Medicine Card Pouch and….

This year I do not have as much time as I had in other winters.
I was “under the weather” for a while and am now back into teaching – currently every Thursday together with other Elders from our local First Nations at the Orillia Senior’s Centre, which is presenting a series of Aboriginal Studies workshops. There are quite a variety of speakers and I am there to bring the drums and teach about the sacred use of drums, rattles in ritual and ceremony and during the Pow Wows…..
It is a lot of fun and I am also learning a lot myself.

But not much time for cards 😦
However, I thought I show of my self made and meanwhile well used – and already somewhat battered pouch for my medicine Cards:
it is white Buffalo Leather and Rabbit Fur with a multitude of beads and a small Wolf fetish carving.


Well, with a home like this I thought that it also would be nice to give the book that accompanies the deck a befitting cover:

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That however is, where the beauty stops, because the individual pages look more like a scruffy note book:

I like to write my personal notes and impressions of the Animals in question on the margins.

Some of the most “scribbled upon pages” indicate to me, how far away my personal take of an Animal is from Jamie Sam’s descriptions and because of that these then warrant a post for this blog.

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I hope, in one of the next posts I can introduce you to all my “extra cards” why I added them to the deck and what they represent / point towards in a reading.
However, FIRST I have to find time to write all this…..
So stay tuned ♥


Mountain Lion Medicine = Card17

mountain-lionTo the card description in the Medicine Card Book I would like to ad, that for the Zuni People the Cougar/ Mountain Lion is “Elder Brother Mountain Lion”and stands as the Medicine Guardian of the North direction.
He is seen as the Master Hunter, that teaches hunting skills like stealth and patience to the young men. When in camp however, these young men are to emulate strength, patience with the young and weak as well as grace and courtesy in their dealings with the woman folk.
Cougar/ Catamount also teaches about holding territory and respecting territorial boundaries – of self and others.

Mountain Lion petroglyph Petrified Forest National Park AZ

Mountain Lion petroglyph Petrified Forest National Park AZ


When portrayed as a fetish by Zuni – and now in modern times also other stone carvers – Mountain Lion is adorned with a piece of White Mussel Shell – for North, Red Coral -for life Blood and black Jet – as the sum of all colours. Often also a piece of Turquoise for healing or a Turquoise arrow is added. Truly old fetishes can be recognized by the tail being bent backwards over the back of the Mountain Lion.

mt lion fetish2

turquoise Mtlon fetish
Such a fetish would be kept together with others on or in a fetish jar. On a regular basis food and medicine gift would be fed to the fetishes ( = Tobacco, Cornmeal, Turquoise for example)



.rom the web:For the Zunis of Turtle Island
the Cougar was the Master Hunter, known for its high
intelligence, its knowledge of other animal and life forms,
its physical prowess, its strength of will, and its intuitive
ability. The Cougar sees the maintenance of its territory as
essential for its survival. Poshaiankia, the father of the
Medicine Societies, designated the Cougar the duty of
carrying messages from humans to the higher spirits,
because of this animal’s personal power, superior knowledge,
strength of will, and steadfastness. Therefore, the Cougar
represents the link between ourselves and the most powerful
spirits in Zuni Mythology: Mother Earth, Father Sky, and the
Originator of All.


I had several short encounters with Mountain Lions – or Cougars, how we call them here:

The first was way back in the summer of 1981 on a back country hiking trail in Brice Canon, Utah. My then travelling partner Didi and I had made camp in this enchanting landscape, pitched our tent beneath a long dead gnarled Cedar Tree. To make sure our food was safe from Bears, after supper we put it all into my backpack and hoisted that one via a rope up high into one of the last few branch stumps of this dead Tree. (-stupid!! I know – now! )

Douse camp fire and off into our sleeping bags.

In the middle of the night we heard strange sounds right above us, scratching and some weird pitched growling…. Someone was at our food bag! Out of the tent and in the beam of the flash light we saw, what it was:

A young cougar!


That one, seeing us, promptly lost its purchase on the backpack and – fell right into our tent.

More Panic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Grrrrouwwwwwhrr!! Ripping the collapsed tent to shreds the Cat knew nothing better than climb back up the Tree!

We scrambled out of the immediate area of the tent and with our backs to a smooth rock wall spend the rest of the night shivering in fear and cold. We heard the Cougar scratching around on the Tree, but the beam of the flash light did not carry as far…. until it died on us….. Was the Cougar gone? Or was it sneaking up on us?

Finalllllly dawn came – and no Cat!

Just a ripped Tent and a ripped backpack.

This one I "hunted" on gooogle pics and asked him to sit here and be nice!

This one I “hunted” on gooogle pics and asked him to sit here and be nice!


The second encounter happened here at home:

It was a efw years ago, not suite sure when, my ooooold poooooter died (– isn’t that always the case?)

Anyway, it was just after midnight when I went downstairs and out the sliding door of the jewellery workshop to replenish our Raccoon dinner dish with the nightly ration of Cat kibbles.

Then, after my evening shower 15 minutes later I thought, I just take a little looook, if maybe some of our Raccoons already had arrived and was at the food.

