Indigenous Caribbean Network

Yoka Hu es el se~or de la vida y la energia. El es la manifestacion espiritual de todo lo que vive, de la esencia vital en si, la manifestacion de toda la energia quimica y fisica, especialmente la energia combustible, el fuego, el sol, una explosion. La magia y el poder de este cemi se encuentra en el aliento tibio de un ni~o, a la vez que tambien se encuentra en el calor intenso de una hoguera.

   El hecho que el calor que le trae la vida a la superficie de la tierra surge del sol ocasiona que la cultura CANEY tenga una vison de ese astro celeste como la manifestacion principal de la presencia de Yoka Hu entre nosotros. Los antiguos tainos mantenian que Yoka Hu moraba en el cielo como el sol. Ramon Pane escribio esto acerca Yoka Hu: "Creen que esta en el cielo y es inmortal, y que nadie puede verlo" 1. Pero la energia solar de la manera en que lleaga a la tierra es imposible de ser utilizada directamente por seres humanos o animales. Necesita ser procesada. Tiene que ser transformada de inutil energia radiante solar a energia comestible, alimenticia, usable. La labor de transformar esa energia le toca al reino vegetal. Las plantas verdes capturan los rayos del sol y atravez del proceso de fotosintesis convierten esa energia a los alimentos caloricos que el cuerpo humano necesita para vivir. Entoces las plantas almacenan esos alimentos en los tejidos de sus raices, troncos, ramas y hojas. De esa manera las plantas se convierten en repositorios de la energia solar. Los animales y los seres humanos acuden a estos almacenes para abastecerse de esos alimentos, comiendose las hojas, tallos, raices y ramas de las plantas generosas. Al consumir los tejidos vegetales los animales y humanos desatan en sus entra~as el poder y la energia solar que se encontraba encapsulada en en ellos.

     Todas las plantas verdes almacenan carbohidratos esenciales en sus tejidos, pero hay ciertas plantas que sobresalen en esa labor. La mayoria de esas plantas que suelen almacenanar altos niveles de carbohidrato han sido adoptadas por las varias culturas humanas del mundo, reconocidas por ser la base de la vida de esas culturas. Estas incluyen el trigo (el llamado "pan de cada dia" de las culturas europeas y del Medio Oriente. Tambien incluyen el arroz, la base esencial de la alimentacion asiatica, y el maiz, el alimento de los indigenas norteamericanos, mexicanos y las grandes civilizaciones de Centro America.

     En Sudamerica y el Caribe las culturas indigenas se nutren con una gran variedad de tuberculos, las papas de los andinos, la yuca que abastece los pueblos de las zonas ba~adas por la aguas del Amazonas, Orinoco, y el mar Caribe. La yuca es el elemento que le da su nombre al espiritu de la Vida, Yoka Hu (Yuca-Hu). De acuerdo con nuestro criterio en el Circulo Caney, su nombre quiere decir "ESPIRITU DE LA YUCA" o "ALIENTO DE LA YUCA". En su nombre se encapsula la reverencia que nosotros los seres humanos guardamos por el poderoso espiritu del sol que nos da la vida, y por las plantas que nos ayuda a aprovecharnos de ese gran don solar. De acuerdo al estudioso Dr. Bill Keegan Yoka Hu es la deidad, "se~or" de la yuca.2

 

Yoka Hu is the Lord of Life and energy. He is the spiritual manifestation of all that lives and the essence of Life itself. Yoka Hu is also Energy. He is the spiritual manifestation of all energy but especially the energy of combustion, Fire, Explosion, The sun itself.

     The magic of Yoka Hu is found in the warmth of a baby's breath as well as the intense heat of a raging bonfire. It can be encountered in the searing sun-blasted force of a cloudless tropical noontime sky.

     Because the heat that brings life to the surface of the Earth comes from the sun, the Caney Circle culture sees the sun as the primary manifestation of Yokahu's presence. The ancient Tainos maintained that Yoka Hu existed in the sky like the sun. Ramon Pane wrote this about Yoka Hu: "They believe that he is in the sky and is immortal, and that nobody can see him" 1. But the sun's energy can not really be used directly by humans and animals to live. It must be transformed from radiant energy of sunlight to food energy that can then be utilized by animals and people to stay alive. The task of converting the sun's rays into food falls to the plant people. Green plants capture he rays of the sun and through the process of photosynthesis they convert that energy into starch food. Then they store the food in their tissues. Plants thereby become repositories of solar energy.  Animals and people come along and eat the plants. By doing this they release the solar energy into their bodies in the form of nutritional calories and burn it to support the business of living.

