The Ashaninka Way of Life

In 2019 Sacred’s founder Dan Koch travelled to the heart of the jungle where he was invited to meet with the oldest indigenous tribe in South America. The Ashaninka taught him about the sacred origins of cacao, the essence of her spirit and why commercialising it is a chance to preserve their traditional way of life. 

‘The forests are getting smaller.’ Dan explains in his Sacred Story. ‘The Ashaninka are forced to grow and cultivate cacao as a means to earn money to keep their land titles. When I realised this, I knew there was a part for me to play.’

The Ashaninka community has long been under threat. From civil war, to defending their land from terrorism, drug trafficking and illegal logging. Their land is ravaged in the name of narcotics, though the Coca plant (commonly known as cocaine) is another traditional medicine misunderstood and misused. The plant is now chemically processed and adulterated to form a harmful, addictive substance which wreaks havoc on a scale most people aren’t even aware of.

‘We are products of our environments and right now it’s toxic.’ Dan expresses. ‘We’re destroying it and we’ll destroy ourselves if we don’t change. Cacao is the divine mother. The indigenous in these lands live in harmony because they never destroyed the mother, they understand what it is to sustain life.’

Sacred’s ethos is steeped in the indigenous wisdom carried by the medicine of cacao, something that is desperately needed in our fast-paced, urban culture. Raw, fermented cacao beans are one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet, with the power to restore balance and harmony to the body, mind and humanity’s relationship with nature. This is a major rewrite of the story where cacao is mass-produced to form an addictive, sugary substance devoid of all vitality. The excessive consumerism of our culture is robbing the Ashaninka of their resources and tipping the scales dangerously close to demise. However, we know there’s hope. 

The Ashaninka live by eight principles they call ‘Kametsa Asaika’ or ‘The Good Life.’

They relate to culture, food, land security, harmony with nature, peace, sustainability, health, education and living as Ashaninkasanori. The ancestral lands of the Ashaninka hold this wisdom, but they are under threat from deforestation. 

‘We can plant new trees, but they won’t carry the same medicine.’ Dan emphasises. ‘It’s those untouched places where we can truly tap in. The Ashaninka are living in harmony with the earth and we’re doing everything we to support and teach others about that.’

We want everyone who enjoys Sacred to understand where their cacao comes from and the truth she’s travelled across the world to reveal. The Ashaninka are allowing their sacred medicine to leave the jungle in order to preserve their sacred connection to it. This is the bittersweet story foretold by the ancient Mayan legend:

Whenever there is an imbalance between humans and nature, Cacao makes its way out of the jungle to open our hearts and return the planet to a state of harmony.

‘By working directly with the Ashaninka tribe, we know that what we’re doing honours cacao in every stage of the journey.’ Dan expresses. ‘Plant medicine is coming back in its original form to heal the land and to heal us.’

Every cup of cacao Sacred serves is supporting the Ashaninka people in continuing their way of life. Our vision is to help preserve the land and protect the culture from where our cacao comes from whilst helping the western world reconnect to the planet and their purpose through remembering what is Sacred.

Read Dan's Story
Sacred Story | Dan Koch

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