, their hearts open, they connect on other levels more easily.
The amount of agendas and stress drops, the amount of personal energies that get in the way of things drops.
People connect on a different level. My interest is in using the cacao for inner work. That is called shamanic journeying, inner processing, working with your shadow, working with your pain body. The idea is to change reality inside so the feedback, the mirror outside, that we all call reality, changes.
Steve: I’ve done a ceremony with you. You talked a lot about Eckhart Tolle’s concept of the pain body and how it is affecting humanity at the moment. What’s your take on where we are with the world and our relationships? How can cacao help us look inside ourselves?
Keith: In the 1980s, what Eckhart Tolle called the pain body, I first heard it referred to as the dark shadow – to differentiate it from the light shadow – the even scarier parts, the magnificent being you are, and all of the energies, dimensions, understandings that you’re ready to work with, play with, heal with, or manifest with.
These days, , the idea is that this (call it the dark shadow, or your density, or your pain body) is the pain, the fear, the conditioning from childhood, the cultural conditioning, the dramas, your scripts, your stories and your baggage that manifest the pain and the problems in your life, that recur repeatedly, especially in relationships, whether they’re intimate relationships or business partnerships.
The idea is that in the process we are going through on the planet, the pain body, or the dark shadow, has to go. It has to be let go of either through a process of repeatedly painful dramas (that we call that the hard bus), or through a process of inner work, of releasing, transmuting, often with the help of higher energies.
This process will be, for most people on the planet, as I understand it, mandatory. When and how you do it is your choice. Increasingly, as the energies go up on the planet in this shift that is happening throughout the dimensions, the contents of your pain body will manifest as dramas in your relationship, with your health, your wealth, your creativity.
Eventually, everyone will be pushed by their pain into doing something with their pain body. Eckhart Tolle is quite clear. If these things are not released, they will turn into increasing chaos, problems, madness, and pain.
Steve: Can you give examples of how they specifically play out, how the pain body specifically plays out in relationships?
Keith: Any kind of relationship with another person, a good friend, business partner, intimate partner is one of the main arenas, playing fields, where we learn about and experience our inner issues, through objectifying them symbolically and playing them out, playing those scripts out with other people. Or you can play it out with your health, your wealth, your creativity.
These things manifest as problems, pain, issues, arguments, people hurting each other, blame and as distortions of love that people get caught up in and play out repeatedly. Understanding what is going on inside from the rational mind level isn’t really workable, where psychoanalysis is famous for producing people after 10 years who totally understand why they do what they do, but they still do it.
That’s not really a solution. The patterns are in the subconscious and the unconscious levels, so techniques of meditation, shamanic journeying, working with your shadow, inner processing, are required. Most of these techniques would fall under meditation, inner visualization, working with energies, or working with other parts of yourself to get connected to inner child, masculine and feminine self.
In order for the dramas you played out with your parents to be released at the depth they are, in your beliefs, attitudes and feelings, these dramas don’t need to continually be objectified in reality, made real, to bring your attention to them.
All those things going on, all that stuff that’s wrong with you, is something that you carefully put there. You have to understand the process of letting go of, of transmuting the pain body, to make room for who you are, and then to give yourself the authority so that you can assist other people through their release of the pain body. It’s not something you learn from a book.
Steve: I remember you saying that you think there’s a whole generation of people who are experts in the pain body. We see the world in the complete mess that it is. We’ve got a whole generation of people who are ready to make changes, and you were saying that the world is splitting into those who are stepping into fear and those who are stepping into love.
Keith: Yes, I spend a lot of time with highly sensitive, intuitive people who sponge up, or absorb the negative energies from others. People just walk up to them, have to tell their painful stories. In a few minutes, those people feel better, but the person to whom the story is being told now has those energies inside them. They don’t feel so good.
Other people take it in from groups, from walking down the street, from going into crowded places, or they pick it up from headlines in a newspaper, or reports on television of a disaster on some part of the world, and instantly they’re connected and taking it in.
Other people take it in from the natural world. About 12 years ago, these folks began being referred to as empaths. Empath is the noun. Empathic is the adjective.
