Friday, September 16, 2022

Taíno, Amerindian & Ashanti Folklore

Taíno Mysteries

Copyright 2022 by Michael Auld

These are events in the adventures of a young Spider-Boy which begin in "Ticky-Ticky's Quest", which is Part 1 of a trilogy. He is a determined 12-year-old daydreamer attending a Jamaican boy's school. In this first story, Ticky-Ticky is forced by the strict British headmaster to bring his missing father, the infamous folkloric Anansi the Spider-Man, to school.  

About this guy: Ticky-Ticky's father is half god and half spider. His mom is a full-blood Yamaye Taíno woman, indigenous to the Caribbean island which she calls Yamayeka. We know it as Jamaica. So, Ticky-Ticky is a young tri-racial Jamaican schoolboy with an itch to travel the Americas. He’s also a determined undercover Spider-Boy who likes to hide the fact that he is four-legged. It's complicated!

As a son of Jamaica's Anansi the Spider-Man from Ghana, with ancient roots among the Ashanti gods, he is 1/3 god, 1/3 spider, and 1/3 human! In the first book about his Quest, he introduces the reader to some of the following facts:

  • Zombies first came on the scene in Haiti, where the Caribbean puffer fish's toxic flesh was used, probably learned from the indigenous Taíno, to paralyze victims.  Later, the potion's use allowed Haitian Voodoo or Voudon priests to turn a person into a controllable zombie creature whom the priest could continue to manipulate. But, first, the victim had to appear dead and be buried. Then the Voodoo priest would dig the victim up and order the zombie around and use him like a slave! This is what Cuffie the Obeah-man did to Osebo, the Terrible Leopard in this story.

  • Cuffie the Jamaican Obeah-man, once a doctorwith a slimy, poisonous puffer fish that would blow up like a balloon when caught, and who learned his craft from a Haitian Voodoo man.[An illustration from "Ticky-Ticky's QUEST"]

  • Ticky-Ticky is sent to Coabey, the Taíno's Island of the Dead via a cohoba potion made from the puffer fish, given to him by Cuffie, so that the kid could meet with Guayaba Maketaurie, the Lord of the Afterlife, to see if Anansi's soul was there in Coabey. The guava fruit is ironically Makataurie's symbol of the "Sweetness of Life". The Taíno would leave guava pulp out at night for their deceased relatives who wanted once again to taste life's sweetest. 

    Above: Guayaba's iconic fruit, the guava. Also known as a Super Fruit with more vitamin C than an orange.

     Guayaba Maketaurie and his symbol behind him. As seen, Ticky-Ticky was transported in a cohoba trance by Cuffie to the Island of Coabey where the deity loaned his young god-relative a flying bat-canoe and his retriever spirit-dog, Opiyel whose job it is to hunt down wayward spirits at night, when he was not helping Ticky-Ticky. The plan was to traverse time and realities in the duppy-spirit bat-canoe in the QUEST's search for Anansi.

 Check out Ticky-Ticky's first story, and go on the young Spider-Boy's Adventures with him. So...

Follow and join Ticky-Ticky in his educational adventures.


Find out about Ticky-Ticky's encounter with Guabancex, the hurakan (or hurricane). Yearly, she comes to the Caribbean, Central, and North America’s Eastern Woodland’s Coast, all the way up from Florida to Massachusetts.  However, she is misnamed by meteorologists who give her non-Amerindian names! This is why she remains angry! 


Above is Guabancex, The Angry Woman Wind Goddess known as the Hurakan, riding GuatauBA, her herald who announces her pending arrival, and his twin brother Coatrisque the Deluge or the hurricane's Surge which follows her. She is forming in the Atlantic again as we speak! But meteorologists are calling her out of her name, They now call her "Fiona", and then to add insult to injury, they now use a Scottish man's name, "Ian"! ... Shiish! What's next?


Let’s get it straight.


Above: A Taíno clay potsherd showing their impression of a hurricane. It is exactly like the “S”-shaped satellite image of recent hurricanes. Uncanny, huh? How did these Taino women know the shape of hurricanes hovering thousands of miles above the Earth Mother?


Above: Two satellite images of hurricanes. One looks like the skull of a human, while the other is a Taino "S"-shaped image superimposed over hurricane Katrina as she made landfall over Louisiana.

Historically, the Caribbean’s Taíno civilization was annually in the path of the three weather entities whose destructive forces they knew well. 



GET THIS BOOK! Since it is Part 1 of a trilogy that takes Ticky-Ticky on later adventures in Part 2, to North America to visit his ancient spider relatives in South and North Carolina, the Prairies, and New Mexico!

Above: The front cover of PART ONE of the Ticky-Ticky Trilogy. The illustration is of the mythical Caribbean Sea.

ALSO: Click on this link so that you and your children can get the hurricane lowdown! 


Part 2, which is in production!

In Part 2, Ticky-Ticky "Travels to Turtle Island", which is Ticky-Ticky's adventure into North America, still in search of his dad who is visiting what Anansi is convinced are his "rich American god-relatives". This adventure takes Ticky-Ticky to ancient American places to meet his Native American spider-god relatives, heroines, and heroes. 

