Medicine bundle

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Bundles at Birch Coulee in Minnesota.

A medicine bundle is a wrapped package used by Native Americans for religious purposes. A package of this type can also be referred to as a medicine bag. Medicine bundles are usually employed as a ritual aid in Shamanistic religions. The size of a medicine bundle generally varies from 2 to 14 inches (5 to 36 centimeters) in length, but could be larger.

Contents[edit]

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

Other characteristics[edit]

The contents of a medicine bundle are generally considered holy by the tribal community, and are meant to be kept secret by the owner. 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 usually accompany the manufacture and opening of medicine bundles, and women rarely handle them. A medicine bundle can be passed down generationally as an inheritance.

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

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

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