Caney Circle's medicine wheel lists these as spirits who bear the name of that direction's respective star. Trying to figure out if Achiano, Koromo, Rakuno, Sobaico are the names of spirits or the names of stars (in the sky), or both. If they are stars, does anyone know exactly which ones in the sky? If they are spirits, where can I read more about them?
The wisdom about the four directions of the Taino Medicine wheel that we follow in the Caney Circle is derived partly from the writings of a Boricua Poet called Dr. Sadi Orsini Luiggi. He was born in Utuado, which is a town in the central mountains of Boriken not far from the famed Taino sacred site of Caguana. For many years he was a professor at an university on the island.
Sadi Orsini Luiggi wrote a book called "CANTO AL CEMI" back in the 1974 (It was re-issued in 1998). I read the original 1974 edition of that book in 1979 and we adopted a number of fundamental concepts from it into Caney Circle in 1981, including the names of the four symbolic stars that represent the four directions of the Medicine Wheel. We were given the wisdom by the cemies that the names of those four stars are the names of the spirits that reside in those four directions. There has been a certain amount of heated debate currently in the Taino Resurgence movement in regard to the accuracy of Sadi Orsini's information in that book. We in the Caney Circle did not necessarily accept everything in that book but we found a number of elements that were confirmed by our interaction with the cemi spirits and our opia ancestors. We found that those elements are not contradicted by the archeological or historical facts that are commonly accepted in our community, and these concepts we stand by to this day. One of the concepts that Sadi Orsini shared with the world was the name of the stars of the four directions and their association with the guardian spirits of those directions. The wisdom about the four stars and the associated spirits that we acquired from Sadi Orsini Luiggi's work was also confirmed by the folk tradition that was shared with me by my own Taino teacher back in the 1970's in New York City and in Boriken.
From my teacher and also through our own personal interactions with the spirit realm we also acquired further information about the identities of each one of those four spirits and we also received wisdom concerning the gift that each one of those spirits offers to human beings, OPEN MIND, INTROSPECTION, WISDOM/EXPERIENCE, and ILLUMINATION. We acquired knowledge of the sacred birds associated with each one of the directions from the writings of another very wise Boricua author called Eugenio Fernandez-Mendez who wrote a book published in 1972 , and re-issued in 1993, called ART AND MYTHOLOGY OF THE TAINO INDIANS OF THE GREATER ANTILLES. Fernandez-Mendez identified four sacred birds honored by the Tainos; GUANAJO the Central American turkey, MUKARO the owl, COLIBRI the hummingbird, and GUARAGUAO the red tailed hawk. Fernandez-Mendez associated the four birds with the positions of the sun in the sky during the four seasons, and the spirits shared the wisdom with us that this association between the birds and the seasons also extended to an association between the birds and the four directions.
The position of the mythical stars of the four directions in the sky (with the exception of the North Star) are symbolic and allegorical and we do not attempt to actually locate a specific star in the sky at the South or at the East or at the West.
I hope this information is of some use to you and please do not hesitate to request further clarification about this or any other subject pertaining to Taino spirituality.
Oh and in addition....Please note that in his 1992 book ENCUENTRO CON LA MITOLOGIA TAINA the Boricua author Dr. Sebastian Robiou Lamarche identified the four quadruplet sons of the legendary Earth Mother character Itaba Cahubaba, with the four directions. In the Caney Circle we were guided by the cemies to assign the identity of the North (Wisdom and Experience) to Deminan Caracaracol, the eldest of the four brothers.
I am reading an article by Sebatian Robiou-Lamarche titled "Astronomia Primitiva entre los Tainos y los Caribes de las Antilles. He referrs to work done by Cardenes Ruiz (1981) (a French cronicler of the Lesser Antilles?) and Taylor (1946). He discusses mythology that involves astronomy. What caught my attention were the names of some of the stars the Caribes had and their similarity to the Caney Circle "four direction symbolic" stars. I was wondering if you knew of any connection between these works and Dr. Sadi Orsini Luiggi.
Achinaon, Achinnoa, Asinnao or Hannao (very similar to Achiano): constellation formed by Altair (a bright star in the constellation Aquila) and others, responsible for the light rains and great winds of January.
Racumon (similar to Rakuno), one of the first Caribes, was converted to a serpent with a human head, was later turned into a star.
Curumon or Kurumo (similar to Koromo): mythical being, who once placed in the sky produced large waves and overturned canoes.
Other names include: Bakamo, Epietembo, Iaboura, and Savacu
Here is that article (see p. 127)
Sovacu is another form of the name "Sobaiko" that we use in the Caney Circle for the direction of the East