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Monday, 10 June 2013

Native American Ojibwa Tradition

A traditional story as told to me through the years by my people the Ojibwa when I was a child. This is from memory not a book although some books have been instrumental in attaining these knowings

All things, both animate and inanimate have spirit energy. Universe is living spirit. The stars are the Spirit Elders. The moon is Spirit Grandmother and the Earth is Spirit Mother. All upon the Mother is of the living spirit, the rocks, the soil, the plants, the animals, also the water and all that resides within it. Just as is the air and all that resides within it.

In those days we were the keepers of the land and moved freely as we followed the path that would take us to our wintering grounds where game would remain plentiful to sustain the people for the winter. Then again moved once more in the spring to the summer grounds where game was once again plentiful and the streams burgeoned with fish. Then there was the growing of wild crops for the next falls harvest season.

After reaping of the harvest and the kill of the season there was a gathering of many clans, far and wide, for the great feast called potlatch (spiritual ceremonies and dances dedicated to Gitchy Manitoo) prayers of thanksgiving to Great Spirit for the feast which will give sustenance not only to body but sprit as well for all livings things are part of Great Spirit.

It was believed that when one partakes of the flesh of an animal you are also welcoming their spirit into your own being. It is also a time for the change totems if one so desired, the totem of the animal chosen is one that will represents the animals characteristics. Other ceremonies are usually in the line of the reenactment of their hunting and or battle expeditions followed by singing and drumming.

The medicine man/woman or Shaman start the ceremonies by chanting and drumming, representative of dispelling evil spirits so that their prayers and petitions would reach the ancestors in the spirit world and Great Spirit and for the calling of the animal and plant spirits.

NOTE

Ojibway Spirituality
In general terms, Ojibway spirituality consists of traditions and beliefs, events, and objects. These include the sweat lodge, pipe, drumming and singing, drums, and reenactment of past events

The naming ceremony, prayer, vision questing and connecting with the guardian spirits, the Pow wow, the medicine man or woman (shamans), medicine bags and dream articles and traditional stories regarding beliefs in the spirit world Great Spirit and the recalling of some historic events such as The Flood, Turtle island, the first land etc. Ritual and spiritual objects include tobacco, sweet-grass, sage, and cedar.

Dogs were the equivalent to the sacrificial lambs of early Christianity. There are 4 seasons which are named the 4 grandfathers (or 4 powers of the universe) which were believed to be the four directions of North, South, East, and West, also included were the symbolic "four colors of man" red, yellow, black, and white which I believe was added to the medicine wheel after their encounter with the European settlers

Recycling and sanitation

After one had used what they needed from the land for nourishment it was not only a custom but a respect to give an offering of tobacco or sage by sprinkling it over the communal fire this would clear the way for offering up of prayer of thanksgiving and petitions with the rising smoke to Great Spirit who had provided for us. It was believed that all that was provided to the people for sustenance should be returned to the earth to replenish the Earth Mother's living spirit. The body of a beloved one was wrapped in skins and put up on a platform and left there to rest for about a week, this was to give the spirit of the departed one some time to finish their duties here, tie up loose ends so to speak. The platform was then set on fire where both the essence of body and soul was believed to drift up into the heavens where it would join the ancestors.

(Gichi Manitoo) which could mean evil force or good force/spirit. Or (Giizhig) which is a closer description of a malevolent God like spirit being. Ojibwa perception, for other side, is the word for another place like this one except invisible to us. Perhaps my people, the Ojibwa’s perception of Dimensions? Everyone has a different perceptions of the afterlife even among the same people.

Other Symbology

Then there is the moon cycle ceremony of Grandmother moon who comes to visit every month to cleans and prepare the girl child for womanhood or to cleans the soon to be mother with the gift of bringing forth a new living force in the sacred moon lodge.

Father sun gives sustenance to Mother Earth and her children, and the children are of the grandfather stars, the realm of the ancestors, from whence the star children have arrived so shall they someday return to take their position as warriors, protectors and guides to the heavens for those who are at the beginning of their journey the elders are their guides in finding their way back to the stars.

The Pot-loch twice per year, spring and fall is the most important and crucial celebrations for the people as a yearly event. Thanksgiving to father sun and the spirit mother earth for providing us with the abundant seasons from, hunting, fishing and harvesting. The trader not only carried precious commodities from far away places but were also were the delivers of news from afar, as far away as from coast to coast the traders delivered oral messages to other tribes.

With the catches filled to the brim, we were blessed with the needs to sustain us through the long sleeping time. It is a time of rejoicing and great trading, sometimes for days.

All is in harmony, all have their seasons and all serve their purpose, from the tiniest insect to the largest of the four legged. This is the ancient way of thanking mother earth, That is the basis of what the modern day pow wow is supposed to represent in part.

The medicine man or woman (shaman), practice healing of the spirit and body as well as provide advice for daily living. They call upon the guidance of the spirits of the ancestors or ancient ones, the spirits of the animal realm, and the elements for help when performing their ceremonies and healing and when seeking direction for this earthly journey.

Writen by Cynthia ©


Cynthia ©

4 comments :

  1. WoW! Sis, I am learning more and more about you everyday. Thankyou for sharing loved your post..
    love you
    your sis

    ReplyDelete

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