There are many aspects of Anishinabe spirituality. Below are some aspects compiled from the text, Anishnabe 101: The Basics of what you need to know to begin your journey on the Red Road written and published by The Circle of Turtle Lodge.
The Smudging Ceremony
This is a Cleansing Ceremony. It opens most of our activities and helps transport one into the calm focused world of spiritual gatherings. Irvin Sarazin often performs the Smudging Ceremony for our community. A smudge is made by lighting a match (preferred to a lighter) to a ball of dried plant medicines so that it smolders. The material is often held in a shell or ceramic bowl. It is most common to use: tobacco, sage, cedar and sweetgrass.
- Tobacco is used as an offering before you harvest anything from Mother Earth. It is believed to open the door between our world and the Spiritual World and carries our prayers to the Creator in the sky.
- Sage is believed to be a masculine plant and it reduces or eliminates negative energy.
- Cedar offers protection and grounding. It can be placed at entrances to a home. For extra grounding it is placed in shoes for daily wear.
- Sweetgrass is a feminine plant that teaches kindness because it bends without breaking. Because sweetgrass is considered to be the hair of Mother Earth, we show respect to her by braiding it before it is picked. In a smudge it is used to attract positive energy.
The smoke from these four dried medicines is pushed forward with an Eagle Feather. When we smudge, we first cleanse our hands with the smoke rising from the smudge bowl as if we were washing our hands. Then we draw its smoke over our hearts, our mouths, eyes, ears, small of back and our feet.
* see note below
The Pipe Ceremony
This is a Thanking Ceremony. It begins first with a Smudging. Everything and everyone utilized in the Pipe Ceremony will first be cleansed with a smudging.
There are two parts to a pipe: the bowl and the stem. They are put together only for the occasion of the ceremony. The bowl is the female part, made from one of the Stone people of Mother Earth. The stem is the male part, made from one of the Standing people from Mother Earth. When they are put together, the Spirit of the Pipe lives - the smoke its its breath.
After the cleansing the pipe carrier will begin the ceremony by filling the pipe. A pinch of the smoking mixture will be offered to each of the seven directions with a prayerful request for their participation, then it will be put into the bowl. The pipe ceremony is often requested for a reason. The pipe carrier will share this with the participants.
The smoke of the pipe is not to be inhaled into the lungs; rather it is encouraged to ascend to the Creator by being drawn through the stem by the smoker who then releases it from his or her mouth. As the pipe carrier lights the pipe, he/she will wash this smoke over their head and body as they pray. The smoke is offered to the East, then the South, the West and finally the North. After this it is offered to the Sky (above), to Mother Earth (below) and to the Creator (the centre). Between each direction the pipe is rotated to indicate the change in direction.
Participants take only one turn drawing smoke from the pipe and they pray only to the Creator. Those in the circle will receive the pipe in turn and it will return clockwise to the pipe carrier. The carrier will then empty any remains from the pipe bowl, clean it, take apart the pipe, wrap the parts up and return them to their medicine bundle.
* Both the pipe and smudging ceremonies are considered sacred. They are not to be photographed or videotaped. These smudging photos were permitted as they were practice smudgings used to educate preschoolers.