The wonders of the medicine bag
Today I wanted to discuss the Native American medicine bag or Native American medicine pouch and its purpose. When thinking of a medicine bag, think of how you were as a child. Remember when we use to collect all the “treasures” that we would come across (often getting an eye roll from mom or whoever was taking care of us…..)? We would guard them with our life, put them in a secret hiding place or our pocket even. They would remind us of our experiences when we looked at them and we would cherish them as they had a personal meaning.
Well, the same can be said about the Native American medicine bag. It is where we store our meaningful possessions, our memories, our traditions. It is where we store inner strength, the inner strength we get from what is inside the bag. If we think back years ago, Native people often traveled long distance, were gone from home for long periods of time. They would need to carry inner strength (or Mashkawisen) in their bag to finish their journey.
Medicine pouches would carry herbs and/or medicine (sage, tobacco, cedar, sweetgrass to smudge and give back to Mother Earth) that the carrier would use to connect with the spiritual world, the Creator. The bag could also include personal possessions such as belongings of family members or special mementos.
Your personal medicine bag
You can put whatever you feel like putting in your bag. It is your personal bag. For example, I have two bags, a small pouch and a bigger one. Here they are
You can also find simple ones or adorned ones in a number of materials.
As you see there also beaded medicine bags like my small one. This one I carry with me all the time. The bigger one I keep at my home and I look through it when I need strength. What is in them? Well, as I said, you can put anything you want in them. Not going to reveal all my secrets here but… In mine, I have herbs for protection and cleansing. I also carry stones such as amethyst (for protection, spiritual wisdom, humility) and obsidian stones (a lava stone, to block negativity and protection). They look like this.
Finally, in my small native american medicine pouch, I carry a very small bundle of buffalo hair for strength. I also have a few personal mementos. Your medicine bag grows with you, with your identity. Look at its content, see what it says about you, about your strengths, your weaknesses, your light and dark side and if and how you are finding balance. Carry what gives your strength, what makes you grow.
If you look in the Resources section, I have included links to buy stones as well as medicine bags similar as mine or click here on the image below for a great site for native jewelry, bags or arts.
All my Relations