     All green plants store caloric starches in their tissues but there are certain plants that excell at this task. Most of these high-starch plants have been adopted and revered by the various cultures of he world  and recognized as the life-supporters that they are. They include WHEAT (the "daily bread" of Christian tradition),  RICE (the staple of most of Asia), and MAIZE CORN (the staple of Central American Indians). In South America and the Caribbean  root crops were adopted as the main providers. In the high Andes mountain homes of the Inca Indians the potato sustained a vast empire, and in the Amazon  and Orinoco river rain forests the high-yield yuca (manioc) is the sacred provider. These two plants bear high-yield nutritious roots that sustained large populations. 

The yuca of the Amazon/Orinoco basins and the Caribbean, is in fact, the namesake of Lord Yoka Hu. For his name literally means SOUL OF THE YUCA PLANT. In him is contained all the reverence and awe that we humans hold for the mighty solar lifegiver and the green plants that turn his hot rays into living breath. According to Dr Bill Keegan Yoka Hu is the yuca deity, "lord" of yuca. 2

 


esta imagen creada por Miguel Sague ilustra el ciclo de vida de Yoka Hu

this image created by Miguel Sague illustrates the life cycle of YokaHu

El ciclo que cada a~o marca el sol o el de una planta de cosecha anual nos provee la ilustracion de Yoka Hu como ser viviente con una ronda de vida y muerte semejante a la de cualquier otro ser viviente.

   En esta ilustracion Yoka Hu aparece como un embrion abajo en el caluroso abrazo claustro del utero materno de Ata Bey. Encapsulado ahi durante la temporada del invierno hasta nacer en el equinoxio vernal, primavera. En ese entonces emerge del utero y va creciendo su fuerza y virilidad, hasta llegar a la cumbre de potencia durante el solsticio veranero. De ahi va decayendo,  envejeciendo durante el verano hasta al fin morir rodeado por la turbulencia mortal de la temporada de los huracanes. Muere ahi Yoka Hu, y al morir se ofrece su cuerpo como alimento como lo ofrecen las plantas cosechadas que se sacrifican por darnos vida a nosotros. De la muerte surge la nueva Vida.

The yearly round of the sun or an annual crop plant provides the imagery that illustrates Yuka Hu as a living entity with an actual life cycle.

    In this drawing Yoka Hu appears at the extreme bottom as an embryo within the nurturing warmth of Ata Bey's Cosmic womb, gestating during the Winter Solstice when the sun is furthest away toward the South. As the cycle moves clockwise towards the left side of the drawing, Yoka hu is born in the Spring Equinox emerging from Ata Bey's womb when the sun begins to return from his southern sojourn. The cycle keeps moving clockwise up to the top position at the Summer Solstice when the sun is at his highest strength and Yoka Hu reaches full maturity and vitality. As the deadly hurricane storms of late Summer and Fall raise the specter of death and destruction Yoka Hu wanes and finally dies at the Autumnal Equinox on the extreme right of the cycle image. The harvested plant similarly must die to rise to its ultimate destiny. Death brings on new Life as the tissues of the harvested plant are sacrificed to feed the people.

Elementos del concepto taino de Yoka Ju, deidad mortal, vegetal, que nace, madura y despues muere con el fin de renacer luego de nuevo, han sido referenciados en las conclusiones a las que llega la investigadora Maria Proviones-Bishop. En el 2001 ella publico un estudio detallado acerca el concepto de la Muerte y los ancestros en la cultura de los antiguos tainos. El estudio se llama "THE BAT AND THE GUAVA" (EL MURCIELAGO Y LA GUAYABA). En este ensayo, Proviones-Bishop indica la importancia que tiene el entendiniento del proceso de crecimiento, muerte y decomposicion organica de los seres vegetales con respecto a la percepcion indigena del ciclo de la vida humana y la creencia en un tipo de reencarnacion. Esta es la creencia que la vida de un ser humano puede reciclarse en un vientre divino y renacer a manera de nueva vida igual que lo hacen los seres vegetales, que tienen la capacidad de brotar de nuevo despues de morir y haberse pudrido en las entra~as de la tierra, el fango humedo del bosque.  

