The legends I grew up being told, tell of an event that occurred between ancient beings and the Anishinaabeg (the good beings)…. I would love to be able to recall this event from the string of life/consciousness that flows within me. I would love to be able to recall this event and say that I was there and one of the eight that were gifted with the experience of this event. Somewhere, buried very deep, those ancient memories are there still for those that were apart of the ancient worlds if only we could recall those memories when we enter each new world. I think we are shown snippets of those moments in time in our dreams, deja vus, and coincidences. I feel that when this happens it is time for us to know and use that knowledge to help each other.
My grandfather after his tour in Korea dedicated the remainder of his life to the revival of this knowledge and way of life which in it’s simplest form is summed up in one phrase and is used in all ceremonies of the Mide (mi-day). Mino-bimaadiziwin (live a good everlasting/eternal life). I was raised and brought up with these teachings and the legends that go with them. Theses legends and way of life attempt to instill great respect, love, and care for all living beings. I say attempt, because we all are very capable of either greater good or greater evil. We either choose to live a good life or bring evil to it. The teachings within these legends attempts to help us find our way through the darkness that wants to envelope us every waking moment of our everlasting life.
One of these legends has been weighing heavily on my mind for a few years now. Hurricane Katrina initiated my spiraling of wonder about the legend along with a dream I actually had about her during that year at least I think it was about her it was weird to me that the storm was given a female name. The dream: I was at the edge of an ocean in my dream. I have never been to the coast or ever stepped foot in any ocean or sea. I dove into the water and when I felt the water touch me skin I felt myself change. Soon I was swimming around freely as if I was apart of the water. I looked at my body and I could tell I was an otter. I love otters I thought to myself. I swam deeper into the ocean and when I could not hold my breath any longer I changed again, a dolphin this time, I could hear movement in the water, I followed the movement and sounds, soon I saw a flicker of a light in the dark blue when I got close enough I felt like I hit a wall or door something solid and closed my eyes quickly when I opened them I was a mermaid (not how you think a mermaid looks, more like what Ancient Aliens call the Reptilians with hair, scales, gills, webbed feet and hands) and swimming toward the bright light in front of me. The closer I got the brighter the light became and the heat intensified, I had to shield my eyes because the light was so bright, but then the heat the light gave off dissipated and I knew I would be able to see. When I pulled my hand away from my eyes I saw this cloaked being just sitting at the bottom of the ocean. I swam up to it’s face and when I got close I saw myself sitting in the cloak and I or it spoke and all it said was “soon.” Then there was a flash of light and I closed my eyes again, when I opened them I was on the surface of the ocean and spinning around in the water, the sky was dark and clouded as I spun. Then I ascended out of the water and the air and water began to move in elliptical paths around me, I moved closer to the shore and could see the land was wiped clean no trees, no people, nothing. When I reached the shore and stepped on the beach, the sun broke through the clouds and I looked up and then I woke in my room.
Hurricanes like Katrina and numerous other devastating tropical storms, tsunamis, and typhoons have increased greatly within the past few decades increasing my curiosity in the ancient legends passed on by our ancestors. Hurricane Sandy and typhoon Haiyan both very destructive water spirits just recently ripping through the eastern coastal areas. Both very devastating in deaths and economically the US in particular has taken a huge loss. Katrina alone devastated the coastal forests of the southern region with a loss of 19 billion board feet and 5 million acres of forest lands, approximately $5 billion total in revenues lost. This critical event seems to have started a downward spiral of terrible habitat loss for many species and has caused the US to look elsewhere for wood products some directly affecting habitats where many endangered species reside. This is important because one of the most important teachings is that we, humans, will not survive without out our friends (others species). We depend on them for our very survival; friendship, food, and maintenance of the land. The destruction of the forests as such has caused much decay and mold which brings massive swarms of insects. When the timber is finally dried massive fires from lightning strikes can occur or from the flick of a cigarette butt which I’ve seen so many people do when driving. Sinkholes tend to occur when there is nothing holding soil together such as tree roots.
All of this really makes me wonder about the ancients and their knowledge of possible future events and how they received that knowledge is something of a mysterious other worldly mystery or so it seems. If you research the data collected over the years you will find that since the early 1800’s storm activity both on land and at sea has increased exponentially in the past few decades along with increased human activity and as the experts say it is all due to the rise in the temperature of the water, the air, the earth; global warming, of which I am in agreement with however; this was foretold many ages ago in one of our legends or so it seems and many of these events probably could have been avoided. This legend is steeped in mystery and is one of the greatest pinnacle events to occur with the Anishinaabeg.
