Nsala Malongo everyone hope everyone is well and up in spirits. It has been a while since I have sat to gather my thoughts and write something that would hold its weight in gold. Well after sitting down and doing some study and analyzing some things and discrepancies within our traditional understanding that we need to give a lot into account the The Arawaks, Tainos, and the Carib experience from the point of historical backing and anthropological evidence and also pre Columbus artifacts that surprisingly make a strong argument and connection to the land as Paleros and people who are of Kongo practice. We have to understand that a great Part of our culture and what connects us to each other comes from the existence of Taino Culture. What the Kongos called the Yamboaki. The Taino name for the escaped Africans were called Cimarron who went to the Mountainous camps where the Tainos lived in the (Paleneque) Taino word for Mountain hideaway. Where in the Manigua(taino word meaning high grass or the wild country).
- The word Yaya refers to women as the meaning has changed through circumventing of words… Yaya was actually a man in the Taino myth of creation Yayael meaning son of Yaya was part of this creative force which leads back to the sea/ocean.
Taken from a study from Yale University on Puerto Rican Folktales...
There was a man named Yaya who had a son Yayael, whose name means son of Yaya. Yayael wanted to kill his father. When Yaya found out that his son wanted to kill him, he had him exiled for four months and then killed him himself. Yaya put his son�s bones in a gourd which he hung from the ceiling of his house, and here it hung for some time. One day, Yaya wanted to see his son and said to his wife,� I want to see our son Yayael.� His wife felt great joy, brought the gourd to her husband, and turned it over to empty out the son�s bones. Large and small fish came out of the gourd, and they realized that their son�s bones had turned into fish and decided to eat them.
Later, one day when Yaya was out in his conucos, which means possessions or lands, the four children of a woman named Itiba Tahuvava came to his house. Their mother had died giving birth to the four and the first one to be born was Caracaracol, whose name means scabby or leprous . . . , the others did not have names.
Itiba Tahuvava�s four identical sons went together to steal Yayals gourd where the bones of his son Yayael were kept. Of the four brothers only Dimivan Caracaracol dared to bring the gourd down from its place but all four ate the fish they found inside it. While they were eating, they heard Yaya returning from his conucos, and in the confusion that followed, when they tried to put the gourd back in its place, it fell and broke. People say that so much water came out of the gourd that it covered the whole earth and along with the water fish of all sizes came out too. This, according to Taino myth is the origin of the sea. This and other fascinating myths and descriptions are found in the work of Friar Ramon in his report to Admiral Cristobal Colon, which can be read in its totality in Cr�nicas de Puerto Rico by Eugenio Ferndandez Mendez.).
As you can see we can do cross comparisons about how the creation story in every culture leads back to what we consider the beginning which leads us looking to oceanic exploration and the conception of life being of a greater sense of community and ethnicity. Taken from the same study at Yale University…
(The Tainos were fishermen, who eventually became farmers or hunters and established villages in different points of the island they called Boriquen. They did not have a written language and there are no written accounts of their culture or history passed on by them to future generations. Archaeologists are still trying to piece together what their lifestyle must have been like before their rapid and almost total extinction in the early sixteenth century due to illnesses and inhuman treatment given to them by the first colonists, the Spaniards.
There are, however, records written from oral tradition by the early Spanish settlers, especially by religious order members. Following orders given to him by Admiral Cristobal Colon (Christopher Columbus) Friar Ramon Pane wrote in 1505 a series of detailed descriptions of the Tainos that lived on Hispaniola, now Haiti and the Dominican Republic. These natives had the same customs and beliefs as those of Boriquen (Puerto Rico). In his lengthy report, Friar Ramon wrote of Taino myths, such as; where the Tainos came from, how the sea came to be, the origin of the Sun and the Moon, and where the dead go and what they look like. There are descriptions of the Taino medicine man and many of the religious beliefs of the Tainos.)> (Puerto Rican Folktales by Doris M. Vazquez).
This was part of curriculum to teach people about culture and what is culture if we can not define with it? So this is for those to understand that Palo Mayombe in its entirety to shape and form in what is considered to be the New World but we know it has always been here so that it would take the inhabitants to put the pieces together to decipher our past and we can determine how we will define our future. If we look at the communal group that were Tainos even the Petroglyphs that are part of the language of Taino culture influenced what we know to be Patimpembas(firmas) Veves and communication with the spirits.