Traces of the ancient Taino perceptions of YokaHu, the mortal vegetable-humanoid deity who is born, rises to maturity and then dies, simply to be reborn again, are hinted at in the conclusions arrived at by the researcher Maria Proviones-Bishop who published an in-depth study of ancient Taino perception of Death and ancestor reverence in 2001, called "THE BAT AND THE GUAVA". In this research Proviones-Bishop points out the importance that the Amazonian-Orinoco Indigenous understanding of tropical vegetable growth, death and decay plays on their perception of human life-cycle and a type of belief in re-incarnation, the belief that human life can be recycled in a divine womb and re-born as new life in the same way that vegetable life can re-sprout after dying and rotting in the entrails of the earth, the moist soil of the forest 3.

En nuestra opinion, La deidad masculina, YokaHu,  no es un dios omnipotente, inmortal, tipico, al estilo del Jehova hebreo, como Pane se lo imagino. En realidad esta deidad taino es mas bien una entidad casi humano, consustancial de la humanidad, y sujeto a un ciclo de vida organico como el de nosotros, que comienza con un nacimiento y termina con la muerte, y entonces comienza de nuevo con un nuevo renacimiento, tal y como lo propone Proviones-Bishop. La asociacion obvia entre el y la planta de yuca, representada por su nombre "Yoka Ju" (o yuca-ju), indica que este ser divino se somete a las leyes del proceso biologico, que incluye el brote del nuevo tallo, el crecimiento gradual de la materia vegetal, y, como es logico, la muerte que llega en el momento de la cosecha, cuando los tuberculos nutritivos de la yuca son arrancados de la tierra para ser consumidos.

The Taino male deity Yoka Hu, in our opinion, far from being a typical western-type paternal, immortal "almighty god" in the style of the Hebrew Jehovah as Pane imagined him, is, in fact, a much more human-like entity, consubstantial with humanity itself and subject to a very human-like, organic,  life-cycle like ours which begins with birth and ends in death, and then starts all over again with a new birth just like Proviones-Bishop proposed. The obvious association between him and the yuca plant (manioc), evidenced by his name "Yoka Hu" (or yuca-hu), indicates that this divine entity must be subject to the rules of the biological processes that include sprouting, gradual vegetable growth and, of course, ultimate death at the moment of harvest when the life-giving roots of the yuca plant are yanked out of the ground for consumption 4.

En estos videos del cultivo y proceso de la yuca (conocida tambien con el nombre manioc, mandioca, mand-yuca, tapioca) se ilustra como esta comida, que viene siendo la inspiracion del nombre de Yoka Ju, todavia desempe~a un papel muy importante en la vida de la jente indigena  de hoy dia en los bosques del Orinoco y la Amazona donde los ancestros antiguos de los tainos originaron.

The following videos about modern-day cultivation and processing of yuca (also known as manioc, mandioca, mand-yuca, tapioc, tap-yuca and tapioca ) illustrates the way in which this food, which is the inspiration of Yoka Hu's name, still plays an important role in the lives of the Indigenous people of the Amazon and Orinoco rainforest where the ancient Arawak ancestors of the Tainos originated.  

 

Al ser el homonimo y personificacion de un producto vegetal y mortal, Yoka Ju se identifica tambien como un ser mortal y sujeto a un termino de vida de caracter ciclico. Yoka Ju  nace, vive, muere y renace. Esto no quiere decir que simplemente porque YokaJu puede morir, que los antiguos tainos no consideraban que Yoka Ju era divino. Yoka Ju para ellos era una verdadera divinidad. Lo que esto indica es que para aquella jente el concepto de un ser divino era muy diferente a lo que es en el pensamiento occidental moderno. En el pensamiento Europeo contemporaneo toda divinidad tiene que ser inmortal. Ese es un concepto clasico que se remonta a los tiempos de los antiguos griegos y los romanos. Es una manera de pensar que concibe a los dioses como si fueran superiores y separados de la naturaleza. Es aqui util considerar la palabra "sobrenatural". Esto indica que el ser divino esta sobre la Naturaleza porque es el creador de la Naturaleza.

