Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ojibway Four Sacred Medicines- Smudge

ANISHINAABE
~ NIINWIN GCHITWAA-MSHKIKIIN ~

OJIBWAY
~ FOUR SACRED MEDICINES ~
SMUDGE


All together you will find the sacred powerful plants of Wegemind Aki – Mother Earth that we use in the making of our Smudge Mixture. This is to be minaadendmowin - respected in the use and also why we use this special combination. Here you will find the names and meanings to each sacred plants of Wegemind Ake - Mother Earth.

This is the commonly spoken of smudge mixture used by Anishnawbek people. The traditional smudge is composed of 13 medicines. Here you will find that this teaching is only talked about in person and not found written on paper and passed down. The 13 Grandmothers are the ones who have given this teaching and it is passed down from generation to generation. Very important to remember when going to learn about a teaching you will always present Sema – Tobacco to whom you are asking to sit with and gain knowledge, wisdom and understanding.

Below you will find the four basic medicines of our smudge mixture and meanings. Remember here is only a brief description to give you understanding of our teachings and cultural ways. It helps you to understand on why we keep our medicines sacred and how it is brought into our daily lives and how we look at the smudge mixture.

What you will find here are words of understanding into our cultural and traditional ways still today being used. They are very simple ways and this is the start of our basics of our teachings that enrich our lives and expand our wisdom and knowledge being taught to our young from a very young age.

Being Anishinaabe, we live each day of our life in a very sacred manner. We are very spiritual in our ways and bring this into our daily lives. These teachings are very old and still practiced today. When taking something from Mother Earth – Wegemind Ake. We always explain to the Spirit of the Plant why it is being done and offer SEMA – TOBACCO in return for the generosity and help of the plant which shared it so freely. Remember one must never take without giving back.

When one seeks medicine for healing of another, you give Sema - Tobacco to the plant and explain why this medicine is being picked and then you say miigwetch before even picking and then place biish – water down as you would Sema – Tobacco. Not only are you showing respect for oneself but also for Wegemind Ake – Mother Earth and all living things.

As you read this you will find that this will give you understanding and next time you see someone who is doing a smudge. Stop and watch and wait to see how they do their smudge and how proud they are when doing this ceremony. Some carry this medicine with them everywhere they go and some only do it in ceremony. There is no right way or wrong way to smudge but it is what is coming from the heart of the individual that is what Gzhemindoo looks for.

Here you will find Anishinaabe basic NIINWIN GCHITWAA-MSHKIKIIN made of:

- Sema – Tobacco
- Giizhik – Cedar
- Muskodewusk – Sage
- Wiingush – Sweet Grass


~ SEMA – TOBACCO ~

SEMA – TOBACCO is one of the Four Sacred Plants as this represents the East Direction which is of male side including being inanimate. It is offered to the Sacred Fire, so that the smoke can lift prayers up to Gzhemindoo - The Creator, or it is set on the ground in a nice, clean place. This is done on a daily basis as each new day is greeted with prayers of thankfulness for blessings and gift of life. One’s day is also ended this way in being thankful for the many blessings and teachings and for breath of Life. Kitchi Anishinawbek – Elders say to hold it in your prayers of thankfulness. They also add that you are to hold it in your left hand as this is the hand which is closest to your heart. By doing this not only are you respecting the medicines but about whom we are being Anishinaabe.



~ GIIZHIK – CEDAR ~

GIIZHIK – CEDAR represents the South Direction which is female side and animate. The leaves are cleaned from the stems and separated into small pieces, which are used in many ways. When burned, GIIZHIK – CEDAR acts as a purifier, cleansing the area in which it is burned and emitting a pleasant scent. Kitchi Anishinaabek – Elders say to put some in your shoes and only goodness will come your way.



~ MUSHKODEWUSK – SAGE ~

MUSHKODEWUSK – SAGE is used in the same ways as GIIZHIK – CEDAR. It is burned as a purifier, but when compared to the “piney” scent of GIIZHIK – CEDAR, MUSKODEWUSK – SAGE has a spicy air to the smell. MYSHKODEWUSK – SAGE represents the West Direction which is male and inanimate. There are over 750 varities of sage, each region is different in the medicine and composition of the medicine.




WIINGSAHK – SWEET GRASS ~

WIINGSHAK – SWEET GRASS is known for its beautifully sweet, aromatic scent, which is enhanced by the rain or when it is burned. This too is a purifier. Many things are made with WIINGASHK – SWEET GRASS such as coiled baskets. It is often braided and thus signified the hair of Wegemind Ake – Mother Earth. Each of the three sections that go into the braid has a very special meaning – Mind, Body and Soul. WIINGASHK – SWEET GRASS represents the North Direction which is of female side and animate.

Being Anishinabe, we live life in a very sacred manner. We are very spiritual in our ways and bring this into our daily lives. These teachings are very old and still practiced today. When taking something from Mother Earth – Wegemind Ake. We always explain to the Spirit of the Plant why it is being done and offer SEMA – TOBACCO in return for the generosity and help of the plant which shared it so freely. Remember one must never take without giving back.

When one seeks medicine for healing of another, you give Sema - Tobacco to the plant and explain why this medicine is being picked and then you say miigwetch before even picking and then place biish – water down as you would Sema – Tobacco. Not only are you showing respect for oneself but also for Wegemind Ake – Mother Earth and all living things.

Look for the addition of how one smudge’s and what is used in this ceremony. You might find people using different means in doing their own smudge but like I said previously there is no right or wrong way. It all depends on who your teacher is of this teaching and ceremony. All what matters is your connection to this ceremony and Gzhemindoo.

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