Empaths almost always want to protect themselves. As many spiritual teachings understand, protecting yourself does not work. “The Course in Miracles” is quite clear. Defense is a prayer for attack.
It says, “Dear Universe, I want to protect myself from other people’s negativity.” The Universe says, “Delightful, we’ll send you more negativity because this is how you asked to have fun.” The Universe answers your prayers. I began working with these people in an understanding that eating other people’s density is training.
There are millions of people who have since very young childhood been consuming the negative energies of others, often believing those were their own energies, to study them, to eat all those portions of the pain body on individual, group, or planetary levels, however they work.
Then they have to get it out of themselves, so that they have room to eat more, so that they can understand what a pain body is, and how to move those energies. Those people are now waking up, beginning to do something different, rather than eat the energies, send it directly to transmutation with the higher beings they have agreements with, and help other people understand how to get rid of, how to release, how to transmute their pain bodies.
We teach a lot of them here, and I’m in the process now of the last stages of finishing a documentary that we’ll have up on YouTube.
Steve: It’s quite clear that in the world we’re either stepping towards love or we are stepping towards the wars, killing the environment, the corrupt political systems, and everything else that’s there. What are your thoughts on all those things at the moment?
Keith: I was exposed to this understanding in the 1980s that there was a huge polarization, a split, coming on this planet, where everyone would find it necessary to choose either one path or the other, either a love-based, or a fear-based path. In every society, every group, every religion, there will be people choosing love, and people choosing fear.
Both sides get to look at each other, and watch each other, so there’s the maximum opportunity to decide. Each person needs to come to a place where they make a decision, and if they’re not done with a fear-based path, if they’re not done with killing each other as a way to solve their problems, if they’re not done with racism and sexism, if they’re not done with destroying the planet as a normal way to make money, they will be able to continue their lifetimes elsewhere, on their own planet, with people like themselves.
Those people who are done with these things will be able to continue in their own way, in their own realities, without needing to live on a planet that is essentially controlled by people who aren’t finished with those things yet. This is the lifetime when we all decide, each for ourselves.
There is absolutely no need to convince someone else where they should be. Everyone will take care of this themselves.
Steve: Do you see us being able to coexist on the same planet?
Keith: The reality in today’s world is the result of that coexistence, and it’s not working too well. In the larger picture, that’s all right. Everyone has the opportunity to make their own choice in deciding what’s best for them. If you’re truly not done, you need to continue that until you finish with it. Out of unconditional love, the rest of us can allow them to make that choice.
At the same time, those who are choosing a path based in higher energies are to be examples, are to open their abilities to heal, to create, to manifest, and allow the increasingly higher energies available on this planet to move through those abilities of healing, creating, and manifesting to make a world that’s a lot more fun, to make a world that’s an adventure where we can all, through that path choice, be an example, an encouragement for the maximum amount of people who wish to join a love-based direction, whatever culture or religion they’re from.
Steve: For me personally, which is why I started this magazine, I see the way that men and women relate to each other as being kind of fundamental towards how we move forward in this planet, and how we relate to and understand each other.
It’s the nature of understanding rather than the segregation we’ve had as two sexes throughout both the media in the past hundred years and religion (actually going further back, religion for many, many centuries segregated men and women in terms of our understanding).
I know on your website you’ve got a bit about this spiritual relationship. Could you talk a bit about how you see relationships and what is in that guide?
Keith: Yes. Several years ago, I posted on the website a page on the spiritual relationship. From the beginning, its purpose has been to provide a model which we didn’t grow up with. I certainly didn’t understand how a relationship actually works, what the principles behind it are.
In today’s energy, a relationship you may have with your intimate partners, business partners, friends, your health, you wealth, your creativity, etc., has the purpose of bringing up to the surface what you decided you wanted to work on in this lifetime. Relationships are a way for you to gain experience in the core issues that you came here to study, to learn about, eventually heal and release.
The issues you play out with your parents, and then you play out in relationships, you’ll play out with teachers. If you begin working with the higher dimensional beings called guides, you’ll play the same issues out with them. Because those are the issues that you have with the source, god/goddess, with oneness, great spirit.
