Smudging Baskets

I like to make/ decorate baskets and fill then with herbs and spices and other natural treasures.

These here contain Sage, Cedar, Juniper Berries, Birch bark, Frankincense resin and pine pitch for smudging.Smudging basket

These 2 baskets feature on their lid a petroglyph from Petroglyph Provincial Park near Peterborough, Ontario

Then there is Deer leather adorned with Animal Guardians, different kinds of fur, feathers and beaded bone designs

Smudging Basket

For the next 5 days we will have our shamanic Art booth on Fair November in Guelph and I am quite sure, these baskets will find good homes .

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Smudging

Virginia Graverette Pigeon, Tribal Elder of the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe, member of the Cedar Women’s Society, Elder of the Mide Lodge explains:

 “There are a lot of stories and legends that have been brought down from generation to generation. There are a lot of reasons why we should smudge and that it is a good thing to smudge, either with one of the sacred herbs or all of them together.
 In the first place, the sacred herbs tobacco, sage, sweetgras and cedar are gifts of the Four Manido (Spirits of the Four Directions). It was the father of Nanabush who gave the tobacco (ah-say-ma) and shared the custom of smoking with his son after their epic battle in war, as a symbol of peace. Nanabush in turn passed on the custom to the Anishnabe as a ceremony. Thereafter, the Anishnabe smoked the Pipe of Peace before great councils, after war, and before other ceremonies. The Anishnabe adopted the custom and made it part of their daily lives to compose their minds and spirits. It is said that it will chase away feelings that are bad or negative and bring on thoughts that are good or positivie.
In the second place, tobacco (ah-say-ma) was in the nature of an incense, sweet to the taste and fragrant to smell. No other plant is endowed with such qualities. Cedar was offered to the fire to smudge the lodge and people. It is also used to waft the smoke to ward away sickness.
There are no absolutes with sage and sweetgrass.
In the medicine wheel which we convey as the wheel of life, there are Four Directions. When we are born, life begins in the East. The teenage years are in the South. Then mid-life is in the West. When we reach the North, we are grandmas and grandpas and nearly ready to go to the Spirit World as we have done our many deeds on Mother Earth. The journey does not end in the North because we go to the Spirit World and then the cycle continues.
Smudging helps us center ourselves with the four sacred herbs mentioned: tobacco, sweetgrass,
 sage, and cedar.
We gain knowledge and we grow spiritually. Our hearts feel and our spiritual eyes have to see what our Creator wants us to learn. We feel the knowledge in our soul, and we know it comes from our Creator. When we pray, we get answers, then we are nurtured and we grow spiritually.
We begin by using a shell or bowl with a fan or feather. We then smudge the room, slowly walking clockwise around the perimeter of the room, fanning the smudge pot, keeping it lit and wafting the smoke about. Smudge any medicine tool you will be using such as pipe, jewelry, outfit, etc.
It is a good practice to smudge each person in a group, circle, ceremony, and lodge. Starting from the East and holding the smudge pot lit, each person can bathe themselves in the smoke. Many people smudge the heart area first, next the head area, and then the arms, then downward toward the legs. This isn’t the only way you can smudge. It isn’t wrong to smudge another way. We can purify and cleanse fairly regularly in this day and age with so much sickness and bad feelings around. “

I wish to ad, that in Siberia most indigenous people also use juniper, juniper berries, lavender, sage, cedar, pitch from pine, juniper and spruce as well as wild honey to smudge before proceeding with rituals.

Alkysch – I Bless you….

Alkysch

Alkysch is a word in our Siberian language and means Sacred Blessings coming from the Heart.

Before taking my finished Medicine Pieces to Markets and shows to sell, I invocate and bless them.

It looks somewhat like this:

Powers of the East,

Powers of New Beginnings!

Hear my voice,

hear my song,

hear my prayer!

.

Powers of the South

Powers of Growth, of teaching and learning!

