Taino Woods Update – December 2022

Tau Our Relations, 

Purification Lodge Ceremony + Fire Keeper Apprenticeship:
Our final purification lodge of this eventful year of 2022 will be this Saturday December 3. The ceremony will honor the Winter Solstice and the nearing of the Western New Year. Not only does this ceremony allow for us to gather in community and in prayer for our loved ones, ourselves, and Mother Earth, but it is also an incredible physical medicine. The high heat and sweating within the lodge paired with the cold exposure truly helps our bodies to develop a stronger immune system.

As part of this community-based ceremony, each participant is highly encouraged to bring a prepared dish to share as we will gather in a communal meal afterwards. All dishes should be prepared prior to arriving on the Land; and can simply be warmed on site. 

To confirm your reservation, please email us at tainowoodsny@gmail.com. Overnight stay is available. 

A shout out to our Drumming/Song Tekina Circles and our Fire Keepers, we will meet on the evenings of Friday December 2nd and Saturday December 3rd. 

Your Benevolence:
With all we have been able to accomplish this year, we are both excited and more knowledgeable of what Taino Woods Sanctuary needs to maintain our gatherings and space in good relation to Atabeyra, as well as how to keep growing. 

Your monetary donations to our GoFundMe page: Taino Woods Rising will allow us to purchase tools, improve our machines, gather firewood, and make the necessary adjustments to the Land in order to reopen in the Spring.

Looking Ahead: 
Taino Woods Sanctuary is hosting a Medicine Drum Birthing Ceremony on Saturday April 29th 2023 with DRUMDOULA. The DRUMDOULA is an incredible woman dedicated to providing each person with the ceremonial experience of creating his/her own drum. From harvesting the natural materials to her own personal blessing, DRUMDOULA provides a welcoming, loving, and sacred space for novice and expert drummers alike. 

Sign up to experience the magic of birthing your own medicine drum here: Medicine Drum Birthing Ceremony — DRUMDOULA. Registration will remain open until Saturday April 22nd 2023. Space is very limited [only 18 seats total]. 

(To our Drum/Song Tekina Circles – how profound would it be to use your OWN drum in our gatherings!?)

A Taino Traditional Tale:
As the Winter Solstice approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, we would like to share the traditional story of how our Taino and Caribbean ancestors experienced the world, and spoke of our belief in our Creation, as shared by our Behike Miguel Sague: 

… Our Taino ancestors were attentive sky watchers and made accurate observations of the movements of heavenly bodies. These movements almost always expressed themselves in the form of cycles… One of the most important cycles observed by the astronomers of the Central American and Caribbean civilizations was the yearly cycle of the sun. To the ancient Tainos, the sun itself and its cyclical movements across the sky were associated with Yoka Hu, the male spirit of the yucca plant. 

We… celebrate the arrival of Lord Yoka Hu’s soul at the place of his mother’s womb with an image of Yoka Hu that represents him as a lifeless entity. It is an image of Death. The image is a cemi that depicts his body as a fleshless boney form upon which only the vertebra of the spine, the ribs, and the bones of the arms and legs are visible. He is depicted headless, with his head between his arms. 

Three months after the Autumn Equinox, at the Winter Solstice, the soul of Yoka Hu finally completes its journey to the Realm of Coai Bai and becomes reconceived in the womb of his mother Ata Bey. This completes his life cycle… and prepares him for his re-birth three months later at the Spring Equinox. 

For the full story, visit: What is Solstice? Indigenous Caribbean Network.

Bo Matum, Itaino:
As this year is coming to a close, we are so proud of all we have accomplished and shared as a community. It has all been because of YOU. Without the donations of your time, your prayers, and your contributions on the Land, online, and monetarily, we would not have been able to host our countless ceremonies, public and private retreats, nor expand the moveability and safety of Taino Woods Sanctuary. From the bottom of hearts and the expansiveness of our prayers, bo matum, Itaino.

Han Hankatu!