We celebrated Taino CANEY CIRCLE Winter Solstice Ceremony at Women's Park in Miami Florida on Sunday Dec 18 2022.
We were joined by a wonderful group of Tainos and non-Taino allies who enthusiastically participated in the celebration of the return of the spirit of the dormant YokaHu back to the womb of his mother Atabey after his death at Autumn Equinox.
Our brother Chris Castillo, who is currently training to be a behike of the Caney Circle joined us from his home in central Florida and brought his son Jace with him.
The ceremony followed the typical process of the CANEY CIRCLE Winter Solstice Ceremony starting with songs and prayers as well as the invocation of the four cardinal directions and the ritual smoking of tobacco.
Then we moved on to the separation of the men so that they can perform the Radiant Sun Dance. Chris' son Jace was chosen to represent Yokahu as the Solar Lord. The men stood in a circle around him holding on to the cords to represent the rays of the sun. Then when the men began to dance around him he became entangled in the cords to represent the bonds of challenge that can face any living thing. After being wrapped in those bonds, a woman chosen to represent the creative female energy inherent in all living things came and helped to free him representing the fact that we must all appeal to the female creative, imaginative aspect of our inner essence to achieve freedom from the entangling energies that we encounter throughout our lives.
After the man representing Yokahu is liberated, all the men process towards the place where the women are and after creating a circle around them the men bless the women by painting their faces with biha (achiote).
After the anointing of faces, the man performing the role of Yokahu, the lord of Life and Hope, squares off with the man representing Guakar the Lord of challenges and trials of life.
Guakar dances holding the palm-frond effigy of his totem animal, the shark and a manaya hatchet representing challenge and transformation. Yokahu dances armed with a bow and arrow.
The dance is a battle between challenge and hope. Hope wins when Yokahu at last shoots an arrow into the body of the shark.
Even as he overcomes the challenges of life Yokahu also overcomes Death itself when we perform the ritual of re-conception. The woman that represents Atabey holds the coa hoop, whose ovoid. pear-shaped profile is a metaphor for a divine womb. The man that represents Yokahu holds a three-pointed cemi that depicts Yokahu in a dead (dormant) manifestation. They bring these two objects together and the behike ties them securely to each other, thereby returning Yokahu to the uterus of his mother Atabey, where he will gestate for three months only to be reborn at Spring Equinox in March.
It was such a blessing for me to experience the privilege of spending this sacred time with all of these beautiful people, who came from all over the Miami region to share magic time with me and each other.
Han Han Katu
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