Hear my voice,

hear my song,

hear my prayer!

.

Powers of the West!

Powers Prayers , of introspection and healing!

Hear my voice,

hear my song,

hear my prayer!

.

Powers of the North

Powers of Dreams, of Visions of the Wisdom and tradition of the Ancestors

Hear my voice,

hear my song,

hear my prayer!

.

Beloved Earth Mother

from where we all come and to where we all return

Hear my voice,

hear my song,

hear my prayer!

.

Revered Sky Father

home to the Earth Mother and all her siblings

Hear my voice,

hear my song,

hear my prayer!

.

Ee’rens of the 6 Sacred Directions

Humöüy Kangji

Great Mystery

Gemnedo’

Hear my voice,

hear my song,

hear my prayer!

.

I wish to call LIFE into these pieces made by me from Gifts from You!

I am humbly asking for Blessings for good energy and long life

For these tools created in the old Sacred Way!

I am giving thanks for all the different Gifts from the Wild I was able to use to create these pieces:

Spruce Grouse! I thank you for gifting me your mortal body as material for teaching tools!

Heron! I am thankful that you trusted me with your remains.

Raven! I am sorry, Amarook, the Wolf ate you, and hope you will be smarter, when next you re-emerge from an egg in a Raven’s nest. Death is just a journey through the dark side of the Endless Circle and like all of us, you will be back. For now, I will honor your feathers and use them well.

Hawk! I just found you. You were old and arthritic. You had a good long life. Now you have a little rest and I thank you for your body and your beautiful feathers.

Pheasant! Thank you for these feathers. May they be honored and admired as a part of these Medicine Tools and remind people about taking pride in their own heritage.

Blue Jay!I thank you for these feathers. May you live a long life and enjoy all the Sunflower seeds we put out for you.

Turkey. I am sorry, you ran across the road at the wrong time. I thank you for your feathers. They remind us of your Medicine, to give thanks to Mother Earth for all she provides for all of us.

Great Gray Owl! May you have food always and live a long healthy life! May your descendants be many!

Woodpecker – I still miss you every day.May you rest in peace and be re-born in spring.

Parrot – Philip! May you have food always and live a long healthy life! May you bring joy to your human family!

Deer family, I thank you for the gift of hide and hair. With the pieces of your body used here a part of you will live forever and remind the people of your gentle and none violent ways always.

Moose family: I thank you for the gift of bone and hide. With the pieces of your body used here a part of you will live forever and remind the people of your Medicine of balance between gentleness and strength always.

Fox family: I am so sorry, you, my little brother never got to play in the wild and were born raised and killed for your fur. Now you are free and this piece of your fur brings honor to your kind. Nay you sense the wind, the sun and the rain.

Pine Tree, I thank you for the gift of wood that became part of the handle of these pieces. May your family always have wind and water. May your family grow tall and plentiful.

I am thankful to everyone and every Being that worked on creating the beads I used here.Their labor is respected and reflected in these pieces.

I wish to give thanks to the Mineral family for the materials provided for beads and dyes.

I wish to honor everyone and everything that has found a place within these pieces.

In the Sacred Smoke of Cedar and Juniper I bless these pieces and call them to Life!

(singing the Life giving chant….)

And now it is done.

In Beauty it is finished.

In Beauty and humility they are released into the Great Circle of Life.

May they find an owner who cherishes and uses them in the most respectful way and with the best intentions only. May you all soar in your living Beinghood.

May you go out and be representatives and teachers of the old sacred ways.

May your owners be your partners in walking in Beauty and Balance.

Always.

May there be Blessings!

May there be Blessings!

May there be Blessings!

Always!

Shyan am’

Wings of Spirit

July is always a very hectic month for us. The Markets and craft shows are busy with eager customers looking for our handmade jewelry, and many of my patients and clients are “up at the cottage” for the holidays and want to see me , discuss problems or learn a little more about the Medicine ways.

