Minding my Mythology, part I

I’ve mentioned once or twice that my superpower is research. It’s also my comfort zone and in these unsettling times, research is where I go to relax. Lately it’s been mythology. As a child, I devoured books about Greek and Egyptian mythology. And yet I never thought to search for my own. In a previous post, I mentioned the need to invite other pantheons to the table and I’m gratified to see Yoruba, Hindu, Korean, Mayan and many other mythologies are getting their day in the sun thanks to Rick Riordan.

But I want to do my part, too. My research has led me to finally fulfill my 2014 promise in the post At the Crossroads of Fairy Tales and Folklore and learn more about my own mythology.

The indigenous people of Puerto Rico (Borinquen) were the Tainos. They had a rich culture and an intricate mythos. Here’s one story:

Yaya was the Original Spirit, imbued with both feminine and masculine energy. Being of both natures Yaya was able to conceive a son, Yayael. At first, Yayael was an obedient son, doing as Yaya told him. Yet as he grew, a rebellious streak grew with him. He was envious of his creator’s power and position and began to plan Yaya’s murder.

[photo of the Zemi stone]

Taino cemi

But Yaya was observant and sent Yayael away, hoping that it would change Yayael’s feelings. When Yayael returned, his feelings hadn’t changed, and Yaya had no choice but to kill Yayael. Suffering the loss of a son, Yaya collected Yayael’s bones and put them in a calabaza, a gourd, and hung them from the roof the house. Days passed and Yaya missed Yayael and they brought down the calabaza to look at their son’s remains. To their astonishment, the calabaza was filled with water and the bones had become fish of all kinds. Yaya ate the fish, but there were always more. After eating their fill, Yaya put the calabaza back on top of the house…

…To be continued!


2 thoughts on “Minding my Mythology, part I

  1. This is fascinating! I love mythology, but I also feel like every time I turn around there’s a new one I haven’t explored yet with tale after tale. After awhile, they all start to run together, but they’re so much fun to read, and can spark some really interesting ideas. I can’t wait to learn more about yours!

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