The way in which the earth orbits around the sun causes our seasons to behave the way they do. Although the sharp demarcation of Fall and Spring and the difference in temperatures that separate Winter and Summer are not the same in the tropics are they are in more northern areas, there still is such a thing as a Winter and a Summer Solstice as well as a Spring and Fall Equinox everywhere on the face of the Earth. The ancient Tainos recognized the powerful symbolism that lay in these four sacred stations of the sun’s cycle through the course of the year.
In our Caney Circle tradition we observe the cycle marked by the sun here in the northern hemisphere as its daily East to West path across the sky arches and leans ever further toward the south throughout the Fall season and into the Winter, and then returns from the South again throughout the Spring season and into the Summer. We call this sequence the SUN PATH CYCLE. Since the Caribbean region which is the birth-place of our traditions is in the northern hemisphere, there is a link between the way in which this cycle manifested itself to our tropical ancestors and the way it manifests itself in the more northern regions to which many of us contemporary Tainos have migrated.
In the Caney Circle we recognized a sacred diagram that maps out the course of this solar cycle. This diagram is overlaid on top of our Medicine Wheel of the Four Directions. Each direction represents a seasonal station and the journey from seasonal station to seasonal station is a circuitous figure-eight route that runs from the South/SPRING to the East/SUMMER, then across the middle of the circle to the West/FALL and finally to the North/WINTER. From there the journey travels again right through across the circle from North to South to again begin in the SPRING.
The dance of the Sun’s Path is celebrated by observing the four seasonal stations of the year: Spring Equinox (considered the birth time of Lord Yoka Hu the Spirit of Life), Summer Solstice (considered the moment when Lord Yoka Hu reaches maximum power and glory), Fall Equinox (considered the end-moment in Yoka Hu’s life at the climax of the deadly hurricane season when he dies and begins his journey to the land of the departed ones, the abode of the ancestors, Coa Bay at the very womb of his mother, the spirit Ata Bey), and finally Winter Solstice (considered the moment when Yoka Hu finally reaches the warm nurturing place of re-conception, the place in which he will then gestate in fetal form for about three months until he is again re-born at Spring Equinox just to start the cycle all over again).
It is strongly advised that modern day Tainos get together and celebrate these four sacred seasonal events within the context of community. We suggest that Tainos follow the Caney Circle ceremony for Equinoxes and the Caney Circle ceremony for Solstices as outlined in the ceremonies section of our website. It is also suggested that a Caney Circle beike (spiritual leader) be located and petitioned to lead these ceremonies in your community.
If it is impossible or very difficult to celebrate these ceremonies in community, a family or individual can celebrate them within the family home and thereby maintain that sacred link with the ancestors. A simplified version of the celebration can be observed by doing the following.