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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Star Stories, part 4

Nibaad Misaabe Dibikad


 "A Star in My Vision"

A love story about two earth beings, shone upon by the light of the Universe, their love reflected by the glow of the stars above...    

Manidoo-giizis (Moon of the Spirit; January 22), 2019

Updated: Ode'imini-gizis (Strawberry Moon; June 16), 2019


Winaagozi Dibishkoo Anang
Wedding ring set "Like a Star in My Vision." Click on the image to view details of the set.


Welcome back in my Storytelling Lodge

Boozhoo! Biindigen miinawaa nindaadizooke wigamigong; enji-zaagi'iding miinawaa gikendaasong. Ninga-aadizooke noongom giizhigad! Hello! Welcome back in my Storytelling Lodge where legends and teaching stories are told. Let’s tell a zaagi'idiwin aadizookaan (sacred love story) today!

This blog tale is another episode, the fourth in a series named Star Stories. The series features teaching stories that encompass the unique worldview and cultural perspective of the Anishinaabe Peoples.

About love and separation

The story I will tell you today features a set of wedding rings; click on the above image to view details of the rings. The design and story of the rings as well as the song that accompanies the story are inspired by an autobiographical tale I once wrote, about a woman who once stole a man's heart. Throughout time she and he only met for short periods of time. Although their times together were brief, her beauty touched him in unspeakable ways, words fall short to express what this Anishinaabewinini felt for her. Only the stars high above understood the depth of the love that lived in their hearts and the scope of the feelings that they harbored for each other. Only they saw how hard it was for them to be separated by time and distance. They were stars in each other's eyes, bonded together, yet also beyond each other's the end the relationship did not last on aki, the earth, but the tale lives on forever among anangoon, the stars high above...

The rings


Nibaad Misaabe


Graphically, the design of these wedding rings, which I titled Winaagozi Dibishkoo Anang (“Like a Star in My Eyes”), is inspired by the pictographic outline drawing style of the Anishinaabe and Cree  Medicine painters - more commonly called Woodland Art painters

The magic outline of Nibaad Misaabe, or the Sleeping Giant, a rock formation that juts out on Lake Superior and characterizes the body of water that was called Animikii-wiikwedong (Thunder Bay) by my Anishinaabe ancestors, has for years been a main source of design inspiration for me.


Like A Star in My Vision, wedding rings by Zhaawano Giizhik
Click on the image to view details of the ring set


The red gold bottom part of the wedding rings featuring flowing yellow gold outlines – showing two bodies including faces “in profile,” which I modeled after the Sleeping Giant - represent two lovers who once sprang from the earth’s womb and now become one with each other - and with the Earthmother herself. Thus earth and lovers become a symbolic unity. While the lower part of the wedding rings’ surfaces symbolizes the fertile earth, the grayish white color of the top half of the ring shanks, made of palladium white gold, as well as the yellow gold star figures in the center represent the night sky lit by the glowing light of the stars of the Universe.

The song

Dibishkoo biidaanikwag, w’gii abi-ezhaa
Dibishkoo waabaanikwag, aabiji-maajaa.

N'gashkendam w'gaa abi-izhaad 
N'gashkendam w'gaa ago-maajaad.

N'gii magawig 
n'gaa abi naanig na?

W’naagozi dibishkoo anang
W’waasa wendaagozi dibishkoo anang.

("Like a cloud has he come and gone
Like a cloud drifted away forever.

Sad am I since he came

Sad am I since he's gone.

Now he has found my love
Will he return for my love?

Like a star in my eyes
Like a star beyond my grasp, my love.")

- An Ojibwe love song


So the story goes...

Giiwenh. So goes the story about the Sleeping Giant wedding rings; so goes the tale about the love that an Anishinaabewinini (Ojibwe man) felt for a beautiful woman who came from far and touched his heart before she goes the song sung by this brave woman who felt sad because she and her lover lived far apart...separated by East and West. Miigwech gibizindaw noongom mii dash gidaadizookoon. Thank you for listening to my storytelling today. Giga-waabamin wayiiba, I hope to see you again soon...

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About the author and his sources of inspiration

My name is Zhaawano Giizhik. As an American artist and jewelry designer currently living in the Netherlands. I like to draw on the oral and pictorial traditions of my Ojibwe Anishinaabe ancestors from the American Great Lakes area. For this I call on my manidoo-minjimandamowin, or "Spirit Memory"; which means I try to remember the knowledge and the lessons of my ancestors. The MAZINAAJIMOWINAN or ‘pictorial spirit writings’ - which are rich with  symbolism and have been painted throughout history on rocks and etched on other sacred items such as copper and slate, birch bark and animal hide - were a form of spiritual as well as educational communication that gave structure and meaning to the cosmos. Many of these sacred pictographs or petroforms – some of which are many, many  generations old - hide in sacred locations where the manidoog (spirits) reside, particularly in those mystic places near the coastline where the sky, the earth, the water, the underground and the underwater meet.

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