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Native American

Herbal Healers

The term "medicine man" was a label first applied by early French explorers. It is more accurate to refer to Native American herbal healers, as shamans, doctors or priests- they are all of these. From ancient times, the shaman was someone who had most likely demonstrated a natural gift for healing, and the retentive memory needed for plant identification andremembereing songs and rituals.. There is nothing to indicate that this sacred calling of healer was restricted to either sex exclusively. Among the modern Maya today, a shaman can be a man or a woman.

How was it decided who would become a healer? This depended upon at least three factors: 1. Membership in a clan or religious society responsible for curing, 2. Direction or life purpose obtained in a vision quest or other spiritual experience, and 3. Natural gifts for healing. These criteria, and what would most benefit the group, were far more important than the wishes of the individual.

After initiation into the tribe at puberty, training began, and there was always a long apprenticeship. The young shaman-to-be was closely supervised by an elder and learned spiritual preparation, rituals, songs, plant identification, use and preparation, and observation of how to deal with both the patient and his family. Successful healing was based upon a bond of trust and faith between the healer and the healed. For a remedy to be fully effective, the shaman knew that his/her patient must be helped to reclaim a sense of wholeness and spiritual grounding.

Would YOU like to be a shaman? How do you learn? Too many modern herbalists are looking for an easy way and a “quick fix” without the spiritual preparation. Please don’t think that you can just go to your friendly neighborhood “medicine man” for a quick course in Native American herbal cures! He or she won’t tell you much, until you have proven yourself worthy. If you should find an Indian herbal healer willing to tell all right away, or if they are selling books containing sacred knowledge without concern for who might read them, then you are probably dealing with a “New Age Mall Indian”, who is maybe 1/32 Cherokee, if that, and has “Indianized” his Anglo name of Fred to something more picturesque, like Summerfall Winterspring Eaglefeather.



They are two aspects of one reality. There are separate laws which govern each. Breaking of a spiritual principle will affect the physical
world and visa versa. A balanced life is one that honors both."

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