Observations placeholder

Mircea Eliade - The Midewiwin and 'Ecstatic flight'

Identifier

011430

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

The Midewiwin (also spelled Midewin and Medewiwin) or the Grand Medicine Society is a secretive religion of the aboriginal groups of the Maritimes, New England and Great Lakes regions in North America. Its practitioners are called Midew and the practices of Midewiwin referred to as Mide.

The preverb mide can be translated as "mystery," "mysterious," "spiritual," "sanctimonious," "sacred," or "ceremonial", depending on the context of its use. The derived verb midewi, thus means "be in/of mide." The derived noun midewiwin then means "state of being in midewi." Often mide is translated into English as "medicine" (thus the term midewinini "medicine-man") though mide conveys the idea of a spiritual medicine, opposed to mashkiki that conveys the idea of a physical medicine. A practitioner of Midewiwin is called a midew, which can also be rendered as mide'o... both forms of the word derived from the verb midewi, or as a medewid, a gerund form of midewi. Specifically, a male practitioner is called a midewinini ("midew man") and a female practitioner a midewikwe ("midew woman").

Due to the body-part medial de' meaning "heart" in the Anishinaabe language, "Midewiwin" is sometimes translated as "The Way of the Heart.".

 Blessing shares a definition he received from Thomas Shingobe, a "Mida" (a Midewiwin person) of the Mille Lacs Indian Reservation in 1969, who told him that "the only thing that would be acceptable in any way as an interpretation of 'Mide' would be 'Spiritual Mystery'." However, fluent speakers of Anishinaabemowin often caution that there are many words and concepts that have no direct translation to English.

A description of the experience

Mircea Eliade – Shamanism Archaic techniques of ecstasy

The goal of the Mide’wiwin society is to restore the road between heaven and earth as it was established by the creation; it is for this reason that the members of the society periodically undertake the ecstatic journey to the sky; by doing so, they in a manner, abolish the present fallen state of the universe and humanity and re-establish the primordial situation, when heaven was easily accessible to all men

The source of the experience

Native American Indians

Concepts, symbols and science items

Concepts

Symbols

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Activities

Overloads

Activity not known

Commonsteps

References