Spirit of the Seasons, part 7: Return of the Wiindigoo
Updated: May 8
Iskigamizige-giizis (Boiling Sap Moon), April 2, 2023
Once upon a time, the wiindigoog, those giants from the marshes and caves of the northern country, were anishinaabeg (human beings) who lived by Gichi-dibaakoniwewin, the Great Binding Law of GICHI-MANIDOO, the Great Mystery. This means they lived good and wholesome lives, careful to be kind and respectful to their own people but also to all the people that walked the face of the earth. But something happened and they became cannibals...they became wiindigoog!*
There had been a time, however, way back in history, when these wiindigoog weren't human but spirits whose homes could be found on the shores of the Jiibay-ziibi, the mighty River of Souls that meanders its way through the Galaxy. Ghastly creatures they were, looking like huge terrifying skeletons with their bones pushing out against their skin which was colored the ash-gray of death!
Here, in this far-away galactic land floating through the sky, they used to lay in ambush to snatch and devour those poor deceased human beings whose souls were unprepared for their journey home to Waakwi — the Land behind the stars where their ancestors lived.
But then, many, many strings of lives ago the earth shifted, bringing chaos to the world, and this is when the sky wiindigoog volunteered to bring back order. Straight through the void of space from the stars they came, moving through the earth to stabilize the tumbling, holding the Earth's poles constant. Because of this, GICHI-MANIDOO gifted them the gift of ice for holding the actual poles of the earth! This event marked the creation of biboon (winter) and the beginning of the Anishinaabe calendar, and from that moment on the cycle of the seasons started in January — at the full moon when the sucker fish spawn.
But then many, many strings of lives later, one bad day a bleak wind from the cold north reached the lands of the People...some human beings, who until then had been satisfied to eat giigoonhyag (the fish) from the rivers and lakes, forgot about the teachings. They forgot about the good deeds of the wiindigoo spirits that had come to earth to save it. They forgot about the seven teachings their ancestors from the Dawn Land had passed on to them. They fell prey to evil ways and all the fish in the water could no longer still their insatiable hunger. From that day on, the only food that could satisfy them was the taste of creating conflict among their own people! The taste of polarization made them crave for blood, more blood! It was then that they became new age cannibals. Their spirit of greed and destruction infected others and drove them to unspeakable acts...Many of those who got infected created even more conflict and hatred and self-shame among the people. They were not longer satisfied defending the truth...they started to propagate and maintain the online call-out culture!
Tayaa! These modern-day wiindigoog even started to look like the ancient wiindigoo spirits from the sky! Not only did they resemble the wiindigoog in outward appearance: they actually turned into wiindigoog! Their hearts turned into ice...
NOTE: Wiindigoo (pronounce: WEEND-ih-go) is derived from the word wintekwewa, a being that is called or named by higher powers —i n the case of the Windigoo, driven by demonic powers.
Illustration: "Wiindigoo and the Creation of the Ice Poles" - Detail © 2023 Zhaawano Giizhik. Visit the website to order a canvas print of the painting.