Some of these guys were shy, wild ones, not from the litter of orphans that we raised and released the year before. So I was very quiet and did not turn on the light.

The moon illuminated the deck

and there was something – someone – but not a Raccoon!

A HUUUUUUUUGE slim slick Cougar was crouched before the dish, stretched out , munching away, looooong tail stretched out behind, its tip swushing back and forth nervously.

As quickly and quietly as possible I ran upstairs for my camera – and to call Peter, who was already asleep.

But –

Never wake a sleeping man!

Grumbling he poltered down the stairs and, hearing the noise, with an elegant jump our elusive dinner guest was gone!

What a missed opportunity.

– For years and years we locals of Muskoka have been telling each other stories of the Cougars we saw, the ones that ate our dogs, the prints we encountered. But the MNR insists, that there were no Cougars in Muskoka, just large Tabby Cats and the odd Bobcat….

Well, since this encounter the MNR had to give in finalllly and admit to Muskoka having yet another “dangerous vermin”, The Eastern Cougar – Catamount.

Then, after yet another Cougar chased a dog in broad daylight in the suburbs and numerous clear pictures were taken and no travelling zoo or circus had accidentally lost one, this had to be a wild Cat.

Sadly they did, what in these cases they always do: Kill it 😦

You could gooogle “Muskoka Cougar” and read more)

Susan Seddon Boulet

Susan Seddon Boulet


Ok, comming to my cougar encounter No 3.

This one I posted under Notes on my FB account, date and all:

A cougar at the house!

Saturday morning (April 1st 2011)

With a warm blanket,some dry crackers and my camomile tea I hunkered down on the upper deck. There had been a strange ruckus going on outside all day.

3 Crows and our pair of nesting Ravens were flying to and fro and cawing and crowing practically none stop. Just about 30 meters to the East of the house they were up in the Pines and something was making them Very upset!

And then I heard it!




There is only one thing, that makes sounds like this:

A mad Cougar!

30 meters away in the bush!

I waited and listened and had the camera at the ready….

But just the Ravens and Crows submitted to a photo op…..


I saw him/ her the very next morning:

Right after waking up I stumble out onto the deck to hang up the 2 freshly filled Bird feeders onto the lines.(- I have to take them in at night because of the Bears and the Raccoons…)

And that is when I heard loud scratching sounds and cracking of branches and saw him/her come down head over long tail coming down the tall Pine Tree East of the house. Probably he/ she was startled by the noise from the sliding door or clumsy little me.

The last part she jumped to the ground and then away into the bush….

A HUUUUUGE animal! Even bigger with the long tail! The tip of the tail was turned up…

Yesterday evening the Coons did not come as usual. And then, late, almost midnight, 3 adults came. They were nervous, quickly munched some cat food and then were of…. Normally all 6 of them hang around on the deck…..

I wonder if the Cougar sticks around in hope of a Raccoon meal?

These encounters , all commung out of the blue, have prompted me to always asociate Cougar/ Mountain Lion with a sudden surprise encounter wth a formidable individual of power and maybe also danger.

Someone to be reconed with, someone who needs a lot of personal space, someone who is fierce and passionate.

Another association I never forgot is, what my Inde’ teacher once told me: Cougar is an Animal of March! Of the change from winter into Spring….

Prairie Dog Medicine = Card 47

Prairie Dog
Waaay back in 1980/81 when I was staying with my Lakota friends on Pine Ridge I had ample opportunity to observe Prairie Dogs in the wild.
Their colonies were everywhere. My Native friends called them Chatter boxes, because of their frequent vocalisations. Usually there is one of them perched on a vantage point, keeping watch. – This camp guard announces the arrival of any Fox, Hawk or other predator with a specific loud warning whistle.
So the other Prairie Dogs could go forage, groom their young and play or squabble in the sun. They were a noisy busy gregarious bunch, but One loud whistle from the guard and all would squeal and scurry back into the safety of their burrow.
They were sort of diurnal: out and about in the morning and afternoon, but not so much during the hot time of day.
Their burrow is grazed bare for several meters around its entrances and below ground it is a maze of tunnels, in which several families live.
But they are only the landlords – they have tenants: Ferrets, Burrowing owls, Rattle Snakes, and wasps, which had a hive under ground
I would not want to be the landlord of this bunch and keep all these characters in line….
The ranchers are not very fond of Prairie Dogs, because many a Bison – and nowadays a Cow or a Horse stumbled into a Prairie Dog burrow/ hole and broke a foot and so was lost – or they stumbled and twisted an ankle and went lame.
From my observations of these charismatic Animals come my personal interpretations of Prairie Dog Medicine and so the Prairie Dog card:
Community living
in a noisy busy neighbourhood
nervous energy, watchfulness
lots of physical contact = hugging and “kissing” touch and fussing over others
sharing a home and also responsibilities
following rules
builder of homes for others but also having difficult neighbours to deal with
having, needing a bodyguard to watch over them
Vigilance and sacrifice,
delayed gratification, since the guard does not get to feed, groom or play right then and there, but will be relieved later
Depleting one’s environment and maybe also one’s energy – maybe to the point of having to leave = move
having certain specific times of action and a rest/siesta during the day
hibernating = dreaming and learning in/ through dreams
storing healing herbs and grasses in a safe larder for times of need
building an accidental trap for others, inadvertently causing accidents.
I also find interesting, that Prairie Dogs do not drink water – other than morning dew. They get all their moisture from the grasses they consume. Often this lead me to ask the client, iffff he is AL Anon and or has to abstain and most often the answer is yes!
With these characteristics in mind I word my reading, ask specific questions of my querant and often one, the other or several of these pointers are vital to the reading and help my qureant to make appropriate choices.
Now, again, I realize, that these Medicines are in part quite different from what Jamie wrote in her book…..