For the last few days it was a mad rush at our house, to get “everything ready for the Muskoka Arts and Crafts annual Summer Show, that will take place from Friday to Sunday in Anny Williams Park here in Bracebridge.

Apart from numerous bracelets, pendants and earrings I also managed to work on 3 large smudging fans.

One is a large Heron wing fan, the other 2 are Ruffed Grouse, a wing feather fan and a tail feather fan.

It usually takes about 5 to 7 hours of work for each of them to get “dressed”

OK, first of all you have to expertly prepare them and let them dry properly – for anywhere between 3 and 5 month. ( You also could send a wing of to a taxidermist and have it done in about 5-10 days for upwards of $ 100.00, but I do not have that kind of money to spare…)

Anyway

Here they are:

Heron Wing Fan for smudging

This wing comes from a beautiful Heron who met a tragic end on Hwy 11; flying into an oncoming truck. I carefully and lovingly took the wings and feathers, preserved them in order to give this majestic bird a new life and transform its wing into a ritual tool infused with love and respect.

Materials:
Gichi Mooshka, the Heron -stands for order and patience, the pragmatist, leader of the Medicine Circle
For Celtic People Liilh the Heron laid the first ever egg = the egg of creation. She is the guardian of life and incarnation as well as for secret knowledge of longevity. A so called “Crane bag – a druidic medicine pouch was made of the feathered skin of a Heron or a Crane.
Deer leather = Wa-washkesh-shi symbolizes grace, swiftness and gentleness It lives in the dawn of morning. – Red = East, life force, black= West bridge across the void of fear
Hand carved bone Turtle with beads = Mother Earth
Wood, pottery and fashion seed beads,
Turquoise = healing gem of the Apache and Navaho People =prevention of injuries and harm
Fox Fur – recycled – Wagish, the Fox is smart, silent and a good provider and always has a smile on his face. He sees everything and chooses, when to be seen

Petroglyph drawings:
Spiral of Life= continuation of the life cycle

Feathers:

Spruce grouse = drumming, chanting, ceremony
Raven = mystery, lore, legend,ritual teachings
Pheasant = Pride in your own heritage
Heron – see above
Hawk = east, discernment, independence
Turkey = giving thanks for the abundance provided by Mother Earth
Hairy Woodpecker = little brother of the Thunderbird, dexterity, magic
Blue Jay = Messenger of the Forest People
Parrot = blue – truth

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Ruffed Grouse Wing Feather Fan: 

There she was! In the middle of the road. and there was NOTHING I could do.
Other than gently pick her up and carry her home. Her Spirit had long since left…
but left behind were her beautiful tail feathers and one perfectly intact wing. I decided, to preserve these pieces and bring honor and meaning to her life and her species. For Month I hmmmed and haaawed as to how best to mount the wing – then there was this bit of Fox fur and the idea was born….

Materials:
Spruce Grouse Wing: Grouse stands for drumming, dancing, Spring ceremonies
Deer leather = Wa-washkesh-shi symbolizes grace, swiftness and gentleness It lives in the dawn of morning. – Red = East, life force,
Hand carved bone face of Kikeebik, the Hawk with beads
Wood, pottery and fashion seed beads,
Turquoise = healing gem of the Apache and Navaho People =prevention of injuries and harm
Fox Fur – recycled – Wagish, the Fox is smart, silent and a good provider and always has a smile on his face. He sees everything and chooses, when to be seen

Petroglyph drawings:
Midewiwin medicine lodge mnemonics
Spiral of Life= continuation of the life cycle
Lattice grit = trance and visions
Turtle – Mother Earth, long life, patience

Feathers:

Spruce grouse = drumming, chanting, ceremony
Raven = mystery, lore, legend,ritual teachings
Pheasant = Pride in your own heritage
Heron = Gichi Mooshka, stands for order and patience, the pragmatist, leader of the
Medicine Circle
Hawk = East, discernment, independence from a cooper’s hawk I found a few days later
– on the same road…  😦
Turkey = giving thanks for the abundance provided by Mother Earth
Hairy Woodpecker = little brother of the Thunderbird, dexterity, magic
Blue Jay = Messenger of the Forest People
Great Gray Owl = Wisdom of Night, dreams and visions – guide to the shaman who heals and knows how to traverse into the land of the dead to call back a lost Soul

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Ruffed Grouse Tail Feather Fan:

Since this is  the tail of the same Bird, I dressed it with much the same attributes and accompanying feathers.

