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Many thousands of years ago, Shamans (healers) created Medicine pouches and necklaces, which held many treasures. These Sacred Power Bundles were to be worn during ceremonies that called upon the Spirits to bring good health and good hunting, among other things. Calling a doctor was no simple matter for native peoples. Often, a visit from such a person who performed ceremonial treatments lasted for several days. These healers, known as Shamans or Medicine Men and Women, some of whom had as much power as any chief, organized special ceremonies. Shamans cured the sick with herbs, performed healing rituals (the necklace pictured to the right might have been worn for such a ritual, or by the Shaman as his or her personal amulet). They also told of coming future events, and even found missing property. They knew the dances, chants, prayers and ceremonies that would bring good fortune to their lives and please the spirits.
Young people had to take many difficult tests of physical strength before they could become Shamans, and few succeeded. They did not receive their special powers until they had seen a vision in the form of a sacred animal or object, which was then often collected, created as a fetish, or given in honor and later found it's way to a special Sacred Medicine Bundle/necklace such as this one (right).
Medicine Pouches/ Necklaces came in many forms, shapes and sizes and served a variety of uses. Primarily, however, they were all thought to be protective in nature. Necklaces and bundles worn by warriors into battle, which were made with horns, bones and artifacts thought to be relics of powerful spirits, became talismans to make the warrior immune to the enemy. Necklaces and pouches containing materials thought to have magical powers such as special rocks known as "Wotais and Wotawes" in the Lakota Sioux language, included all kinds of stones, Crystals, and even Shells. Native peoples believed in achieving balance with the forces of the upper and lower worlds. The idea was to use good to counteract evil whenever possible. The concept of the innate healing influence of "Stone Energy" was not lost to the Indigenous people of the world, and a Sacred Medicine Necklace/Bundle was just that, a "Power or Honor Piece" to be worn for healing.
Today, of course, we are well aware of the scientific principles behind the healing power of the mineral kingdom. Traditional and historical use of totems or effigies of the animal and plant kingdoms as well as the actual claws, bones, teeth, and pieces of the actual object or animal in question were favorite Shaman's Talismans used and worn during "Curing Ceremonies." They were thought to spread prosperity, healing and transformation, power, the characteristics of the animal, plant or rock itself, even immortality. All in all, Sacred Medicine Necklace/bundles and honor-pieces hold heavy magic, but remember, magic is nothing more than a change in consciousness ~ become the magician or enchantress!
Necklace/bundles that I have created in the Native American tradition are known as Medicine Necklaces, Power Pieces or Honor Pieces or all three. They bring an ancient cosmology into contemporary design and application.