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Star Stories, part 33: When Waakwi-Aki Dances Backward in the Sky

Updated: Apr 13

Manoominike-giizis (Ricing Moon) (August 28, 2023)


Anishinaabe Bear Healer Dancing with Misaabe Painting by Zhaawano Giizhik
Anishinaabe Bear Healer Dancing with Misaabe ©2023 Zhaawano Giizhik


Boozhoo, aaniin! Welcome to part 33 of a blog series titled "Star Stories," in which I connect my and kindred artists' storytelling art – in the form of rings, jewelry, and graphic art – with anang akiiwan (the star world) as perceived by our Peoples who since time immemorial inhabit the northern regions of Turtle Island – nowadays called Canada and the United States. Today's post tells the story of the retrograde motion of the planet that most people in the Western world know by its Latin name, Uranus. The name that our People, the Ojibwe Anishinaabeg of Turtle Island's Great Lakes area gave to this planet is Waakwi Aki.

Waakwiing, "In the Land of the Deceased," is the realm beyond the giizhig (sky vault). "Waakwi Aki" is our name for Uranus (planet 7) as well as for the star that the Arabs named Alnilam. Waakwi, the Land of the Deceased, has been associated by Anishinaabeg Peoples with a far-away place where all life began. Some call this land Gaagige-minawaanigoziwining: "The Land of Everlasting Happiness."

The Waakwi retrograde cycle happens every year for about five moons. This year, Waakwi is retrograde from today to Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024 through a zodiac sign called Taurus by Western astrologists and Misaabe by our People. Misaabe ("The Giant") is a star constellation of the zodiac, which means the sun, moon and planets travel through it regularly.

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