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Medicine Pouch Kit


Continued from product description on Native American's Page Two...

Historical Background: A medicine bag (or "medicine bundle," as it is sometimes called) is a container for items believed to protect or give spiritual powers to its owner. Its size could be small enough to wear around the neck or a large bag with a long strap and carried like a "bandolier." The pouch itself was usually made out of an animal skin. Sinew or rawhide lace was usually used to sew the bag and be worn or hung. They could be plain looking or richly decorated. Of course, the size of the medicine pouch usually dictated what and how many "power objects" could be placed in it.

Medicine pouches are worn, carried, or hung in (or near) the home for many purposes and reasons. Past and present cultures (or societies) had different uses and customs for their medicine bags. One culture might have an elaborate ritual or ceremony to "start" a medicine bag. Another culture might have just a simple rule: Your medicine bag must be a gift from someone else! A particular medicine pouch could even have its own set of rules!

To some, medicine pouches are primarily used for protection from real (seen) and spiritual (unseen) things. To others, their bags have only a personal meaning (sentimental or beliefs). The significance of this special pouch and it contents could either be ordained (according to religious beliefs) or self-prescribed (according to its owner's value system).

What went into a medicine pouch also varied greatly. The contents of a medicine man's pouch would be quite different from a young child's bag. Medicine pouches could be "made" for a warrior with objects to enhance his fighting skills, for a farmer who wanted a successful harvest, or for a mother who wanted her family in good health. They could also be used to hinder enemies and alter the weather. As you can see, the types of items that went into a medicine pouch were up to the individual. Usually, though, each object had some great meaning or was believed to empower the wearer.

Power objects could be real or symbolic (personally or spiritually). Herbs and roots could have real powers to make its owner physically well again. Other objects could be used psychologically, such as protecting oneself from negative thoughts or enhancing its wearer with a positive attitude. Still, other objects could have a deeply spiritual significance, such as getting helpful assistance from supernatural powers. Today, many people have medicine pouches containing charms or souvenirs. No matter what medicines go into the pouch, the bag soon becomes an important and deeply personal possession to its owner.

Medicine pouches predate recorded history. We know for a fact they existed over 5,000 years ago after the 1991 discovery of the "ice man" found in the Italian Alps with perfectly preserved artifacts that included a medicine pouch. There is also a suggestion that medicine pouches were used 8-10 thousand years ago, according to the murals of Çatal Hüyük. These murals depict vultures with human legs (representing shamans) having ritual bags on their chests. Today, we know that medicine pouches have been used throughout Man's societal history and around the world.

Fun Fact: Medicinal items attributed with supernatural powers would often be procured by some North American Indians in a tribal custom known as a "vision quest."

Fun Fact: Dried Love Root was used in medicine pouches to ward off evil people and spirits. It was believed that those with Love Roots could discern the true intentions of others beyond spoken words!

Fun Fact: The African-American culture has a bag called a "gris-gris." Because its pronunciation is similar to a French word that translates into "grey-grey," some believe it means "to encompass both white and black magic." Others say gris-gris is more likely an Afro-French version of the Central African word "gree-gree" (or "gri-gri"). The meaning of gree-gree is "fetish" or "charm," thus a gris-gris or gree-gree bag is a "charm bag." In some societies, it is also referred to as a "mojo bag."

Fun Fact: In the Caribbean, a bag of nearly identical African derivative is called a "wanga bag" or "oanga bag" (from the African word "wanga," which means "charm," but more closely translates as "spell").

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Medicine Pouch Kit
Medicine Pouch Kit
Item Number 6005

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