Weekly Indigenous Teachings

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Welcome to Spence Neighbourhood Association’s weekly Indigenous Teachings! In these teachings we will be discussing the four sacred medicines and their purposes in indigenous practices.

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The teaching on tobacco varies within Indigenous culture, it is the most common sacred medicine used in ceremonies.

The sacred medicine of tobacco must be offered to a ceremony conductors, knowledge keepers, knowledge carriers, drummers, pipe carriers, picking medicines, spirit plates and putting down tobacco to honor prayers to the great spirit world, our ancestors.

When the elders and traditional knowledge keepers smudge or smoke in their pipes with tobacco, they connect themselves to the great spirit and deliver messages. These messages we receive are to guide us through our journey, and get answers from prayers.

Indigenous people also use tobacco for; to set one’s intentions prior to foraging other traditional medicines and/or plants. When requesting help or advice from an elder, medicine person or healer; and to offer tobacco when asking for medicines or to receive a spirit name. Also, to express gratitude to the spirit world by delivering one’s message and intentions.

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The teaching on sage is commonly used to prepare for ceremonies, and sweats. Sage is used as a cleansing medicine as it releases and removes any negativity that may be troubling you.

There are other ways you see indigenous peoples use sage for cleansing homes, spaces and sacred instruments, and tools. Sage clears the senses from seeing, hearing, speaking, or feeling negative thoughts and energies.

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The sacred medicine cedar can be practiced in so many ways; however, indigenous peoples practice cedar for its restorative ability and to purify physical spaces including the mind, body, spirit, and/or home.

Ways the indigenous peoples practice cedar: Cedar baths to relieve sore muscles and joints, adding cedar to a fire to bless yourself and call attention to the spirit world and to let it be known that there is an offering being made.

For its protective qualities, cedar is often placed at entrance ways to homes and on the ground around the perimeter of a sweat lodge as cedar ensures that bad energies are not able to enter.

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The sacred medicine is practiced in prayer, smudging, and purifying ceremonies. Known to represent Mother Earth’s hair, it is usually braided and the scent reminds us of the kindness and of the love she has for all the people and their prayers or ceremony to attract positive energies.

Ways the indigenous people practice sweet grass; burning it at the beginning of a ceremony to attract positive energies; Using it in healing circles as it has a calming effect, and a sweet smell.

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