Taíno mythology: Atabey Mother goddess of fresh water and fertility

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Atabey is the supreme goddess of the Taínos (native peoples at the pre-Columbian era), one of two supreme deities in the Taíno religion. She was worshipped as a goddess of fresh water and fertility; she is the female entity who represents the Earth Spirit and the Spirit of all horizontal water, lakes, streams, the sea, and the marine tides. This deity was one of the most important for the native tribes that inhabited the Caribbean islands of the Antilles, mostly in Puerto Rico (Borikén), Haiti/Dominican Republic La Hispaniola and Cuba.

Atabey or Atabeira defines prime matter and all that is tangible or material and has several manifestations. One is the aforementioned nurturing maternal figure. Another is Caguana: the spirit of love. The last is Guabancex (also known as Gua Ban Ceh): the violent, Wild Mother of storms volcanoes and earthquakes.

Alternate names for the Taíno mother goddess are Iermaoakar, Apito, and Sumaiko and Taíno women prayed to Atabey to ensure a safe childbirth.


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Taíno mythology: Yúcahu the masculine spirit of fertility

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Yúcahu —also written as Yukajú, Yocajú, Yokahu or Yukiyú— was the masculine spirit of fertility in Taíno mythology. He was one of the supreme deities or zemís of the Pre-Columbian Taíno peoples along with his mother Atabey who was his feminine counterpart. Dominant in the Caribbean region at the time of Columbus’ First voyages of Discovery, the peoples associated with Taíno culture inhabited the islands of the Bahamas, the Greater Antilles, and the Lesser Antilles.


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Taíno mythology: Juracán the zemi or deity of chaos and disorder

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Juracán is the phonetic name given by the Spanish colonizers to the zemi or deity of chaos and disorder which the Taíno natives in Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Jamaica, and Cuba, as well as the Island Caribs and Arawak natives elsewhere in the Caribbean, believed controlled the weather, particularly hurricanes (the latter word derives from the deity’s name). Actually, the word “juracán” merely represented the storms per se, which according to Taíno mythology were spawned and controlled by the goddess Guabancex, also known as the “one whose fury destroys everything”. The Taínos were aware of the spiraling wind pattern of hurricanes, a knowledge that they used when depicting the deity. Her zemi idol was said to depict a woman, but the most common depiction of Guabancex presents a furious face with her arms extended in a “~” pattern.


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