Tools & Crafts

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The Sacred Medicine Bundle
By David M. Rountree. From: Native - Trail Of No More Tears

Is the most holy of holies among all the Native American First People of the plains and most of the woodland and mountain tribes. Stewardship of these bundles is usually vested in a member of a tribal clan or society, although the power of the bundle is believed to be beneficial to the entire tribe or band. The bundles are opened on specific occasions, and according to precise ritual. Each bundle contains a varied collection of objects and representations of spiritual significance, from animal skins and effigies to ceremonial pipes. Most medicine bundles have been passed down from one keeper to another over such a long span of time that their origins have become shrouded in mystery and myth.

A medicine bundle is a wrapped package used by Native Americans for religious purposes. A package of this type may also be referred to as a medicine bag. Medicine bundles are usually employed as a ritual aid in the observance of their religions. The size of a medicine bundle generally varies from 12 to 14 inches in length, but could be larger.

It is usually a collection of various items that might include seeds, pine cones, grass, animal teeth or claws, horse hair, rocks, crystals, tobacco, beads, arrowheads, bones, or anything else of relatively small size that possesses spiritual value to the bundle's keeper. A shaman's bundle generally contains more items than a warrior's or woman's bundle, and may include such objects as bone rattles, skins from unborn animals, and the shaman's hair and nail clippings.

The contents of a medicine bundle are generally considered holy by the tribal community, and are meant to be kept secret by the keeper. The contents of a medicine bundle are not meant to touch the ground. This is why they are to be securely wrapped. Prayers and rituals almost invariably accompany the making and opening of medicine bundles, and women rarely handle them, except in certain matriarchal clans. Of course, women might have their own personal medicine bag. A medicine bundle may be passed down as a generational inheritance.

A medicine bundle is considered a very precious possession which represents a person's spiritual life, and may possess powers for protection and healing. As the owner grows older, more items may be added to it. Personal medicine bundles are usually buried with the owner, or passed on to a friend upon the owner's death.

Medicine bundles may also be maintained for an entire tribe. A tribal medicine bundle is usually much larger and contains special objects which may only be handled by certain tribe members. It is only opened on special occasions.

Libraries are on this row
INDEX Page 1
(Divination & Dreams, Guides & Spirit Helpers)
INDEX Page 2
INDEX Page 3
(Main Section, Medicine Wheel, Native Languages & Nations, Symbology)
INDEX Page 4
(Myth & Lore)
INDEX Page 5
(Sacred Feminine & Masculine, Stones & Minerals)
INDEX Page 6
(Spiritual Development)
INDEX Page 7
(Totem Animals)
INDEX Page 8
(Tools & Crafts. Copyrights)

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