This blog is in honour of our newest collection, PRAYERS + OFFERINGS.
(Stay on the look out for our new Limited Edition Hoodie this Friday)

As we settle into the fall months and begin preparing for the coming Winter season, we wanted to share some of our teachings around medicines and wellness.

Winters are generationally hard, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, physically, and even financially. Our teachings remind us to slow down, reflect and set intentions for the next year. Although, in todays society, hustle culture and capitalism has it backwards. We are overworked as is, with holidays and cold weather, we are pushed to our capacity. When life becomes all too overwhelming and demanding, that's when we need to turn to our teachings, the medicines to ground and align us in our path.

We will be sharing our knowledge on our cultural medicines and their uses. Mother Earth provides us with so much, in return we take care of her. Our relationship with the Land and all of her medicines have been skewed overtime, this blog is dedicated to remind ourselves on our relation with Creation.

Traditionally in Nehiyaw (Cree) culture - and many others, there are 4 sacred medicines that are commonly used, Sweetgrass, Cedar, Sage, and Tobacco. These medicines are used in ceremony and everyday life. These sacred medicines are harvested and used by Indigenous Peoples across Turtle Island, there are teachings around harvesting and using these medicines. Non-Indigenous peoples are encouraged to learn from Indigenous peoples as we share our knowledge, but please remember to leave the harvesting and usage to Indigenous Peoples, as our these medicines are vital to our culture and existence.

Sweetgrass is known as the hair of Mother Earth. Sweetgrass is braided and used for smudging, cleansing, and to ground us. It is commonly recognized for it’s sweet aroma and long green strands. I was taught by my Kokum that when the strands of sweetgrass are braided the past present and future are being woven into that medicine. When we use sweetgrass to pray, we pray for the past present and future as it is all connected in that very moment. Sweetgrass is also known for it’s resiliency. A single strand of sweetgrass can easily be ripped in half, although, when sweetgrass is braided together it is very strong and cannot be easily broken and ripped. We consider this a teaching; when we use sweetgrass to smudge we are reminded of the resiliency of our Nations, of our ancestors, of ourselves and of the future generations to come.

There are teachings around Sweetgrass that differ in every nation, tribe, etc. Make sure to reach out to your grandparents, parents, family, or an Elder for your families teachings.

Cedar is another traditional medicine used in many Indigenous cultures across Turtle Island. Nehiyaw culture utilizes Cedar for its medicinal and healing properties. Cedar is also known for it’s protective medicines and used for protection and cleansing. In my family, we hang cedar bows above each bedroom and entrance, to clear any lingering energies visitors and guests may leave behind, and to purify stagnant energy. There are teachings past down to us around cedar baths and cedar brushings that work to cleanse, purify, and provide a protective barrier to our mind, body and spirit.

Again, different Nations have different teachings around Cedar and it’s medicinal uses.

Sage is widely used for smudging, cleansing, and purifying ourselves and our spaces. Smudging with sage provides grounding, it helps to clear negative and draining energies and provide clarity. In Nehiyaw teachings, the sage smoke carries our prayers to Creator. In my family, we try to start every morning with prayer and smudging, this sets ourselves up for an intentional day and keeps us grounded.

 It is important to understand that Sage is a sacred medicine to many Indigenous People whom have been harvesting and using this medicines since time immemorial. There has been many issues regarding non-Indigenous people harvesting, selling, and overusing Sage and appropriating our culture. There are teachings around medicines, one being that we are to only take what we need, and provide an offering. When medicine is used for capitalizing, it disregards these teachings. The energy we hold and the mindset we are in during medicine harvesting is very important and can alter the actual medicinal properties of that medicine being picked.

Tobacco is used as an offering, and it helps us to communicate with Creator. When we take from the land we provide tobacco as an offering and a sign of thanks and gratitude. We follow protocol when we ask for help from an Elder or ceremonial person, we exchange in gifts and tobacco to thank them for their work, teachings, guidance and wisdom. In my teachings, tobacco is used when we are asking for something. We hold our tobacco and pray, when we ask for guidance, strength, healing, etc. we make an offering to Mother Earth.

As we move through these times, remember to incorporate these teachings into your daily life. To honour the medicines that provide us with so much.

With love, from Turtle Island.
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