Here are some essential terms to learn this year, and to teach your family, when planting your garden.
A sacred power that must be renewed each month
The Ojibwe believed that every woman possessed a power that was unknown and unavailable to men. This power was always within them and was so powerful that no man could endure it: the power to create life. This special power is so formidable that it needs to be renewed each month, and because of this women are aligned to the power of the grandmother moon. Just as she renews her power at the end of each month, women (her granddaughters) must renew theirs as well. This power starts when a girl is young and lasts until she becomes a grandmother and an elder herself.
When a girl first reaches adolescence, Grandmother Moon looks down at her while she sleeps and says to her “Follow me, for you are now a woman”. This starts the power. When this happens, her mother, grandmother, and aunts instruct her that for some days each month, she has to take time to remain (as much as possible) by herself; to redden her cheeks; and to protect others from her power so that she does not harm them by handling food or important sacred items that could be harmed by her gift.
At these times, some girls might separate themselves from the rest of the people. They can spend time doing work or praying. At these times, some women will receive gifts of wisdom, the ability to heal, or other sacred knowledge that can greatly benefit the entire tribe.
This is why we men must respect women, for their power is something that comes from the manitous and which only they can ever know.