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Star Stories, part 23: Eagle Feather Woman and the Visitor from the Stars

Updated: Jun 11, 2022

Zaagibagaa-giizis (Budding Moon)/Namebine-giizis (Suckerfish Moon), May 29, 2022




I lie down against the black waiting to drift into the light of my deepest and sweetest dreams My eyes had barely closed to welcome the bliss of night when I could feel his hands take mine How this real world changed as my lids fell so heavy against my cheeks that I could hear them shut As I opened them on the other side

it was like stepping into the universe being drawn up by star people I saw him once before when so small that my feet could barely take me more than a few miles at a time Always just above my real sight until the darkness came this dream before I awoke today We travelled through them so vast the constellations of stories past I had been here before? As my feet walked into the lodge I closed my eyes and left again Into the universe not for the first flight That was taken when just a child A hand taken to a place of freedom Where no sounds or feelings could come Where will I go tonight When he comes To take my hands...

- A poem by Simone McLeod


Once upon a time a lonesome woman named Migizikwe (Bald-Eagle Woman) lived in a wiigiwaam (birch bark covered house) on the edge of an Ojibwe village. She was known wide and far as a great artist and a healer, a member of Waabanoowiwin, the Medicine lodge of Dawn. The people of the village whispered that every day after work she hung her garments alone, without a life partner to keep her warm at night. Each night, however, as soon as Eagle Woman lay down she entered the dream world, and it was there that she met her lover. This bawaagan, or dream visitor, was a guardian spirit, a “shape shifter” who sometimes appeared as makade-makwa (a black bear) and on other occasions as inini (a man).

As the story goes, for years this makade-makwawinini (black bear person) left at first daylight when Migizikwe’s spirit reunited with her body to meet the new day, and she would be alone again. But then, one evening in the fourth year, when Migizikwe's faith and patience were tested to the limit, tayaa! her dream lover wafted through the wall that divided both worlds and stepped right into the tangible reality that defined Eagle Woman’s everyday life! Thus the recurring dream became reality!

From the moment Makademakwawinini stepped into her world, he flung the doors of Eagle Feather Woman’s heart and soul wide open and at the same time invited her to enter the doors of his own heart and soul. Then, smiling, with eyes shining, their hands interlocked and their hearts intertwined, the brand-new lovers left Eagle Feather’s wiigiwaam and walked side by side on the Path of Life…

- Taken from the story Artist Inspirations, Part 7: "Our Love Stems from a Dream" told by Zhaawano Giizhik.

Illustration: Bawaagan ("Dream Visitior"), © 2022 Zhaawano Giizhik

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