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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