What’s a Native American Medicine Bag?

A Native American medicine bag is a small leather bag or pouch that contains various healing objects. They are often painted or beaded with designs specific for the wearer. This is done to entice or invoke the spirit of the animal, figure or symbol.

What’s inside is another story. A medicine bag can contain innumerable objects. These objects are as unique as the person wearing it. Many people add their own “medicine” or healing objects. Although, most often a medicine person or indigenous healer will make the bag and add the contents. Common medicine bag objects are stones, ash from a ceremony fire, roots and barks, herbs, feathers, dirt from a ceremonial ground, or wood from a tree struck by lightening.

Many people like their medicine bags very ornate and fancy, but in reality the bag should be downplayed. This is especially true when a medicine bag is made for protection, for instance, protection from jealousy, enemies, negativity, bad spirits, illness and the list goes on and on. A medicine bag is kind of like an “ace up your sleeve”. Or maybe like a spray can of mace or another self defense weapon. You keep it handy, but you don’t wave it around or threaten folks with it.

Medicine bags or pouches last a long time. They are made of leather and are extremely durable. But there comes a time when the medicine bag just wears out. The neck cord has broken so often it may look like a string of knots. The leather has worn down and looks like it’s been left out in the rain too long. What do you do with it at this stage? You can take the contents of the bag out and put them into another bag or you can leave the contents in the bag. You take the bag to a remote location. Somewhere that people seldom go to. Then hang the medicine bag or pouch in a tree where it’s barely visible.

The helping birds such as ravens, crows, eagles, or hawks and the “invisible beings” such as angels or guardians will disassemble the bag and remove all traces of it. Some people have been known to bury their bags. But this isn’t recommended. In the earth the bag will continue to exist and the special medicine belonging to it could be dug up and innocently or not so innocently misused. There are stories of ancient medicine pouches that were found, taken home or put in a museum and then all sorts of terrible things began to happen. Anyway, it is much better to let the angelic beings and our helper birds take care of something as precious as a medicine bag.

For the New Mom – Diaper Bag Essentials

When it becomes time that you can take your little bundle of joy out and around the town, or even to visit with friends and relatives; it’s good to know some essential basics. Do you know the essentials of what should go in the diaper bag?

I have devised a small checklist of the most important items that should be carried with you and baby at all times. Some of these items may sound weird or unnecessary at the time, but believe me when I tell you, the oddest things can come in very handy when the need arises.

The first thing you need to do is make sure you have a good-sized diaper bag, not some small as a purse or even a large purse. Inside the diaper bag, you should have:

Diapers- (including a few extra than you think you will or may need).

Baby wipes- (make sure they are baby wipes and not just wet wipes. Baby wipes are larger, softer, and gentler on the baby).

Rash ointment- (rashes can pop up at any time out of the clear blue. It is always better to have the necessary remedy on hand, instead of waiting until a later time).

A medicine bag- (These can be purchased with some of the essentials already within them, or you can make your own. Just use a quart sized zipper bag and fill with these items: Baby Tylenol, Nail clippers, a thermometer, Nose syringe, medicine dropper, and travel size lotion and Vaseline).

Extra clothing- (It is always best to take along at least two more sets than you think you will need. Remember, it is always better to be over prepared than under prepared).

One or two extra bottles- If you are bottle-feeding make sure you have enough with you, with an extra one to spare. After all, you never know when you might just be out a little longer than planned).

Also pack within the diaper bag, cloths for burping. I found cloth diapers to be wonderful, because they can be used for more than one purpose. Cloth diapers are also great as a makeshift changing pad, placing them under the baby so as not to soil any surrounding areas. The cloth diapers make excellent burping cloths to put over your shoulder, because they absorb more liquid than a receiving blanket, and can also come in handy for strange spills or yucky happenings that can arise.