Taino Woods Update – January 2024

Taiguey Taino Woods Sanctuary Familia,

Winter Solstice: A Season of Sacred Stories

As the Northern Hemisphere embraces the Winter Solstice, the day of least sunlight, when the Sun takes its lowest, shortest path across the sky, we can delve into the cultural richness of storytelling embraced by many indigenous communities during Winter. For tribes like the Ojibwe, Winter is the designated time for traditional storytelling. Practicality played a role in this choice as the other seasons demanded attention to growing, gathering, and hunting for food. Winter, with its long dark evenings and a world blanketed in snow, becomes the canvas for tales that entertain and educate.

In the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin and among the Blackfoot in Calgary, Alberta, the arrival of the Winter Moon and the presence of snow on Mother Earth signal the opportune time for storytelling. For the Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico, the Winter Solstice marks their New Year, adorned with private ceremonies featuring haamaaha, storytelling that includes tales of the coyote, stories of heroes, and the sharing of knowledge. As the frosty air envelops the landscape, people offer tobacco and gather with roasted piñon nuts, enhancing the sense of community. The snow, covering Atabeyra (Mother Earth) like a sacred blanket, fosters a unique reverence between storytellers and the animals whose tales are told; (waiting until Winter when animals hibernate or become less active, so they cannot hear themselves being talked about.)

As we live during this Winter Solstice, let’s immerse ourselves in the rich tapestry of storytelling, connecting with the wisdom and traditions that illuminate the beauty of this season.

Winter Wellness: Nurturing Practices for Body and Spirit

Winter is a time for mindful self-care, nurturing behaviors that promote well-being in the season of stillness. Embrace the crisp air with invigorating winter hikes, allowing nature’s beauty to rejuvenate both body and spirit. A simple yet powerful practice is stepping outside in a tee-shirt for just one minute upon waking—a ritual that not only boosts your mood but also enhances serotonin levels in your brain while promoting the burning of body fat.

In the quiet moments of Winter, consider basking in the gentle glow of a happy light, especially if daylight is scarce. Checking your vitamin D levels ensures you maintain essential nutrients for overall health during the colder months. Lastly, prioritize adequate sleep, recognizing its profound impact on your physical and mental well-being. These winter healing practices offer a holistic approach to embracing the season with vitality and balance.

Gratitude for the Year: A Heartfelt Thank You to Our TWS Family

Here, we’d like to express deep appreciation for the collective efforts, shared moments, and accomplishments of the Taino Woods Sanctuary (TWS) community throughout 2023. From the construction of a secure community website to engaging in vibrant drum circles, Danzas, and many ceremonies; each gathering has contributed to this gratifying and rewarding year.

Reflecting on the past year, we acknowledge the health and togetherness that Atabeyra has generously bestowed upon us. The addition of Thunder Hurakan (Wata Uba Hurakan), our newest canine TWS member, has brought joy and companionship to our lives. The move to our cherished house, Bohio, marks a significant step closer to this beloved community; even though it comes with a touch of sadness as we bid farewell to our loving family and home in Connecticut.

Navigating the emotions tied to this transition has been a challenge, but our gratitude extends to the unwavering support of our team, the Land, Creator, Mother Earth, Our Ancestors, and the entire community worldwide. Together, we’ve achieved the goals set for 2023: creating memories filled with joy and fostering strong connections amongst us.

Embracing 2024 with Anticipation

In the subtle whispers of Nature, there are hints of transformative journeys awaiting in 2024. TWS invites you to stay attuned to our upcoming offerings— solo sojourns into the heart of Nature supported by community, flickering fires, and the ancient wisdom of Our Ancestors. This is an invitation to turn inward, to anticipate, and to discover profound peace. As we dance with the unknown, let’s co-create a future of joy, peace, and interconnectedness.

As we transition from the profound lessons of the past—imbibing the teachings of Compassion, Responsibility, Respect, Accountability, and Forgiveness—2024 becomes an opportunity for us to embrace Integrity, Humility, Love, Compassion, and In-Joy. This is a journey to find our center, to explore the roots that ground us. Let’s breathe through our hearts and live from the inside out, refusing to let external influences dictate our energy. In this acknowledgment, we embrace the power of focused living.

In gratitude and unity,
Taíno Woods Sanctuary