You are studying your basic issue of connecting to God through your relationships. Those issues are coming up and intensifying as the energies on the planet increase, as the spiritual energy that’s available increases. The idea is, as these increasing energies come in, everything inside gets bigger. Your abilities, your creativity, your magic, your fun get easier to manifest.
Your pain body dramas get bigger and easier to manifest. Everything expands. Relationships are a prime place where you work on those much larger level-connecting issues. The website goes through four basic principles or rules.
Rule number one is:
“If you’ve got a problem, it is never about them.” It’s never about the other person. You literally asked them to play that role for you, for their own purposes, of course. Out of a higher love, they said, “Yes.”
Right away blame, whether it’s of your relationship partner, other people, or other countries (or your country), doesn’t work, because what is happening in the background is that the mirror called reality doing what it’s designed to do, which is take you inside to what you decided you wanted to work on in this lifetime.
Rule number two is:
“It’s not about what it’s about.” The Course in Miracles says, “You are never angry for the reasons you think you are.” If it’s not about who didn’t clean the kitchen, then attempting to solve it at that level isn’t going to work, because what it’s really about is deeper within each person.
Most people have noticed that if they try and solve the problem at the level of discussing the kitchen, all they do is create a bigger argument. Rule number two: it’s not about what it’s about.
Rule number three is:
This one comes from a guide called thesaurus, and says, “Nothing changes until you do.”
If the pattern is a reflection in the mirror, the mirror is not going to change until you do. That universal understanding is becoming more and more known in the last 30 years with people talking about, “You create your own reality,” “Reality is a mirror,” that sort of thing, “Reality is a holographic projection that comes from within.”
In watching people for over 25 years now go through the layers of their inner issues, when they finally get to the bottom of it, the mirror changes, reality outside changes, other people instantly change if they’re the ones that are the cause, shall we say, of the problem.
Rule number four is:
“Pain is resistance,” or as we say here, “Pain is resist dance.” If it hurts, you’re fighting the process. You’re fighting the process that your own higher knowing is attempting to take you through. Obviously, the next question is, “What do you do when you have problems in a relationship?”
When you get triggered, when the pain body gets triggered, the first thing to do is disengage. If it’s not about the other person, if it’s not about what it’s about, you’re not going to solve it outside. Separate. Each person goes wherever they need to go, in order to go inside and look into what it’s really about, using techniques of meditation, inner journeying, creative visualization.
In the way I’ve heard many people express, the key to meditation or prayer is to be able to visualize with feeling, to have images with feeling, energetic or emotional content. Disengage. That does not mean the guy goes to the bar or the pub and tells stories, the woman gets together with other women and tells the story of what happened.
When you do this, first of all, nothing changes. Second of all, when you repeatedly tell stories, you create energy in reality that brings a repeat performance of the same drama, often with other characters.
Steve: Those stories sort of exacerbate the pain body, and they give us more fuel for the ego to just keep going?
Steve: Whereas if you, as you’ve said, disengage, you can get some perspective on where your shadow is and the darker parts, and what they do. I spoke to Teal Swan, a spiritual leader, about this particular thing.
She says, “When it comes to finding those aspects of your darker self, the next thing to do is to have radical self-acceptance rather than saying, ‘OK. I have irrational issues’ and trying to change that.” It’s about accepting those things.
She recommends writing down everything that’s good about those things and then moving forward from there because then when you fully love and accept yourself, your partner can only but accept you. Would you agree with this?
Keith: Yes. We make a big distinction here in our work between the energy called “fixing” and the energy called “healing”, or “changing”. What we refer to here as a fixing energy is the one behind which there is a ‘make wrong’, a judgment, something that says, “This isn’t right with you. This shouldn’t be there. You need to get rid of it” rather than, “This is a gift.”
You put it there for a reason. Getting rid of it is not the solution. Going deeper with it, finding out why you put it there, changing the things at the subconscious level, releasing them, letting them go, transmuting them, bringing in higher energetic assistance, however, are actions you’re doing that are different from making it wrong and getting rid of it, which, basically, doesn’t work.
What it does do, if you get rid of it, make it wrong, is put you into another circle of inner war, which is exactly the opposite of the radical self-acceptance, the self-love, the compassion that you just mentioned. Those are required. You can’t go there without them.
