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Monday, September 22, 2014

Spirit of The Seasons, part 2

"Spirit of Autumn"

- Updated September 22, 2020


Maxine Noel

Boozhoo, aaniin!

Welcome to part 2 of our blog series titled Spirit Of The Seasons, in which we connect our storytelling art - and the work of other artists - with the ancient teachings of the Anishinaabe Peoples. Today's blog post celebrates the first day of Fall in the Northern Hemisphere. On the 22nd day of the month of September that our People call Waatebagaa-giizis or Leaves are Turning Color Moon, the Sun crosses the celestial equator, and this is when the spirits of the Summer's last heat and the Fall's first chill meet.


"Autumn Lust"

Close your eyes 
lend your ears
your very heart
rustling colors
racing the winds
oranges yellows browns
vying for attention
from those who care
nature gets naked
look as I dare
the beauty
of gnarled limbs
longing to touch
flesh left too long
perhaps too new
to fathom even
oceans of emotions
swirling at cold feet
loving the dismal
such beauty gone awry
yes wind kiss me
know I am alive
I am thirsty
lying in wait
in each season
feel my autumn lust...

- Simone McLeod, October 2013


Zhezhoobii'iged, the Spirit Painter

Ahaw 'ngad aadzooke (Now, we will tell you a sacred story).

"Zhezhoobii’iged, the Spirit Painter, works at night with his friend Ningiigwagi, the Frost. 

They splash color on the leaves preparing Ogashinan (Mother Earth) when she wears her finest most beautiful clothes. 

Ogashinan performs her annual dance for GICHI-MANIDOO the Great Mystery and all the children of the Earth. Everything is ripe at this time. Leaves reach their medicine time and are picked or dug up and stored for ceremonial use. 

Zhezhoobii’iged and Ningiigwagi work to bring color to the dried leaves and plants. The beautiful colors are taken from the juices of roots, plants, and fruits. Once the colors are mixed, Zhezhoobii’iged brushes them onto the plants with corn tassels.

Their reward is the joy they bring to Creation and all people.

As the leaves began to turn, Zhezhoobii’iged, the Spirit Painter, is busy brushing these brilliant colors onto the plants. Ogashinan is getting ready for the final dance, which happens every year at Binaakwe Giizis, Leaves Falling Down Moon.

Wearing her finest and most colorful dress, Ogashinan dances until all the beautiful leaves have fallen. Ogashinan has then finished her sacred, annual work, and is now ready to rest, to sleep peacefully and quietly, with dignity, happiness, and satisfaction; for she knows that she has fed, nourished, and provided the food for all her children. 

Such is the sacred story of Zhezhoobii’iged, the Spirit Painter."*

Giiwenh: that´s how far this blog story goes. Miigwech for reading and listening!

Bi-waabamishinaang miinawaa daga: please come see us again!

Read part 3 of the series "Spirit of the Seasons."


* The above narrative is loosely based on an aadizookaan (traditional story) taken from the Anishinaabe Almanac by Edward Benton-Banai.

Illustration: Autumn Spirit Within by Maxine Noel/Ioyan Mani.

Simone McLeod Zhaawano Giizhik

About the authors/artists:

Simone McLeod (her traditional name is Aki’-egwaniizid, which is an Ojibwe name meaning "Earth Blanket") is an Anishinaabe painter and poet, born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1962. She belongs to he Name doodem (Sturgeon clan.) She feels special kinship with her mother's people, the Azaadiwi-ziibi Nitam-Anishinaabeg (Poplar River "#16" First Nation) of Manitoba. Simone descends from a long line of Midewiwin seers and healers and artists. Her artwork has been appreciated by several art collectors and educational and health care institutions from Canada, as well as by art lovers from all over the world.

Zhaawano Giizhik, an American currently living in the Netherlands, was born in 1959 in North Carolina, USA. Zhaawano has Anishinaabe blood running through his veins; the doodem of his ancestors from Baawiting (Sault Ste. Marie, Upper Michigan) is Waabizheshi, Marten. As an artist, a writer, and a designer of  jewelry and wedding rings, Zhaawano draws on the oral and pictorial traditions of his ancestors. In doing so he sometimes works together with kindred artists. He has done several art projects with Simone in the past.


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