Madoodiswan as Sacred Maternal Pedagogy

  • Renee E. Mazinegiizhigoo-kwe Bedard


Madoodiswan (sweatlodge) offers a maternal-reconnection to the first Mother, Aki (Earth), and Gizhew-Manidoo (Creator; Great Spirit Being;The Great Mystery). Both aspects embody the sacred feminine. The lodge environment is a site of creation and re-creation to purify the mind, body, and spirit. The Madoodiswan is also a learning space where guidance can be sought and given from our ancestors aadizookaanag (spirit grandfathers), bawaaganag (guardian spirits appearing in dreams), personal doodem (clan) helpers, Gizhew-Manidoo, and Nimaamaa-Aki (Mother Earth herself). Anishinaabeg refer to this maternal-pedagogical method as aanji-niigiweshkamong enweying shka-kimi-kweng: reconnecting our voice with Creation. The ceremony reminds us of the womb. I was transported when I sat on the floor of the cold lodge, listening to my Elder Edna Manitowabi sing to her ancestors. The warm air and the medicines were a vehicle. I was brought into a time and space where the dirt floor was no longer there. The stars shone in that space and I heard Edna singing as if through water. I was in the womb. I had a vision of the role of the sacred feminine, motherhood, pregnancy and birth in the scheme of Creation. I was simultaneously feeling the Creation of the universe, my time in my mothers womb and a perspective of what my children would see inside my womb.