Tainos had a great and beautiful mythology which recounted the creation of the world in a spectacular and movie like way. The origin was basically in the myths and it came to be from the way they interacted with nature and themselves. Jump into the adventure of the Taino mind with the myth of creation as recounted by us:

“Yaya, the elemental being of creation and life-giver is believed to have become Yocahu Bagua Maórocoti. Yaya decided to expel his son, Yayael for attempting to kill him. Later on, he ends up killing his son and stored his bones in a gourd. Yayael’s bones in time were transformed into fish. After a while, mother earth, created by Yaya and called Itaba Cahubaba died giving birth to her quadruplets. Deminán Caracaracol, one of the four, took hold of the bones of Yayael and dropped it spilling out all the water thus creating the oceans and seas. The four brothers where very adventurous and with a bit of mischief decided to steal fire. They went to Bayamanaco’s, god of fire, lair and stole his fire, cassava, and the cohoba ritual. Bayamanaco caught them and shot Deminán in the back. The brothers decide to open up his wound from which the turtle came out of.

The sacred place called Haiti, island that held all human creation and home to all gods, was thought to have the body of a woman. The first humans came out of the cave Cacibajagua, while the gods where in the serpents cave and Coaybay cave. The gods were Iguanaboína, Boínayel, Márohu, Guabancex, Guatauba, Coatrisquie, and Maquetarie Guayaba. Humand habited the West side and gods, mostly, stayed on the East side of the island from where the sun rose. All good weather was the blessing of Iguanaboína, Boínayel, and Márohu and all three produced the life-giving rain. Mischievous, and with a tendency for the dark side, Guabancex, Guatauba, and Coatrisquie brought bad weather into the world mostly by summoning the deity Juracán in the form of storms to cause destruction. Now, Maquetarie Guayaba, god of death, liked to stay at a distance in Coaybay cave at the westernmost edge of Cauta Mountain, ruling over the afterlife.

Humans attempted to leave their cave and side of the island a total of three times. The attempts were planned carefully and after the first they learned to only try it before the sun came out. Mácocael, guardian of the Cacibajagua Cave, was the first one to try and was turned to stone by the sun. Another attempt ended up in fisherman being turned into trees at sunrise. Yahubaba attempted a third time looking for digo and was transformed into a bird. Anacacuya and Guahayona, cacique and brother-in-law, successfully left the cave and later returned to get the women and take them out. After, at sea, Guahayona decides to kill Anacacuya. He distracts the cacique with a cobo and throws him of the canoa and goes back to get the women and take them to a new place and leave them. After leaving the women, he goes to an island calle Guanín, name given by what was abundant inside. The children, who were left alone, cried and cried of hunger until they turned into frogs. Back in Haiti, the men saw the trees looked like androgynous figures of wood and to please them the Inriri carved women’s bodies into them and allowed for procreation; thus, the creation of the world was finished and humans came to live and reproduce creating society.”

In the first part you can see how the ocean, the animals and the main source of food came to be and how they also relate their gods to unperfected beings giving them pride, wrath, anger, beauty and caring. Also, it portrays greatly how it was their experience with nature that gives meaning and a sense of reality to their story and myth.

Curious fact, inside this myth is another awesome detail about Puerto Rican culture. In the end when the Inriri transformed the trees, it was said that they bled and covered the chest of the Inriri stained the feathers. This is how the Puerto Rican woodpecker came to have its beautiful and colorful red chest. It is the best way to show how much the Tainos respected their surroundings and the way they interacted with nature as compliment to the world and not as we see it as something that serves to us.