As the divine name-sake and personification of a mortal, vegetable biological product, Yoka Hu is perceived also to be mortal and cyclical in the same way that yuca is mortal and cyclical. This does not mean that Yoka Hu is perceived in ancient Taino tradition to be in any way less than divine. It simply indicates that the perception of divinity in the ancient Taino mind is different to the perception of divinity in the western European mind. In the contemporary western mind a divinity is immoral. It's a classical concept that dates back to te time of the ancient Greeks and the Romans. Divine beings are perceived as being separate from nature. The term "supernatural" comes to mind. It indicates that the divine is "above" or "superior" to Nature because it is the creator of Nature.

En la mente tradicional indigena del Amazonas-Orinoco lo divino es parte de la Naturaleza, al igual que todo el resto de lo que existe, porque TODO lo que existe ES natural. No existe lo "sobrenatural" porque no hay nada mas alla de la Naturaleza. Es importante reconocer que, contrario a algunas interpretaciones modernas de Yoka Ju como si fuera un dios-creador como el Jehova de los Hebreos, no existe ninguna mencion en las cronicas de los espa~ones conquistadores como Ramon Pane, de un Yoka Ju creador, que Yoka Ju halla creado algo. Esto lo asumen algunos interpretes corrientemente (incluso algunos tainos de esta epoca) porque sus mentes se encuentran influenciadas por esa imagen de una divinidad masculina, creador, que surgio de la cultura europea, occidental, judeo-cristiana. La jente indigena tiene un concepto de lo divino como algo que es parte de la Naturaleza, no sobre la Naturaleza. Por eso las cosas que le parecen "sobrenaturales" a los de mente occidental, como los fantasmas, espiritus y las deidades, son contemplados por los indigenas como manifestaciones normales y corrientes que comparten el mundo con nosotros. Son elementos naturales de la realidad, cosas que existen en proximidad muy cercana, en el plano natural. Y es asi aunque sean invisibles y dificil de percibir sin la ayuda de procesos especiales y rituales. La comparacion mas logica es el aire. El aire es invisible pero se sabe que existe porque se percibe el efecto de su poder, especialmente las consequecias catastroficas del viento violento, las tormentas, los huracanes. Para la mente indigena no existe la diferencia entre un viento invisible y un espiritu invisible.

In the traditional Amazonian-Orinoco Indigenous mind the divine is part of Nature, just like everything else, because all there is IS Nature, nothing is "supernatural" because nothing is beyond or above Nature. It is important to note that contrary to some modern interpretations of Yoka Hu as a Jehovah-like creator god, there is no mention in the writings of early Spanish chroniclers such as Ramon Pane of Yoka Hu "creating" anything. This was an assumption leaped at by some modern-day interpreters (including even some modern-day Tainos) because they are so influenced by their own western European-tainted perceptions of male Judeo-Christian creator divinity.  Indigenous people see the divine as being part of Nature as opposed to being "above" Nature. For that reason things that would be perceived as "supernatural" by westeners, such as ghosts, spirits and deities, are perceived as normal, natural everyday elements of reality by the Indigenous mind, things that we all live in close proximity with on a natural plane, even though they may be invisible and hard to perceive without the aid of special procedures and rituals. The natural comparion is to think in terms of air, which is invisible but which we all know is there because we perceive its consequences, especially when they manifest themselves in catastrophic ways such as in the case of the gale-force wind of a hurricane. To the Indigenous mind there is no difference between the invisible air and the invisible spirit.


