The Way of the Windigo

By Ken Wells - 06/18/2022


Series Three: Blog Thirty-Five

The Windigo is a legendary monster of the Anishinaabe native American people. It is the villain of a tale told on freezing nights in the North woods. As the legend is told, during cold freezing nights you can feel the Windigo monster lurking behind you as you walk thru the woods. It is a being in the shape of an outsized man, ten feet tall, with frost-white hair hanging from its shaking body. With arms like tree trunks, feet as big as snowshoes, it travels easily through the blizzards of the hungry time, stalking its terrified traveler. The hideous stench of its carrion breath poisons the clean scent of snow as it pants behind. Yellow fangs hang from its mouth that is raw where it has chewed off its lips from hunger. Most telling of all, its heart is made of ice.

Windigo stories were told around camp fires to scare children into safe behavior.  Windigos are not born, they are made. They are human beings who have become cannibal monsters. Their bite transforms victims into cannibals.

Addicts, too, evolve into cannibals of life experience like the Windigo. They never get enough of what they really don’t want. Addictive craving pushes them to care more about satisfying their own addictive urge than anything else.

The truth is that there is a Windigo nature in everybody. We all need to learn to recoil from the greedy part of ourselves. There is a dark and light side in everyone’s life. It is important to recognized the power in the dark side of life and to learn not to feed it. Habits that become overindulgent and self-destructive represent the Windigo nature. Seeking out to fulfill lustful desires for possessions and acquisition, not for the need but for the greed triggers the Windigo nature to flourish. Ultimately, your heart will become more like ice and you will begin to distance yourself with indifference to other people’s experience of life. The trials and tribulations of others become simple facts and you become less connected to others around you.

Compulsive overconsumption fuels the Windigo monster that lives within each of us. People live their lives with the fallacy that human consumption has no consequences. Indulgent living that was once considered wasteful is now considered success by many. A consumption driven mindset is presented as a high quality lifestyle but it eats away at the core being within. People never get enough. There is a craving for more and more. It is a like a black hole of the stomach that never gets filled.

When you are not careful you allow the “market” to define what you value.  The common good depends upon lavish lifestyles that enrich the seller while bankrupting the soul and the resources of the earth.

It is helpful to assess the Windigo thinking that exists within your life experience. Addicts who have learned to come to terms with their own limits are signposts to the rest of the world to manage the Windigo monster that lives within.

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