Taino Creation Myth
If you enjoyed the myth we used to cold open the season premiere have we got a gift for you! Our guest-host for our mid-season premiere Navani Otero, reads a Taino myth that spans from the creation of the universe to the Caribbean.
POWER OF YOU IN FICTION PODCAST
Interlude: Taino Creation Myth
Character List: Atabei (or Atabey) – original mother; Yaya (Yúcahu); Guacar; Boinayel; Maroya; Guataubá; Coatrisquie; Yayael
In the beginning, there was only Atabei.
And then Atabei created the heavens, the Earth, and other celestial bodies.
Atabei had always existed. And all that had existed up to that point, were creations of Atabei; the original mother.
However, all that existed in the space between her creations were voids and pockets of darkness.
Atabei knew not how to fill the universe so she created two deities with her magic.
Her son, Yaya, would have the power of creation.
Her daughter, Guacar, would be given the winds of change.
Atabei now felt confident that her creation could be completed and left it in charge of her children.
Yaya became the universal architect.
From his dwelling in the heavens, he decided to create light to awake the Earth from its slumber.
To watch over this light, two twin deities of his own creation emerged from a cave.
Boinayel would make the Sun shine brightly and illuminate all that Atabei had created.
And Maroya would make the moon dance and allow all on Earth to witness the rest of Atabei’s creations in the sky.
No longer would the Earth be shrouded by darkness.
Guacar, became the agent of transformation.
She made the Earth swirl around the Sun that her brother created.
Her powers would split seas and form mountains.
To facilitate this change she created Guataubá, whose thunderous rainstorms would fall upon the Earth and form oceans
And Coatrisquie who swells the waters and creates oceans between the land
In an attempt to be like Atabei, Yaya created a god without a sibling whom he named for himself, Yayael.
He kept Yayael hidden from his sister and the selfishness and isolation in which he raised his son caused his son to grow selfish.
Yayael desired to kill his father and take control of all his works. And in his fury, Yaya exiled his son for 1 rotation of the Earth around the Sun to witness his work. Hoping that this would change his son’s aspirations.
During the first phase of this rotation Yaya worked with his sister to inhabit the earth.
He created seeds and Guacar scattered them throughout the world.
Guataubá would rain upon them in order to bring the transformation of Guacar to life and Boinayel would grow them into the first green
Yayael in his fury would the move the Earth closer to the Sun to create intense heat
A heat so powerful that Guataubá could not create the rain needed to continue the transformation
Yayael hoped that the drought would garner a response from his father, but Yaya was so enamored with he and his sister’s creation he acted as if he did not notice.
When the green became brown and gold and began to fall from Yaya’s creation, this was the first change that Guacar had witnessed that she did not create.
Yaya knew it was the work of his son, but he could not tell his sister that he created him without her knowing, so the siblings came up with a new strategy.
Maroya would use their dance in order to increase the powers of Coatrisquie
The oceans began to swell over the land, and rivers and lakes began to form
Giving Guacar the ability to provide change even in drought
And thus, it seemed that all their problems would be solved
But in the final phase of the rotation, Yayael pushed the Earth as far away from the Sun as he could
Causing the rivers and lakes of Guacar to freeze over.
Plants began to die, a transformation that made Guacar suspicious.
Every time she and her brother seemed to achieve balance, something would throw the Earth out of it.
Disappointed that his son had not changed, angry at what he had done, and nervous his sister would find out.
Tears left Yaya’s eyes as it was the first time the creation god would ever have to destroy anything.
He hung a gourd containing his tears and his son at the door to his domain to remind him of what he had done and vowed never to create a lone deity again.
Yaya took the name Yúcahu as a reminder to himself of his follies and continued his work.
Thus, the four phases of the Earth’s rotation around the Sun would become known as the seasons, while Yúcahu and Guacar would watch over them with their followers.
As time went on,
Yúcahu roamed the land and noticed four gemstones in the ground,
He thought they must have been born of the four phases that he created with his son, Yayael, and his sister.
He took them and converted them into the beings Racuno, Sobaco, Achinao, and Coromo.
Yúcahu told his sister that the quadruplets were to send messages between the gods.
He sent the brothers into the sky and they became the four cardinal directions.
Yúcahu loved his sons and gave them only one rule. Do not touch the gourd that hung from his door.
The brothers created the birds to fly to the four corners of the Earth so they could spread messages between each other.
Amazed by his sons’ creations, Yúcahu urged Guacar to create with him a being that would like the birds–be of the Earth, but not watch over it.
Guacar liked this idea, but as a Goddess of change, she thought their creation should be of the Earth, and have the influence to change it.
Creating a being with such abilities would take time.
While the twins worked on their creation, Yúcahu’s sons would sneak into their father’s dwelling and try to grab the gourd, but it was too high. The brothers stood on each other’s shoulders but still could not reach the gourd.
Meanwhile, Yúcahu and Guacar spawned the first man in the image of Yúcahu — Locuo. However, before they could create a human in the image of Guacar, the brothers summoned all their birds to knock down the gourd. They succeeded but could not catch the gourd before it fell to the ground and broke.
From it, the tears of Yaya poured into the oceans with a new kind of being. The tears had transformed the bones of Yayael into fish, which quickly began to fill Guacar’s oceans.
Yúcahu was furious at his sons who disobeyed his orders, but not as furious as Guacar, who found out her brother had betrayed their partnership and created without her.
This betrayal of trust caused a rift between the gods. Yúcahu and Guacar ceased working together.
Guacar fled into the Earth, lying under the island of Xaymaca, and paid close attention to what emerged from the caves and soils of the Earth.
Yúcahu, in an attempt to not repeat his mistake of creating a lone god tried to create another man, but without his sister he could not create a soul.
His soulless creations emerging from Haiti began to inhabit and spread throughout the world as animals.
The one thing that united the gods was their love for Locuo.
Every divine being was resolved to care for him.
To make sure Locuo would always have the light and warmth of Boinayel,
Guataubá struck the trees with lightning to transform the trees to fire.
The quadruplets then stole this power by pulling branches from the trees and showing Locuo how to make it.
Yúcahu sprung food from the plants for Locuo to feast on.
Guacar allowed the fire to transform the beings her brother had created into food Locuo could feast on for nourishment.
The quadruplets gave him tools, in order to wield that which his parents had blessed him with.
All the while, Locuo wondered at the beauty of the world created for him and was forever grateful to his parents.
However, he saw in his father’s attempts to create life a deep desire for balance.
He saw in his mother’s isolation a deep sorrow that there was no one like her.
As an act of gratitude, Locuo tore open a hole in his stomach. One soul would become two — a man and a woman.
This fulfilled his father’s desire for balance. Though he could not provide his mother with the power of creation, he gave the woman created in his mother’s image the power to create new souls in its womb.
The children of Locuo began to reproduce and populate the lands and created the land of Lokono named after their father.
Every harvest they would praise Yúcahu for his creations as they learned to farm and build from his sons.
Every fall they would fear the wrath of Guacar when fires and floods fell upon their settlements.
The people of Lokono began to refer to Guacar as Guabancex, also known as the “one whose fury destroys everything”.
Guabancex grew angry at the people who did not appreciate her gifts, and how they praised her brother who had greatly wronged her.
Guabancex, in an effort to salvage the affections of her son’s creations, summoned the winds and the waves of change.
Those who followed her guide would see that she was a goddess of change, not one of destruction.
Her followers would come to a group of islands that would become known as Greater Antilles.
They would settle and be known as the Taino.
Guabancex would emerge from her cave for the first time and watch over the Taino from El Yunque.