It however has a different Hawk design for a Center piece.


Siberian Spirits in our Art

Here, upon request, are a few pictures of Siberian petroglyphs and pictographs Bearpaw Jewellery  recreates:

Owl petroglyph from Tom River

with dancing shaman glyph from upper Amur River petroglyph

Sterling Silver, Brass and copper

$ 250.00 Can.

Reindeer talking  in my ear

Sterling silver and copper$ 110.00 can

This is my Great Grandmother Ulali 🙂 and she is not for sale!

But this simpler version is 🙂

Umai Ee’ne our Mother

Wall hanging on wood – Birch, Pine or Cedar on choice…..

price depending on size and what we are supposed to put onto her legs and body…..

= your choice

And this one is Sterling silver and turquoise, which is sacred to us

$ 130.00

And more Umai Eene for good measure – this one is copper only

$ 60.00

Siberian Tiger petroglyph from the Amur region

And the Snow Leopard from a stone relief in Tuva

Last for today is the Wolf from Eshkiolmes Mountain range, Koksu River, Kazakhstan

Another Day I will put up a fewpieces with shamans and petroglyphs and geoglyphs from North America and Europe….

But now I have to scoot and get my things for the Teaching Tent for the event on Thursday together 😉

Until then

Check www.bearpawjewellery.com for other treasures

Blessings!

Mi-Shell

Divine Abundance

My card today:

I am Divine Abundance!

🙂

It is true!

I am divine abundance and I am going to take this abundance to the Gravenhurst Farmers’ Market and set it all up and share it with others.

What a nice plan!

It is dark, rainy, and an icy North wind is blowing, as we set up. We struggggle with the tents and the sidewalls billowing in the gusts and knocking things over.

But 30 years of experience helps and 90 minutes later we are done. It looks soooo nice and promising. All the abundance set up in our tent and also in all the tents of our fellow vendors.

Now we all stand there – and wait. In the cooooold wind.

Peter shows of the few fresh Fiddle Heads he picked this morning.

No customers

Nobody in his or her right mind is venturing out in this weather. The thermometer fell from 12degrees Centigrade at 8.00am to 7 degrees at 10.00am. It should be the other way round!!! It should get warmer!!

It does not. (By nightfall we will have frost)

A few hurried shoppers brace themselves against the wind and walk from tent to tent, checking out all the divine abundance and lucky for us, we have 2 customers. A pair of Tree earrings and a Sterling silver Bear on Deer antler find a home in the hearts of their new owners.

Set tree earrings and pendant, Sterling Silver
hand crafted by us

Sterling Silver Bear on Deer Antler

Other vendors are not so lucky.

The 2 lovely and talented ladies across from us sell nothing.

We all are cooooooold!

I am wearing my winter jacket and have wrapped myself up in a sun-yellow wool blanket. Peter is asleep in our car.

We are all waiting for the time to pass, that 2.00 pm arrives and we can pack up.

At 1.00 it starts to drizzle.

Our neighbor had already taken down his tarps and now all the beautiful abundance on his table was getting wet 😦

 By 1.45 most of us have started packing up, glad, that we have a reason to move around and so – warm up

 At 2.15 all our abundances are packed away again, we are ready to leave, – and the sun comes out……

Better luck next week

Hope to see you all at the Market then!

