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The Identity of GuaBanCex, spirit of natural disasters

Takaji My Relatives

The months of June, July, August and September are typically recognized as the hurricane season in the Caribbean. I want to take a moment here now that we are actually in that period of the year to re-publish a blog I shared years ago about the Taino semies Hu-Rakan and GuaBanSex and their relationship

Hu-Rakan is recognized by all of our Taino elders and the members of our nation who are acquainted with the names of our cemies as the spirit associated with the turbulent whirling storm we all know as the hurricane. That's why hurricanes got his name.
The Boricua archeological scholar Fernandez Mendez identified a variant of the name "Hurakan" as the name of the male storm spirit of the ancient Tainos and suggested a petroglyph image from an archeological site as the traditional Taino graphic symbol for this deity.

Fernandez Mendez also identified a female spiritual entity associated with turbulent weather and associated her with the mother-deity we now recognize as Ata Bey. This other entity is called GuaBanCex. GuaBanCex was clearly identified in the writings of the early Spanish chronicler Ramon Pane as a spirit that controlled catastrophic weather patterns and was escorted by two male companion spirits, Guatauba and Coatriskie. The first was a herald who controlled the booming explosive manifestations of thunder and lightning as if playing a mighty celestial mayowakan drum. The second was the master of torrential precipitation who had the power of gathering the waters of the earth and allow them to pour unto the land creating destructive floods.
It has become commonplace currently to see the female deity GuaBanCex being confused with the male entity Hu-Rakan. There are some scholars and even some contemporary Tainos who are identifying GuaBanCex as Hu-Rakan as if these two names are interchangeable to identify the same ancient spirit.
In the Caney Circle we feel it is important to maintain the separation of these two entities just as Fernandez Mendez established several decades ago. GuaBanCex must be recognized as the supreme female spiritual entity who is, in fact the complementary manifestation of Ata Bey in her destructive phase. In this way we recognize this powerful matriarchal representation of Mother Nature in her two mirror-images: 1.)The maternal, nurturing maker-creator woman who can give birth to everything and bring forth Life on one hand, and 2.)the fierce destructive elemental who can sweep everything away and wipe the slate clean on the other hand.
As GuaBanCex, the powerful Mother Nature entity who is the epitome of destructive force, she counts among her helpers the male whirling storm spirit Hu-Rakan. Hu-Rakan is her attendant, just as Guatauba and Coatriskie are. Hu-Rakan is not GuaBanCex. Hu-Rakan serves GuaBanCex. Hu-Rakan is the manifestation of all whirling storms, including hurricanes but also tornadoes, waterspouts, and cyclones. GuaBanCex is much more expansive and inclusive in what she represents. She is not only the mistress of storms. She is also the mistress of all destructive natural phenomena, including earthquakes, volcanos and climate shifts. She is the entity that helps us remember just how vulnerable we are to the vagaries of the elements.
We in the Caney Circle have identified a specific ancient Taino sculpture as the definitive representation of GuaBanCex.


In this sculpture the powerful deity is represented as a fierce serpent, an animal that Fernandez-Mendez clearly identified as one of the manifestations of the mother spirit. This serpent's body appears coiled about the bulbous sloping form of a kind of mountain whose shape is undeniably that of a human female breast. The way in which the serpent's body is positioned around this divine breast-mountain suggests that it is actually descending down the side and around the mountain presenting a kind of down-hill streaming motion, with its head at the bottom of the mountain and the tail coiled tightly around the top. In this image we see a perfect pictoral representation of the undulating coils of the constrictor snakes that abound on the Caribbean islands, but at the same time we see a clear representation of the downward serpentine, streaming flow of destructive all-consuming lava or pyroclastic flow punctuated at its lower extremity by the wide-open toothy maw of the female serpent as its head reaches the bottom of the mountain.

In the opinion of the elders and teachers of the Caney Circle this is a perfect representation of the powerful Mother Nature entity that Ramon Pane identified with the name GuaBanCex. She is not simply the hurricane (although that is one of many manifestations of her earthly power). She is all natural phenomena that can cause havoc, all natural manifestations that can cause irrevocable change. She is the mighty matriarch that must be respected and propitiated. She is not to be trifled with.
We invite you to visit the Caney Circle website and explore all of the sharings of our teachers who have been studying and researching this ancient spiritul wisdom for over 40 years.
Taino Ti
Miguel

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Comment by Miguel Sague Jr on July 28, 2014 at 2:56pm

Yes... There is a cemi that is represented as crying, with long streaming tear-tracks down his face. His name is Marohu. This image is usually identified as Marohu

Comment by Jeffry Mucaro Blake Johnson on July 28, 2014 at 8:25am

Bo'matun, Miguel! Is there a Cemi who is charged with the normal nourishing rains that are so prevalent in such places as Puerto Rico, or is that simply Yokahu?

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