Steve: Because there has been a whole industry made on self-development. Teal mentioned that these people were kind of addicted to that self-improvement. Though they may not even realize it themselves, they’re actually becoming self-haters with all the change.
I’ve been there in the past. I was like, “OK. What do I need to change about myself?” when I was younger, and never really accepting everything about myself. A lot of people are confused with the number of different self-development books out there.
Keith: Yes. Looking for the next thing that’s wrong with them. Those things will come up. Life will present you with them as the triggers, the painful things in your life. If you make it wrong about yourself, you’ll compound the problem.
If you use it as an opportunity to go inside and consider that you are in a learning process of how to transmute density or pain body, how to change it, and how to heal it, that’s why you put those things that are wrong with you there.
Once people learn from the inside how to work with the pain body, how to trust the other-dimensional energies that help you with that, then it will be time to move into transmuting things outside in political, social, economic, religious, and polluted environmental systems.
Many religious systems are going through changes like this. You can do a quick Internet search for the radically different things the present Catholic Pope is saying. There’s a lot of change happening.
Steve: I saw that he seems to be definitely changing what he’s thinking about his religion. We (as a species) can only really change, as you said if we change ourselves. But it doesn’t mean changing all the negative things. It can just mean accepting ourselves and things as they are.
Keith: Yes. Things are changing all the time. Change is the common denominator of the world. But different energy is required to change in this sense than the one spent making something wrong and getting rid of it.
Steve: Finally, where do you see cacao’s role in this new world order that’s happening? How can cacao help facilitate this, and why would you recommend using it?
Keith: Cacao or its processed form, chocolate, if it has the goodies in it, is a partner and assistant in opening the heart. It doesn’t work in the way most people are conditioned to expect a plant medicine or a plant spirit medicine to work with them. It doesn’t take you somewhere. It doesn’t do anything to you.
It does not work in the standard medical model, the old shamanic model, the psychedelic model, or the male energy model where something is done to you, you are taken somewhere. You are given what you need. Through the transaction, the shaman who did the work is the one who is empowered.
I explain it to people that it is the difference between a leader and a partner. Cacao is a partner. It’s not a leader. If you take this plant spirit medicine, you’re working with other-dimensional energies whose physical body is chocolate.
The compounds in the chocolate assist in changing your physiology and your consciousness enough so that, as I call it, the chocolate opens the door but doesn’t push you through it. The things that would bubble up from the subconscious, the things that Carl Jung talked about, that you want to find if you look inside, are easier to get in touch with having enough of the chocolate in your system.
If you use it that way, it’s an assistant to such a journey. But it’s not going to take you there or push you there. It’s a different kind of energy. It helps people open their hearts and connect in a different way. It makes the whispers, the communications, your inner teacher more obvious.
If you don’t want to follow them, if you would like to continue pushing them down or denying them, as we’ve been taught by cultures all over the world, you may do so. This kind of cacao or chocolate is something that individuals are led to. I meet a lot of people who have been drawn to chocolate for decades. For me, they’re looking for something they know is supposed to be there.
I have put up a website, and I ship the kind of chocolate that answers that question. I talk to the chocolate spirit to source my chocolate so it has the energies and the compounds to support that kind of inner work. When I first began working with the chocolate spirit, she referred to herself as “the food for the chef.”
I understand it now, in the same way as an indigenous story that I read in an anthropological paper years ago, which said that “When mankind gets out of harmony with the natural world, chocolate comes out of the rainforest to open people’s hearts and reestablish the balance.”
I was asked to participate in that process if I wanted to. I’m now having a lot of fun with it. I have a website that gets thousands of hits a month. People are using this type of chocolate to assist in their inner understanding or creativity process.
Steve: I’ve tried Keith’s chocolate. It’s certainly facilitative for many things, whether you want to meditate, whether you want to bring out higher energies, whether you want to do yoga, or whatever you want to do. It takes you to a different vibration, a different level of being, something you can’t get from eating a chocolate bar from the local shop.
We fully recommend checking out Keith’s website, ceremonialcacao.blogspot.com. We can thank now Keith for taking the time today for this interview. Thank you, Keith.
Keith: Thank you.
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