Gichi-manidoo-giizis (Great Mystery Moon, January 27), 2018
Star Stories, part 3: "A Revolving Sky Above Nibaad Misaabe"
An Anishinaabe story told and illustrated by Zhaawano Giizhik
Boozhoo! Biindigen miinawaa nindaadizookewigamigong (Hello! Welcome back in my Storytelling Lodge)!
I am Zhaawano Giizhik. By way of a blog series called "STAR STORIES", accompanied by my jewelry designs and works of art by kindred artists, I pay hommage to the Star People and to the ancient star knowledge of my Anishinaabe ancestors. Today's story is the third in the series.
The meaning of traditional-storytelling
Before we take a look at the design of the below wedding bands and the aadizookaan (traditional story of a sacred nature) that they tell, let's first dwell briefly on the literal meaning of the Ojibwe Anishinaabe word for "tell a traditional story/storytelling," aadizooke/aadizookewin. The literal meaning of the verb aadizooke is ""make life-way of something." It therefore follows that aadizookewin, telling traditional stories, or legends, is more than about just telling legends; it is about the life-way, a conduct of living.
It literally is the meaning of life!*
The Sleeping Giant and the circular movement of the sky and planets
About the artist/author and his design inspiration
Zhaawano Giizhik, an American currently living in the Netherlands, was born in 1959 in North Carolina, USA. Zhaawano has Anishinaabe blood running through his veins; the doodem of his ancestors from Baawitigong (Sault Ste. Marie, Upper Michigan) is Waabizheshi, Marten.
As a second- generation Woodland artist who writes stories and creates graphic art and jewelry designs, Zhaawano draws on the oral and pictorial traditions of his ancestors. For this he calls on his manidoo-minjimandamowin, or 'Spirit Memory'; which means he tries to remember the knowledge and the lessons of his ancestors. In doing so he sometimes works together with kindred artists.
To Zhaawano's ancestors the MAZINAAJIMOWIN 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 that they felt they were an integral part of.
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 lake's coastlines where the sky, the earth, the water, the underground and the underwater meet.
The way Zhaawano understands it, it is in these sacred places invisible to the ordinary, waking eye that his design and storyteller's inspiration originate from.
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