Indigenous Caribbean Network

CELEBRATED THREE-DAY TAINO AREYTO AND FULL MOON RITUAL IN THE POCONO MOUNTAINS OF PENNSYLVANIA JULY 2013

Takaji My Relatives

On the weekend of July 19, 20 and 21 of the year  2013 a group of our Taino people along with friends and relatives from other nations, gathered along a beautiful creek in the Pocono mountains of north-eastern Pennsylvania in order to observe three straight days of non-stop full day and full night fasting, praying, drumming and dancing in behalf of the people. It was an Areyto in the tradition of our ancient Taino ancestors who held gatherings such as this for non-stop dancing in the old times. This particular Areyto was associated with the July Full Moon, and a Caney Circle FULL MOON CEREMONY was celebrated as part of the event.

The gathering was organized by our Taino brother Bruce Urayoel who organized a similar gathering last year for the Spring Equinox.

Brother Urayoel honored me as behike of the CANEY INDIGENOUS SPIRITUAL CIRCLE by requesting me to lead the spiritual ceremonies and the teaching circles of the Areyto.

The gathering was graced by the presence of a number of our Taino brothers and sisters representing most of the larger Caribbean islands, who are widely known among those in our nation, such as Kasike Guatu Iris and our sister Mother Crow of the Yukayeke Ma-Oconuco , based in Lancaster, PA.

Also present was our Boriken Taino brother Tomas Baibramael who came from New Jersey and is the moderator of the facebook group page "TAINO 101".

Here Tomas Baibramael in black shirt and hat poses for a photo with our brother Guaribo Naboria who is holding a traditional Taino skin drum created by Baibramael.

We were also honored by the presence of members of the Maisiti Yukayeke Taino of New York City as well as a number of individual Tainos coming from as far as Florida and many other parts of the continent.

The participants took turns dancing or drumming all day and all night during the three-days of the gathering honoring the sacred guatu fire which had been ceremonially kindled on Friday morning at sunrise. The main ceremonies were held inside a circular batey field demarcated by a hoop of 28 stones representing the twenty eight days of the lunar cycle and the sacred fertility cycle of our women.

The participants, some of them fasting for the duration, danced their prayers to the rhythm of the mayohuakan drums during the hours of the days and the nights.

One of the drummers was Urayoel's own brother, Carl Hawk Walker who was one of the principal fire keepers and  who added his great wisdom and experience to our ceremony.

The dancing and drumming only paused briefly on two occasions for general teaching and sharing circles during which the teachings of Taino tradition were shared with all of the participants by the elders, and during which all of the participants had an opportunity to express themselves in response to the teachings.

  One of the great highlights of the event was the sacred union in marriage of our Boricua Taino brother Guaribo Naboria and our Taino sister Guarixecoa of the Yukayeke Ma'Oconuco community of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Taino Guaribo Naboria and Guarixecoa honored me by requesting that I officiate their sacred union.

The ceremony began with a beautiful procession that started with Taino Guaribo Naboria and his mother marching together out of the river-bank and circling into the sacred batey hoop accompanied by the the boys and then positioning himself by the entrance of the wedding tent to wait for the bride.

The rest of the wedding procession proceeded to the rhythm of mayohuakan and skin drums and sacred chants offered by my spiritual brother Sol Shanti, with whom I had traveled to the gathering, and by myself.

The procession culminated with the arrival of the bride, Guarixecoa, accompanied by her son.

The wedding ceremony took place in a tent especially erected by Carl Hawk Walker.

The wedding party was jubilant after the ceremony and several group photos were taken.

For me it was a significant honor to have been asked to officiate the ceremony. I thank my dear relatives Guarixecoa and Guaribo Naboria for having honored me in this way.

On the night of Saturday July 20 we celebrated the traditional CANEY CIRCLE Full Moon Ceremony.

As usual, the ceremony culminated in the ritual lighting by the woman who represents our divine matriarch ATA BEY, of the two torches which symbolize the unique doubled light of the full moon night and the reciting of the sacred words in the ceremony which indicate the fact that the twenty-eight-day cycle of the moon and our holy mother Ata Bey reflects the twenty-eight-day cycle of fertility that manifests within a woman's body: "THE WOMEN HAVE WITHIN THEM THE RHYTHM OF THE UNIVERSE".

She lit the two torches and at that moment we the celebrants saw reflected in this precious human Taino sister the radiance and strength of our sacred cosmic matriarch, Ata Bey.

The areyto ended on Sunday and, as we broke our fast, we realized what a wonderful holy thing we all had experienced.

I want to now take the time to say a heart-felt Bo Matun to our brother  Akichitay Urayoel, who organized this magnificent tribute to the tradition of our ancestors. I also want to express my gratitude to all of the beautiful souls who attended the event. It was the power of their great energy that made this awesome gathering the success that it was.

Seneko kakona (many blessings)

Taino Ti

Miguel (Sobaoko Koromo) Sague

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