Although the mī´gis shell of
the several degrees is generally of the same species, some of the
older Midē´ priests claim that
there were formerly specific shells, each being characteristic and
pertaining specially to each individual grade. The objects claimed
by Sika´s-sigĕ as referring to
the third degree are, in addition to the Cypræa monata, L., a piece
of purple wampum, and one shell of elongated form, both shown on Pl.
XI, Nos. 3 and 5, respectively.
The fact of a Midē´ having been subjected to “mī´gis shooting” for
the third time is an all-sufficient reason to the Indian why his
powers are in a corresponding manner augmented. His powers of
exorcism and incantation are greater; his knowledge and use of magic
medicines more extended and certain of effect; and his ability to do
harm, as in the capacity of a Wâbĕnō´, is more and more lauded and
feared. He becomes possessed of a greater power in prophecy and
prevision, and in this state enters the class of personages known as
the Jĕs´sakkīd´, or jugglers.
His power over darkness and obscurity is indicated on Pl. III, A,
No. 77, upon which the head, chest, and arms are represented as
being covered with lines to designate obscurity, the extended arms
with outstretched hands denoting ability to grasp and control that
which is hidden to the eye.
|The Jĕs´sakkīd´ and his manner of performing have
already been mentioned. This class of sorcerers were met
with by the Jesuit Fathers early in the seventeenth century,
and referred to under various designations, such as
jongleur, magicien, consulteur du manitou, etc. Their
influence in the tribe was recognized, and formed one of the
greatest obstacles encountered in the Christianization of
the Indians. Although the Jĕs´sakkīd´ may be a seer and
prophet as well as a practitioner of exorcism without
becoming a 252 member of the Midē´wiwin, it is only when a
Midē´ attains the rank of the third degree that he begins to
give evidence of, or pretends to exhibit with any degree of
confidence, the powers accredited to the former. The
Fig. 26.—Jes´sakkân´ or juggler’s lodge.
|structure erected and occupied by the
Jĕs´sakkīd´ for the performance of his powers as prophet or
oracle has before been described as cylindrical, being made
by planting four or more poles and wrapping about them
sheets of birch bark, blankets, or similar material that
will serve as a covering. This form of structure is
generally represented in pictographic records, as shown in
Fig. 27.—Jes´sakkân´, or juggler’s lodge.
Fig. 28.—Jes´sakkân´, or juggler’s lodge.
Fig. 29.—Jes´sakkân´, juggler’s lodge.
|The accompanying illustrations, Figs. 27,
28, and 29, reproduced from birch-bark etchings, were the
property of Jĕs´sakkīd´, who were also Midē´ of the third
and fourth degrees. It will be noticed that the structure
used by them is in the form of the ordinary wig´iwam, as
their profession of medical magic is apparently held in
higher esteem than the art of prophecy; their status and
claims as Jĕs´sakkīd´ being indicated by the great number of
ma´nidos which they have the power of invoking. These man´idōs,
or spirits, are indicated by the outline of their material
forms, the heart being indicated and connected with the
interior of the structure to show the power of the
Jĕs´sakkīd´ over the life of the respective spirits. The
Thunder-bird usually occupies the highest position in his
estimation, and for this reason is drawn directly over the
wig´iwam. The Turtle is claimed to be the man´idō who acts
|between the Jĕs´sakkīd´ and the other man´idōs, and is
therefore not found among the characters on the outside of
the wig´iwam, but his presence is indicated within, either
at the spot marking the convergence of the “life lines,” or
immediately below it.
Fig. 30 is a reproducton of an etching made by a Jĕs´sakkīd´
at White Earth, Minnesota. The two curved lines above the
Jes´sakkan´ represent the sky, from which magic power is
derived, as shown by the waving line extending downward. The
small spots within the structure are “magic spots,” i.e.,
the presence of man´idōs. The juggler is shown upon the left
side near the base. When a prophet is so fortunate as to
Fig. 30.— Jes´sakkân´ or juggler’s lodge.
|be able to claim one of these man´idōs as
his own tutelary daimon, his advantage in invoking the
others is comparatively greater. Before proceeding to the
Jes´sakkân´—or the “Jugglery,” as the Jĕs´sakkīd´ wig´iwam
is commonly designated, a prophet will prepare himself by
smoking and making an offering to his man´idō, and by
singing a chant, of which an example is presented on Pl.
