Ep#2: The Maltyox Method: Cacao as Heart Opener with Christine Olivia
In this episode of Your Story Medicine, I welcome Christine Olivia Hernandez, creator of the Maltyox Method, author, cacao enthusiast, and artist. We discuss her ancestral lineage and her connection to it, detailing the beautiful journey she went on to find that connection. She tells us how her heritage has influenced her life, what her writing process is like, how she grounds herself in times of uncertainty, and what she has learned to release in this whole experience.
How can we mindfully and consciously consume cacao as a part of our spiritual practice without appropriating it? What would you say to someone who is in the loop of comparison and are feeling a longing to share their story, connect with their ancestors, and embrace their sensuality? Tune in to hear Christine’s inspiring responses to these questions!
What is the land that you’re currently on and how would you describe your medicine?
I am in Topanga, on the lands of the Chumash and the Tongva peoples. I would say I am the medicine, so what I bring to others is the connection to their magic or to their truth and to mine as well.
What is it that lights up your spirit? What is it that you live for vs what you do to make money?
For me, it’s The Maltyox Method (Maltyox meaning thank you in Mayan), or the Gratitude Method, that helps us get out of our heads and into our hearts. That can range in the different activities we do but it always incorporates working with the Cacao Spirit, Mayan cacao, movement and meditation. It’s also about other things I’m creating, which right now are two scripts.
Tell us about your ancestral lineage and how it’s influenced all it is that you’re manifesting in the world today.
I used to be very disconnected from my lineage and from myself. I was introduced to Guatemalan cacao which connected me to my ancestry because my father is from Guatemala. So, I’m half Guatemalan, then my mother is half Mexican and half European. I feel like I’m Mayan-Aztec and a mix of other things.
Where did you grow up and were your parents connected to your ancestry? Tell us about your journey to connecting with your ancestors.
It was a hard journey. My mom was a young single parent and my father wasn’t around much. I grew up in Riverside County, fully disconnected to my lineage, and so was everyone from my mother’s side. I didn’t know my father’s side, but I learned later on that my father left Guatemala during the Civil War as a child. He took his life when I was 22, so it was hard to lose him at that time because it felt like I had lost the ability to connect with that part of myself. Cacao instantly brought me back to that part of myself and I knew I was supposed to share it with the world.
What was the writing process like for you?
I didn’t get a degree in writing, I have an Associate’s Degree in Sociology. I got out of my own way thanks to the medicine. I drank her every day and dove deep with her. It started with just a short story and a passion for writing. I read more and took creative writing classes and just did it. Once I moved to LA, I realized this needed to be a movie because people need to see this magic!
What would you say to someone who is in the loop of comparison and are feeling a longing to share their story, connect with their ancestors, and embrace their sensuality?
I would say that you are a miracle. You are your ancestors’ living dreams come true. They are walking behind you and you can connect with them in this moment by calling them into this space and feeling them in your heart. My father has never left my side and he is always with me, he was just ill-equipped to be in this physical world.
Who are the gatekeepers of this medicine? How can we mindfully and consciously consume cacao as a part of our spiritual practice without appropriating it?
For me, I didn’t have any mentors that would share this medicine with me, so when I found it, I shared it with anyone who would listen to me. I learned about it in any way that I could, doing all the research to get to its origin. I went to the place in Guatemala that was growing the cacao to connect with the Mayan elders, the wisdom keepers, and I’ve learned how to truly honor the wisdom keepers.
On this path that can often be inundated with fear and uncertainty, what is it that you’re doing to stay grounded?
The plants, always. They’re here for us and we get to use them, so I drink a nourishing herbal infusion in the morning and sometimes throughout the day. Having ceremonies, not necessarily drinking cacao daily, but working with the Spirit daily. I burn blessing herbs daily and use that as an offering to give thanks to ancestors, to cleanse and clear the space. Lately, I’ve been working with sacred tobacco. Sage and palo santo are overharvested and endangered, so juniper, lavender, and rosemary are beautiful plants to work with instead. Burning one leaf at a time with intention and reverence to the plants is all you need.
What have you learned to release in the process?
So many things! Not being worthy, needing and wanting permission from mentors or elders who are of my lineage, and the fear of appropriating our medicines and ceremonies.
Conclusion: You get to remember your truth by tapping into your heart, even if you don’t have any medicine right now. Your ancestors are with you right now and you have the ability to speak to them and connect with them. You are the merging between Mother Earth and Father Sky and you can create your own ceremony to honor that. Whether it be with sacred plants, meditation, movement, or mantras… find simple ways to connect to yourself and dig deep within yourself to find that ancestor energy.
Homework: Close your eyes, come into your breath, come into your heart, remember who you are and that you’re connected to your ancestors, spirit guides, Mother Earth, and Father Sky. Take a deep breath and tell yourself that you are the light. Think of one way you can connect with your divine light, then go do it!
Learn more about Christine and her work:
The HeArt of Cacao Ceremony Online Course: www.theheartofcacao.teachable.com
A Child of Magic: www.iamchristineolivia.com/book