Beginner's Reference Guide Main Page
What's In Your Bag? (The Medicine Bag)
by Sonia Acone
Some call them medicine bags; others medicine pouches, charm bags, gri-gri, mojo bags or amulets. Whatever the name, these small (or not) pouches hold items the user finds symbolic in order to provide protection, prosperity, healing, love, etc.
For thousands of years, the medicine bag was worn or carried and contained any number of objects, from herbs, leaves, crystals, feathers, to fur and more. Native American shamans carried such bags to offer healing rituals to those in need. Others carried medicine bags that held items that meant something personal to the owner. A farmer might have a medicine bag filled with seeds, herbs and stones to increase his harvest. Warriors carried one to protect them in battle.
Some bags may only contain one item, such as in Morocco. Still others, such as a Brazilian patua, may contain roots in the shape of a hand, nestled in the leaves of rue, with garlic and cloves added. Africans may have their medicine bags made of metal, while others are constructed of animal skins, leather, or fabric.
Whatever the container, a medicine bag is essentially magic in a bag. Objects are collected, empowered and worn, carried or placed in the home for various reasons. And, since all things contain energy, it stands to reason that crystals be an important contribution to the medicine bag, as well as other natural items such as herbs, flowers and the like.
What crystals should you choose for your medicine bag? It depends on the desired outcome you wish to achieve. Of course, Clear Quartz crystal can be used since it is the ultimate, all-around wonder crystal. You could also use a birthstone if you wish. There are endless possibilities here.
What else goes into your medicine bag? Along with your chosen crystal(s), you may want to add some herbs, flowers or whatnot to go into your bag for that added little boost. Below is a list of common issues, their corresponding crystals and herbs to give you a bit of guidance. The listings are by no means exhaustive, and you can choose whichever stones, herbs or plants feel right to you.
Prosperity – Crystals: Citrine, Malachite, Green Aventurine, Jade, Tigers Eye, Peridot. Herbs, flowers: Mint, Cloves, Cinnamon stick, Cinquefoil, Bergamot, Oak leaves.
Healing – Crystals: Bloodstone, Amber, Agate, Amethyst, Hematite, Azurite, Jasper, Carnelian, Calcite, Diamond, Turquoise, Sunstone, Sodalite. Herbs, flowers: Chamomile, Sage, Feverfew, Yarrow.
Protection – Crystals: Apache Tear, Obsidian, Jet, Onyx, Black Tourmaline, Malachite, Topaz, Garnet, Turquoise. Herbs, flowers: Pansy, Thyme, Morning Glory, Ivy, Lobelia.
Love – Crystals: Rose Quartz, Ruby, Emerald, Pearl, Moonstone, Rhodocrosite, Pink Tourmaline. Herbs, flowers: Apple (seeds can be used), Rose petals, Violet, Feverfew.
Creativity – Crystals: Iolite, Agate, Green Aventurine, Amazonite, Lapis Lazuli, Blue Chalcedony, Pietersite. Herbs, flowers: Dill, Fennel, Fern, Lavender, Mint, Marjoram, Parsley.
Of course, you can make a medicine bag to suit whatever issue you like. It can be as simple or complex as you wish.
Making a medicine bag
A medicine bag can be bought, such as an organza bag used for wedding tokens, or a tarot card bag or any other little bag you wish. If you really want to get creative, you can make your own. A simple one can be made out of a square piece of fabric (size is up to you, but 4” x 4” is just enough to fit in a purse, pocket or hung around the neck), tied with a ribbon of your choosing. You could sew one by machine sewing two squares, right sides together and leaving the fourth side open. Turn right side out, insert your objects, and sew the opening shut. Sew on a piece of ribbon for hanging.
What do I do now?
Now that you have your medicine bag, you are ready to empower it. This is just simply sitting quietly and stating your intention while holding your bag. Place the bag in your home, where it may do its job, such as near your checkbook or purse for prosperity; near your computer for creativity (or kitchen for creative cooking), under your pillow for love, etc. A medicine bag may also be worn or carried with you. Place one in your car for protection if you travel often. Hang one on your front doorknob to keep your home protected. The medicine bag will lose its power after about a month, so if it is still needed, remove the crystals and cleanse them, as well as replacing any herbs or flowers. If the bag has done its job, remove the objects, cleanse the crystals and return the natural elements back to nature.
It all boils down to what feels right to you. A feather you pick up on a walk could be put in a medicine bag; a small pebble or stone; perhaps corresponding crystals of you and your spouse or partner may aid in a better relationship. Use your imagination, state your intention, and have fun with it!
by Sonia Acone
Healing Crystals Expert