The Gift of the Taínos

Everybody wants to find happiness, but we have been conditioned to believe that joy manifests when our dreams come true. Often, upon achieving our goals, our euphoria quickly fades, and we fail to understand that to seek real happiness, we must discover our true essence. Before Columbus discovered America, our primitive ancestors, the Taínos called Puerto Rico a paradise because they knew their essence was within.

Taina Atabey by Tanya Torres
Taina Atabey
by Tanya Torres

In 1998, scientists discovered through the Hubble Space Telescope that the universe has accelerated due to dark energy. This phenomenon is called “black” or “dark” energy because its true nature is unknown. Even though physicists were able to conclude that 68% of dark energy consists of the universe, a logical explanation of its formation is still a mystery. While scientists called it black energy, the Taínos were able to communicate with a higher intelligence because they believed everything that surrounded them was interconnected and spiritually alive

Through quantum physics, the Taínos knew that as multi-dimensional beings, they lived in an invisible world that was greater than their “actual” one. Through their connection with higher intelligences, they were able to elevate their consciousness, spiritually ascending to higher dimensions. Nature was sacred to the Taínos, symbolized by the Ceiba tree, a portal allowing them to understand the language of the cosmos. The root of the Ceiba represented the wisdom of their souls, strengthening the bond between their minds and their hearts.

Preparing their bodies and spirits for the areyto, a religious and social ceremony, the Taínos celebrated and cherished important events while connecting with their ancestors.  By fasting for days, and ingesting wooden sticks to provoke vomiting, they worshiped multiple gods they called zemí, seeking the divine guidance that would show them how to find their true essence.

Taíno symbol by Luis Vélez
Taíno symbol
by Luis Vélez

Claiming an inner power that allowed them to manifest through nature the magic they nurtured within, the Taínos perceived life as a gift. Gratitude was a sacred ritual they practiced all the time–recognizing that a pure heart channels divinity. Instead of thinking with their minds, they learned to follow their intuition by listening to their hearts.

In a world without the scientific and technological advances we have now, how were these primitive indigenous people able to survive during the prehistoric time? By knowing how to build wooden canoes that could transport about 100 passengers, the Taínos navigated the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean. Before the Spanish discovered America, the Taínos successfully sailed throughout the Greater Antilles, leaving behind a rich cultural and spiritual legacy.

Their world fell apart when the Spaniards colonized America in 1493, by imposing the colonizers their vision with arrogance and cruelty. At first, the Taínos welcomed them with opened hearts, believing the Spaniards were gods, and realizing shortly after their arrival that there was nothing divine about them. Regardless their paradise was transformed into a prison, and about 85% of the Taínos’ population vanished in the early 1500’s,  they never stopped seeking for guidance from their gods and guides.

Harmony and Freedom by Luis Vélez
Harmony and Freedom
by Luis Vélez

During the cataclysmic transition they were forced to go through, the Taínos aligned their minds and hearts with their souls—consciously shifting them to another realm where they could only found within the Puerto Rican’s heart. By understanding that their extraordinary creativity expressed the connection they had with higher intelligence, they conveyed through their artwork the symbols that taught them how to find the path of joy.

A recent study by Juan Carlos Martínez Cruzado, professor of genetics at the University of Puerto Rico, discovered that many Puerto Ricans have 61% of Amerindian ancestry. Regardless historians claim that the Taínos were extinct, my heart was overfilled with joy when I learned about the results of this research. Even though we have Spanish and American blood, it is evident that the Taínos genes are very strong, leaving us concise proof that they live inside of us.

Sol-taino-muse by Tanya Torres
by Tanya Torres

By learning from our indigenous ancestors to connect with our essence, we understand that abundant joy will touch our hearts. In this journey we call life, pursuing happiness is everybody’s goal. When we discover our authenticity and honor the roots of our origin, we become enlightened Boricuas (Taíno name for Puerto Ricans). Through this awareness, we learn to perceive our world as a magical place, teaching us the Taínos that happiness is a journey to the heart.

For Tanya Torres art visit

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