East Enters the Medicine Lodge

by Jasper Blowsnake


Jasper Blowsnake

Version 1


Hočąk-English Interlinear Text


(110) And the one in the east will go to the Creation Lodge, and when he was made to take four steps, he came up to the door. The door was not something to be shut, but it is not the proper practice to make a sprit of weak mind pass through. He made him come here to the door. Inasmuch as he was put in charge of Hąp (Light-and-Life), Earthmaker made him in the image of his own body. The Hąp intensified. The Hąp came to shine in the lodge. And when he went around the lodge, he came near to the fire there. As he proceeded, the Hąp of the fire was imprinted. The Hąp in the lodge began to flicker, and then he did it, and at the door at the end of the Road, he sang, making his ruhį́č. He used a life-engendering greeting (wiruhįč).1


Version 2


Hočąk-English Interlinear Text


(378) What kind of great Island Weight was sitting in the east? (379) My Grandson felt it was done as he went towards the Creation Lodge. After he paced out four steps, he came to the door. There was nothing with which to close the Creation Lodge door, and yet no spirit with a weak mind could get in, that's how it was. The one in the east came inside, and he placed there as much Hąp as he had charge of. The Maker of Things had clothed him with that much, and he did this. He went the whole length of the earth on the Road by the fire. Imprinted with Hąp, the center of the lodge made the light full. He could not stumble upon the Road, that's the way he proceeded. Then he talked about the Hąp. He made the day become beautiful. Nowhere was there wind, the clouds of the day were only like cobwebs waving on from what they seemed to hang.2


Commentary. "the Creation Lodge" — Radin explains in a note, "He's speaking about the original lodge. The man in the east gets up and tells how the original man of the east got up and walked towards the tent do[or]. The lodge was not to be entered by a weakling, even a minor spirit could not let his thoughts enter it."3

"Hąp" — this word means, "light, daylight, day"; but in addition, just as in Christianity, this word is used as a metaphor for life. In this context, Radin usually translates Hąp as "Light-and-Life."

"intensified" — Radin clarifies this: "& when he walked in, it made an addition to life (light)."4

"imprinted" — in a note on the opposite page, Radin remarks, "he imprinted in his footsteps the day."5

"the end of the Road" — he has made a complete interior circuit of the lodge and has returned to his starting point at the (eastern) door. Substituting time for space, this symbolizes the end of life; but since a perfect circle has been made, it also symbolizes rebirth which begins after the example of the sun, by recommencing in the east. As a circle, the end of the Road of Life and Death is also its beginning.

"sang" — Radin says in a note, "The song he sings is a sort of greeting to his path."6 The song is omitted.

"ruhį́č" — a reverential greeting. As a gesture, it is made by slowly raising the right hand with open palm before the face of the person who is to be shown respect.

"Grandson" — this seems to be the Island Weight of the east, save that he should be addressed in this context as "Grandfather," unless we suppose the narrator is speaking as Earthmaker himself. The Creation Lodge is the first place in which the Medicine Rite was held. The leader of the East Band is reenacting the original entrance of the Waterspirit of the East into the Creation Lodge, so "my Grandson" ought to refer to him. However, the word translated as "grandson" is híčųšge, which also means nephew (sister's son). Hare, who created the Medicine Rite, is usually referred to as "He Whom They Call Nephew" (Hičųšgé Gikarájirera); consequently, it may be Hare to whom the expression híčųšge-hara refers.

"stumble" — those who are killed on the warpath are said to experience a sensation like stumbling. Here that metaphor stands for the liberation of the soul at death as well.


Links: Earthmaker, Fire, Bear Spirits.


