Medicine Bags

The medicine bags we wear are very important to us. Not only are they medicine bags but they are also bags of memories. When we get our first medicine bag, we place the plants we use in our ceremonies tobacco, sage, cedar and Sweetgrass or Copal in the bag. This is to cleanse and protect not only the bag but ourselves.

After that, we always have the bag with us. The only time we take it off is at night or when we are doing something like swimming or bathing where the bag might be damaged.

Some groups wear their bag on the outside of their clothes but most Native Americans, as I do, wear there bag on the inside of their clothes to protect it. That way someone with bad intentions cannot grab hold of the medicine bag.

After we bless our bag then we start adding things that are important to us. For instance, we would take a small piece of hair from people we care about and place in the bag. You might have an animal you care about and place a few hairs from the animal in your bag. That way part of them is always with you.

If we go to someplace that is very important to us we might get a leaf, piece of sand, small stone, piece of paper anything that is part of that place and place it into the bag.

For instance, I have pieces of hair from all my children, hair from my animals, a small piece of paper from the corner of the program of my graduation from college. A petal from the flowers at my uncles funeral, a piece of leaf from plants at my wedding, a small amount of Mother Earth that I picked up when I went to ceremonies that were special to me, things like that.

You have to make sure that what you place in the bag is small so that you do not fill the bag up. Remember you will be adding to it the rest of your life.

When you have things in the bag, it gives you strength. For instance if you are feeling like you need help all you do is reach down and place your hand on the bag and it will connect you to the ones you love and important events in your life and you will draw strength from it.

When you have people say, thank of a happy time in your life, we can touch our bag and remember happy times and people that we love no matter where we are or what we are doing at the time. Remembering people we love and good times in our lives helps us get stronger and do the things that we need to do.

Now it is very important that you do not let other people touch your bag. The strength in the bag is just for you and no one else. That is why we do not go around showing our bag to people because then they will want to touch it, which is not a good thing.

We believe that people and events in our life are always a part of us. Carrying a small remembrance of them in our medicine bag helps keep us connected to the important things in our life.