Takaji My Relatives
Mother Nature blessed us with a gorgeous 70 plus degree day and bright sunny sky on Sunday March 21st when the Caney Indigenous Spiritual Circle joined the MAISITI YUKAYEKE TAINO at Kasike Roman Guaraguaorix's home in Brooklyn for the 2010 Spring Equinox ceremony.
We were honored by a local New York City lady, member of the Maisiti community, who assumed the role of our spirit mother Ata Bey during the Boa Constrictor Dance and the separation of the cemies. The women glowed with inner beauty and strength during the sacred dance while they wove the ropes together over the chosen lady and then later danced the snake around the ceremonial space. And, as has been done for almost thirty years by our Caney Spiritual Circle, they culminated the dance of the snake by surrounding the circle of the men and painting our faces with bija as a form of blessing from the female essence of the community to the male essence.
For me it was extremely gratifying to be celebrating Equinox in the heart of the urban environment which is home to so many of my contemporary Taino brothers and sisters. I have stressed many times in the past that although it is a wonderful experience to celebrate tradition in beautiful regalia among the native green of our Tropical homelands a ceremony does not need to be performed in the Caribbean or in regalia or even on grass to be legitimate. Many of us are urban Tainos and rightfully claim our heritage anytime and anywhere and wearing any common clothes that we may find ourselves in. It is not a sacriledge to dance the Boa Constrictor Dance on a paved driveway or in blue jeans if that is what is available. Our beautiful guamo blasts, the rythm of the mayohuakan and the maracas accompanying the sweet music of the celebrant's voices turned our urban setting into a sacred place and our spirits did soar with the cemis.
We celebrated the Separation Ceremony, in which the three-pointer cemi image of Yoka Hu, which had been attached by cords to the oval-shaped. womb-image of the stone hoop since Winter Solstice, was released and triumphally brought out from inside its uterine embrace by the man chosen to represent Yoka Hu. When he held the re-born cemi aloft we all cheered and played our musical instruments loudly sending great blasts of the guamo trumpets into the city sky amidst clouds of tabonuko and tobacco smoke. The celebration culminated with the traditional unwrapping of the Maisiti Yukayeke cemies which also had been in tied since Winter Solstice.
I want to express my gratitude to the Kasike of the MAISITI YUKAYEKE TAINO Guama Roman Guaraguaorix, for inviting me to his home so that I could share the Caney Spiritual Circle ceremony with his beautiful community. I also want to send a great Bo Matun and Jajom to all of those wonderful people who attended the ceremony and added their powerful spirit and presence to our celebration.
Miguel Sobaoko Koromo