The Way of the Heartbeat, part 10: This Is My Ceremony
Miin-giizis (Berry Moon) / Abitaa-niibini-giizis (Halfway Summer Moon) (July 19, 2022)
People, those who have a seat in the Midewiwin Lodge, sometimes tell me that I live in the wrong part of the world. That I do not live "the Anishinaabe life" and understand the "Anishinaabe Way" as long as I'm not residing on Turtle Island, picking the sacred medicines, going to the sacred places, smoking the pipe in the circle.
These people say that spirituality is the same as following certain written-in-stone protocols, and that having a relationship with the aadizookaanag or with those who have passed is exclusively place-related. They tell me that only being able to go to the ceremonies on a regular basis, and only addressing the manidoog (spirits) in certain places, qualifies me as Anishinaabe. They tell me I do not have a right to express myself the way I do because I do not follow "the rules" - which, apparently, disqualifies me as Anishinaabe.
Which is the same as telling me I am no true human being.
I tell them this. It isn't per se about ceremony. It isn't per se about following "rules." It is about spirit. This, in itself, has nothing to do with where you are, in a physical sense. It is about where you spirit goes. No one has the entitlement to tell you where your spirit goes. Only you know, and the spirits out there, your ancestors, they know. It is between you and them.
No one has the right to tell me how to live my life. No one tells me the road I should follow. Spirits, my ancestors, tell me, through dreams and through my art, where to walk. That is my true ceremony.
Judgement, guilt, rules, are things outsiders forced upon us. But it has never been the Anishinaabe way. You see, to realize that is to realize how the ancestors walked, how they saw life. To not judge others, to not try to invade another person's spiritual domain, it is that what makes the Anishinaabe way so unique and beautiful. This is what I believe. Mi'iw.
Miigwech for listening to me today.
Illustration: "SPEAKING WITH THE ANCESTORS"
© 2022 Zhaawano Giizhik