When you are going through a difficult time, sometimes it is helpful to have something physical to hold on to.
I have found that creating and giving medicine bags to be a beautiful way to connect and comfort people who are grieving a loss, or are facing other significant life challenges.
I started making medicine bags after an artist collective in a warehouse called the Ghost Ship caught on fire in 2016. Thirty-six people died. While I was not close to anyone who lost their lives, many people I cared about in my office building and neighborhood were hit pretty hard by the tragedy. Making each person a medicine bag seemed like a tangible way to acknowledge their grief and share some healing energy.
I use crystals and gemstones in medicine bags, although you can use anything that has meaning for you or the person you are giving it to. Creating a medicine bag is a meditative ritual. I consciously hold the person who will receive the bag in my thoughts throughout the whole process of choosing the bag and selecting the stones. It’s a fascinating intuitive practice. So often I walk away with stones I had no idea I would decide on when I started.
The first thing I select is a small drawstring cloth bag that can be carried around in a pocket or purse, although medicine bags can be placed anywhere – such as on an altar or beside a bed. Then I pick up the first stone that catches my eye, and I think of it’s healing properties and the person it is being sent to. I carry it around for a few minutes until it feels like it wants to be included or not. I also write up a list of the healing properties of each stone.
Sagrada is an excellent place to conduct a medicine bag creation ritual. Mary, who has selected all the stones in the store, has written out the metaphysical properties of each stone on small pieces of paper that you can take with you. You don’t even have to write out the healing properties of the crystals.
Almost all my Ghost Ship medicine bags had a stone called Apache Tears because they absorb grief and release emotional pain. These shiny black gems help to forgive others without being bitter. Apache Tears received their name because it is said that when the tears of grieving Apache women who lost their loved ones fell to the ground, the tears became these rocks of Black Obsidian. Physically this stone calms muscle spasms, assists with detoxification of the body, helps with the absorption of vitamins and can also boost one’s immune system and strengthen the body. Apache Tears corresponds with the root chakra. All stones help with specific body issues and correspond to one of the seven chakras.
Rose Quartz is a stone of unconditional love and is a great addition to any bag. This pink stone has a high spiritual energy, but it is also calming and soothing. Carnelian is a beautiful orange stone I often add because it is so emotionally soothing.
Creating a medicine bag for yourself is also a fantastic process. It can be the perfect sacred ritual for setting a new intention or beginning a new project.
I hope you enjoy making medicine bags as much as I have.
Jeri Lawson has a full-time healing practice in the Temescal Area of Oakland, California. She is available for Healing Touch, Reiki, Distance Healings and Clarity Breathwork sessions Monday through Friday, 10 am to 6 pm. 510-601-9632