En la zonas del rio Orinoco existe una nacion indigena llamada los Makiritare. Esta jente cuenta una narracion de creacion llamada Wattuna (vease Marc de Civrieux) 5 . Los Makiritare son una jente indigena que cultiva la yuca. Ellos comparten algunas tradiciones espirituales con nuestros ancestros tainos. En un episodio de la narracion de creacion de esa jente existe una mencion de una mujer divina llamada Frimenne, que viene siendo una persona comparable con Ata Bey, el personaje divino, Madre-Tierra de la tradicion espiritual taina. Frimenne es un ser que, como Ata Bey, se identifica con las grandes culebras constrictoras (vease Eugenio Fernandez Mendez) 6 y cuyo espiritu divino eventualmente termina por quedarse en un lago sagrado, hecho que la identifica con Ata Bey, madre de las aguas (vease Arrom) 7. Cuando los Makiritares cuentan la historia de como Frimenne guarda y protege a toda la humanidad que en aquel momento se encuentra en su estado primordial, dentro de su vientre por un tiempo, antes de llegar el momento de su emerger hacia el mundo, ellos se refieren a la apertura de su vagina usando la palabra "cueva". Cuando ellos hacen eso ellos crean una vinculo conciente entre la vagina de la mujer y los agujeros naturales que se encuentran por todas partes de la superficie de la tierra, agujeros que alcansan hasta los recesos mas intimos del interior de la Madre-Tierra divina.

In the upper Orinoco River region there is an Indigenous nation called the Makiritare. These people tell a creation narrative called Wattuna (see Marc de Civrieux) 5. The Makiritare are a yuca-cultivating Indigenous people who share some of the spiritual traditions of our Taino ancestors. In an episode of their creation narrative there is a mention of a divine female called Frimenne,  who is very much comparable to the divine Earth-Mother character AtaBey of Taino spiritual tradition. Frimenne is a being who, like Atabey, is identified  with large constrictor snakes (see Eugenio Fernandez Mendez) 6 and whose divine spirit eventually ends up dwelling in a sacred lake, a fact that connects her to the identification of AtaBey as a water-mother (see Arrom) 7. When the Makiritare tell the story of how Frimenne guards unborn humanity in her womb for a while before they emerge forth, they refer to the opening of her birth cannal by using the word "cave". By doing that they make an obvious conscious connection between women's vaginal openings and the natural holes on the surface of the earth that lead to the sacred, nurturing, underground, inner recesses of the divine Earth-Mother. 

Esta es la entrada de la cueva sagrada LA PATANA que se encuentra en la zona oriental de Cuba. En esta cueva se a descubierto una escultura que representa a Boinayel el cemi de la lluvia.

This is the entrance to the sacred cave LA PATANA which is located in the eastern region of Cuba. In this cave was discovered a sculpture representing Boinayel the rain spirit.

Favor de explorar esta pelicula de los a~os 1960's acerca los indigenas Makiritare:

Please check out this 1960's film of Makiritare:

VALUABLE COLLECTION OF PICTURES OF THE MAKIRITARE TRIBE SHOWN IN BUDAPEST aka BUDAPEST: VALUABLE PICTURES OF MAKIRITARE TRIBE

La comparacion entre la vision ciclica con la cual los antiguos tainos rendian tributo a sus antepasados, tal como lo describio Proviones-Bishop, y la percepcion igualmente ciclica que usamos en el Circulo Caney para describir a Yoka Ju es una comparacion logica porque Yoka Ju es hijo de Ata Bey, la madre divina de las aguas y de la tierra, al igual que lo son los seres humanos. El hecho que los antiguos tainos concebian que la humanidad surgio de una cueva sagrada llamada Casibajagua en el momento de la creacion (vease Pane) 8 comprueba suficientemente que ellos concibieron a la humanidad como hijos de la deidad matriarcal de la tierra (Ata Bey). O sea: Yoka Ju es un hijo nacido de Ata Bey (vease Pane) 9. La humanidad igualmente nace de Ata Bey.

The comparison between ancient Taino cyclical approach to ancestor reverence described by Proviones-Bishop and the Caney Circle perception of Yoka Hu as an equally cyclical being with a life-cycle is a logical one since Yoka Hu is just as much the son of the same divine Earth-Water Mother Ata Bey as humans are. The fact that humanity was perceived by the ancient Tainos as emerging from a sacred cave called Cacibajagua at the point of human creation (see Pane) 8 is proof enough that the ancient Tainos imaged humanity as being children of the female matriarchal  Earth deity (Ata Bey). In other words: YokaHu is a child born of of Ata Bey (see Pane) 9. Humanity, likewise is born of Ata Bey.

