Taino Woods Update – October 2022

Mabrika iTaino, 

Volunteer Weekends:
Our October ahead looks like a month filled with Mother Nature’s last flowers and blooms, the harvesting of our gardens and our seasons past, and the great shift of color:

Autumn is a second Spring when every leaf is a flower. 

With all this unique beauty around us, we can feel the shifts of Atabeyra in the sunlight, the wind, and the clearness of our Autumn evenings. It is time and imperative that we have all hands on deck to close the land for the dormancy of Winter ahead. 

Our Volunteer Weekends are:

  • Friday September 30th to Sunday October 2nd
  • Friday October 7th to Sunday October 9th
  • Friday October 21st to Sunday October 23rd

Our Volunteer Tasks include: 

  • Wood chipping and splitting
  • Gathering kindling
  • Sealing the wood for decks
  • Reenforcing the walkways 

Our Drumming/Song Tekina Circle will gather in the evenings of the Volunteer Weekends.

Complementary overnight stays are available for those who volunteer. Email us at: Tainowoodsny@gmail.com with your interest. Please bring a prepared dish to share. 

Remember, all volunteer check-ins for work weekends are Fridays between 4pm and 9pm as it gets darker earlier now; or Saturdays by 8am sharp. Volunteering will wrap up by 2pm or 3pm on Sundays.

Purification Lodges:
In honor of the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), we will have a purification lodge on October 29th. This is a very special time to welcome back, honor, and share food, drink, and song with our ancestors and our loved ones. 

Following this holiday, we will hold a ceremony on Saturday November 12th and Saturday December 3rd – clima permitting

In these seasons of latency and quietude, our Drumming/Song Tekina Circle and Fire Keepers will have more opportunities to practice with lodges and our songs. 

Looking Ahead:
Taino Woods Sanctuary will be hosting a Medicine Drum Birthing Ceremony on Saturday April 29th 2023 with DRUMDOULA. Register 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. 

Special Thank Yous: 
In this eventful September, we gathered in the name of love, community, and ancestral history. Our Behike Miguel Sague held an incredible ceremony that taught us the traditions of our people through song, dance, and story. Behike Miguel, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You are so special; and we cannot wait to have you on the land once again. This is only the beginning, brother. 

To our FRIENDS Outside Retreat, you are such a special group of light beings. Each one of you is so kind, open-hearted, and full of so much love. Your sacred medicine retreat filled our hearts and expanded our minds. Thank you for sharing your energy and medicine with Taino Woods Sanctuary, Inc. 

And to our volunteers – you are the heart and soul of Taino Woods Sanctuary. It is your dedication to stewarding the land and taking care of its resources, medicines, inhabitants and visitors that Taino Woods Sanctuary is able to stand tall and proud as a community landmark. We are a community because of you. From the bottom of our hearts, Bo Matum (Thank You)! We couldn’t have done this without all of you. 

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed [people] can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” 

Margaret Mead

A Short Story:
As we each learn more about our culture, language, and medicines, we thought about sharing this short traditional story by Behike Miguel Sague: 

This season represents a special stage in the ceremonial cycle of the cemies as seen from the perspective of the Caney Spiritual Circle. We believe that Yoka Hu, the male spirit of Energy and Life has a Life-Cycle just like any living entity. We believe that Yoka Hu is born of his Earth-and-Water Mother, Ata Bey, at Spring Equinox. He rises to full maturity and strength at Summer Solstice and then declines during the stormy, hurricane-blown weeks at the end of the summer season to finally die at the Autumnal (Fall) Equinox.

The Autumnal Equinox represents the moment when our beloved Life Spirit, Yoka Hu begins his journey to the realm of the dead. He descends to the watery underworld at the center of Ata Bey’s womb called “Coa Bay”, a place that can be accessed spiritually through sacred caves. Yoka Hu goes there to be finally reunited as a germinal embryonic being with his mother’s uterus. At Winter Solstice, this powerful male spirit overcomes the rigors of Death and Hardship that characterizes the hurricane-driven late Summer and Fall. There he awaits rebirth during the dry Winter months, a period of time which, in the Caribbean, hold very little rainfall and constrain the ability for plant-life to regenerate. Finally in the Spring Equinox Yoka Hu is re-born from his mother’s womb and the cycle begins all over again.

For the full narrative, visit: The Taino Equinox Celebration – Indigenous Caribbean Network

All in all, we love, adore, appreciate, and honor you, iTaino (family)!

Until next month,
Han Hankatu! 
(Let It Be So)