Cataracts and Hurricanoes Part I: The Beauty of the Ultimate Storm

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drench’d our steeples, drown’d the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Smite flat the thick rotundity o’ the world!
Crack nature’s moulds, an germens spill at once,
That make ingrateful man!

– from King Lear (III.ii.1-9) by William Shakespeare

Miranda - The tempest, by John William Waterhouse

“Miranda – The tempest” by John William Waterhouse, 1916

I love hurricanes. I begin with a bold statement befitting the grandeur of such storms that few have “love” for at the risk of inviting much scoffing and head shaking and even ridicule for loving something so frightening and deadly.

You might think that I wouldn’t love them if I had ever experienced one, in which case it would be my turn to scoff; I have indeed experienced multiple hurricanes, the crowning jewel of them being Andrew, the infamous Category 5 that devastated south Florida in 1992. Last month was the 25th anniversary of Andrew, and curiously enough it was while reflecting on that and beginning drafts for this article that I sensed that a new, formidable hurricane would be making its way to the southeast US very soon.

Andrew_23_aug_1992_1231Z NOAA PD

Hurricane Andrew, 1992, Multi-spectral False Color Image, courtesy of NOAA

A few days later was the first news of Irma which, for all its might and strength, I knew would blow itself out all the faster and that it certainly would not affect North Carolina (where I live), which for some reason decided to declare a state of emergency before the storm even hit Florida.

I saw articles about Irma with ridiculous titles like “Terrifying images of a monster”, and I couldn’t help but be somewhat offended by that. How we still demonize nature itself! How foolish to do so. I looked at the satellite pictures and, in silent awe (not terror), thought how beautiful and perfect she was. Don’t fall into the trap of letting others, especially mainstream media, tell you what to fear and why!

800px-Geocolor_Image_of_Hurricane_Irma

Hurricane Irma, September 8 2017, Geocolor image courtesy of NOAA

It is not, as I had first imagined, in spite of my experience of hurricanes that I love them, but rather because of that experience. Never mind my connections to the ocean, where they are born.

What is it, then, that I love so about such a destructive force? Hurricanes are beautiful, impressive, and necessary forces of Nature. All the elements combine in them as they form over the sea through mixtures of air and water and different pressures and temperatures, they are charged with the fiery warmth of the equator, the fire of lightning and of Nature’s own fury, and then this surging spiral of air, water and fire unleashes itself over the earth, laying waste and yet also clearing, rejuvenating, and helping to maintain the healthy cycles of life and the land.

They strike me as one of the ultimate destructive powers of Nature and the Goddess (which really are one and the same). They are, in and of themselves, perfect natural symbols of the Goddess (and gods) in all aspects, but primarily the destroyer, which still has its part in creation.
376px-Spiral_Goddess_symbol_neo-pagan_2.svg

In fact, one of my favorite things about hurricanes is that they are spirals, which is a very powerful symbol strongly related to the Goddess and creation. Mighty, massive, obliterating spirals spin across the waters and deliver blows that both destroy and rebuild. And the spiral is everywhere above and below, from the hurricane to the gentle nautilus of the depths.

Read “The Arc of the Covenant”, (take notice: arc with a “C”, not a “K”) Gary A. David’s fascinating treatise on spirals throughout nature, history, science, art, lore and spirituality, with a focus on the Hopi tribe of the American southwest.

The very word “hurricane” speaks of their divine associations: it comes directly from Huracan (also spelled Hunraqan, Hu-Rakan, Juracan by the Spaniards), a Mayan and later Taíno zemí (god or, more accurately, ancestor or spirit) of wind, spinning storms and fire, and one of the principle creator gods.

He was less frequently anthropomorphized than other Mayan deities, and was considered the winds and storms themselves, and carried the epithet “Heart of the Sky” which, interestingly, is the same title applied to the Hopi creator god, Sotuknang. Huracan was one of three assistants to the supreme storm zemí or goddess, Guabancex, whose conjuration of storms and other natural disasters is never arbitrary.

taino spiral

“We cannot control nature, but you can avoid angering Guabancex,” Abuela answered.  “You can begin by remembering the Taínos when you eat guayaba (guava), papaya, or yuca; recline on a hamaca (hammock); and play the maraca.   All of these words come from the Taíno language.  Abuela was silent for a while, and then said: “When you watch the huracán (hurricane) reports on TV, you witness Guabancex in action.” – from the SageWoman blog post “Guabancex: Taíno Goddess of Transformation” by Lillian Comas (a beautiful story of a young girl discovering the magic and ritual of her Taíno roots and the power of the storm goddess)

read Cataracts and Hurricanoes Part II: The Eye of the Storm


References:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huracan
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ta%C3%ADno#Spirituality
http://www.powhatanmuseum.com/Hurricane.html
http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/esp_orionzone_3.htm
http://shakespeare.mit.edu/lear/lear.3.2.html
http://www.tainoage.com/history.html
http://www.tainoage.com/spirals.html

© 2017 M. Everwhite – All Rights Reserved

3 thoughts on “Cataracts and Hurricanoes Part I: The Beauty of the Ultimate Storm

  1. I am fascinated by hurricanesas well. Even though I have never experienced one like you have, they have always captured my interest for similar reasons. I can’t help but note that the world seems to be slinging so many of these storms our way this season, it is like she is trying to tell us something. Anyways great post! I’m sure next time I see you we can discuss this further, and I look forward to part ii!

    Like

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