Los seres humanos comen yuca, por eso se puede decir que los seres humanos estan hecho de yuca, porque estan compuestos de lo que comen (eres lo que comes). Aqui se encuentra un vinculo obvio  entre Yoka Ju y la vida humana. Yoka Ju ES la vida humana, la esencia de la vida en el ser humano. Por eso se concibe que Yoka Ju representa la energia que los seres humanos obtenemos atraves del consumo del alimento sagrado y que despues de ser consumida se convierte en parte de la humanidad al igual que los mayas se consideran "hombres de maiz" 10 porque ese es el alimento principal de los mayas. De esa misma manera los antiguos tainos eran "la jente de yuca". Siendo esa planta la comida del alto nivel de carbohidrato y energia que es, la yuca, y por extension, el espiritu de la yuca (Yoka Hu), representa la pura esencia de la energia que se manifesta aqui en la tierra, inclusive la energia humana (que se puede identificar con la palabra "Vida"). La energia solar se desata en el cuerpo del ser humano cuando la persona consume esa energia durante el proceso de vivir, caminar, correr, pensar, amar, trabajar. Ese proceso vital literalment quema la energia solar obtenida atravez el consumo de la yuca y por eso se puede decir que el ser humano es como un peque~o sol o una hoguera humana, que anda por el mundo quemando energia solar. En la tradicion del Circulo Caney nosotros entendemos que el fuego,GUATU, representa el sol en la tierra. El fuego es Yoka Ju y tambien es la vida en si.

Humans eat yuca and are thus made of yuca because they are composed of the stuff that they eat (you are what you eat). There is an obvious identification between YokaHu and human life. Yoka Hu IS human life. He is, therefore viewed as representing the energy that humans acquire from the consumption of the sacred food and which after being consumed becomes part of humanity much in the same way that the Mayas perceive themselves to be "men of maize" 10 because that is their staple food. So the ancient Tainos were "people of yuca".  Being the high-starch, high-energy food that it is, the yuca, and by extension the spirit of the yuca (YokaHu) represents the very essence of energy manifested on Earth, including human energy (which can be described as "life"). Solar energy is released within the human body when a person consumes that energy during the process of living, walking, running, thinking, loving, working. This life process literally burns the energy acquired via the consumption of yuca, therefore it can be said that the human being is like a little "sun" or a human fire, that moves about in the world burning solar energy. In the Caney Circle tradition we understand that fire, GUATU, represents the sun here on earth. Fire is Yoka Ju and it is also Life itself.

Los antiguos tainos comprendian que la yuca solo podia crecer bajo la presencia de la luz del sol. Ellos, con toda seguridad, desarrollaron un vinculo mental entre el sol y la yuca, comprendiendo que en realidad es la energia solar lo que la yuca le provee a la humanidad que se la come. La humanidad recibe esa energia  en forma de los carbohidratos del tuberculo.  No era necesario que ellos comprendieran completamente los detalles cientificos del proceso que ahora se conoce con el nombre "fotosintesis", atravez el cua las plantas verdes (incluyendo la yuca) transforman la energia solar a energia de carbohidrato, y luego la almacenan en sus tejidos. Pero ahun con esa limitacion, ellos tenian la capacidad de formar ese vinculo intelectual acerca de la abilidad que tiene la yuca para crear ese alimento nutritivo de alto niven de carbohidrato en la presencia de la luz solar. De esa manera arribaron a la conclusion que el espiritu de la yuca debe de tener alguna identificacion con la energia del sol. Esa realidad la comprueba el hecho que Yoka Ju, cuyo nombre es una referencia a un tuberculo que se desarrolla en las zonas subterraneas, fue identificado como "el que vive en el cielo". Como puede ser que un espiritu que representa una planta que se desarrolla bajo la tierra se describa como "el que vive en el cielo"? Esto solo tiene logica si uno reconoce que existe una relacion entre la energia solar que radia hacia la tierra, el proceso de fotosintesis, y la energia-carbohidrato almacenada en los tuberculos subterraneos. De esa manera Yoka Ju no es solamente la yuca, sino es tambien el espiritu del sol (que vive en el cielo) de quien la yuca obtiene su esencia.   

