South Enters the Medicine Lodge

by Jasper Blowsnake


Jasper Blowsnake

Version 1


Hočąk-English Interlinear Text


(10) Of the four who lay at the four corners blowing some breaths upon us each day, the last one in the south is the smallest. He alone is the most famous. He is a Great One in control of Light and Life. Darkness never overtakes him. Never do bad winds come upon him. He set his lodge by the light, making it shimmer with Light and Life. As he made his way towards the Creation Lodge, however much of Earthmaker's light there is, of this he became arrayed. Then he went towards the Creation Lodge. After he took four steps, he stood before the door of the Creation Lodge. As he entered, the Creation Lodge was full, lacking nothing in light. When they concentrated their minds on the center of the lodge, its light sparkled. He turned right. (11) Then where he started from, the first Road in which he had tread, he made a peasant light to come. As South progressed down the Road, he made even more light. He sat proudly in the lodge of the One Whom They Call Nephew.1


Version 2


Hočąk-English Interlinear Text


A great Island Weight sits where there is the corner in the south, and he is connected to it. It is good. He is connected to Life. Consequently, I believe that I am one who has Life. The South made his thought reach us. He concentrated his mind on the Creation Lodge. He sent it down on the fourth night. He has concentrated his mind on whomever is looking for Life from him. When the time arrived, he came towards the Creation Lodge, and with what light Earthmaker had given him command, he arrayed himself and entered the Creation Lodge. He started upon the Road, and made the light there even greater. He made the light sparkle in the lodge.2


Commentary: "the four" — these are the Island Weights, spirit beings who hold down the earth to prevent its inertial spiral spin. They are variously said to be Waterspirits, Snakes, or Bears.

"breaths" — superficially, these are the Four Winds of the cardinal points. It also refers to the speeches made by the spirit impersonators during the rite. The word , "breath," also means "to be born, to be alive." So the breaths are a transposition of Hąp, "Light and Life," into another medium.

"the last one" — the youngest in any set is considered the most powerful.

"concentrate their minds" — this is a procedure used in other rites, such a those of hunting, to effect action at a distance and gain by psychic power a control over otherwise independent natural processes.

"the center of the lodge" — this is where the fire is placed. It is through this fire that offerings to the spirits are made.

"right" — the path around the central fire in the Medicine Rite is withershins:

North
West East
South

The South is the last stop on the Road (symbolic of the Road of Life and Death), and this is why he is said to be the last of the four Island Weights.

"the One Whom They Call Nephew" — this is Hare, the founder of the Medicine Rite. He was born of a virgin, so the entire human race is said to be his uncles and aunts.

"I believe" — the speaker is the man who impersonates the South Island Weight.

"whomever is looking for Life" — this is the initiate to the Medicine Lodge.


Links: Earthmaker, Island Weights, Hare.


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 Enters the Medicine Lodge, East Shakes the Messenger, The Arrows of the Medicine Rite Men (v. 1), Peace of Mind Regained; mentioning Island Weights: The Creation of the World, The Island Weight Songs, 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, 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; mentioning the Island Weight of the South: South Seizes the Messenger, Four Steps of the Cougar.

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, 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, 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), 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, East 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: East Enters the Medicine Lodge; the youngest offspring is superior: The Mission of the Five Sons of Earthmaker, Young Man Gambles Often, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Twins Cycle, The Two Boys, Bluehorn's Nephews, The Children of the Sun, The Creation of the World (v. 12), The Race for the Chief's Daughter, Įčorúšika and His Brothers, The Raccoon Coat, Wojijé, How the Thunders Met the Nights, He Who Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, Sun and the Big Eater, Buffalo Clan Origin Myth, Bear Clan Origin Myth (vv. 4, 7), Snake Clan Origins, Snake Clan Origins, Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth; someone is able to exert supernatural power upon an object by concentrating his mind upon it: Hare Establishes Bear Hunting, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, The Petition to Earthmaker, The Messengers of Hare, Otter Comes to the Medicine Rite, The Blessing of Kerexųsaka.


Notes

1 Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks, Freeman #3890 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Library, n.d.) Winnebago III, #4: 10-11; Paul Radin, The Road of Life and Death: A Ritual Drama of the American Indians. Bollingen Series V (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973 [1945]) 222-223 (English translation).

2 Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks, Freeman #3876 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Library, n.d.) Winnebago II, #6: 187-188 (original handwritten interlinear text); Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks, Freeman #3886 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Library, n.d.) Winnebago III, #6: 389.66-390.72 (revised phonetic text); Radin, The Road of Life and Death, 273 (English translation).