Originally published: Onaabani-giizis (Crusty Snow Moon; March 31, 2017)
Republished: Manoominike-giizis (Ricing Moon) (August 27, 2023)
Finding the Tree Branch Toward Discovery
"Our spiritual path was designed way before we were born on Mother Earth; many times you'll be tested and many times you'll fail. 'Spiritual Paths' or 'The Tree Of Life' is a simple teaching to understand and all you need to do is to take a good look at yourself and see what you truly need. Everyone in life begins from the bottom of the tree and the branches of the tree represent discoveries we make in our lives. When confusion sets into our lives, we have the ability to return to the trunk and choose another branch from the tree of life and follow that branch toward discovery. When we stand back and take a good look, we have so many branches to choose from."
- Free after Wikwemikong Anishinaabe Medicine Painter James Mishibinijima.
Welcome to part 2 of my blog series titled Teachings from the Tree of Life, in which I connect the storytelling art of myself and kindred artists with an old Teaching based on the ancient Anishinaabe spiritual/philosophical principle of mino-bimaadiziwin that countless generations of ancestors handed down to us from the time they still lived in the old homeland along the Atlantic coast. The story that I tell today features artwork by the late Miskwaabik Animikii, the Father of the Native Woodland Art and myself.
Today's Teaching focuses on a lesson inspired by a vision that a friend of mine, whose family is originally from Gete-gitigaaning (Lac Vieux Desert Indian Reservation), recently shared with me. Like all Tree of Life Teachings, the healing message that lies hidden in my friend's vision is in itself easy to understand - that is, if we choose to open up to it. The hard part, however, is to follow it...
Illustration: Bawaaganag ("The Dream Visitors"). Pastel panting by Zhaawano Giizhik © 2023 Zhaawano Giizhik.