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The Sacred Jeesukawin

The Sacred Jeesukawin: The art of prophecy, or the Jeesukawin, is practiced alone, by distinct and solitary individuals, who have no associates; who at least do not exist, and are never known as societies. Prophets start up at long intervals, and far apart, among the Indian tribes. They profess to be under supernatural power, and to be filled with a divine afflatus. It is, however, an art resembling that of the Medáwin, and founded on a similar principle of reliance, differing chiefly in the object sought. The meta seeks to propitiate events; the jossakeed aims to predict them. Both appeal to spirits for their power. Both exhibit material substances, as stuffed birds, bones, &c., as objects by or through which the secret energy is to be exercised. The general modes of operation are similar, but vary. The drum is used in both, but the songs and incantations differ. The rattle is confined to the ceremonies of the meda and the wabeno. The jossakeed addresses himself exclusively to the Great Spirit. His office, and his mode of address, are regarded with greater solemnity and awe. His choruses are peculiar, and deemed by the people to carry an air of higher reverence and devotion.

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