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  • Writer's picturezhaawano

Star Stories, part 38: Harvesting Medicine Along the Cedar Trail

Updated: Jun 27

Ode’imini-giizis (Strawberry Moon) / Baashkaabigonii-giizis (Blooming Moon), June 24, 2024


Oshkikwe's Vision Painting by Zhaawano Giizhik


"Our stories are written in the stars, so we can never forget the truth of our existence...We are spirits on a physical journey, with a sacred duty to understand, respect and care for the generous gifts we receive from all the beings who inhabit the earth."

- From Bwaananaabekwe and Leonard Moose: Inhabiting the Earth 

Boozhoo! Hello! Biindigen miinawaa, welcome back in my Storytelling Lodge, where there is love and learning!

Instead of books, our ancestors used rocks and other natural materials to inscribe and paint on to be able to determine the cycles of the stars and the seasons. Through careful observation and inquiry, the gete-ayaa'ag (ancestors) learned seasonal lessons necessary for survival. Their knowledge was based on paying attention to the position of the sun and the moon and stars and the behavior of the animals and the birds and fish. This myriad of natural phenomena was their gekinoo'amaaged (teacher). Thus, by watching and listening to these gekinoo'amaagedjig who surrounded them, they were able to navigate the waters and to forecast the weather and keep track of time very precisely.

According to our cosmology, there is a Manidoo-miikana (Spirit trail) that continually cycles from the terrestrial realms, across the sky world, star world and into the spiritual realms. In the night sky, we call this Spirit Trail Giizhik-miikana (“Cedar Trail”), the planetary elliptical that appears to move from east to west. The cleansing herb called Giizhik (cedar) and the sky (called Giizhig) are seen as spiritually closely related beings, hence the term “Cedar Trail.” The eight planets of our Solar System including our Mother Earth which is orbited by her child the moon, are all part of the Great Spirit Nation, headed by the Sun. All these relatives travel, each with their own names and spirits, across the sky along the Spirit Trail.

Of all planets and their celestial family members, Nookomis Dibik-Giizis, Grandmother Moon (ᑎᐱᑭ ᑮᓯᔅ in Ojibwe syllabics), is regarded as our principal gekinoo'amaaged, or teacher. She is often called Gookomisinaan: Our Grandmother.

>See the Ojibwe Star Map to read more about this topic.


Illustration : Oshkikwe's Vision ©2022-2024 Zhaawano Giizhik.

>Read the other episodes in the "Star Stories" series:

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