The Balance Of Things
After Nanaboozhoo and his father, Ae’pungishimook, had fought, they smoked the pipe of peace as a symbol of reconciliation, goodwill, and harmony between them.
Ae’pungishimook explained the ritual that he performed: “The Anishinabe are to remember as they smoke the pipe, their special relationship to and dependence upon the sun, earth, moon and stars. Like the animal beings they depend ultimately upon the earth and sun”.
There are four orders in creation. First is the physical world, second the plant world, third the animal world, last the human world. All four parts are so intertwined that they make up life and one whole existence. With less than the four orders, life and being are incomplete. No one portion is self sufficient or complete, rather each derives it’s meaning from and fulfils it’s function and purpose within the context of the whole creation.
From last to first, each order must abide by the laws that govern the universe and the world. Man is constrained by this law to live by and learn from the animals and the plants as the animals are dependent upon the plants, which draw their sustenance and existence from the earth and sun. All of them depend ultimately on the physical world. The place, sphere and existence of each order is predetermined by the great physical laws for harmony. It is only by the relationships of the four orders that the world has sense and meaning. Without animals and plants man would have no meaning. Nor would he have much more meaning if he were not governed by some immutable law. For the well being of all there must be harmony in the world to be obtained by the observance of this law.
While there is a natural favor and instinct for conformity to the great law of balance in the world of plants and animals, mankind is not so endowed by nature. But man possesses understanding by which he can know and abide by the law and so establish his place in the world order. Man must seek guidance outside himself. Before he can abide by the law, mankind must understand the framework of the ordinances. In this way, man will honor the order as was intended by Kitchi Manitou.