"Seeing in a Spirit Way"
Flight of the white-headed eagle
Today, I am pleased to present part 15 of a blog series connecting my jewelry and graphic art as well as artwork by kindred artists with the Seven Grandfather teachings of the Ojibwe Anishinaabe People.
These Grandfather Teachings, kept safe for thousands of years by countless generations of Medicine People of the Anishinaabe Peoples, are passed down orally and from the sacred birch bark scrolls that still exist today.
Today's blog story features a drawing, titled "A Prayer for Life," and two ring sets created at my workbench.
I was soaring around
Like an eagle
In the sky.
Spirit flight, quest for a life-guiding vision
GICHI-MANIDOO, after creating Aki, the World, spoke about the importance of mino-bimaadiziwin; living a life according to the Seven Grandfather Teachings.
Gimishoomisinaan Migizi became inspired and told Great Mystery that he, since his feathers symbolized the intermediate region between things of the spirit world and the earth, would like his feather to be gifted to the Anishinaabe person who’s the most brave and guided the most by the Teachings.
Migizi’s generous offer prompted GICHI-MANIDOO thereupon to tell the Anishinaabeg of the Teachings of the Feather. It (GICHI-MANIDOO) instructed the Elders of the Nation about the power of spirit flight and the importance of young adolescents engaging in what would become the most vital of human ventures: waaseyaabindam, the quest for life-guiding visions – particularly during the passage from boyhood into manhood. It (GICHI-MANIDOO) also instructed them that no Eagle be harmed for their feathers, which were manidoog (spirits) in themselves, and that whenever a person saw an Eagle fly overhead, this mighty spirit bird must be honored with tobacco. GICHI-MANIDOO added that any person, no matter what gender or age, living their life according to the Seven Teachings would be gifted with a feather….
As the eagle is anami’ewin mizhinawe, a prayer carrier of messages and giving thanks, healers who belong to the Medicine Lodges of the Anishinaabeg Peoples sometimes envision themselves turning into eagles as they pray for another person and to GICHI-MANIDOO, the Great Mystery, asking the eagle to carry the sickness up to GICHI-MANIDOO in order to heal the patient.
So highly esteemed were its spiritual powers that in the old days, an Anishinaabe person would never gaze up to a flying eagle without offering a prayer with asemaa (the sacred tobacco) in hand!
The inlaid, respectively appliqued, wing feathers of the above sets of silver wedding rings, which I titled Waaseyaabindamowin Miigwan (Vision Feather) and Manidoo Waabiwin (Seeing in a Spirit Way, literally: spirit-seeing), symbolize manidoo (spirit), reminding the wearers of the rings that eagle feathers, regardless if they are from the bald eagle or the golden eagle, have the power to convey human thoughts and feelings and provide persons with an opportunity to speak directly to the spirits out there with debwewin (a straight mind) and bekide'ewin (a pure heart).
So the story goes...
Click here to read the first story in the Teachings of the Eagle Feather series, which centers around a set of wedding rings titled ‘‘Growth is a Mystery.’’
About the author and his sources of inspiration:
My name is Zhaawano Giizhik. My clan is waabizheshi, the marten.
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. It is these age-old expressions that provide an endless supply of story elements to my work; be it graphically, through my written stories, as well as in the context of my jewelry making.
Post a Comment