A medicine bag doesn’t necessarily contain medicine. Instead, in Native American culture, items are placed inside the small bag that holds a spiritual significance to the wearer. These bags and their contents are thought to possess a strong tie to the owner and nature. So just how do these Native American medicine bags really work?
Native American medicine bags are not just used by those who claim to possess healing powers. They hold specially chosen items such as herbal plants and stones. Worn by most Indians for personal uses, these bags are a normal part of the Native American culture. The most popular size of a medicine bag is very small and can be worn around the neck. To maintain personal harmony which consists of the spiritual, physical and the supernatural, many people choose to wear a medicine bag. The contents of a medicine bag will change throughout life as the needs of an individual change. Various herbs and other items of importance to the wearer are placed in the bag. Some of these can be found in nature and the everyday experiences of men. They could be classified into the plant kingdom, animal kingdom, mineral kingdom and the things seen in the world of man.
The appeal of Native American medicine bags has become widespread and it is being used now by non native Indians as a form of protection and a source of power. They can not only wear them but also place them wherever they want and even under the pillow while they sleep. The common material used for the creation of these bags is very soft leather.
To enhance the supernatural and spiritual abilities of the wearer, healers often use the contents to perform the ritual known as vision quest. It would then promote an increase in physical strength, agility, skills in fighting as well as healing. The intense spiritual connections and beliefs in the supernatural make Native Americans really interesting and the use of various kinds of herbs in a specialized pouch makes the experience more grounded because for Native Americans, the connection between nature and spirituality are very tightly knit. Every herb or item used responds to a certain kind of spiritual euphoria to attain something unimaginable or to enhance the quality of life of the individual.
Although modern medicine and practical knowledge is available to everyone now days, the allure of the Native American medicine bag is still present. Having a Native Indian medicine bag is something of homage to the beautiful culture as well as hand craftsmanship of the great American Indians of the United States.