Stories: pertaining to the Medicine Rite: The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Journey to Spiritland, Holy Song, Holy Song II, Maize Origin Myth, The Necessity for Death, Hog's Adventures, Great Walker's Warpath, see also Other Stories from Jasper Blowsnake's account of the Medicine Rite; mentioning Creation Lodges (Wogųzočíra): The Creation Council, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge of the Medicine Rite, The Descent of the Drum, The Four Steps of the Cougar, The Nightspirits Bless Jobenągiwįxka, The Boy who would be Immortal, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Animal Spirit Aids of the Medicine Rite, Otter Comes to the Medicine Rite, East Shakes the Messenger, The Arrows of the Medicine Rite Men (v. 1), Peace of Mind Regained, South Enters the Medicine Lodge; mentioning Earthmaker: The Creation of the World, The Creation of Man, The Commandments of Earthmaker, The Twins Get into Hot Water, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, The Lost Blanket, Earthmaker Blesses Wagíšega (Wešgíšega), The Man Who Would Dream of Mą’ųna, The First Snakes, Tobacco Origin Myth, The Creation Council, The Gray Wolf Origin Myth, The Journey to Spiritland, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, The Seven Maidens, The Descent of the Drum, Thunder Cloud Marries Again, The Spider's Eyes, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, Hawk Clan Origin Myth, Fourth Universe, Šųgepaga, The Fatal House, The Twin Sisters, Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth, Elk Clan Origin Myth, Deer Clan Origin Myth, Bear Clan Origin Myth, Wolf Clan Origin Myth, The Masaxe War, The Two Children, Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Petition to Earthmaker, The Gift of Shooting, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, Bluehorn's Nephews, The Stone Heart, The Wild Rose, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins, The Lame Friend, How the Hills and Valleys were Formed, The Hočąk Migration Myth, The Necessity for Death, Hočąk Clans Origin Myth, The War among the Animals, Lake Winnebago Origin Myth, Blue Mounds, Lost Lake, The Hočągara Migrate South, The Spirit of Gambling, Turtle and the Giant, The Shawnee Prophet — What He Told the Hočągara, The Hočągara Contest the Giants, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, Bird Origin Myth, Black and White Moons, Redhorn's Sons, Holy Song, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, Death Enters the World, Man and His Three Dogs, Trickster Concludes His Mission, Story of the Thunder Names, The Origins of the Milky Way, Trickster and the Dancers, Ghost Dance Origin Myth I,The Creation of Evil, The Blessing of Kerexųsaka, Song to Earthmaker, The Blessing of the Bow, The Origin of the Cliff Swallow; mentioning Island Weights: The Creation of the World, The Island Weight Songs, South Enters the Medicine Lodge, East Shakes the Messenger, North Shakes His Gourd, Wolves and Humans, Šųgepaga, Traveler and the Thunderbird War (v. 2), The Lost Blanket, Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth (v. 1), The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, South Seizes the Messenger, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins, The Messengers of Hare, Paint Medicine Origin Myth, Four Steps of the Cougar, The Petition to Earthmaker; which fire plays a role: The Creation Council, Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth, The Warbundle of the Eight Generations, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, The Four Steps of the Cougar, East Shakes the Messenger, North Shakes His Gourd, The Descent of the Drum (v. 2), see Young Man Gambles Often (Commentary); mentioning (spirit) bears (other than were-bears): White Bear, Blue Bear, Black Bear, Red Bear, Bear Clan Origin Myth, The Shaggy Man, Bear Offers Himself as Food, Hare Visits His Grandfather Bear, Grandmother Packs the Bear Meat, The Spotted Grizzly Man, Hare Establishes Bear Hunting, The Woman Who Fought the Bear, Brass and Red Bear Boy, Redhorn's Sons, The Meteor Spirit and the Origin of Wampum, The Wolf Clan Origin Myth, Hočąk Clans Origin Myth, The Messengers of Hare, Bird Clan Origin Myth, The Hočąk Migration Myth, Red Man, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, Lifting Up the Bear Heads, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, The Two Boys, Creation of the World (v. 5), Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, The Brown Squirrel, Snowshoe Strings, Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Lake Winnebago Origin Myth, The Spider's Eyes, Little Priest's Game, Little Priest, How He went out as a Soldier, Morning Star and His Friend (v. 2), How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, Trickster's Tail, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Warbundle Maker, cf. Fourth Universe.

Stories from Jasper Blowsnake's account of the Medicine Rite (The Road of Life and Death) in notebook order: The Shell Anklets Origin Myth (v. 1), Keramaniš’aka's Blessing, The Woman's Scalp Medicine Bundle, The Blessing of Kerexųsaka, Historical Origins of the Medicine Rite, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge of the Medicine Rite, Lifting Up the Bear Heads, The Creation of the World (v. 12), The Creation of Man (v. 8), Otter Comes to the Medicine Rite, The Journey to Spiritland (v. 4), Testing the Slave, South Enters the Medicine Lodge (v. 2), The Descent of the Drum (v. 1), The Commandments of Earthmaker, The Coughing Up of the Black Hawks, The Animal Spirit Aids of the Medicine Rite, The Arrows of the Medicine Rite Men (v. 2), East Shakes the Messenger, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth (v. 4), The Messengers of Hare (v. 2), North Shakes His Gourd, Grandmother's Gifts, South Seizes the Messenger, Four Steps of the Cougar, The Messengers of Hare (v. 1), The Island Weight Songs, The Petition to Earthmaker, A Snake Song Origin Myth, The Completion Song Origin, Great Walker's Medicine (v. 2), Great Walker and the Ojibwe Witches, The Diving Contest, The Sweetened Drink Song, The Plant Blessing of Earth, Tobacco Origin Myth (v. 3), The Tap the Head Medicine, The Claw Shooter, Tobacco Origin Myth (v. 4), Peace of Mind Regained, The Journey to Spiritland (v. 5), A Wife for Knowledge, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth (v. 2), The Descent of the Drum (v. 2), South Enters the Medicine Lodge (v. 1), Death Enters the World.


Themes: spirits meet in a council: The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, Black and White Moons, Holy One and His Brother, The Creation Council, The Children of the Sun, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, Traveler and the Thunderbird War (v. 5), The Gift of Shooting, East Shakes the Messenger, The Descent of the Drum, South Enters the Medicine Lodge, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, The Petition to Earthmaker, The Boy who would be Immortal; a leader of a cardinal direction first enters the Creation Lodge of the Medicine Rite: South Enters the Medicine Lodge; having the power to control the winds and/or the weather: Deer Clan Origin Myth, Wolf Clan Origin Myth, Bear Clan Origin Myth (vv. 1, 5), Blue Bear, The Gray Wolf Origin Myth, The Chief of the Heroka, East Shakes the Messenger, South Seizes the Messenger, The Dipper.


Notes:

1 Paul Radin, The Road of Life and Death: A Ritual Drama of the American Indians. Bollingen Series V (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973 [1945]) 215. For the original texts, see Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks, Freeman #3876 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Winnebago II, #6: 110.

2 Radin, The Road of Life and Death, 267. For the original texts, see Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks, Freeman #3876 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Winnebago II, #6: 181-182, and Winnebago III, #6: 378.10-380.17 (revised phonetic text).

3 Winnebago II, #6: 109 verso.

4 Winnebago II, #6: 109 verso.

5 Winnebago II, #6: 109 verso.

6 Winnebago II, #6: 109 verso.