It was a wonderful honor for me to officiate this year's Winter Solstice Ceremony in Miami, Florida on Dec 21st 2013 at Women's Park where we have celebrated it for the past seven years.
We were joined by a number of our wonderful Florida friends who came in from all over the state.
From the gulf coast in the west our dear brother of over twenty years, Behike Edgar Kunuk Rodriguez.
Our sister, the Orlando, Florida representative of the United Confederation of Taino People, Tai Pelli, came south from the central portion of the state to celebrate with us.
All the way from Coamo, Boriken, our sister Bibi Joanna AYA Soto Aviles joined us for the first time at our ceremony.
Bibi Aya found generous lodging in the beautiful home of our precious Miami couple Mike and Meryellen Lopez during her stay in Miami. Mike and his wife also provided invaluable assistance in the sponsoring of the ceremony.
We were also joined as usual by various members of my own family some of whom traveled to Miami from as far as Arizona and Canada.
My son Miguel BanoManigua played the mayohuakan drum for the chants.
The ceremony began with the usual purification ceremonies and the smoking of the tobacco in the form of a cigar that was passed around the circle.
Our sister Bibi Aya called in the spirits of the four directions by sounding the conch shell guamo horn.
The participants joined in the traditional chants of the Caney Circle.
After the tobacco ritual the men separated from the women to perform the Radiant Sun Ritual.
The Radiant Sun ritual is highlighted by the wrapping up of the man that represents Yoka Hu in ropes. This represents the fact that Yoka Hu died in September and is trapped by the forces of Death. He awaits being freed by the femenine power of Ata Bei's magic.
The women watch as this ritual unfolds.
After the Radiant Sun Ritual the man that represents Yoka Hu leads the rest of the men in a guaitiao dance line to the women's circle.
Bibi Aya in her role as the divine Mother freed the Seiba, who represented Yoka Hu so that he could begin the Shark Dance.
I also prepared for my role as Guakar the Lord of Trials in the Shark Dance to come by donning the Guakar mask.
The Shark Dance began as I wielded Guakar's manaya hatchet and the shark effigy made of palm fronds and Seiba wielded the bow and arrows.
Finally the arrow from Seiba's bow pierced the shark effigy symbolizing the victory of Yoka Hu's Life and Energy over Guakar's challenges of harsh experience.
The ceremony concludes with Seiba and Bibi Aya in their roles as Yoka Hu and Ata Bei participating in the act of tying the three-point semi of the embryonic Lord of Life to the coa hoop that represents Ata Bei's womb
After the two objects were tied together Bibi Aya raised them high so that all could see the miracle of re-conception. The germinal soul of Yoka Hu would now gestate in the womb of his mother to be reborn again during the gentle rains of Spring.
After the ceremony the participants joined together in joyous sharing of delicious foods brought by several of the members of the group.
I want to express my most heart-felt gratitude to all of my dear spiritual relatives and also my own blood relatives who participated in this ceremony. In many ways this gathering would be impossible without their generous assistance.
Seneko Kakona (many blessings) to all of the dear souls that joined us for this wonderful ceremony.