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Takaji My Relatives

This day Dec 22 was the first day of the NEW ERA.

On the previous day, December 21st we celebrated the end of the old era at Miami Circle in Miami. This time we were at the home of our Taino brother Mike Lopez and his wonderful wife Maryellen in Homestead, Florida, not far from the city of Miami.

We of the Caney Indigenous Spiritual Circle gathered there to celebrate the sacred annual ceremony of Winter Solstice in the Taino tradition as we have done for over thirty years.

We asked Maryellen Lopez to perform the sacred role of Ata Bey during the ceremony

Again, it was my honor to officiate this Solstice ceremony of the Caney Indigenous Spiritual Circle.

We found ourselves in the company of Tainos and friends of Tainos. Among those present was our dear sister Tai Peli of Orlando Florida, representative of the United Confederation of Taino People in her area, and her son Colibri.

Also there in the company of her son Ceiba, was our beloved Bibi Karaira, local representative of the United Confederation of Taino People.

By her mere attendance there, Bibi Karaira established the presence of grandmotherly energy in the circle and set the tone of ancestral authority for us all. Our ancestors were also represented in the presence of the holy cemi of Deminan Karakarakol.

I had come there in the company of several members of my own extended family including my sister Rosa (Sague) John as well as her husband, the Cree singer Melvin John and several of their family.


I came also with my nephew Eddie Beck who is the son of my other sister Consuelo and who took all of these beautiful photos.

I also had the honor of bringing with me my long-time friend and spiritual brother, Edgar Konuk Ceiba Rodriguez, one of the oldest beikes of the Caney Indigenous Spiritual Circle. He had stayed with me at my father's house overnight after our joint participation in the Shift of World Ages celebration the previous day.

In addition to that I came accompanied by my son Miguel BanoManigua Sague III who played the mayohuakan and also performed the sacred role of Yoka Hu during the Shark Dance.

The altar was established with the sacred hoop of twentyeight stones that represent the twentyeight days of the human fertility cycle. This hoop of stones included the four sacred bird cemis; guanajo the turkey in the South, mukaro the owl in the West, Colibri the hummingbird in the North and guaraguao the hawk in the East that represent the  spirits of the four cardinal points, Achiano, Koromo, Rakuno and Sobaiko.

We began our ceremony as we always do with the three-fold purification ceremony of passing the water bowl, tabonuko smoke smudging and the prayer with hands extended.







We proceeded to smoke the sacred Taino clay pipe offering our prayers in the holy smoke of the tobacco spirit.

As usual we offered the beautiful chants of our Taino Caney tradition to the cemies of Atabey and Yoka Hu.

Finally the time came for the Radiant Sun Ceremony and the Shark Dance;

As the representative of Yoka Hu my son stood at the center of the circle of men while each one held the end of a rope.

They danced around him to the rythm of the chant of Yoka Hu until he was completely wrapped in ropes. Then the men all danced in a row led by him back to the circle of women where Maryellen, in her role of Ata Bey snipped off the ropes with a pair of scissors and freed him representing the Sacred Mother's power to give the liberating gift of LIFE.

After that sequence the Shark Dance began;

For this ceremony we always use a shark effigy fashioned from palm fronds such as this one.

THe dance consists of a ritualized dance battle between Yoka Hu representing the triumphant spirit of LIFE and Guakar the spirit of Challenge visualized as a shark which is the totem animal of Guakar. Yoka Hu always wins this battle by shooting an arrow into the palm-frond body of the shark effigy.

The defeat of Kahaya the shark spirit, totem animal of Guakar the Lord of Trials, represents the ability of Life to overcome the challenges of world experiences. Kahaya is symbolized by the shark effigy fashioned from palm fronds.

After the Shark Dance sequence we performed the climax of the ceremony during which the three-point cemi sculpture representing the soul of the dead Yoka Hu who expired at Autumn Equinox finally completes his journey to the underworld realm of Koa Bay and reaches the life-giving womb of Ata Bey represented by the oval-shaped coa stone hoop.

The three-point cemi image is tied to the hoop to represent Yoka Hu's attaching himself as a new fetus to his mother's womb.

At the conclusion of the main ceremony my sister Rosa and her husband Melvin led us in a demonstration in behalf of the Canadian IDLE NO MORE movement which has emerged in response to the Canadian prime minister's attempt to terminate Indigenous treaty rights in his contry.

After the demonstration we fell back into the house for food and refreshments brought by the participants, while Mike screened a copy of the film FULL CIRCLE from Crystal Parrot Players, based on the book by our dear spiritual sister SANDRA RILEY.

Sandra informed us of new developments with her book and a sculpture project planned in the Bahamas to honor the ancient Tainos and their family ties.

I want to take this opportunity to thank our generous hosts Mike Lopez and Maryellen Cox Lopez, who proved hospitable to a fault. Bo Matun my dear brother and sister!

I also want to thank all of the beautiful participants who came out to Homestead FLA from all over the state and also from out of state to take part in this marvelous event. Hahom and Bo Matun to you all. A special Bo Matun to Maryellen and my son Cha for performing the sacred roles of Yoka Hu and Ata Bey. Also special Bo Matun to Bibi Karaira for coming all the way out there in her delicate condition and bringing other sacred women with her. A specal Bo Matun to Eddie for his awesome photographic work, and also to Rosa and Melvin for enlightening us all about the situation in Canada.

Bo Matun Yaya for allowing us to again honor the sacred traditions of our ancestors.

Seneko Kakona

Taino Ti


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