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Monday, March 18, 2019

Teachings from the Tree of Life, part 7

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"Marital Life Is like a Rocky Hill Path"


Onaabdin-giizis/Onaabani-giizis; Snowcrust Moon (March 18, 2019)

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Visit the website to view details of this wedding ring set


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Boozhoo, aaniin indinawemaaganag, gidinimikoo miinawaa: Hello relatives, I greet you again in a good way! 

I am Zhaawano Giizhik. Welcome to part 7 of my blog series titled Teachings from the Tree of Life. Today I share with you a Teaching about the nature of what my Anishinaabe ancestors called niibawiwin, or marriage, which was considered the strongest of bonds. The Teaching is woven around a beautiful painting by Anishinaabe Medicine Painter M. Kinoshameg and a pen-and-ink drawing by myself, as well as a set of wedding rings that I designed at my workbench. 

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The Climb
Acrylic on canvas by Anishinaabe Medicine painter M. Kinoshameg (Oshkaabewis)


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~~ A metaphor of life itself ~~ 

To the Anishinaabegwiijiwaagan (literally, he or she who goes withis a life partner to commit to unconditionally, to walk and be with in all the joys and sorrows and through all aspects of bimaadiziwin (life). 
The overlay wedding bands that feature today's story are titled bakidaabikamon. Its literal tanslation is The Road Goes over a Rocky Hill.” The rings were designed in the spirit of my Anishinaabe ancestors, whose teachings have always been parabolic and aimed at gaining wisdom by experience and reflection. The rings are hand-hammered of 14K palladium white gold and 14K red gold (left) and 14K palladium yellow gold and 14K red gold (right).
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The texture of the ring surfaces is almost fluid, of various ranges from rough all the way to smooth and everything in between. This organic, or sculptural effect, created with the aid of a blow torch, files, and the hammer blow technique, reflects the capricious nature and the paradoxes of our earthly existence. The ring set contains a metaphor of peaks and valleys, the obstacles and possibilities that two lovers encounter as they walk the matrimonial road and must overcome together...
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Wiidigendiwin Mino-waawiinjigaade/Zhaawenindiwag (Celebrating Partnership; They Show Unconditional Love for Each Other), pen and ink drawing by Zhaawano Giizhik
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Daabishkoo boodawaan.
Daabishkoo gawiwininiwaan da goodenoon.
Giga aashkodaadim.
Daabishkoo giga naagadoom miikana.
Giga naanaagata-wendim.
Mino-dodaadik.
Mino-dodowik giniijaanisiwaag.
“ You will share the same fire.
You will hang your clothes together.
You will help each other.
You will walk the same trail.
You will look after each other.
Be kind to each other.
Be kind to your children.

- Words of an old Ojibwe ritual wedding ceremony.¹

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So the story goes...


Giiwenh. So goes the Teaching Story about the nature of niibawiwin and what it traditionally means to the Anishinaabeg Peoples of the great Turtle Island...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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¹ Source: Basil Johnston, Ojibway Ceremonies, University of Nebraska Press Lincoln and London, First Bison Book printing 1990, p.p. 91, 92. 

About the author and his sources of inspiration:



Trouwringen ontwerper Zhaawano Giizhik
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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