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Spirit of the Seasons, part 8: Welcome, Strawberry Moon!

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

Ode’imini-giizis (Strawberry Moon) / Baashkaabigonii-giizis (Blooming Moon), June 4, 2023




Today's story is about Ode'imini-giizis (Heart Berry Moon). Ode'imini-giizis, which literally means Heart Berry Moon, is how the Western Anishinaabeg call the month of June; it is also - more correctly - used to denote the lunar orbit May-June. Baashkaabigonii-giizis (Blooming Moon) is how the Anishinaabeg in the East call the month of June.

This year, the Waawiyezi-dibik-giizis (full moon) of the Moon of the Strawberry/ Blooming Moon shone on June 3, 2023 at 11:42 PM EDT or June 4, 2023 at 3:42 AM UTC. To the Anishinaabeg, it marked the start of the Strawberry/ Blooming Moon, which (this year) will end as soon as soon the next full moon rises, on July 3.

Ode'imin-waawiyezi-dibik-giizis is the third full moon of the Spring 2023 season as it occurs about two weeks before azhegiiwe-niibin: the Summer Solstice. The literal meaning of azhegiiwe-niibin is "summer returns."

Azhegiiwe-niibin occurs when aki's (earth's) tilt toward giizis (the sun) is at a maximum.

On the 21st day of the Strawberry/Blooming Moon, our grandfather Giizis makes his dance to the highest point in the sky, on the longest day of the year before he begins his retreat to reverse his cycle. This spiritual dance continues along that Spirit trail as we count the phases of the moon and other celestial occurrences during the year.

To the Anishinaabeg, particularly those who follow the Midewiwin (Sacred Medicine Lodge) and the Waabanoowiwin (Dawn Lodge) teachings, Azhegiiwe-niibin signals the time for Anishinaabe villages and bands to gather. The ceremony, which lasts for four days in a row, is more a time of teaching and fellowship than it is a ceremony of a highly ritual nature. Of all Waabanoowiwin ceremonies it attracts the most participants. The ceremony starts at dusk with the lighting of the Mishi-ishkode, or sacred fire. The Midewiwin ceremony includes asemaa-biindaakoojigewin (tobacco offering) and mide waaboo (water) ceremonies, madoodiswanan (sweat lodges), feasts, healing ceremonies, dancing after sundown, and the initiation of candidates into the Midewiwin society. Life teachings are also provided including the “Path of Life,” which is the Anishinaabe person’s walk on the Spirit trail. This all takes place in the ceremonial lodge, called Midewigaan.

Farther west in Anishinaabe Aki, some Anishinaabeg share a ceremony with our Lakota cousins, called Giizisoniimiwin (the Sundance) - called Wiwáŋyaŋg Wačípi in Lakota. The Three Fires Anishinaabe Sundance takes place at a very sacred place, our pipestone mines in Maanazaadiiwaki (Minnesota).

To read more about the topic of Grandmother Moon and the Moon phases, see: Dance of the 13 Moons.


Illustration: Otter's Teaching, painting by Zhaawano Giizhik. Visit the website to view a wall print of the painting.

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