I am looking for more resources on Taino sweat lodges. One source told me that sweating is not a Taino practice. I did find some information in the Ceremonies of the Caney page. I would appreciate any other resources (books, weblinks, etc). Thank you in advance, Nelson
The noted Boricua (Puerto Rican) author Eugenio Fernandez Mendez in his book "Art And Mythology Of The Taino Indians Of THe Greater West Indies" wrote this on page 49 as part of his commentary of Ricardo Alegria"s theories: "Among many other aspects of the culture, Alegria gives little importance to the facts that the antillean custom of sacrifice by the bleeding of the feet and hands and the use of steam baths did not reach South America." He also wrote: "The Indians had warm baths equivalent to the Mexican Temazcallis..."
It is obvious that this respected ethnologist was convinced that the Tainos practiced some form of steam bath. The fact that he compared the Taino steam bath to the Mexican temazcalli is significant because the Mexican temaxcalli is a form of sweatlodge just like the Guatemalan tuj. B oth of these types of Central American sweatlodge traditions use hot stones upon which water is poured to produce steam in an enclosed space just like the North American sweatlodge culture.
My brother, many of us in the Taino resurgence are convinced that ancient Taino culture included the tradition of the sweatlodge which we now call "guanara". We believe that there is evidence of this tradition as a form of healing ritual that was just like the used by Aztecs and the Mayas. This is a passage in the Relacion written by Ramon Pane when he spoke of a chief who was very sick and who was cured by a woman called Guaboniti by being placed in something that Pane called "a place apart". We believe that this "place apart" was a sweatlodge.
Thanks Miguel. You certainly are a wealth of knowledge. Looking forward to learning more from you and others.
We have been using these two words interchangeably but I prefer the word "guanara"
Check out this LINK for a blog concerning the contruction of a guanara lodge in Georgia