WE CELEBRATED TAINO FULL MOON CEREMONY IN PITTSBURGH THIS PAST SATURDAY
Takaji My Relatives It was my honor this past Saturday Jan 7, 2012 ("6 Chuen" Yucatec and "6 B'atz" K'iche, day of the Maya Calendar) to lead our January Full Moon Ceremony here at the Verona, Pennsylvania Teaching Lodge of the MECG CANEY INDIGENOUS SPIRITUAL CIRCLE. Our Full Moon Ceremony was carried out in the 30-year-old tradition of the Caney Circle which encompasses and celebrates the meaning and symbolism behind this ancient Taino Indigenous observance.
As our tradition dictates we established the usual sacred altar at the center of the circle of participants that is required in all ceremonies of the Caney Circle using an image of Ata Bey, an image of Yoka Hu, the images of the sacred birds of the four directions and the circle of twentyeight stones that must be prepared for these procedures. In keeping with the Procedure for carrying out the ceremony we dedicated the ocasion to Mother Ata Bey whose sacred monthly cycles of fertility are reflected in the 28-day cycles of the moon. The ceremony began with the usual purification by smoke of tabonuco (copal), water, and arm-motion prayer. These initial processes were sanctified by the sound of the guamo (conch shell trumpet). Then the clay Taino pipe was passed around the circle of people for ceremonial smoking while we chanted the tobacco song (although this could have been done with a cigar). This was followed by the traditional lighting of the two lights (in this case they were candles, while in other cases they have been torches) which represents the fact that during this period of the lunar cycle the moon is brighter than at any other time.
Then came the moment of the uttering of the key words of the FULL MOON CEREMONY; "Our women have within them the rhythm of the Universe". These, of course, are the sacred prayer words always recited by a woman chosen to play the role of Ata Bey the Cosmic Matriarch, that have been the highlight of our Full Moon Ceremonies since 1981 when this tradition was revived.
Our ceremony was enshrined within the beauty and grace of our sacred traditional chants of the Caney Circle which enhance the power of our ritual and elevate the proces to the level of the divine.
It has been a real thrill for me to have had the opportunity within the last three years to take this ceremony of the Full Moon all over the continental United States; to the far west, In 2010 in Texas where I led the celebration at the home of a wonderful young Venezuela Arawak woman whom I have known since birth and her family, to the North East Last year in Upstate New York, where I was hosted by fellow Cuban Taino brother Frank AcuTurey and the family of his daughter, to a place not far from my own home in the neighboring state of Ohio in 2009 where I was hosted by our sister Rose Quinones, the Ohio representative of the UCTP and beike of the Caney, and where we were treated to traditional Taino dance, drumming and fellowship of several former members of Nacion Taina who travelled all the way from New York to share with us, and of course many times right here at home such as in In October 2010 in Pittsburgh PA and in the Summer of 2011.
I praise the Great Spirit Yaya Guaturey for having given me the opportunity to share this tradition with my Taino and Arawak brothers and sisters and with many other relatives, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, because it is through the Full Moon Ceremony, primarily, that we maintain a monthly focus on the magical connection between humans and the divine Mother whose cycle we are honoring.
Happy Full Moon!
Taino Ti Miguel