Hare Secures the Creation Lodge of the Medicine Rite

by Jaspar Blowsnake
retold by Richard L. Dieterle


Jasper Blowsnake

It was Hare, He whom we call Nephew, who secured for humanity the Creation Lodge of the Medicine Rite. In a grand assembly, all the spirits, those from above, those from below, those from the four quarters of the cosmos, and even the great spirits, gathered together. They concentrated their minds upon the center of this Lodge of Life. On that perfect day the Medicine Rite came from the seat of all Creation, where Earthmaker himself dwells. From on high he looked down with satisfaction upon what he had created, a creation reserved solely for mankind.

Then Earthmaker realized that the human beings would need a companion in this Rite, so from one of his ribs he created our Grandfather, the Sacred Woman. He gave him a well-shaped body and a fine voice. When he was finished, Earthmaker launched him towards the east, and there he landed where a bluff ascends from the waters. There he made a lodge, and there he obtained visions through which he gained his knowledge. Then one day he told his wife how it pass that Hare would come to create a means for giving added life to his uncles and aunts. Then he said, "Before I left, the Creator bestowed upon me a feather bundle that also contained paints. Now is the time that they are to be used." Thus he said, and he opened his bundle. He painted the part in his hair blue, and put two eagle feathers on his head. Then he put one eagle feather on each of his limbs. From the clays that cover our Grandmother, Earth, he painted each of his limbs. His apparel was magnificent to behold. He began his journey. He took four steps, and at the fourth he uttered, Ehoho-o-o-o-o, weha, weha, as he patted his mouth. Then he drew in a rush of air. Four times he did this, and each time the earth shook and quaked. The trees lowered their branches in obeisance to him. Even the spirits feared his holiness, and made a space for him as he approached the Creation Lodge. At his fourth cry, there he was before the lodge. Then the lodge was enveloped with a great heat. "Behold," said the spirits, "we have made a place for you." But he did not abide there, but instead strode towards the center of the lodge where our Grandfather dwells — he whom it is dangerous to stand against. Right there he sat, yet his clothes were unconsumed as a great blue light emanated from his headdress.

Then four boys entered, and they walked first to East, then they stood in front of North, then West, and finally South. Afterwards an enormous bear walked in, a bear almost as big as the lodge. He did exactly as the boys had done. Then he sat facing the east, and he assumed a white appearance. His brilliant white teeth chattered as they shined from his red lips. He took each of the boys and bent him inwards. When the bear himself covered the lodge, all was darkness. Then four other boys entered. They did as the others had done, then positioned themselves in front of Hare. They carried sticks with stones mounted on them. Hare, Trickster, Earth, and Turtle picked up the boys and put them in place.

Then Turtle made himself invisible. Then he went to where the Chief of the Island Weights dwelt. After much pleading, this great Waterspirit gave him the sacred water which he sought. When he returned, Turtle cast the water upon the Sacred Woman's breast, and suddenly there burst forth Light and Life. And when the light had ceased flashing, there upon Turtle's own breast was the cruciform emblem of Light and Life. And the light streamed into the Creation Lodge in four rainbows. Now the lodge, which had been darkened by the bear, was as bright and well lit as daylight.

Then Hare addressed Grandmother: "Have you nothing in the way of knowledge to impart?" "Yes, grandson, I have this — behold." And Earth took pieces of her own čo (blue/green) hair and entwined them together and secured them with a knot. "When your uncles and aunts make this aright, they will have made for themselves a knot of Life. Let them remember me with a handful of tobacco." Then East took from her the knot of čo hair and with it cast Turtle upon the Sacred Woman, and touched his navel. Then Turtle put the Sacred Woman upon his breast four times, and each time he breathed heavily and made the cry, Ehoho-o-o-o, weha weha, as he patted his mouth. Thus it was.1


Commentary. "our Grandfather, the Sacred Woman" — this is the stone of the steam bath. The stone itself is given the ritualistic name "Sacred Woman," but the heat of the stone is considered masculine.2 Stones generally are a manifestation of a being called "the Female Spirit," who came into existence when Earthmaker scattered stones over the earth to bring it to rest. (See 1)

"our Grandfather" — this refers to the fire. Even though he is sitting right in the fire, his person is unaffected.

"a bear almost as big as the lodge" — Radin remarks that this bear is to be the covering of the lodge, which accounts for his great size. "The imagery [of the bear] is also supposed to indicate how the vapor-bath lodge is really enclosed within the body of a spirit, a spirit of fierce demeanor and threatening claws and teeth. Into this animal spirit those who are to take the vapor-bath must enter. They must be terrified and yet strong enough in purpose to overcome it."3

"bent him inwards" — these boys represent the poles that form the frame of the lodge.4

"sticks with stones" — these are the stones and railings around the fireplace.5

"there burst forth Light and Life" — this symbolizes not only life, but most particularly the life force embodied in the steam that rises from the stone.

