The Taíno and Macorix communities on Hispaniola, contemporaries of the Lucayans, had some of their myths recorded by the Spanish monk Ramon Pané in 1498 (Pané 1999). As the Taíno and the Lucayans had a common ancestral root, it is probable that some of these stories would have been familiar to the Lucayans – but they likely had their own versions that differed in detail, specific to the histories of the people themselves. The Lucayans may have had culture heroes similar to Deminán Caracaracol, one of the quadruplets born to Itiba Cahubaba (‘Ancient Bloodied Woman,’ or Earth Mother) who, together with his brothers, had many adventures that helped create the world. These were primordial times, before the first people emerged. In one tale, through a fortunate accident, Deminán released the ocean and its fish and creatures from a small calabash suspended from the rafters of a house owned by Yaya (‘Supreme Spirit’). The deluge was so great that it filled the world and only the tips of the great mountains remained above the water, creating the islands of the Caribbean.
As they were escaping from the wrath of Yaya, the brothers reached the house of Bayamanaco (‘Grandfather’). Deminán asked whether this grandfather could spare some cassava bread, but instead Bayamanaco spit guanguayo (cohoba-infused spittle) onto Deminán’s back. Cohoba was a hallucinogenic drug that was used ceremonially to seek guidance from the ancestors and spirits. Deminán thus had acquired not the nutritional sustenance of cassava bread, but a portal to the spirit world through cohoba. He returned to his three brothers with the cohoba spittle painfully swelling on his back; it grew to such an extent that Deminán was about to die. But his brothers took a stone axe and cut the swelling open, from which emerged a live, female turtle. The four brothers built a house for the turtle, and married her; their children were the first people.
While we cannot know whether these Hispaniolan myths had parallels in Lucayan belief, there are hints that the Lucayans held caves to be sacred spaces. Many important artefacts were recovered from caves – such as duhos (ceremonial chairs), large wooden platters, stone celts, even canoes and paddles. Rock art has been found in caves – for example, on Rum Cay and East Caicos. Burials, too, were deposited in caves. Some of the most remarkable places for burial were blue holes, which may have been thought of as caves of water. Lucayan burials have been found in blue holes on Andros, Abaco, Grand Bahama and Eleuthera. Caves were entrances to the supernatural world, and hence appropriate places to bury the dead.