XIV, D. It is a reproduction of one made by a Jĕs´sakkīd´
who was also a Midē´ of the third degree. Each line is
chanted as often as may be desired, or according to the
effect which it may be desirable to produce or the inspired
state of the singer.
Plate XIV.d. Mnemonic Song.
||Me-we´-yan, ha´, ha´, ha´,
I go into the Jes´sakkan´ to see the medicine.
The circle represents the Jĕs´sakkīd´ as viewed from above;
the short lines denote the magic character of the structure,
and the central ring, or spot, the magic stone used by the
prophet who appears entering from the side.
||Tschi-nun´-dōn´, he´, he´, he´, he´,
I was the one who dug up life.
The Otter man´idō emerging from the Midē´wigân; he received
it from Ki´tshi Mani´dō.
The spirit put down medicine on earth to grow.
The sacred or magic lines descending to the earth denote
supernatural origin of the mī´gis, which is shown by the
four small rings. The short lines at the bottom represent
the ascending sprouts of magic plants.
I am the one that dug up the medicine.
The otter shown emerging from the jugglery. The speaker
represents himself “like unto the Otter man´idō.”
||Ki´wan-win´-da ma´-kwa-nan´, na´, ha´,
I answer my brother spirit.
The Otter man´idō responds to the invocation of the speaker.
The diagonal line across the body signifies the “spirit
character” of the animal.
||Rest or pause.
The spirit has put life into my body.
The speaker is represented as being in the Midē´-wigân,
where Ki´tshi man´idō placed magic power into his body; the
arms denote this act of putting into his sides the mī´gis.
The line crossing the body denotes the person to be
possessed of supernatural power.
||Ki-to´-na-bi´-in, nē´, hē´, hē´,
This is what the medicine has given us.
The Midē´wigân, showing on the upper line the guardian
I took with two hands what was thrown down to us.
The speaker grasped life, i.e., the migis´, to secure the
mysterious power which he professes.
In addition to the practice of medical magic, the Jĕs´sakkīd´
sometimes resorts to a curious process to extract from the patient’s
body the malevolent beings or man´idōs which cause disease. The
method of procedure is as follows: The Jĕs´sakkīd´ is provided with
four or more tubular bones, consisting of the leg bones of large
birds, each of the thickness of a finger and 4 or 5 inches in
length. After the priest has fasted and chanted prayers for success,
he gets down upon all fours close to the patient and with his mouth
near the affected part. After using the rattle and singing most
vociferously to cause the evil man´idō to take shelter at some
particular spot, so that it may be detected and located by him, he
suddenly touches that place with the end of one of the bones and
immediately thereafter putting the other end into his mouth, as if
it were a cigar, strikes it with the flat hand and sends it
apparently down his throat. Then the second bone is treated in the
same manner, as also the third and fourth, the last one being
permitted to protrude from the mouth, when the end is put against
the affected part and sucking is indulged in amid the most violent
writhings and contortions in his endeavors to extract the man´idō.
As this object is supposed to have been reached and swallowed by the
Jĕs´sakkīd´ he crawls away to a short distance from the patient and
relieves himself of the demon with violent retchings and apparent
suffering. He recovers in a short time, spits out the bones, and,
after directing his patient what further medicine to swallow,
receives his fee and departs. Further description of this practice
will be referred to below and illustrated on Pl. XVIII.
The above manner of disposing of the hollow bones is a clever trick
and not readily detected, and it is only by such acts of jugglery
and other delusions that he maintains his influence and importance
among the credulous.
Fig. 31 represents a Jĕs´sakkīd´ curing a sick woman by sucking
the demon through a bone tube. The pictograph was drawn upon a piece
of birch bark which was carried in the owner’s Midē´ sack, and was
intended to record an event of importance.
No. 1 represents the actor, holding a rattle in hand. Around his
head is an additional circle,
denoting quantity (literally, more than an ordinary amount of
short line projecting to the right indicating the tube used.
No. 2 is the woman operated upon.
Fig. 32 represents an exhibition by a Jĕs´sakkīd´, a resident of
White Earth, Minnesota.
The priest is shown in No. 1 holding his rattle, the line extending
from his eye to
the patient’s abdomen signifying that he has located the demon and
is about to
begin his exorcism. No. 2 is the patient lying before the operator.
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The Midē Wiwin or Grand Medicine Society, 1891
The Midē Wiwin or Grand Medicine Society