"hair" — this refers to the grass which is used as a sprinkler used to cast water on the heated stone to make steam.6

"cast Turtle" — here Turtle has become water.

"each time" — the sounds are meant to echo those made by water as it strikes a hot stone.


Links: Earthmaker, Rock Spirits, Hare, Bear Spirits, Earth, Turtle, Island Weights, Waterspirits, Fire, Trickster.


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; featuring Hare as a character: The Hare Cycle, Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Necessity for Death, The Mission of the Five Sons of Earthmaker, Hare Acquires His Arrows, Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, Hare Kills Wildcat, The Messengers of Hare, Hare Kills Flint, Hare Kills Sharp Elbow, Hare Visits His Grandfather Bear, Grandmother Packs the Bear Meat, Hare Visits the Bodiless Heads, Hare Visits the Blind Men, Hare Kills a Man with a Cane, Hare Burns His Buttocks, Hare Gets Swallowed, Hare Establishes Bear Hunting, Grandmother's Gifts, Hare and the Grasshoppers, The Spirit of Gambling, The Red Man, Maize Origin Myth, Hare Steals the Fish, The Animal who would Eat Men, The Gift of Shooting, Hare and the Dangerous Frog, Thunder Cloud is Blessed, The Coughing Up of the Black Hawks, The Animal Spirit Aids of the Medicine Rite, The Petition to Earthmaker; mentioning Creation Lodges (Wogųzočíra): The Creation Council, 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 Enters the Medicine Lodge, East Shakes the Messenger, The Arrows of the Medicine Rite Men (v. 1), Peace of Mind Regained, South Enters the Medicine Lodge; mentioning Rock Spirits: The Big Stone, The Green Man, The Creation of the World, The Commandments of Earthmaker, The Seer, The Roaster, Wojijé, The Raccoon Coat, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, Hare Kills Flint, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, A Woman Turns into a Rock, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle; featuring Turtle as a character: The Mission of the Five Sons of Earthmaker, Turtle's Warparty, Turtle and the Giant, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, Soft Shelled Turtle Gets Married, Turtle and the Merchant, Redhorn's Father, Redhorn's Sons, Turtle and the Witches, The Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, Trickster Soils the Princess, Morning Star and His Friend, Grandfather's Two Families, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, Kunu's Warpath, Redhorn Contests the Giants, Redhorn and His Brothers Marry, The Skunk Origin Myth, The Hočąk Migration Myth, Porcupine and His Brothers, The Creation of Man, The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty, The Father of the Twins Attempts to Flee, The Chief of the Heroka, The Spirit of Gambling, The Nannyberry Picker, The Markings on the Moon (v. 2), The Green Man, The Hočągara Contest the Giants, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Coughing Up of the Black Hawks, The Petition to Earthmaker, The Origins of the Milky Way; 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, The Two Boys, Creation of the World (v. 5), Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, The Brown Squirrel, Snowshoe Strings, Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, East Enters the Medicine Lodge, 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; featuring Grandmother Earth as a character: Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Maize Origin Myth, Grandmother Packs the Bear Meat, Grandmother's Gifts, Owl Goes Hunting, Hare and the Grasshoppers, Hare Acquires His Arrows, The Plant Blessing of Earth, Hare Visits His Grandfather Bear, Hare Visits the Bodiless Heads, Hare Burns His Buttocks, Hare Gets Swallowed, Hare Kills Wildcat, Hare and the Dangerous Frog, Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, The Necessity for Death, Hare Steals the Fish, Hare Kills Sharp Elbow, Hare Kills Flint, The Gift of Shooting, The Creation of the World, The Creation of Man (vv 4, 6), Hare Establishes Bear Hunting, Redhorn's Father (?); mentioning Island Weights: The Creation of the World, The Island Weight Songs, South Enters the Medicine Lodge, East Shakes the Messenger, East Enters the Medicine Lodge, 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, 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; in which Waterspirits occur as characters: Waterspirit Clan Origin Myth, Traveler and the Thunderbird War, The Green Waterspirit of Wisconsin Dells, The Lost Child, River Child and the Waterspirit of Devil's Lake, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, Bluehorn's Nephews, Holy One and His Brother, The Seer, The Nannyberry Picker, The Creation of the World (vv. 1, 4), Šųgepaga, The Sioux Warparty and the Waterspirit of Green Lake, The Waterspirit of Lake Koshkonong, The Waterspirit of Rock River, The Boulders of Devil's Lake, Devil's Lake — How it Got its Name, Old Man and Wears White Feather, Waterspirits Keep the Corn Fields Wet, The Diving Contest, The Lost Blanket, Redhorn's Sons, The Phantom Woman, Įčorúšika and His Brothers, Great Walker's Warpath, White Thunder's Warpath, The Descent of the Drum, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, Snowshoe Strings, The Thunderbird, Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp (v. 2), The Two Children, The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins, Paint Medicine Origin Myth, Waruǧápara, Ocean Duck, The Twin Sisters, Trickster Concludes His Mission, The King Bird, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Great Walker's Medicine (v. 2), Peace of Mind Regained, How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Spiritual Descent of John Rave's Grandmother, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, The Shaggy Man, The Woman who Married a Snake (?), Ghost Dance Origin Myth I, The Sacred Lake, Lost Lake; in 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, The Four Steps of the Cougar, East Shakes the Messenger, East Enters the Medicine Lodge, North Shakes His Gourd, The Descent of the Drum (v. 2), The Man Whose Wife was Captured (v. 2), see Young Man Gambles Often (Commentary); featuring Trickster as a character: The Trickster Cycle, Trickster Gets Pregnant, Trickster's Warpath, Trickster's Anus Guards the Ducks, Lake Winnebago Origin Myth, The Mission of the Five Sons of Earthmaker, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, Trickster Soils the Princess, Trickster, the Wolf, the Turtle, and the Meadow Lark, Soft Shelled Turtle Gets Married, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Trickster Concludes His Mission, The Abduction and Rescue of Trickster, The Elk's Skull, Trickster and the Mothers, The Markings on the Moon, The Spirit of Gambling, The Woman who Became an Ant, The Green Man, The Red Man, Trickster Takes Little Fox for a Ride, Trickster Loses His Meal, Trickster's Tail, A Mink Tricks Trickster, Trickster's Penis, Trickster Loses Most of His Penis, The Scenting Contest, The Bungling Host, Mink Soils the Princess, Trickster and the Children, Trickster and the Eagle, Trickster and the Geese, Trickster and the Dancers, Trickster and the Honey, Trickster's Adventures in the Ocean, The Pointing Man, Trickster's Buffalo Hunt, Trickster Eats the Laxative Bulb, Trickster Visits His Family, The Coughing Up of the Black Hawks, The Petition to Earthmaker, Waruǧápara; mentioning Our Grandfather the Sacred Woman: Lifting Up the Bear Heads, cf. The Creation of the World (v. 12); mentioning teeth: The Animal who would Eat Men, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, Hare and the Dangerous Frog, The Girl who Refused a Blessing from the Wood Spirits, The Two Boys, The Birth of the Twins, The Twins Disobey Their Father, Wears White Feather on His Head, The Dipper, Wolves and Humans, The Commandments of Earthmaker, The Children of the Sun, The Green Man, Holy One and His Brother, Partridge's Older Brother, The Brown Squirrel, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, East Shakes the Messenger, Lifting Up the Bear Heads, White Wolf, Buffalo Clan Origin Myth.

