Minding my Mythology, part II

Here’s the problem when mythology is collected from an interrupted culture: the stories are left partially incomplete. The Greeks thrived for centuries recording their mythology for posterity in a written language. It proliferated throughout the ancient world allowing it to become further etched in the culture. Even after the arrival of Christianity there were folk beliefs that remained.

The Tainos didn’t have a written language and relied primarily on oral tradition. As such their beliefs were dictated to one priest who came with his own biases while being the chronicler of a culture that would almost disappear. As such some of his writings have to be interpreted and have been, by men.

All this preamble is to explain that the following story from Taino mythology is based on the research I’ve done and inference based on the contradictions and gaps I’ve found.

Itiba Cahubaba

Old Blood Mother

Much has been said about the Four Twins and especially the first among her quadruplets, Deminán Caracaracol. But what of the woman who brought them into being?

The gods tried many times to coax beings from the underwold that could inherit the Surface. Their attempts brough forth creatures that were ill-suited to the bright rays of the implacable Sun. And yet they knew one day men and women would populate the earth. It would require someone of great bravery and selflessness.

Her name was Itiba Cahubaba.  

Itiba Cahubaba wandered the world of the gods largely ignored by them. She, along with others of her kind, eked out an existence from the remnants left by their creators. How she became pregnant remained a mystery, but she sensed that pregnancy was important to her people.

Her stomach grew and grew although the rest of her became thin and weak. Despite this, she when to great lengths to protect her belly knowing she had to successfully give birth.

Finally, the day came when the pains assailed her. She worked hard, but she quickly grew too tired to continue. When others of her kind came, she made them promise that her child would be born, no matter the cost. They agreed and as she lay dying one of them used a stone axe to open her belly. To everyone’s shock, not one but four children were born.

Because of Itiba Cahubaba’s sacrifice her people came together ending their nomadic existence. Recognizing her willingness to give her life’s blood to further her race, they honored her as an ancestral spirit, the Old Blood Mother.

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