Lake of the Healing Waters Spiritual Retreat
We’ve been continuing our run of relaxation in a little peaceful haven village of Manitou Beach for what will account for just 3 nights and two and a half days of spiritual retreat. We’ve called Manitou and District Regional Park Campground our home during this stay, which is just 5 miles north of Watrous, Saskatchewan and a short walk to the unique mineral waters of Little Manitou Lake, which is believed to have healing powers. It’s a beautiful campground with an enclave of mature trees around each site and abundantly throughout (they even have small tree groves on site where they are growing more), trails to the beach, through the prairie grasslands for a loop hike, and past lots of Saskatoon berries as well as a lovely garden that is part of the grounds and restful park.
The village of Manitou Beach hosts a lot of fun things for post-treatment relaxation of its visitors including restful parks, spas, drive-in movies, mini-golf and golf, Danceland, a bird sanctuary, kayaking, and more. There’s a coop market about 5 minutes down the road into town too.
The photos shared encapsulate the essence of our time here, which was one of peaceful magick.
Although I didn’t capture the rainbow while it was clearly defined (you can see a hint of it dissipated here below in the clouds to the left), there was even a small one that appeared across the lake when we reached the top of the hill on our short hike.
And for me, it was the space that brought me back to my writing, continued synchronous reading bridging story with reality, and digging more curiously about where I’m taking my new creations and the next leg of our journey in general.
All of this was partnered with the backdrop of the Lake, which for me seemed to be the energy prompting more depth and introspection in my explorations.
There is a “Legend of the Lake of the Healing Waters” that shares the stories about Manitou Lake.
The word “Manitou” itself carries a powerful symbolism by definition, which shares that it is a supernatural force, which to the Algonquian Indians, pervades the natural world.
Manitou is the spiritual and fundamental life force understood by Algonquian groups of Native Americans. It is omnipresent and manifests everywhere: organisms, the environment, events, etc.
The Great Spirit, Aasha Monetoo, gave the land, when the world was created, to the Natives (in particular, the Shawnee).
The term was already widespread at the time of European contact. In 1585 when Thomas Harriot recorded the first glossary of an Algonquian language, Roanoke (Pamlico), he included the word mantóac, meaning “gods” (plural). Similar terms are found in nearly all of the Algonquian languages.
In some Algonquian traditions, the term gitche manitou is used to refer to a “great spirit” or supreme being.
In the shamanistic traditions, the manitous (or manidoog or manidoowag) are connected to achieve a desired effect, like plant manitous for healing or the buffalo manitou for a good hunt. In the Anishinaabeg tradition, manidoowag are one aspect of the Great Connection. Related terms used by the Anishinaabeg are manidoowish for small animal manidoowag and manidoons for insects; both terms mean “little spirit”. In some Algonquian languages such as Iynu (Montagnais) the word manituw refers to underwater creatures to whom hunters offered tobacco in order to appease them when traveling through their territories.
The name of the Canadian province of Manitoba, named after Lake Manitoba in the province, derives from the place name manitou-wapow, “strait of the Manitou” in Cree or Ojibwe, referring to the strange sound of waves crashing against rocks near The Narrows of the lake. In Manitoba there are the petroforms of Whiteshell Provincial Park, and the Anishinabe Midewiwin refer to an area there as Manitou Ahbee. The petroforms are symbols made with rocks, and they serve as reminders of the instructions that have been given to the Anishinabe by the Creator. The Midewiwin, or Grand Medicine Society, are dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. To them, the area containing the petroforms is Manito Ahbee, the place where God sits. It is the site where the original Anishinabe was lowered from the sky to the ground by the Creator.
Manitou Island means “spirit island”. This island is considered very important to the Ojibway, or Anishinaabe, with many sacred sites and sounding rocks. There is still a high population of native peoples on the island today.
The Fox Indians believed that the manitou dwelled in the stones of the sweat lodge. On heating the stove, the heat of the fire made manitou to come out from its place in the stones. Then it proceeds out of the stones when water is sprinkled on them. It comes out in the steam and enters the body. It moves all over inside the body, driving out everything that inflicts pain. Before the manitou returns to the stone, it imparts some of its nature to the body. That is why one feels so well after having been in the sweat lodge.
I find it again synchronous that the book series I’ve been reading of shamanic and medicine traditions have largely been based in Manitoba and are connected through the First Nations people there. No coincidences. 🙂
I’ll leave you with this story as shared in the Watrous Manitou Visitors Guide we were presented upon arrival to our campsite:
Long before white settlers emigrated to Canada and the western territories, Saskatchewan was designated as part of the Great Plains of western Canada. A variety of Canadian First Nations tribes traveled throughout the land, utilizing the available resources for their survival while still respecting the land from which it came.
The arrival of the European settlers impacted the tribes in a variety of ways. One of the most devastating effects settlers had upon the First Nations people was the introduction of foreign diseases such as small pox. The Cree people who populated the land area known as Saskatchewan were exposed to small pox and suffered devastating losses. When traditional medicines and remedies proved ineffective against this new disease, the Cree did the only thing they believed they could, move away from the site of death and destruction.
According to legend, some young braves fell ill during their tribe’s move. Fortunately the tribe’s choice of camp was in the vicinity of what is now known as Manitou Lake. The braves were too weak to continue the journey so the tribe built a shelter for them before continuing their journey. It is said the afflicted braves were overcome with fever and thirst and crawled their way to the lakeshore where they slaked their thirst and immersed themselves in the cool water. Spent from their efforts, it is said they remained on the beach overnight. In the morning, the braves experienced some relief from their symptoms. The braves attributed the respite to the water and remained on site, consuming and immersing themselves into the liquid medicine. Within days of their arrival at the lake, the braves regained their previous state of healthfulness and continued on their tribe’s journey. Upon reuniting with their tribe, tribe members were astounded by the braves’ seemingly miraculous return to health.
So was born the legend of the healing waters of Manitou Lake. Medicine men named the lake Manitou in reference to the Great Spirit, which is the equivalent of God. As the legend of the lake with healing powers spread via word of mouth, First Nations tribes later followed b the settlers ad then visitors from all parts of the world, traveled to the Lake of the Healing Waters to experience relief from a number of maladies. An entire industry of healing and therapeutic products sprang up from the lake resources, an industry that is still strong and vibrant today in the new millenium. How effective the healing waters are can only be determined through first-hand experience. Experience the Legend of Manitou for yourself!