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Make Your Own Medicine Bags and Magic Pouches

Updated on January 12, 2017
relache profile image

Raye loved playing dress-up so much, she studied costume and makeup for her BA, then got an MFA in surface design.

Medicine Bags

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A Ritual Pouch or Bag

In many cultures, you will find the practice of carrying a bag of significant objects, items considered to aid and carry power and which help in times of healing. Whether the Native American medicine bag, the African-derived gris-gris or the Caribbean Oanga bag, all of these items are small bags used as charms or fetishes. They are blessed items which hold smaller ritual objects, prayers, and items of personal importance and symbolism.

Medicine bags as used by Native American shaman were actually quite large, carrying ritual masks, herbs and medicinal plants, ritual totems and more. In essence, if you want to make yourself a medicine bag, you need to make it large enough to hold whatever it is you wish to carry in it. For bags taken to rituals and festivals, you might want something small enough so you can tie it to a belt as a pouch, or you might want something the size of a moderate purse or tote bag.

Designing Your Medicine Bag

Most often the bag itself is made from a natural fiber or material. Silk satins and velvets are popular choices as are cotton fabrics. Lightweight to moderate leathers can be used for heavier pouches and large bags as well. These can be machine or hand-sewn depending on your equipment, time and skill. Remnant bins at fabric stores or the leather scrap barrel at the craft store is a great place to find a new medicine bag. Or you can find something pre-made.

Varying traditions have differing color suggestions for magic bags. You will find many of the usual colors mentioned: black (shielding), white (protection), red (energizing). Or the color can be something that is a favorite of yours. You might find a pre-made bag that can still be dyed or painted on to customize as you wish.

Frequently these bags close with a drawstring top, but you can also make a flap that ties or buttons shut as well. If you put a really long drawstring on a small bag, you can make one which you can wear around your neck.

Learn About a Traditional Medicine Bag

What Goes Inside A Medicine Bag

Most often for a personal mojo, just a simple drawstring bag will suffice. Many people like one that is small enough to fit into an ordinary pocket or even something small enough to be worn on a sturdy cord around the neck. These tiny pouches are good for keeping small crystals, little prayer scrolls, feathers, bits of incense, pinches of herbs, tufts of fur, tiny animal totem figures and other items of strong personal significance.

If the medicine bag is larger, like the size of a purse, they can be repositories of bigger items that hold personal power for you or some of your magickal tools. A magic pouch might protect a deck of tarot cards when they aren’t being used, or you might assemble a special one that you can wear if you were doing magickal work for manifesting or for healing work. Larger pouches sometimes can hold small musical instruments like shakers or bells. I have one that I wear on my belt when I dance at my fire circles that holds all the things I want to keep on hand at all times: small musical instruments, organic lip balm, a pen for my journal, a tiny flashlight in case I have to look for something in the dark away from the firelight, incense to add to the fire and crystals I am working with.

What do you keep in your Medicine Bag?

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    • profile image

      Mark C 6 years ago

      A medicine bag should never be made for a stranger but rather a person that is very near and dear to your heart. before it is given to that person it should be smudged in white cedar. Don't devalue a medicine bag by commercially selling for profit.....Cherokee by blood....American by choice.

    • profile image 6 years ago

      I like what Rena said about carrying an item that relates to your intentions. Hopefully our intentions are all positive when it comes to medicine and magic.

    • relache profile image

      Raye 6 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Obviously, people should work with herbs and plants to which they have affinities, and be sure to leave out anything you don't like or have an allergy to.

    • profile image

      Barbara 6 years ago

      What if you do not have white sage, and are allergic to cedar? What is a subsatute?

    • jamterrell profile image

      jamterrell 6 years ago

      Great hub, VOTE IT UP.

    • profile image

      Baron 6 years ago

      every medicine bag should at the very least contain the sacred herbs of the 4 directions, tobacco, sweet grass, white sage and cedar... and a white shell but the shell is regional...

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 7 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Great hub, Relache. I make medicine bags and pouches, too. I love them. A medicine bag is so personal and can be so powerful for the person who owns it. Thanks for sharing your wonderful and well-written information.

    • Mystique1957 profile image

      Mystique1957 8 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela


      This is beautiful. There´s so much energy in the way you suggest things. Perhaps because I am open to receive I feel these good vibes. In any case, it´s been a helpful hub! Thanks for sharing!

      Thumbs up!

      Love and Light for you, sister,


    • profile image

      Maryelle 8 years ago

      Thank you Relache, I always love your writings.

      Brightest Blessings

    • trimar7 profile image

      trimar7 8 years ago from New York

      I teach about the indigenous people and found your hub very interesting.

    • magickshop profile image

      magickshop 10 years ago

      Wonderful, informative, well written, I love this article! And the idea of the flashlight in the bag for outdoor rituals is great, I will make a special one for myself!

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 10 years ago from Georgia

      You always have something interesting to read.

    • Rena Klingenberg profile image

      Rena Klingenberg 10 years ago

      Wonderful, Relache. I also love gorgeous amulet bag necklaces designed from seed beads, with the beads "painting" an image. I use something similar to the magic pouch idea here for carrying around with me whatever small object relates to one of my current intentions - such as a found coin for prosperity, etc.