Dzibai (Ghost Midewiwin) The Mide Society (formerly the Midewiwin Society), the medicine society of the Ojibwa (Native Americans), a fraternity of initiates into the mysteries and healing arts, performs a ceremony called the Dzibai to speed the journey of souls of the newly dead to the Land of the Ghosts. The Dzibai is one of the society’s most important functions.
It is believed that at death, the soul leaves the body and wanders about the earth, longing to be with loved ones. It may cause trouble in its wanderings.
In the Dzibai, a proxy takes the place of the dead person, and a shaman enacts a ritual in which the soul is encouraged to journey on to the Land of the Ghosts, which is believed to lie in the western land of Nanabozho, the Great Hare, the culture hero. In addressing the dead, the shaman says:
You are ready to leave me now; be sure not to look back for the glance that draws us with you. Look straight ahead as you were told by the Chief Mide. We live here as long as we are supposed to. Never wish for us to hasten and join you. For you will find your brothers there, and your mother, father and grandparents there also. Do not trouble us; we will do all you requested before you died.
The ritual is simple and fees paid by the family of the deceased are minimal, in order to speed the soul on its way as quickly as possible.
- Grim, John A. The Shaman: Patterns of Religious Healing Among the Ojibway Indians. Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1983.