"A Prayer to the North"
- Updated March 9, 2023
ANAMA'AAWIN GIIWEDINONG (Prayer to the North): 14K white
gold wedding rings; the ladies' ring is mounted with a 0.06 ct white
brilliant-cut diamond . See our website for details.
A living prayer
|See the website for details of the wedding ring set.
It's a story that has been told throughout history and its meaning is deeply rooted in the collective memory and cultural consciousness of the Ojibwe Anishinaabe People. I also believe it to be a universal story since it touches our everyday lives and relationships.
The color and the shape of the white gold eagle feather wedding rings symbolize a special prayer to Giiwedin, the North Wind - and a petition to aya'aabitameg giiwedinoong, the benevolent spirits that dwell to the North.
MIGIZI, the bald eagle, has always been regarded by the Ojibwe Anishinaabe People as a mediator between Earth and Sky and a living Prayer to the Great Mystery. Migizi is therefore the ultimate embodiment, and his feathers a powerful reminder, of our responsibility to live in balance with natural law and in cooperation with all life forms.
GIIWEDIN, the North, represents many things. Giiwedin literally means "Coming Home." BIIBOON (Winter), when plants rest and the ground is covered in snow, lives in the North. Traditionally, during the winter months, the people engage in hunting and spear fishing and during the long, cold nights the parents and grandparents share their stories and teachings with the young, recounting the history of the People and providing the children with lessons about their spiritual heritage and about bimaadiziwin (a good way of life).
Biboonishiwing is a time of going home, of remembrance and rest, of self-reflection and honoring the Elders, the pipe carriers, the lodge keepers, and the storytellers of the Nation. It is a time of looking back and passing on one's life experience onto the younger generations in a good way.
Giiwedinong ("In the North") by Nishnawbe Aski Medicine Painter Chris Angeconeb. Grandfather Bear, who sits in the North, represents the medicinal powers of Creation.
A place of wisdom
The literal meaning of giiwedin is "Coming Home." It is a place that reminds us to be mindful of the physical body; when it is tired we put it to rest - just as in the winter the Earth rests from her labors. So, the North is really a place of Homecoming and Healing Powers and Wisdom, telling us to let go of ourselves and the past, to let go of our enemies and our fears, and to get in touch with our ancestors. In the North we make peace with ourselves and we experience and explore our love for family and friends - and for that special person with whom we decide to walk the Road Of Life.
Waabandashinaang gwayakawaadizin ji gikendamaang ge izhi gayekaadiziyaang.
Gego inenimizhkaangenji bawaadimaangiban zaagiziwin, gemaa maanaadenjigiwin, gemaa wiyezhingewin, gemaa naniinawendamowin, ji boodaginigiyaangiban maanaadendamowin.
Dibishkoo giiwedin ezhi mashkowaanimag zhaagoodinamowizhinaang mayaanaadag; dibishkoo goon ezhi-bidagoonayang aki ganawenimizhinaang en-dachiyaang.
Gego gaye webinashkaangen; baamaa w’gii aabiziishinaang, ninawind dibinawe ji naanaagadawendiziyaang.
“To you, spirit beings who dwell to the North: today we ask you to grant us good dreams.
Approach us this night and every night; enter our homes and our spirits and fill us with the yearning for beauty.
Show us the good that we may follow and observe it.”
Let neither deceit nor remorse, neither selfishness nor ill will toward our brothers, disturb our sleep”
Come like the north winds; dispel the evil. Watch over us, blanket our spirits as the snow covers the earth.
And do not abandon us until we are awake and restored.”
|Leland Bebaminojmat Bell: "Being Together"
|See our website for details of the wedding ring set.
Sweetgrass, hair of Mother Earth
The stylized feathers of Migizi that are draped over the white gold ring shanks symbolize spirit, and prayer.
The twisted wire of white gold adorning the feathers represent braids of WIINGASHK (northern sweetgrass), which the Anishinaabeg regard as a sacred plant that symbolizes the hair of Mother Earth and the northern direction; it is used in prayer and for smudging in purifying ceremonies.
A clean heart and a clear mind
The brilliance and fire of the diamond - mounted slightly off-center on the ladies’ ring, in a 14k yellow gold setting -, stands for biinide'ewin: cleanliness of heart and waaseyaawendamowin: clarity of mind.
The stone reminds us of our ability to get in touch with the benevolent spirits of the North - and thus with the great wisdom within ourselves.
> Read the next episode in the blog series Teachings of the Eagle Feather: "My Good Enemy."
> See more eagle feather wedding rings designed by ZhaawanArt.
* Source: Basil Johnston, Ojibway Ceremonies, p. 179, Bison Book University of Nebraska Press, Bison Book Printing 1990.
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