In this month’s constellations spotlight, we will discuss two Anishinaabek constellations that are prominent this time of year: faint (the sweat lodge) and Noondeshin Bemaadizid (the exhausted bather).
faint (the sweat lodge) and Black people
faint It appears among the same stars as the Greek constellation of Corona Borealis and is of great importance to many indigenous peoples.
To see the Sweat Lodge properly, you need to turn in the opposite direction and face north.
According to Professor Will Morin, The Sweat Lodge – “Darkness” either “My friend”(doodoosh–breast) has been an integral part of an important purification ceremony since ancient times.
As a reminder of our origins, as a child in the womb, this cleansing/purification ritual allows for a rebirth and healing of the mind/body/spirit and emotions.
While they may vary from place to place, with tribal differences and regional traditions, there is consistency in the basic form of a sweat lodge with a frame of wooden poles over which a canopy of animal skins or other materials is placed for protection. enclose the structure.
The rocks are heated in a fire that is placed to the east of the lodge in its own ceremony. These rocks, understood as Grandfathers, are called to the lodge in a series of “rounds” by the lodge driver.
When grandparents are welcomed, they are placed in a hole in the center of the sweat lodge and water can be added to produce hot steam. Prayers to ancestors in four directions, identified by stars and songs, are shared by the director and those bathing/cleansing. Like the night sky, the interior of the lodge is completely dark, with the Grandfathers/heated stones being the only source of light during the ritual.
You may have seen these grandparents depicted in the sky.
Seven stars form very close together (much closer than Ursa Minor) Black people (the Stones of the Sweat Lodge).
In late autumn (Dagwaagin) and early winter (Biboon), Black people It looks high in the sky. They are often known as the Pleiades star cluster.
Noondeshin Bemaadizid (the exhausted bather)
The “Rounds” during the ceremony can last more than an hour and each one grows in intensity as more Grandparents are welcomed.
Indoors, the intensity of the heat experienced can be a challenge, where participants can be quite exhausted by the time the Sweat Lodge ritual is completed.
And, as expected, right next to Sweat Lodge, we find the constellation of someone who has left Sweat Lodge: the exhausted bather (Noondeshin Bemaadizid, literally referring to a person (bemaadiz) which is out of stock (noondeshin).
This constellation appears among the stars of the Greek constellation of Hercules. Interestingly, like Hercules, this constellation is best seen looking north. The globular star cluster M13 denotes the head and the body flows north from there.
In this depiction (based on the teachings of Ojibwe elder Carl Gawboy in his book “Talking Sky”1), the shape of a person can be clearly seen among the stars next to the Sweat Lodge and helps complete the story of the Sweat Lodge.
For more information on Indigenous astronomy, see the book “Ojibwe Sky Star Map Constellation Guide2” and the accompanying planisphere containing multiple constellation wheels for the constellations of various Indigenous cultures.
Both are currently available from the Friends of Killarney Park or the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.
Gawboy, C., & Morton, R.L. (2014). Talking sky: the Ojibwe constellations as a reflection of life on earth. Duluth, Minnesota: Rockflower Press.
 Lee, A.S., Wilson, W., Tibbetts, J., & Gawboy, C. (2014). Ojibwe Sky Star Map Constellation Guide: An Introduction to Ojibwe Star Knowledge. St. Cloud, MN: Native Skywatchers.
We thank Professors Will Morin of the University of Sudbury and Annette S. Lee of Cloud State University for their guidance on these important constellations.