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Sunday, March 10, 2019

The Way of the Heartbeat, part 4


"A Shared Journey on the Good Red Road"

Onaabdin-giizis/Onaabani-giizis; Snowcrust Moon (March 10, 2019)


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Midewiwin Life Road wedding bands by Zhaawano Giizhik
Click on image to view details of the 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 4 of the blog series titled The Way of the Heartbeat, in which I connect my storytelling jewelry, occasionally along with artworks of kindred artists, with the ancient Teachings that my ancestors have passed on since they still lived in the Dawn Land in the East - and probably as long as our People have been walking the face of our beloved Aki, the Earthmother. 

Today's Teaching is woven around a set of wedding bands created at my workbench in my jeweler's studio. The set is titled Mino Misko-miikana, which is Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) for "The Good Red Road."

The design of these unique wedding rings, inspired by the ancient diagram of the Midewiwin Life Road (see the below image), reflects a quintessential Anishinaabe iconography evolved through centuries of expression on birch bark, copper, animal hide, and rock art.
 


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Graphic outline overlay

The dramatic line patterns and two-tone imagery of these wedding rings are created with the aid of a patented goldsmithing technique which I like to call: ”graphic outline overlay.” The same outline drawing style is used by the Canadian Medicine Painters, kindred artists mainly of Anishinaabe and Nêhiyaw descent who paint in the style of the Woodland School of Art.

The stylized "Mide Path" that features these wedding rings, executed in red gold that highlighs against the grayish white gold of the rings’ surfaces, is used here as a metaphor for the shared journey of two lovers, companions on the Path Of Life. 

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When we walk the trail of life, learning hard lessons along the way, maturing through hardship and experience, let's not forget the lessons that Grandfther Sun and Grandfather Wolf taught our ancestors: simple but wise guidelines that are still here today for us to live by.Walk quietly, not boisterously, walk with an open mind and a humbled heart! Accept that you are just one small part of the whole and always express deference and gratitude to the sunrise and the Great Mystery and your community and to the Elders who sustained and helped to shape it. And always act like the wolf, who shows altruism in the hunt and bows his head in the presence of other wolves…
 - A Life Road teaching based on an old Anishinaabe wisdom
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Click on image to view details of the wedding ring set
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The great virtues of wisdom and humility



The great gift of wisdom and the spirit of modesty and humility accompanying them along the way are graphically depicted in the rings’ interiors, in the form of (respectively) a stylized celestial body (ladies’ ring) and the foot print of a wolf (man’s ring). The celestial body and the wolf are both aadizookaanag, grandfathers and spirit helpers, who guard and guide the couple along their path along the Red Road in their quest for truth, self-fulfillment, and love.


So goes the Teaching...

Giiwenh. So goes the Teaching Story about the Good Red Road and what it means to the 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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About the author and his sources of inspiration
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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 mazinaajimowin 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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