Medicine Bag

In many cultures you will find the practice of carrying a bag of significant objects, items considered to aid and carry power and which help in times of healing. These items are small bags used as charms or fetishes. They are blessed items which hold smaller ritual objects, prayers, and items of personal importance and symbolism.

examples include:

  • the Native American medicine bag…
  • the African-derived gris-gris…
  • the Caribbean Oanga bag…
  • the Wiccan spell pouch…

Medicine bags like those used by Native American medicine men were actually quite large, carrying ritual masks, Sacred herbs and medicinal plants, ritual totems and more. In essence, if you want to make yourself a medicine bag, you need to make it large enough to hold whatever it is you wish to carry in it. For bags taken to rituals and festivals, you might want something small enough so you can tie it to a belt as a pouch, or you might want something the size of a moderate purse or tote bag.

Holy medicine items attributed with various supernatural abilities for the bag would often be procured before a vision quest. This ceremony includes personal sacrifice: fasting and prayer over several days in a location isolated from the rest of the community. The medicine bag is used to store mystical items of fetishism. The purpose is to make contact with natural spiritual forces that help or guide people to reach true realization. The spirits, deities, totems, would aid the individual to gather magical items, increase knowledge and aid personal growth.
Typical powers ascribed to medicine bags and their items include increasing hunting abilities, aiding fighting skills, healing allies, hindering enemies and altering the weather. Many warriors carried a bag around the neck. They contained items that would remind the warrior of home, the spirit, of where he came from.

Small Sized Bag: often made to be worn around the neck it is used as an amulet, as this type of bag is filled with gifts and charms given to us by Ajah (God) such as feathers, precious stones, charms, etc…

Big Sized Bag: These are essentially a blessed side bag to hold books, deities, and ritual materials, the bag is very holy despite its seeming mundane use. This bag is a shield to protect the holy Gifts of your spiritual practice…

Most often the bag itself is made from a natural fiber or material. Silk satins and velvets are popular choices as are cotton fabrics. Canvas can be used for heavier pouches and large bags as well. These can be machine or hand-sewn depending on your equipment, time and skill. Remnant bins at fabric stores or the scrap barrel at the craft store is a great place to find a new medicine bag. Or you can find something pre-made.

Different traditions have differing colors suggestions for magic bags. You will find many of the usual colors mentioned: black (shielding), white (protection), red (energizing). Or the color can be something that is a favorite of yours. You might find a pre-made bag that can still be dyed or painted on to customize as you wish. Just as any holy item, it should reflect the divine beauty within… In this “microcosm” the medicine becomes the deity, and the medicine pouch is the temple..

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