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Friday, April 8, 2022

Teachings of the Eagle Feather, part 34: Through the Eagle Feather Will You Speak


"Through the Eagle Feather Will You Speak"

April 8, 2022


Eagle Feather wedding rings Through the Eagle Feather Will You Speak



Gigiizhigoongimaani nanaandowadaan
Endazhi dani-dabayaan
Migizi miigwan gigaa Mizhinawe-ig
Gizazaagiwichigan widaa bimise
Gigaa nandagoog migiziwag
Gigaa gikinoowizhigoog migiziwag
Gizhewaadizi Gichi-manidoo.

"I address my voice to the skies
While I sit here
The eagle feather will be your Messenger
Your sacred charm will take flight
The eagles will hear you
The eagles will guide you
The Great Mystery is generous with us."


Native woodland Art line art drawing by Zhaawano Giizhik


Boozhoo, aaniin, welcome back into my Storytelling Lodge. Today's story centers around Migizi, the White-headed eagle, commonly known a Bald Eagle. In our tradiition, the feather of a Migizi and Giniw (Golden Eagle) are without any doubt the most important symbol conceivable. But they are more than just that; to us, the feathers are in in themselves bemaadizidjig, living beings; haw sa, they are even looked upon as manidoog, spirits.

In Anishinaabe tradition, the feathers of the Migizi, the Bald Eagle, are regarded as anam'ewin mizhinaweg, prayer carriers of messages and giving thanks. Migizi is known for soaring high in the sky and it is therefore understood that no other creature is closer to the GICHI-MANIDOO (the sum of all spirit; Great Mystery) than this mighty spirit bird. His feathers have the power to convey human thoughts and feelings directly to the Great Mystery; they provide him or her who seeks wisdom and curing with an opportunity to speak with debwewin (a straight mind) and bekide’ewin (a pure heart). 




The stylized feathers adorning the above wedding rings symbolize spirit, honesty, and prayer; the sparkling fire of the marquise-cut Swarovski gemstone mounted on the ladies' ring represents the Teachings and the blessings of the Great Mystery that are being reflected back at the person who does the praying.

The stone's off-center placement on the feather is my artistic reference to the interconnected notions of love and outwardness — which, in turn, are expressed through the verbs zaagigi and zaagi’, which respectively mean "sprout, grow out," and “love someone.” As if the gemstone were a summer flower sprouting spontaneously from uncertain beginnings and blossoming into a stunning spectacle of snow white beauty...

Nahaaw. Mii sa ekoozid. Gimiigwechiwininim gii-izhaayeg omaa igo gaye gii agindameg gakina gegoon gii zhibii’amaan. Abegish ge ga waabaminagog miinawaa ingoding wayeba.

Well, that is the end of today's teaching. I thank you all for coming here as well as for reading this story. I hope to see you all again sometime soon!


Wedding ring set "Through the Eagle Feather You Will Speak." See the website for details of the ring set.
Illustration: "Wenabozho's Prayer" by Zhaawano Giizhik. © 2022 Zhaawano Giizhik.

See the website for more storytelling art by Zhaawano Giizhik.  

Wedding rings photo by Zhaawano Giizhik. © 2022 Zhaawano Giizhik
Line art drawing photo by Zhaawano Giizhik © 2022 Zhaawano Giizhik. 



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.


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