The Realm of the Animal and Plant People
Guaraguao the Hawk is one of the most important creatures in Caney spirituality. It personifies the essence of the Great Spirit Gua-Turey/Yaya. The hawk also represents the spirit of the East, the source place of Illumination and Enlightenment.
The Universe is populated by living entities. But “life” must be seen through the eyes of the shaman. From this point of view life-force flows through every object and entity, not only plants animals and people, but also stones, crystals, rainbows, mountains and beaches.
Animals and plants share the same kind of life-force that flows through us humans, and so it is easier for us the recognize the life spirit in them. And yet there is more than life in our fellow living things. Animals and plants exist in the three-fold realm that we humans have access to. As ancient Taino tradition teaches us, there is great wisdom to be gained from our four-legged, winged, finned, furred brothers and sisters, as well as those who live rooted to the Earth Mother and wave their green-leaved branches at the sun.
The Cosmic Consciousness recognizes their presence in all three levels of the Spirit Realm. These three levels are TUREY, Upper Realm of the Sky-World; KU, the Middle Realm on the surface of the Earth Mother which lies on the back of “Kaiman” the Earth Crocodile; and KOA-BAY, the Underworld, the core of existence and the realm of spirits and ghosts.
The Earth Mother, in the form of Gua-Ban-Seh (Mother Nature) provides for our existence on the surface of the Earth Crocodile. But we humans have been poor stewards of our responsibility in our environment. It is up to us to surmount the nearly insurmountable obstacles that we have caused to our own survival and the survival of most of our fellow living creatures. Gua-Ban-Seh is a formidable Matriarch and if angered, she can be provoked into a whirl of apocalyptic destruction which we have no possibility of surviving.
Helping the shaman in his journey into the Under Realm of the LOWER WORLD is one of the spirit-hutia’s most important duties.
This large long-tailed rodent is very much like a ground-hog in appearance and behavior. Although many hutias are tree-dwelling, the hutia species that grows to the largest size is a ground-dwelling animal which lives in burrows much like the North-American ground-hog.
The Spirit-Hutia guides the Caney shaman down the long maze-like tunnels of the Under-World and into the wide open Lower Realm where the journeyer can explore and search for priceless lessons.
“Babae”, The hummingbird is the elegant but elusive bird who represents wisdom and experience. It is the spirit that flies about in the direction of the North in the Medicine Wheel. The North is the realm of experience. It is only through the hardship of trial and error, and of experience that the human being can capture a glimpse of true wisdom.
“Mukaro” the owl is the mysterious herald of the inner sight. It is the spirit bird of the West in the Medicine Wheel. The West is the place where the sun sets and leaves us in the darkness of night. It is the quiet night-time of dream and inward meditation that allows for clear undistracted shamanic vision.
“Iguaka”, the parrot, is the archetypal guardian spirit. The chief of power animals, it is the symbol of all spirit guides.