As sometimes happens, there is more than one way to use a particular Indian tool, such as a Medicine Wheel or a drum. The Medicine Shield is such a tool. It can be a declaration of who the owner is, or an aid to healing. Hence, the word “medicine” is used, but not in the pharmaceutical sense. Medicine here refers to a particular power or quality carried by an individual, or it can refer to the power of the Medicine Helper painted on the shield. Wisdom and humility are very strong medicines for instance, and who can deny the power, or medicine of love?
This article will focus on a particular use of the Shield. I’ll use an example to explain it, but the principles found in the example hold true for other issues as well. If we get a good understanding of the principles and concepts, we can apply them to any situation and get good results. Here, the Shield is presented for a specific purpose, or function; to bring about significant transformation as quickly as possible. We need immediate change and we don’t have time for endless therapy. Suppose domestic violence is the issue. That needs to stop immediately. The reasons can be sorted out over time, but the physical and mental abuse must cease now.
Physically, Medicine Shields can be constructed a number of ways, but simple is best in the beginning. Make a vine hoop approximately 15 inches in diameter and lace a rawhide round inside it so as to suspend, or frame the rawhide inside the hoop; it need not cover the hoop as a drumhead covers a frame. The Shield is gradually decorated with a likeness of the animal Medicine Helper best suited to the task and anything else that supports the intention built into the shield and the relationship between the person who will use it and the Medicine Helper.
This all sounds very Indianesque, but does it work? And if so, how? Let’s use fear for an example. It is best to focus on a specific fear, break it apart, and learn what is driving the fear. We need also recognize some fears are natural, even desirable. A healthy respect for great heights comes to mind, as does standing in the path of a speeding bullet. Often times when we understand what energizes a particular fear and then deal with it, we may overcome other fears in the process. Or get a better handle on them. We start by recalling an incident, some event that brought up the emotion of fear. Trace it back to where the fear first made itself known. As a very broad statement (and suitable to this teaching) fears not naturally wired into us generally, but not always, come from two places: socialization or trauma.
We go down a level or two psychologically, but we don’t need to get way deep into our psychology or emotional temperaments. We can do that after the behavior is under control, by using the Medicine Wheel or some other technique.
What I call socialized fear develops through advertising, peer pressure, government threat and so on. If I don’t buy the right clothes, or drive the right car, or drink the right beer, I’ll be rejected socially. And let’s not mess with the IRS. Trauma often develops into fear: I was run off the road by a red car, and crashed really bad. Now, I get nervous every time a red car pulls up beside me. So much so, I pull over or slow way down to let it pass quickly. These are the kinds of irrational behaviors we can address with the Shield.
Spend time in serious thought about what past trauma or socialization may have led to the fear in question. This is, in my view, the most difficult part of the entire process of creating a Shield. But when done sufficient to render useful insights, it will help you make a clear statement of the intention for your Shield. It requires you train yourself to reject the easy answers; to maintain a ruthless pursuit of what’s really going on inside your head and heart. And gut. You’ll be successful with this in direct relation to how ruthless you are in tracking down what is underneath the behavior.
Example; I am afraid of red cars. Red cars remind me of the accident. I was hurt in the accident. Red cars hurt me.
Interrogation: Through taking the event apart and thinking about how you’ve come to fear red cars, you finally come to the point where you realize it’s really bad drivers you’re afraid of, not red cars. From this, you figure out that you can train yourself to spot bad drivers well in advance, and that you can take proper action to avoid any more wrecks. So, maybe your statement looks something like, “While driving, I’m surrounded by competent and courteous drivers only and I see poor drivers far enough in advance to take protective action.” Or something to that effect. What is important is that you believe it, or think you can at some point.
Creating the relationship with your Medicine Helper begins by choosing one that has the qualities you’ll need to develop in yourself to accomplish your statement. Eagle comes to mind because eagle flies way high and can see what’s coming down the road. Metaphorically, we would understand this to mean eagle sees into the future. And this is the medicine you want for yourself; the ability to see far enough ahead to avoid any more wrecks.
You make contact with the Medicine Helper by approaching it directly in the physical or in “meditation.” State your case, and ask for its help. But make sure the Helper you approach carries the medicine you need. After you do all this, keep yourself open. The Medicine Helper will in some way let you know it is there for you. Decorating your shield with a likeness of the Medicine Helper affirms that relationship and keeps you focused on it; you’re reminded daily to think and act like an eagle. Place your shield where you’ll see it first thing in the morning, and last thing at night. This will start your day reminding you of your new behavior and end your day in gratitude for the Medicine Helper and put all of this on your mind as you go into dreamtime.
So we see the process of creating a functional Medicine Shield is fairly straightforward, the most difficult part perhaps is taking our issue apart to understand what’s inside of it. Shields are powerful aids to living the life we choose, to staying centered in our own compassionate and humble power. Once you really understand the concept of the Medicine Shield, you can adapt it to any good purpose.
By OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay