Prescribed by an Elder, plant material can be worn in a medicine pouch by a person seeking the mercy and protection of the spirits of the four directions. It is another sacred item and usually contains tobacco and the four medicines from the four directions: east – sweet grass; south – sage; west – cedar and north – fungus. It may also contain a particular token that is special or sacred to the person who owns the medicine pouch. It may contain what is known as a clan marker i.e. a bear’s claw or tooth. It may contain a small stone or piece of glass as these items may hold a special memory for the wearer. It may contain items of special significance i.e. a lock of hair or your grandmother’s ring.
Some people choose to wear their medicine pouch at all times; others choose to wear them only on special occasions, i.e. Powwows and other special ceremonies. Medicine Pouches are extremely sacred and special, especially to the owner. If you find a medicine pouch, please don’t open it and please try your best to return it to the owner. It isn’t just a piece of jewellery or an adornment. It is their spiritual protection. If you open another person’s medicine pouch then all the items in it will have to be replaced.