‘‘In the old times, admission to Midewiwin, the Lodge of Those Who Are in a Sacred and Unseen State, required knowledge of plants and herbs and the power of healing. But after some time the Good-hearted Ones - as they were generally referred to - began to feel that mino-bimaadiziwin (how to live a good, upright, and long life) was not to be aquired by knowledge of healing alone. Thus morality was introduced into medicine practice. Possessing integrity, and declaring ones integrity to the plant beings and to the world at large, became essential for both midewininiwag and midekweg, and from that moment on people could become a member by invitation only."
- The principle of Midewiwin.
‘‘The temperature rises, and together we go back to the beginning"
- The principle of the Sweat Lodge ceremony.
Today's story is actually more a musing than it is anything else. It is woven around a sterling silver-and-turquoise-and-coral bracelet and a matching pendant handcrafted in my jeweler’s studio. In addition, the story is illustrated with images of a beautiful drawing and an acrylic painting by my artist friend , from Pasqua, Saskatchewan and two digipaintings by myself. Simone's drawing, which she made in 2013, is titled “Twins in a''Sweat Lodge Womb”; the painting, which she did in 2017, is titled “Otehimin.”
|"Twins in Sweat Lodge Womb," detail of a pencil drawing by Simone McLeod. © 2013 Simone McLeod
Ceremony of the Sweat Lodge
|"Otehimin" (Heart Berry), detail of acrylic painting by Nakawe Ojibwe (Saulteaux) Medicine Painter Simone McLeod. © 2017 Simone McLeod.
Because of this, in Ojibwe tradition, after the Sweat strawberries (a reference to Ode'imin) are offered to the participants gathering in open air, and in some cases there is a small, shared feast of, for instance, tea, salmon, and blueberries.
|The Sweat Lodge, Doorway to Our Origin © 2022 Zhaawano Giizhik Click here to view details and order information.
THE SWEAT LODGE AS A DOORWAY TO OUR ORIGIN
|Click here to see details of the Birth and Regeneration jewelry set.
The jewelry set: A promise of Life and Regeneration
This above set of matching bracelet and
pendant, titled Akiiwin Mizakamig (‘‘In The Bosom of the Earth"),
belongs to a shadowbox jewelry series named Niigiwin miinawaa Aanji-niigiwin (‘‘Birth And Regeneration"). The highly
polished design and the theme of the unique set – note how the turquoise stones
are mounted in shadowbox settings; this style is characterized by deep,
darkened recesses set with “floating” stones in high bezels - do not just bear witness of my partially Native American
background; they're particularly inspired by the ancient teachings of the
Midewiwin, the Lodge of Medicine and Ethics of my ancestors, the Anishinaabe
The Mide teachings dictate that each person has a path
to follow, called The True Path of Life, a journey-through-life that every human
being must follow, from their prenatal state to old age and death/passing on.
By living through all the stages and living out the visions, a person gains
wisdom, which he/she must pass on to those still to walk the path of life.
The oval-shaped turquoise stone in the silver bracelet is mounted in a setting called shadowbox; this dramatic style - originally a Dineh’ (Navajo) silversmithing way of stonesetting - is characterized by deep, darkened recesses set with “floating” stones in high bezels.
In the case of this jewelry set, a high bezel for holding the turquoise cabochon is soldered inside a large oval shadowbox frame that I - with the aid of a jeweler's saw - cut out of the slightly domed pendant and bracelet head. I made the bezel of a slightly smaller size than the shadow box it has to fit into. This consequently leaves a rather narrow “trough” around the bezel. Then the “trough” becomes oxidized in order to highlight the raised bezel, and the shadowbox design is completed. See the website for more details of the set.