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The Manitous: The Spiritual World of the Ojibwayby Basil H. Johnston
Synopses & Reviews
Manitous are mysteries and spirits - the essences - that infuse and safeguard plants and animals, including humans, in all aspects of life. The tales of the manitous are simple in narration and complex in spirit, rich with incident and detail, and attempt to explain the mysterious ways of the natural world. Here are wily tricksters, timorous tree spirits, wise grandmothers, seductive maidens, and the ever-hungry evil manitous, fearsome giants known as Weendigoes. Here is a half-man, half-manitou legend of Ojibway lore who represents the wonders and shortcomings of all humankind and who becomes a hero by masquerading as one; a powerful warrior who is riled and routed by a younger sibling with a fight for dancing and disguises; a man who seems obsessed with the trivial but learns to understand the spiritual; and The Prophecy - which is told but disbelieved - telling of the changes in the native world to come. By turns comic, erotic, dramatic, and tragic, these engrossing stories - most of which have never before been recorded - provide a window into an ancient culture, and hold great meaning for modern readers.
These are the stories of the manitous--the spirits who inhabit the supernatural world of the Ojibway (the Native American tribe of the Great Lakes and central Canada region). Harvested by an eminent expert from an ancient oral tradition, these sacred stories introduce wily tricksters, fearsome giants, timorous tree spirits, seductive maidens, and wise grandmothers. Here, a coward masquerading as a hero becomes one; a powerful warrior is riled and routed by a younger sibling with a gift for dancing and disguises; and the ever-hungry evil weendigos--evil manitous--haunt the land. In spellbinding and hypnotic fashion, the creation and flood legends are told, and the origin stories of corn, spruce, and tobacco are revealed. Comic, erotic, dramatic, and tragic, these engrossing tales are a window into the heart of an ancient culture, an important contribution to Native American literature, and a fascinating source of spiritual guidance for the many followers of New Age mysticism.
About the Author
Basil Johnston is an ethnologist and the author of 11 books. He lives in Ontario, Canada.
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