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, Lifting Up the Bear Heads, East Enters the Medicine Lodge (v. 1), 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), East Enters the Medicine Lodge (v. 2), 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 Anishinaabe 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, Traveler and the Thunderbird War (v. 5), The Gift of Shooting, East Shakes the Messenger, The Descent of the Drum, East Enters the Medicine Lodge, South Enters the Medicine Lodge, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, The Petition to Earthmaker, The Boy who would be Immortal; an old man is, or becomes, a rock: The Raccoon Coat, The Seer, The Big Stone; a person (or spirit) aids someone in a task by concentrating his mind upon it: Hare Establishes Bear Hunting, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp, The Petition to Earthmaker, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter; something is of a (symbolic) pure white color: White Bear, Deer Spirits, The Journey to Spiritland (v. 4), White Flower, Big Eagle Cave Mystery, The Fleetfooted Man, Thunderbird and White Horse, The Orphan who was Blessed with a Horse, Worúxega, The Two Boys, The Lost Blanket (white spirits), Skunk Origin Myth, He Who Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, White Wolf, A Man and His Three Dogs, The Messengers of Hare, The Brown Squirrel, The Man Who Fell from the Sky, Bladder and His Brothers, White Thunder's Warpath, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth, The Dipper, Great Walker's Medicine (v. 2), Creation of the World (v. 12), The Descent of the Drum, Tobacco Origin Myth (v. 5), The Diving Contest, Otter Comes to the Medicine Rite, The Arrows of the Medicine Rite Men, The Animal Spirit Aids of the Medicine Rite, Grandmother's Gifts, Four Steps of the Cougar, The Completion Song Origin, North Shakes His Gourd, Lifting Up the Bear Heads, Thunder Cloud is Blessed, Peace of Mind Regained.


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]) 198-202.

2 Radin, The Road of Life and Death, 339 ntt 4, 11.

3 Radin, The Road of Life and Death, 339-340 nt 21.

4 Radin, The Road of Life and Death, 339 nt 19.

5 Radin, The Road of Life and Death, 340 nt 23.

6 Radin, The Road of Life and Death, 340 ntt 27-28.