The Legend: During a time of great silence Akii had grown dark and cold and Skywoman looked down from her home in the sky and saw the people were wandering in silence and struggling. They had consumed all that there was; many had begun to even devour the land that they walked upon and some began to hunt each other. The nights were cold, long, and dark. Skye did not want to see her children so lost and feared darkness had awakened. Bound to her home in the sky she cried out to her father, Chi-Manidoo (the great spirit), and asked him to help her children. So from eight contiguous degrees Chi-Manidoo called for the Wawezhitaawoog (Spirits that prepare the way, best translation) to help the Anishinaabeg and show them how to live a good everlasting/eternal life, bimaadiziwin. These eight beings descended upon Akii in their hooded cloaks and Akii shook and rumbled, the sky went dark as the beings continued to descended from the sky with fire, wind, water and the very earth beneath them ascended like the waves of the sea. A great many beings were destroyed, except those who Skye had provided a safe place to dwell; an island far from danger, one tribe from each of the sacred directions were gathered together and awaited the return of Giizis (sunlight). When the time of Giizis returned the people gathered together at the center of their island as instructed by Skye and at midday they watched the beings descend from the sky and move among them. They did not speak, but were heard, they did not move but were swift. Anishinaabe, first man, everlasting man, he whom we have come from appeared before them in a flash of light and instructed the Anishinaabeg on what to do. These beings asked that one man and one woman from each tribe follow them and they promised they would return in four days and four nights. One by one, one man and one woman chosen by their people walked away and followed the Wawezhitaawoog (Wu-way-zhee-ta-woo-g) into the forest and became unseen. So each night the people lit a fire until their return. Upon their return each person who left a young man and woman returned as elders with hair white as snow and eyes that could not view the bright sun; each carried items of a different kind. Upon the eve of their return theses elders gathered their tribes together and began to speak of their journey and what they had learned. They told of how the Wawezhitaa removed their hood and if the were able to look upon them instructions were given to each tribe. The tribes were to maintain the care and continued regeneration of the land, the wind, the water, and the fire so that all beings may live and survive. The tribes of the east were given the teachings of the wind(air), the tribes of the south were given the teachings of the water, the tribes of the west were given the teachings of the land, and the tribes of the north were given the teachings of the fire. These teachings included all animate living beings that dwelled with in those elements. The Wawezhiitaawoog also gave instructions on the clan system and the Midewin ceremonies. It was during this instruction that when it was time for the eighth Wawezhiitaa to reveal itself was when the people could not look upon it. So bright was it’s light the eight coward, some ran and hid, others buried their faces in the earth. This upset Chi Manidoo and with it he gave warning.”You who are to be good beings, who cannot look upon my guardians, you who cannot see are bound to destiny. Everlasting life will perish unless you learn to live with the land, the air, the water, and the fire. You who will be devoured by those who you have devoured. They will come by water, followed by air, turned into land, and rain fire from the sky. You who do not see beyond self will suffer the most if you never look upon the guardian of gaa-ge-manidoo-minjimendamowin (everlasting spirit memory, closest translation), Your place is small, live a good life, or suffer destruction of wind and water. Then begin new light.” Then Chi Manidoo sent this guardian into the ocean to wait until the Anishinaabeg were ready to receive it’s knowledge. There it waits, waiting for the Anishinaabeg to look upon it with a sense of wonder and not with emptiness. My grandfather would describe emptiness as an insatiable hunger that knows no bounds.
There is so much more to this legend so much more detail, but to tell it all takes 4 days. I am seriously doing my family an injustice by writing some of it down, but the ancients did, so it must be ok, right? It was difficult trying to find connections of similar legends outside of indigenous american legends. However there is plenty of similarities in other areas such as: The Druids; if you have been reading other posts of mine you will note that I am basically in love with them and their close similarity to the knowledge I grew up learning. But yes the The Druids. How are they depicted and describe, they are beings who wear cloaks. These cloaks that are worn might be in imitative respect of the eight that came. Why not; they were mysterious and powerful and provided us with great knowledge, why not dress as they did and embody everything they taught us. They themselves The Druids are something of a mystery as well. Oral tradition such as the one I grew up in and new discoveries show they had great knowledge of the elements and the sky paths. Thoth, the Atlantean: indeed. This island that was shielded from destruction could that be Atlantis? Isn’t that the place where all great knowledge might have come from? The mysterious island that disappeared beneath the ocean or as Ancient Alien Theory suggests, it flew off. The eight people that were selected to teach the tribes the knowledge were elders when they returned, but they also lived extremely long lives. Many generations of lives, Thoth was he one of them, did he attempt to write some of these teachings down? Seven tablets where is the eighth; there is none because they didn’t receive the knowledge. Just my silly thought. There is also the clan systems that are seen among all the different tribes. Eastern, Southern, Western and Northern tribes/cultures all have clan systems. Some still practice them today. The indigenous people of America, Scotland, so proud, love them, love that I have roots in that culture as well, Japan with their imperial and noble clans and the most widely known samurai clans, and I would even consider the Sumerian class system part of the clan teachings, although the idea of the classes are some what different, meaning no one is considered a slave and considering years of evolution can imagine how some might evolve their original teachings in different ways. The similarities are found where each clan/class were/are/is responsible for maintaining certain tasks within the community. Then there is the great return of someone or something, prophecies of mass destruction and so on.
I think we all understand and feel that there is something lurking in our spirit something that seems to be stalking us, a dread that isn’t going away unless we really make some serious efforts in maintaining, sustaining, loving, caring, and respecting not only each other, but our home, the only one we have right now. I am beginning to wonder if this 5th mass extinction that is being discussed is going to end as the legends foretell, by our own doing our own hand. These cloaked beings enlightened us on scientific and spiritual knowledge of our home. I am still left wondering if the eighth and final being was one that was to teach us about consciousness itself, how it travels, how it flows, where it comes from, where it goes, where we came from, where we can go, the past,present and future, the sounds used in creation; unfathomable knowledge….