The ancient Tainos understood that yuca could only grow in the presence of sunlight and must have made the accurate connection that solar energy was in fact what yuca was providing to humans in the form of carbohydrate starch. They did not have to fully understand in fine scientific detail that through the process of photosynthesis green plants (including yuca) transform radiant solar energy into carbohydrate energy and store it in their tissues. But they did make the connection between the yuca's ability to create high nutritious starch food in the presence of sunlight and thus must have arrived at the conclusion that the spirit of yuca must be in some way identified with the radiant energy of the sun. This is evidenced by the fact that this deity whose name made reference to a tuber that spends all its time deep underground was said to live in the sky (see Pane). This may appear to be a contradiction. The most important part of the yuca plant, the tuberous root remains underground during the growth process of the plant. How could a subterranian plant spirit be said to "live" in the sky? It only makes sense if one recognizes the relationship between radiant solar energy, the process of photosynthesis and the starch-energy stored in that subterranian tuber. And so Yoka Hu is not only the yuca plant but also the sun spirit (who indeed lives in the sky) from which that yuca plant derives its very essence.

El elemento subteraneo del ciclo vital de la yuca, en el claustro tibio y humedo de la tierra es una metafora obvia del desarrollo lento y gradual de un feto en el vientre de una madre. Recordemos que Ata Bey se considera la deidad de la tierra y es reconocida como la madre de Yoka Ju. Por lo cual es logico llegar a la conclusion que los antiguos tainos concebian que el desarrollo de ese tuberculo bajo la tierra era sinonimo al desarrollo lento y gradual del bebito Yoka Ju dentro del vientre de su madre-tierra en las zonas subterraneas, y despues que el nacimiento de Yoka Ju es sinonimo con el brotar de los nuevos tallos y hojas verdes desde esas zonas subterraneas como lo hizo la humanidad primordial cuando emergio de de la cueva vaginal, Casibajagua.

The subterranean element of the yuca tuber's life cycle within the warm, moist dark cloister of the earth is an obvious metaphor of the slow gradual development of a fetus in the womb of a mother. Remember that Atabey is considered an Earth deity and she is recognized as the mother of Yokahu. Therefore it is logical to assume that the ancient Tainos perceived the yuca plant's development underground to be synonymous with the slow gradual development of the baby Yoka Hu within his Earth-Mother's womb deep underground, later to be born of the Earth, sprouting forth from the terrestrial surface like ancestral primordial humanity who emerged from the vaginal cave Casibajagua. 

Taino Ti

Seneko kakona

Miguel Sobaoko Koromo Sague

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1 Ramon Pane, Relacion acerca de las antiguedades de los indios, ed Jose Juan Arrom (Mexico: Siglo Ventiuno, 1977)

2 "This myth was referenced and recreated when the Taino buried stone carvings of Yocahu (literally, the giver of manioc) in agricultural fields. The stones were triangular in shape and resembled a sprouting tuber. The god image on the “three-pointed stones” often has an open mouth, which eats the soils to make room for the tubers to grow. Yocahu was the Lord of Yuca and also the male fertility god."  Dr. Bill Keegan Curator of Caribbean Archaeology, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville, "Talking Taino: Eat Roots and Leave" an article published by TIMES OF THE ISLANDS the Times Publications Ltd online offering featuring life on the Turks and Caicos Islands ( Turks and Caicos Islands: Winter 2004-2005 online posting  http://www.timespub.tc/2005/01/talking-taino-eat-roots-and-leave/)

3 "For example, this association takes the hypothesis of the dependency of life on death a step further by allowing for the possibility that the Taino may have believed in some form of re-incarnation. A belief in re-incarnation would be consistent with Taino ideas that the living people were the ones with navels (i.e. signs of concrete human birth) and faces (i.e. definite form and identity) while the op’a were those without faces or navels, or possibly those that had not been re-born yet."      Maria Poviones-Bishop, The Bat and the Guava:Life and Death in the Taino Worldview, award-winning submission to The Department of History at Florida International University and the Jay I. Kislak Foundation annual competition for the Jay I. Kislak Student Prizes on any aspect of Florida or Caribbean history or anthropology (Miami:   Online posting http://www.kislakfoundation.org/prize/200103.html , 2001)