Taken of Tainos of Puerto Rico a cultural site (taínos were ancestor worshipers. They believed that the spirits of the dead remained in their bones so they kept skeletons of relatives in baskets in their dwellings. Oftentimes maybe just the heads of important members of the family were kept. They would keep them in the storage area of the bohío that hung from the ceiling. They believed in an afterlife, so great care was given to the deceased; they were buried with offerings and food)
Pilon which is a taino word for Mortar and Pestle. was used by the Taino……. Taken from the Tainos of Puerto Rico Cultural Site(An interesting fact is that the pilón was first used by the Taíno Indians. Historians such as Fray Iñigo Abbad and Fernández de Oviedo mention having seen the Indians use giant size vases to mash different things. The ancient pilones were much like the pilones of today – the same shape but quite rustic and waist high. Taínos would place one foot on the base to prevent it from tipping over when hit with the giant macetas. Taínos used large hollowed out tree trunks to form waist-tall pilones. The hole was generally approximately 25 inches in diameter, but frequently varied in size. Some were small hand-held pilones, but they were still larger than the ones we use today. Since the Taínos used them, pilones were found in all the Caribbean Islands. The hole for the pilón was burned out and carved using simple rustic tools. Giant macetas were carved out of trees also. The final product depended on the talents of the carver. Some were very rustic, but most were just plain and practical. Some were well-finished, smooth, and shiny on the outside; some were pieces of art with elaborate carvings. Taínos used the pilón and maceta to mash corn, spices, medicinal herbs and other things. Ingredients to make body paint were also processed in a pilón)
Palo Mayombe’s existence has to venerate a lot of the Native Indigenous force which were harnassed by the Tainos who enveloped the land with language, art and all types of contributions that we tend to overlook and solely claim one existence. Which if it were not for the Africans and Tainos we would not have had the cultural influence or understanding that is Palo Mayombe. Garifuna the Taino word for black tainos which were just as much taino as they were bantu as well. Home life and understanding ritual food and community meant a lot.
“The Taínos primarily used tubers as a source of food. Also harvested were guanábana, yautía, squash, mamey, papaya, pineapple, achiote, sweet potatoes, yams, and corn. Peanuts, lerenes, guava, soursop, pineapples, sea grapes, black-eyed peas, ajíes caballeros, and lima beans grew wild”
Corn bread was a staple food and was eatten quickly because it would spoil but they were the inventors of it. Corn was said to grow in moon cycles and we as paleros not only follow moon cycles we have a pact with this food which hold secrets with its husks for every initiate who lives in a fundamento. The social structure was matrilineal – the lineage was carried by the mother. Palo Mayombe is a matrilineal religion the problem is that the patriarchal men have kind of reverted it away from that understanding but look at the ngangas of past and you will see them called Maria, Or Rufina or Mariata… Etc.
The first Pact we learn is how to work the (Co- Cu-cuyo) Taino word for Firefly which a lot of people still use in bottles to light the way in countries where light is scarce. It was used also for pest control for mosquitoes.
Most of the Palos used have Taino words like, Guayacan, Mamey, Tabaco, Ceiba, Jagua(aka mamoncillos aka Quenepas).
A mambo that is a Makuta (Cuenda kongo cuenda Macana, Macana kongo cuenda andile). Come Congo, come Congo with your war club, The war club of Congo comes from faraway…
Macana is a Taino word for war club nowadays known as a Police Baton.
I can go on for days about not only the comparisons but documentation to support this and I just wanted to share with people so we can open our consciousness and give praise to the Yamboaki who formed Palo Mayombe with the Africans and left us a legacy which belongs to the Caribbean people and to the People of south America and the United States of america. Lets promote unity and education and open the doors to real discussion on religious reciprocity and eliminate ignorance and bring it to the people who are worshippers of our faith. Tainos were monotheistic the Caribs and the Arawak were Animists, the kongos were both and in this juncture we can see the marriage of culture, respect and venarance.
Tata Musitu…..Below is some of the information that was used in this comparison all respect to the Authors for contributions and their educational property.