Book Stall


Pathway to the Gods
by Meredith L. Dreiss and Sharon Edgar Greenhill
University of Arizona Press, 2008

Today, chocolate may be a popular confection, but in the region of its origin -- ancient Mesoamerica -- it was a sacred substance, literally a food of the gods.

This illustrated history of chocolate documents the importance of cacao and its derivatives in Mexoamerica cultures across some 3,500 years. Its images and stories provided the basis of a 60-minute documentary film by the same title that accompanies the book on a DVD insert.

"The seduction of cacao has always resied in its consumption," the authors explain. "Modern chemical analyses of pre-Columbian ceramics prove that Mesoamericans have been eating and drinking chocolate since at least 1500 BC.

"Early Mesoamericans were not only enamored with the taste of this drink but also understood it was good for body and soul. Chocolate has been one of the world's favorite curatives and stimulants throughout time. Long hailed as an aphrodisiac, chocolate has an allure that has created a cascade of myths about this 'food of the devil' and matters of the heart. As it turns out, there is a connection to the heart: modern chemical analyses have isolated the heart-saving antioxidants within dark chocolate confirming what the ancients knew intuitively."

In separate chapers the authors discuss chocolate's supernatural associations in ancient Mesoamerica, rituals related to fertility and life cycles, the political and economic importance of cacao, the artifacts used to serve and celebrate chocolate, folk medicine and pharmacological traditions and, finally, chocolate's role in the rainforest ecology.

Begun as a project to popularize the archaeological evidence of chocolate's long and rich history, the book and DVD will sweeten any reader's (or viewer's) appreciation of its sacred importance to both ancients and moderns.


Why was a shaman buried with a bowl of cacao beans in his lap? Were they part of his shamanistic tool kit, or were they needed for his afterlife journey?.

Back to The Book Stall

Visit the Booths
Shopping Lists
Market Entrance
Sign Our Guestbook
Barn Books
Search the Market
Lease a Booth
Book Search
Buy Direct Directory

Farmer's Market Online
Copyright © 2008 Outrider News Service. All rights reserved.