4 "The Taino myth about the origin of the people of Hispaniola has led scholars to hypothesize that the Taino associated the mythic ancestors that eventually emerged from the Cave of the Jagua with the spirits of the dead or the op’a. It is possible that this represents Taino ideas about the re-generation of life. Stevens-Arroyo believes these ideas might have easily developed from close observation of the Taino tropical environment. Using what the Taino told Pané about the spirits of the dead appearing as fruit, Stevens-Arroyo elaborates this hypothesis as follows: When fruit falls to the ground, is it dying as it decays or is the seed inside beginning the process of gestation towards a new tree? The Tainos were surrounded by such paradoxes. Rapid decay in their tropic ecology was handmaiden to an equally rapid gestation. Such perceptions must have led to questions on the nature of life and death." Maria Poviones-Bishop, The Bat and the Guava:Life and Death in the Taino Worldview,  award-winning submission to The Department of History at Florida International University and the Jay I. Kislak Foundation annual competition for the Jay I. Kislak Student Prizes on any aspect of Florida or Caribbean history or anthropology (Miami:   Online posting http://www.kislakfoundation.org/prize/200103.html 2001)

5 Marc De Civrieux, Wattuna:An Orinoco Creation Cycle, translated from Spanish to English by David Guss (Austin:  University of Texas Press, 1997 )http://books.google.com/books/about/Watunna.html?id=nhqprABY-ZYC

6  Eugenio Fernandez Mendez, Art and Mythology of the Taino Indians of the Greater West Indies (San Juan, Puerto Rico: Ediciones El Cemi 1993)

7 Jose Juan Arrom, Mitologia y Artes Prehispanicas de las Antillas (Mexico: Siglo Veintiuno Editores, 1975)

8  Ramon Pane, Relacion acerca de las antiguedades de los indios, ed Jose Juan Arrom (Mexico: Siglo Ventiuno, 1977)

9  Ramon Pane, Relacion acerca de las antiguedades de los indios, ed Jose Juan Arrom (Mexico: Siglo Ventiuno, 1977)

10  Dennis Tedlock, Popol vuh : the definitive edition of the Mayan book of the dawn of life and the glories of gods and kings (New York : Simon and Schuster, 1985)

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Comment by Jeffry Mucaro Iere Areito on August 18, 2014 at 7:24pm

Hahom again, brother, for these wonderful teachings! I agree Joel, these teachings and experiences with the Cemis are nourishment for soul, mind, and body - the whole.

On Facebook, Miguel, in follow-ups to this wonderful Yokahu teaching, you connect Yokahu with Fire energy and Ata Bey with Water energy. I love that!

I would like to share something along those lines. I am not quite ready to share these types of thoughts on Facebook yet, because that audience can be a bit cantankerous sometimes. I am going to share these thoughts here first, maybe other thoughts on Facebook soon.

Anyway...

Please forgive if this is way off the mark, but, are the combined energies of Yokahu and Ata Bey present in the forming of Huracan, hurricanes, and cyclones - a combination of warm and wet aspects? I have experienced Ata bey and Yokahu the past several days as a spiral whirlwind surrounding me. Further, and, perhaps this is obvious, but the insight dawned on me that the conjoining of Yokahu and Ata Bey are present in all aspects of life, in some way. Not only do they metaphorically combine to form Yaya, but in reality they do combine to form All Things, just as you mention in this beautiful post above, that there is not “super” natural -- all is part of nature, just perceived in different ways.

Did I extrapolate my vision too far?

Taino ti!

Comment by Joey Karei Inherst on August 18, 2014 at 6:49pm
Hahom Behike! Hahom for your teachings, I am finally starting to feel whole with all the knowledge I/we are receiving, Hahom! Seneko Kakona Behike!!

Notes

La Bruja

Created by Miguel Sobaoko Koromo Sague Apr 4, 2016 at 12:07am. Last updated by Miguel Sobaoko Koromo Sague Apr 4, 2016.

Angel Rodriguez Caguana archeoastronomy

Created by Miguel Sobaoko Koromo Sague Mar 29, 2016 at 3:10pm. Last updated by Miguel Sobaoko Koromo Sague Mar 29, 2016.

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