‘Good medicine always gives you a sense of sacredness or sacred power.’ – Jean Wolfe
There is no doubt that we need medicine in times like these. However, the true answers or antidotes we require for modern life might not actually be found in the “Western model” of diagnosing and treating disease. Especially as many of the dis-eases and challenges we face these days can be attributed to modern life.
An exploration of traditional medicine may provide deeper answers. Traditional medicine, as defined by the World Health Organization, is the sum total of the knowledge, skills, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement, or treatment of physical and mental illness.
These approaches belong to the culture of each country of origin and have been handed down from generation to generation, for centuries. TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture) alongside Ayurvedic Medicine from India are examples that are now popular worldwide. Both are sophisticated healing systems for holistic (whole-body) living.
In Native American traditions, the word ‘medicine’ has a much broader and richer meaning than what we commonly understand it to mean, in the West. The term ‘medicine’ is used in a more spiritual sense and often refers to the spirit, power, energy, or mystic potency of an object or person. It can come from a person for example the ‘medicine man or woman’ being someone of great spiritual power. It can be something you have, a ‘medicine object’ that has power to help you. For example a feather that carries the ‘medicine’ or totem power of the bird it came from. Medicine can even come from words…kind words with pure intent would be considered ‘good medicine’ whereas discouraging words from an angry person would be considered ‘bad medicine’.
The fundamental premise of their philosophy is an interconnectedness with all. Earth, her people and animals, trees, roots and rocks, as well as elements such as lightning and wind all have their own spirit. Healing therefore is not just about a person’s physical parts but their emotional wellness and harmony with everything around them, including their community and their environment. They also believe that whatever is required for healing (on any level), is available to us through the forces of nature.
Based on this concept, when your home is aligned to and infused with the forces of nature it can be a source of ‘medicine’. A space that automatically nourishes your soul and helps you find or restore balance. A sacred space from the world outside – perhaps one of the most powerful ‘medicines’ we can all access in times like these…