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FATHER SUN

The sun has it’s own path, gives and withdraws his light.

The earth responds abundantly.

 

From the earliest times the Anishinabeg honored the physical world of the sun, moon, earth and stars; of thunderer’s, lightning’s, rains, winds, mountains and fires.

Superseding all was the sun. Even the position of the lodges reflected reverence for the sun. The entrance to the lodge faced east or, as it was known ”The Dawn”. By custom the first person rising from sleep, also known as ”Half Death” went out, faced the east, thought and uttered a prayer.

A further connection between the sun and man was deduced from the daily experience of dawn and dusk-the annual regeneration and dissolution of life.

Each morning when the sun rises, the flowers open, the birds begin to sing the animals begin to stir, and the shadows fade away. The sun infuses life into all things. And each evening with the setting of the sun, the roses enfold themselves, the robins become silent, the animals go to sleep.  When the sun withdraws light, he also reduces life. In the spring when the sun grows warm, the whole world regenerates; in autumn, when the sun is less warm, life departs leaving only shadows of what was, and shades of what will be. In life-giving, the sun is the father of all.  Just as the Anishinabeg rendered prayers of thanks in the morning, so did they give thanks in the evening for the gifts received during the day.  But the analogy of sun and man-father goes beyond the obvious and the physical to symbolize the relationship of the begotten Kitchi Manitou.  The sun served only to symbolize this relationship and understanding.

Prayers of thanksgiving were part of daily life and living, not separate from mans labor or recreation, nor cribbed in ritual.  As the giver gave freely and generously, so the receiver must acknowledge his gratitude in the same spirit. To the Anishinabeg there was no gift or giving without a recipient. At the same time the recipient must know how and in what terms to acknowledge benefits. The gift of life is given only once, but is renewed daily in each dawning.  There is yet another aspect to the gifts bestowed by Kitchi Manitou.

Everyone shares in the gifts of light, life, and warmth.  Thus no one person may presume that the gift is intended for him alone or deny the enjoyment of such gifts to another. All have received, all must acknowledge the great bounty.

 

 

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