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The Four Sacred Plants are associated with the four Great Directions on the Wheel of Life. The word "Medicine" can mean a substance with powerful qualities, it can also mean the various qualities of Power as represented in the Four Directions, Four Medicines, Four Hills of Life, and etc.. Shown in a "European Map" orientation they are:

Sweetgrass - North

Sage - West

Tobacco - East

Cedar - South


Please understand that the information provided on these pages about the Sacred Plants is limited and introductory. There are general uses, and there are particular uses. The uses and applications of these herbs and plants specific to each life, and appropriate to the times, is something only known privately. The only way to truly learn is to begin to live this under the guidance of a Native Elder, Pipe Carrier, Cultural Teacher, or Medicine Person.

The 4 Sacred Medicines are added to each Loom we make. Each is gifted or gathered, thanks to friends who have learned to love our looms. The 4 Sacred Plants give life to each loom. It is our hope that you and your beadwork will be affected in a good way. View the Looms here...

Sacred Plant - Tobacco

East - Semah - Truth, Openess, Prayer, Ancestors, Funeral offering.

Semah, one of the four sacred medicines, it is associated with the Eastern Direction. Some First Nation people may use a form of tobacco known as kinikinik (see image below) , or a red willow mix. You can use store-bought or gifted tobacco. Semah is used in the offering of prayer to the Creator, acting as a medium for communication. It expesses the intention to speak truthfully and openly. It is either offered to the fire, so the smoke can lift the prayers to the Creator, or it is set on the ground in a nice, clean place. In a pipe it is the most sacred use of all, joining the pipeholder and the spirits. Many Native people offer tobacco each morning and each new day is greeted with prayers of thankfulness. Some say that you are to hold it in your left hand. It is always good to offer Semah when seeking knowledge or advice from an Elder or when a Pipe is present. Many people carry a small bag of tobacco with them at all times.

Sacred Plant - Cedar

South - Giizhik - Protection, courage, cleansing, growth, express feelings.

Giizhik, one of the Four Sacred Plants, is associated with the Southern direction. The leaves are cleaned from the stems and separated into small pieces, which are used in many ways. When burned, Cedar acts as a purifier, cleansing the area in which it is burned and emitting a pleasant scent. Laying cedar in a circle around your tent or camp is a good protection, and having some near the enty doors of your home is also a a good thing .Some folks keep a little in their shoes or mocs to serve as protection against evil intentions of others, physical ills, and the effects of bad spirits. Every morning, just sprinkle a small amount in each shoe. It is often used to line the floor of a Sweat Lodge. Red Cedar, Juniper, is also used.

Sacred Plant - Sage

West - Shkodawabuk - Purification, introspection, quiet prayer.

Shkodawabuk, one of the Four Sacred Plants, contacts us with the Western direction. It is used in a similar way as Cedar. it is burned as a smudge, as a purifier. It has a very plesant, spicey fragrance. If you are at a Northern Traditional Pow Wow, you will be given an oppotunity to smudge yourself at the beginning, and the smell of sage in the air is a very familiar thing to all who attend Pow Wows here. Wafting sage smoke over oneself with both hands before a talking circle, or pow wow, or other function, is a means of purifying and dedicating oneself for prayer, or dance, or other purposes. You will see someone burning sage in a bundle or a shell, they will use a feather to waft the smoke toward you as you join the Grand Entrance procession. Although sage can be purchased in many places, in strict traditional life it is never purchased, but only gathered or gifted as it is believed Medicine is not to be bought or sold. In my looms, it is given to you as a gift embedded in the frame. DO NOT wrap your sage bundles in SYNTHETIC yarns, use only wool, cotton, or other 100% natural fibers.

Sacred Plant - Sweetgrass


North - Wiingashk - Invites in good, smudging, decoration, basketmaking.

Wiingashk is known for its sweet, unmatched and unique scent. The scent is made much stronger in nature when it rains, and is use when it is burned as a smudge. Weengush is used to make many useful and decorative items, including coiled baskets. It is often braided, and the three sections that go into the braid are said to have specific meanings: personal self, physical self, and spirit. Others name them as mental, physical, and spiritual strands. Many Natives use sweetgrass in prayer, smudging or purifying ceremonies and consider it a sacred plant. Sweetgrass braids smolder and don't produce an open flame when burned. Individuals smudge themselves with the smoke, washing the eyes, ears, heart and body. The sweet scent of this type of smudge is attractive and pleasing to people, and it also is said to attract good spirits. Sweetgrass can be burned at the beginning of a prayer or ceremony to attract positive energies. Sweetgrass smudge can be fanned on people, objects or areas. It is also used in basketmaking, preserving the sweetness of Summer through the winter months.

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Replies to This Discussion

This explanation on the four sacred medicines was very helpful, thank you Aurora :)
Blessings to you this morning!
That's cool Margaret! I like to find out things like this!
Hugs back. Xxoo

5 Young Singer's Forming A New Traditional Drum Group ...,
Second Sitting of many ...,
( Calling In ) Welcoming Song (sung by an adult)
Song's For The Four Directions ....,
East - EAGLE SONG ( Tobacco , Love ) ..,
North - SAABA SONG ( Sweetgrass , Honesty ) ..,
South - WOLF SONG ( Cedar , Humility ) ..,
West - BEAR SONG ( Sage , Courage ) -NOT IN VIDEO
....., The NAME of the GROUP hasn't been Decided ......., COMING SOON !!
....., For ALL MY RELATIONS !!!!!


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