Monday, May 9, 2022

My indigenous naming ceremony (May 1 2022)

For 40 years, i have wondered who i was and wondered where i fit into the world.

I am Ojibwe and I am Indigenous Canadian. I didn’t look into my past until much later in my life.

This past year I began a journey that began with what I thought was a dream. I learned quickly that it was much more then a dream, it was a vision that i’d had since I was a child but it never clicked til this past January.

I dreamt that I was a Fox and i was something more then a man. I was seeing a land in a time before man could speak, before our lands were taken and when man,animal and spirit lived in harmony.

I continued to reach out and explore my visions and they came much more quickly and with a lot of clarity and intensity. I saw lakes and rivera during spring time, i watched storms roll in over Lake Huron and Georgian bay and finally i saw waterfalls that only the spirits knew of.

The Fox or Wagoosh was guiding me and I was him and i ran, jumped and explored and met many. I met Creator or an Avatar of him, i met a Makwa (bear) spirit. I learned to explore these visions to hear, taste and touch and more.

I began smudging this month and offering tobacco and things started to change.

I started to change.

Time went on and I knew it was time.

I sought out a person who was an Elder and a person that I knew I could trust. I believe Creator puts people in your life when you need them and this was my time.

I felt very deep down in my heart that it was time.

It was time to know who i was on a deeper level, to know myself in a new way.

To know my Spirit name.

I asked my elder and he agreed and a date was set.

During the few weeks leading up to the ceremony, i was not afraid but occasionally nervous because what if it wasn’t time.

However, i knew deep down that my body was afraid but my spirit was not.

Wagoosh had lead me this far. Creator had guided my voice and words when i smudged.

This was my time and it was time to prepare.

I spent many nights meditating, offering tobacco and feast to the spirits that i can see and hear.

One of my special gifts is that i am aware of spirits and see them frequently. My home is a safe space for those who are lost and if i can help then i will.

Part of the tradition is to give a gift to your elder that means something and wrap it in red cloth with some tobacco.

I chose something that has become very important to me and how i live in the world.

Days passed and i continued until this past Sunday.

I did one final offering of tobacco and i smudged and i knew i was as ready as i was going to be.

Sunday afternoon came and i met my elder. He is a warm and generous man with experience, love and truly someone who does great work.

Now some details i will leave out here because some of it is personal and those are for a few chosen few but i’ll continue to tell this story.

Blaire, Shanyn and myself and my elder smudged and cleansed our minds,spirits and bodies of all negativity and existed in the moment.

My elder began the ceremony.

There was singing,drumming and communing with something powerful and beautiful.

I watched a flame during the ceremony and i saw things in it that were clear as daylight. I saw a woman bathed in a golden light, i saw loons dancing on a lake, the crow, the eagle, the beaver and much more.

The ceremony continued and I was given something special by the spirits and was watched over by my ancestors.

I was given gifts and knowledge that will make my journey in life very special. I know in my heart what my path forward is.

I was visited by a Mukwa (bear) and was told I have the ability to be a medicine keeper. This is special because it is rare.

The ceremony is nearing its end and i can FEEL the energy in the room change as i lovingly looked into the flame. I am surrounded by my ancestors, my family and love.

I am told that my spirit guide is Wagoosh and he will always be with me to guide me to safety and comfort.

I was then told my name.

My name is O’dah ziibing

It means Heart of the river.

My heart travels within the water and i deliver food,drink and healing to all. I help sustain life for everyone.

I cried when i heard my name and i cried when i first spoke my name with my own voice.

We then concluded the ceremony with a feast to the spirits and Creator. Blaire made venison,fry bread,fish, wild rice casserole and it was delicious.

We offered a plate to Creator and the spirits who joined us as well.

My elder departed and we shook hands and i thanked him profusely. I wish i had hugged him before he left in retrospect.

I am learning to say my name and where i am from in Ojibwe. Its a process but i’ll get there.

It was easily one of the most beautiful days of my life.

I am grateful for everyone who has been apart of my journey and has followed it from near or far.

I am Michael David O’dah Ziibing Ashkewe and my journey to make things better for everyone is just beginning.