Above: Front & Back covers of PART 2 of the Ticky-Ticky trilogy. Ticky-Ticky is surrounded by and wears an ancient protective shell spider amulet from archeological sites found in North America.

Figure 1: Turtle Island, named so by Native Americans. Can you see the continent’s turtle shape? How did they know North America's shape from above? The back, head, tail, and legs make the Island of the Big Turtle or the North American continent as interpreted from the air by some Amerindians. Also shown here, are the Colors of the Four Sacred Directions (red, yellow, black, and white, also representing the four races of humankind) and associated with the 4-cardinal points on a compass.


Figure 2: Ticky-Ticky and the hijacked bat-canoe's Caribbean refugees from Haiti, came across a Miccosukee Native American man in his wooden cypress canoe peering into the water. This "Seminole" man had carved his watercraft from a cypress tree, while the bat-canoe was carved from the Caribbean’s sacred ceiba or cottonwood tree.

Figure 3: Anansi confronts the Swamp Dragon, a gigantic Seminole alligator he plans to capture on a dare. It is in the Florida Everglades, where Ticky-Ticky later makes the first landfall on the American continent, next to the Caribbean Sea. The alligator is about to be surprised at Anansi's cunning.

Figure 4: The bat-canoe swooshed up out of the swamp followed by a snapping alligator frenzyrescuing Ticky-Ticky and his friend, Opiyel snatching them from gaping jaws.

Figure 5: Ticky-Ticky saw an elderly Gullah Sea Island man casting a shrimp net into the surf.


Figure 6: After kicking, butting, and belly-jamming the figure, Aunt Nancy got stuck to the Tar Man in the batata field where "she" was stealing sweet potatoes in the field one night. This was just like what happened to both Br'er Rabbit and Anansi in stories about "The Tar Baby."

Figure 7: Fables. Br’er Rabbit’s fuzzy daughter, Bunny Rabbit stood at the Old Gullah’s front door.

Figure 8:  Michabo the Great Hare’s daughter, Oginimínogowan (or "Rose", in Algonquian) stood with her arms on her hips, the style that West Africans call akimbo.

Figure 9: Sunlight residue from the Grandmother Spider’s sun-collecting ceramic pot,
still clung to the vessel hanging from the ceiling of her asi (a roundhouse).

Figure 10: Seeming to glide over the water's surface like a water spider, Grandmother Spider displayed her signature weaving technique outside her asi. She is the most ancient Cherokee heroine who brings sunlight to the dark side of our world, and, like the other spider-gods, teaches the people how to weave.

Figure 11: Stomping down the tall prairie grass, the Plains Indian boy moved to the thump-thump sound of his heartbeat, turning step by step on the arching edge of a sacred dance circle. 


Figure 12: Kezia Powhatan (Pamunkey/Tauxenent/Wampanoag) beside her
contemporary Powhatan totems telling the Algonquian story of
Michabo the Great Hare.

Above: The protective Creation heroine, the Diné or Navajo Spiderwoman or Na'ashjé'íí Asdzáá, lives on Spider Rock in New Mexico. It was she who in ancient times, taught the Navajo how to weave rugs.

Next: Ticky-Ticky and Opiyel in the Bat-canoe over Spider-Woman's lair above Spider Rock, New Mexico. A zombie attacks and tries to hitch a ride. (The zombie was Illustrated by Ashkii, my 8-year-old Navajo grandson).


In Part 3 of the trilogy, Ticky-Ticky goes back in time to Central Mexico's ancient pyramid city of Teotihuacan to meet with Great Spider Mother, another relative! Yamayeka Taínos have been going there for centuries. Spanish destroyer of the Aztec or Mexica (May-she-kah) Empire, Hernan Cortez met an island woman from Jamaica there in 1519. And the older, travel-savvy, undercover Spider-Boy is following a follower of a "Golden Hunch". 


(You can click on the above link to see a bit about my history on my website.)

Ticky-Ticky's adventures are based on my own experiences in Jamaica and the United States of America. I've known about Kweku Anansi the Spider-Man all my life. I am an exhibited visual artist, published author, and educator from the elementary through postgraduate levels. I was born in Jamaica where, from infancy, the practice was to swap Anansi stories. So, we entertained ourselves with the antics of the Ghanain-originated Spider-Man from the Akan-speaking Ashanti/Asante people. One of my first elementary school books was about him. It was about Anansi going to bird country. Anansi was very deep in the Jamaican psyche and we reinforced our island's morality via his stories that ended with local morals, of which there are many. 

A member of Taíno cultural groups, I received a British Colonial education up until my graduation from Calabar High School (see Ticky-Ticky's uniform with the school's colors on his shoulder tabs). So, Ticky-Ticky is based on some of my own high school experiences and my arrival in the United States to attend Howard University to major in Design. I married a District of Columbia Native American on campus from Pocahontas' Pamunkey tribe, the leading nation of the historic Powhatan Paramountcy. Both artists and educators, we traveled the Eastern Woodland's powwow circuit informing audiences about our Indigenous heritages via educational handouts and hand-printed posters and apparel. My grandchildren have Navajo ancestry from New Mexico, while others have Mixteca ancestors in Cuernavaca, Mexico.