  🙂

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Shameless advertisement alert:

See our abundance at

http://www.bearpawjewellery.com/

 

Intuiting Norval Morrisseau

We have a number of jewelry pieces in the “Gallery on the Lake” in Buckhorn, Ontatio.

From time to time they also sell one of my Medicine Pouches there  and so the gallery owner knows about my work as a shaman.

Shamanism, the Spirit World of his people and their lore and legends also were the main focus of  Native artist Norval Morrisseau’s art and several of his paintings are still available through this gallery.

Recently I was asked  by the owner to look at 2 of  the paintings of Morrisseau and write a short intuitive interpretation of what I see.

Here is, what I submitted:

Intuitive interpretation

Mi-Shell Jessen, Shaman, Healer, Educator, Artist

In his familiar highly stylized format, the Artist, Norval Morrisseau depicted 2 indigenous persons looking up.

The artist was himself deeply immersed in the shamanistic worldview of his people, the Anishnabe of Northwestern Ontario.

The painting reflects the color schemes of his people: primary colors, reds, greens, blues, yellows with black lines surrounding them.

The mouth of any Being depicted, is emphasized as the most important part, as it “speaks about the Spirit” of the Being, shows its  soul, while the eyes are seen as the windows (pools) into its soul.
Since the painting is called Shaman People I feel save to say, that we are looking at 3 shamans, looking in the same direction. The colors are light with yellow in the uppermost corner, which I feel, indicates they are looking at the morning sun, watching the sun rise and may very well be chanting their Morning Prayers to Gemnedoo, Great Spirit.

I find it very meaningful, how the 3 shamans are placed on the painting. It reminds me of the universal concept of the 3 worlds:

Lower World =the realm of the ancestors, of instinct, the unconscious, the realm where a shaman journeys (on his / her song l chant ) to find answers to problems and also learn of a cure for illness

Middle World =The realm of Man the natural world, Mother Earth, Father Sky and all the human and
none human relations of man (Four Leggeds, Winged Ones, Swimmers, Shape Changers = insects, the   Rock People the Green People, the Standing People…..)

Upper World: The realm of the archetypal Manitous, guides and teachers, that advise every shaman.

Might we here look at 3 Medicine People chanting the same song

– or is there a shaman calling his I her Spirit helpers and we see a Spirit from each of the 3 realms answering the call?

Painting “Inorganics”

Keeping in mind the mentioned background of the artist and his interest in shamanism as well as the title of the painting “Inorganics” I feel save to say, that we are here looking at a Spirit Being. It is partly human, partly Bear and partly Bird.

The human head, again with prominent mouth and eye is the human striving ever upwards to and beyond the limits of human knowledge and experience. The 2 Bird / allies give the shaman the ability to fly into any of the 3 previously mentioned realms, one looking up, one looking back from where the Spirit being originated. The most intriguing Spirit part however is the Bear, huge, heavy, fierce facial features, it speaks of the weight of the animal instinct, of the body, of the fierceness of the emotions and of the essentially earth-bound human existence.

Maqua, the Bear is the Power of the unconscious, the dreaming, the wisdom within our dreams, the inner teachings we all carry. But Maqua is also the fierce powerful healer, that gives the wisdom about healing plants to his human brothers and sisters, the one invited into the Midewewin Healing lodge.

The larger Bird in front is looking back upon the weighty earth-bound Maqua. He reminds me of Zhashagi, the Heron, mighty clan totem of the Anishnabe, the leader of the way, but also the pragmatist that keeps order within the circle.

While Zhashagi keeps order there is Gigiganenshii’, the Chickadee, who is the bringer of joy and spontaneity.

The red center of the painting may very well be the standing for heart.

I venture to say, that the Spirit Being we see here is the human soul with all its parts well integrated and on its flight into the light of the setting sun.

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More about Norval Morrisseau:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norval_Morrisseau

Gallery on the Lake:

http://www.galleryonthelake.com/dynamic/fr_artwork_display.asp?ArtworkID=17786