Mishomis: the Grandfather spirit
In my previous post, I discussed the concepts of Ain-dah-ing and Mash-kow-wisen, concepts introduced in Blackwolf Jones’ book Listen to the Drum. Blackwolf Jones discusses one’s inner peace and strength and one’s home and safe place within one’s heart, portraying a message of healing. Of our capacity to heal ourselves. I have followed his teachings over the past year and I am grateful for them. They have helped me find peace and strength. Therefore, today I wish to discuss another related concept, the concept of Mishomis.
What is Mishomis?
If you google Mishomis, you will be directed to links discussing books and teachings of the grandfather. This would be because Mishomis (pronounced mi-SHOO-mis) is the Ojibway word for Grandfather. However, it can be interpreted on a larger scale as being the collective male energy, the collective male spirit corralled from the past thousand of years. As I am trained in psychology, more specifically in psychodynamic psychology, this reminds me of some of Carl Jung concepts of the collective unconscious and the animus (the masculine energy within the unconscious of a female, both parts of the collective unconscious). Within the Native world, Mother Earth is seen as the feminine energy giving birth to all relations, including the rocks, which are masculine. Jung, worked closely with the Native population and it shows in his concepts of animus and anima, the balance and interaction between the masculine and feminine energy. A very important balance and interaction for Native people.
Ok enough with Jung. Sorry, I do find his work fascinating and closely related to some Native concepts. The world of our ancestors colliding with the modern world. Anyways. Mishomis is in those masculine rocks, the rocks that have been there for generations and generations. Those rocks were there in the glacier era, they were there at our ancestors’ campfire, keeping watch. As Jones says, Mishomis has seen all, heard all and understands all. Mishomis has experienced all and can thus understand all experiences.
The spirit of Mishomis
Although we tend to see rocks as inanimate objects, the native culture sees them as being a relation, a relation that is alive. Think about it, the spirits of our ancestors are in those rocks, the spirits are in those hard shells. They are ready to guide us. Grandfather Stone, Mishomis, is ready to help us heal trauma and deal with stressors. I am sure you have heard the saying “in body mind and spirit”. Well it is time to let our body also connect with the Spiritual world and Jones suggests we do this with the help of Mishomis.
Are you with me so far? Because I am about to go deeper. Just keep an open mind here. According to Jones, one has to find their Grandfather Stone. One will know when one sees it. I can speak from experience as I have done this exercise. I was like “yeah yeah like a rock will just appear out of nowhere”. So I set up to go for a walk in a park/ravine near my house. I kept looking on the ground, hoping to my find my grandfather stone. Then I just started to enjoy the scenery, the peaceful environment I was in. I was standing at the top of a ravine listening to the birds, looking at the sky and the trees. Then I looked at my feet on the ground. Yes you guessed it, my grandfather stone was right there! I know I know you think I am making this up, as this seems like a movie scene. But I swear I am not. So I picked up the rock and went back home. It was just a medium size round rock. I held it in my hands, closed my eyes and just listened.
Gift of Mishomis
What did I hear? Well I did not hear anything right away. It’s not magic after all…But think about rocks and how they are formed. Rocks have the ability to break down and form soil so that rebirth is possible. They adapt, they shift from hard and solid to soft and malleable. Like the masculine and feminine energy (Nokomis is the feminine equivalent, the Grandmother spirit). And vice versa. What I mean is that Mother Earth will take all that existed, the remains from previous generations, animals, trees and will compress it into Grandfather stone. If you think about it this way, there is then an incredible energy in those rocks! So I might not have heard anything right away but I felt. I felt the energy in that rock, the heat. I felt the great power in my Grandfather stone. With that, comes healing properties. Holding your grandfather stone is holding your healer.
For those of you who do not yet think I am crazy, I will continue…. So I held my stone, feeling its energy and listened to what I felt inside of myself. The emotions that were coming up. I listened to my heart, which needed healing. I let the tears flow and recited the words that Jones suggest in Listen to the Drum. I won’t copy all of them here but in essence it is about asking grandfather stone to hold you pain. Then finish the process by washing Grandfather stone. Wash away all the pain, the frustrations, the anger, the sadness. As the Water Spirits are very powerful. They are fluid, soft but yet can transform something hard. Think of rivers flowing through mountains here. Once it has been washed and emptied, fill the Grandfather Stone with love. So it becomes whole.
So as one can see, Mishomis is there to help us, for us to use the spirits of our ancestors to guide us. Mishomis shows us how one can transform, adapt, and heal. The process described by Blackwolf Jones, I know is not for everyone. But I personally found it very cleansing and soothing. A lot of benefits from emptying your pain and washing it away, even if only symbolically. My Mishomis is now in my smudge box, always there to help me.
What do you all think? Agree or disagree with this process? Open to the idea or no? Comment below and I will respond!
All my Relations