A (literal) gift from heaven: Chocolate
Today is Valentine's Day, and I have lingering hints of dark fudge in my pallette. So, rather than discussing some of the cool origins of this (once again) Pagan holiday, I thought I'd do a quick post about one of the delightful treats which millions of people (mostly women) are enjoying today, and one which traditionally accompanies the festival in America: Chocolate.
Meso-Americans first harvested chocolate from the cacoa leaf nearly 3100 years ago; it's name being rendered as "xocolatl". According to the University of Pennsylvania Field Museum, for most of its history, chocolate was consumed in its liquid, heated form, as hot cocoa. This delectable treat (also significant in Meso-American religious practice) has an interesting Mayan folk origin. According to the the Nuhuatl, cocoa beans were brought to earth by theft. The responsible deity was the feathered serpent god of agriculture and creation called Quetzalcoatl. Much like Prometheus stealing the gift of fire, Quetzalcoatl descended to Earth from the heavens on the beam of a morning star, and bundled with him was a cocoa tree stolen from paradise.
For something as sinful as chocolate to descend from heaven is both ironic and delightful. So, ladies, enjoy your stolen treats from paradise, and time with the loved ones who gave you this small slice of heaven.