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Good Medicine

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Our spirits deserve regular TLC. When we take care of ourselves - inside and out - it's good news for everyone.

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It has been said by the old ones that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Ever heard the expression, ‘Life is a Ceremony’?

Alright, let’s drop the New-Age woo woo talk. What really is Spirit, and how do we take care of it?

For years, I felt hardened and skeptical of spirit. I lived most of my early life filled with anger and resentment. I felt disconnected from my community, language, and Potlatch traditions. It wasn’t until I was pregnant and participated in a healing circle with elders in Montreal that I began to soften to the idea that there are forces greater than myself.

Our nations have experienced centuries of societal programming, genocide assimilation, and modernization. Western society has disillusioned the masses of what is truly sacred. We sit in comfort (or not) and often forget to give thanks for the basic necessities that we literally couldn’t live without: earth, water, fire and air.

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He's Got The Whole World in His Hands' - Painting by my partner Vincent Dumoulin (acrylic on canvas).

If we think of Spirit and our spiritual selves in terms of energy, we can appreciate that the human body is a complex energetic system. The things we cannot perceive from our senses are known as subtle energies.

Our spirit is our consciousness and a part of our subtle body.

When we participate in ceremonies such as a Sweat lodge, Sun Dance, Potlatch or even a Lacrosse game, there is a harmonization in our mind, body and spirit on an energetic level. This is the good medicine that protects us and strengthens our families, communities and nations.

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Buffalo Skull meditation and prayer seat that we gifted to an Elder in Chippewas on the Thames. Work and photo by Vince Dumoulin.

Ceremonies have been vital to our existence as Indigenous peoples since time immemorial. They are endless in purpose, wisdom and teachings. Each ceremony creates a foundation to nourish our wellbeing and a means of understanding our unique duty. They require us to be fully present, conscious and responsible for our actions. They require us to present ourselves in a good and kind way.

Bad Medicine and broken spirits

We're exposed to many negative entities that have the potential to weaken our spirits and harm our subtle and physical bodies.

The acts of spreading gossip or hateful words, bringing others down through lateral oppression, eating processed foods, abusing drugs and alcohol, and hurting others physically, emotionally or sexually are ALL expressions of the same entity: bad medicine.

Each and every one of us, in one shape or form, is on our path – whether we are actively healing or just existing. Ceremony provides a means of supporting us through the bad medicine. It uplifts and strengthens our spirit body. It shapes our understanding of who we truly are and where we come from.

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My daughter Maya Sequoyah in front of her Uncle Andre's Tipi before the ceremony. Photo by Vince Dumoulin.

Some ways to take in the good medicine and create ceremony on a daily basis include:

  • Reflecting on what we are grateful for
  • Putting tobacco down and saying a prayer
  • Listening to and singing traditional songs
  • Playing traditional games
  • Learning and using medicines to protect and purify our spirit body and household
  • Being kind to our elders and relatives

I am convinced that there is a collective shift of human consciousness that is renewing our spiritual thirst, and the best way forward is to drink in the good medicine.

All my relations.

Jessica is a proud mama, yoga teacher, and Indigenous health ambassador at McGill University in Montreal, QC. Website / Facebook / Instagram 

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And on that note...

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