Raccoon Medicine:


Well, I really do not know, from where Jamie received the information, that she shared in the book, that accompanies the deck.
It can not be from the Seneca – or any other of the 6 Nations as you can see in the images.
Any Raccoons I have ever known – and we work in/ with an orphan Raccoon raise and release program – have been forever squabbbbbeling growling hissing and biting at/ with each other over food, places to sleep and also displayed all the signs of dominance versus submissive behaviour with the large males taking and vigorously defending the best feeding and sleeping places and also chasing away the females which whom they mated and their own as well as other offspring.
If we put out 4 feeding dishes, the dominant males will try to claim defend them all……..


However, what in all the 25 years we worked with Raccoons, wild ones, sick ones, healthy ones, hand raised ones and migrants and observed is their phenomenal hand dexterity. Their hands have a multitude more sensory receptors than human hands and so through their hands the Raccoon experiences the world in a much more profound level than a human. Often Raccoons do not even look at an object, they just “handle it between their front paws and receive all the detailed information they need to make very informed and also smart choices.
They rely on touch more ton anything else to make a living.
They also have extraordinary strengths in their fore arms, needed to quickly shimmy a quite corpulent body (just before hibernation time) up a limbless Tree trunk. They also need this upper body strengths to go back down the Tree head first.
Raccoons also have a very delightful language that of feeeeps and squeaks, rumbles and other specific sounds, that over the years my husband and me learned. Not only can we so communicate with the frightened orphans we raise, but also with wild Raccoons or Raccoons in other places than our home.
But their communication is not only through sound:
They have a VERY expressive body language: For example, shaking your back and bud while putting the head on an angle is an invitation to rough-house and play=wrestle.

Is the head angled to the other side, is it rather a semi playful challenge between siblings.
A loud relaxing sigh then will signal the end of play-time and everyone will settle down right away.
Any wild Raccoon will react if I intone and or mimic these sounds and body postures and react accordingly, realizing, that I am none threatening and with the right fiep sounds immitated by me, will not run away.

So, if in one of my readings the Raccoon card shows up I will mention communication skills, verbal and none verbal, the joy to learn the language of another species -> person, things lost in translation, things un-clear and so on…
And of course everything that has to do with hands!
Dexterity -> artistry, talent, skill for crafts or in the trades excelling at tasks that involves using your hands like fixing things – yes, and sadly also breaking things….
TOUCH -> sensitivity in the hands used for exploration but also for laying on of hands, for massage and other hand oriented healing arts.
What do you feel? With your hands, while closing you eyes – and your mouth?
I will also address curiosity and sticking your hand into almost anything – which may be good – or maybe not so = negatively aspected.
What I also will take into account is Raccoon’s endless curiosity.
They do not like secrets and things that they do not know and will try patiently and with all their dexterity to open boxes, bottles bags and anything with something inside it, that moves or rattles or makes a sound. When we plant our small garden in the spring our Raccoons will usually dig EVERYTHING BACK UP in the hope to find what we put into the earth, what is beneath it and then mess up all the seedlings. Is there a high fence around the garden? More fun for them. So our garden is a wire mesh cage with a full wire mesh top – just another playground for them – and a sleeping spot on hot July nights when they get ventilation from beneath them.
Raccoons go into semi hibernation, end October we see the last of them.

Their BIG ENEMY is the Fisher, an Animal larger than a Marten and smaller than a Wolverine.

Sadly every winter we loose animals to this nemesis of Coons, Porcupines, Cats and small Dogs.
Well, everyone knows Raccoons love water, so I will just mention that here.
Young Coons zeeeeeter endlessly if they are not quite happy. This may in the wild alert a predator.
Like: Is the client complaining very much?? (princess on a pea syndrome??)
Attracting unwanted attention?

the coons are here

Reading with the Medicine Cards:

As mentioned, my main deck for the month of January 2015 will be Jamie Sams Medicine Cards.

This deck is well known and one of my main reading decks for public readings.

Most of my Native American querants request this deck, because they are not much for Tarot in general, but THIS Oracle deck  deals with “THEIR MANITOUS” = their Sacred Grandfathers, the Animal Spirits.

They are looking for advice from them and often, before I start a reading, they put down Tobacco = put a pinch of tobacco or also Sage or a twig of Cedar on the table.

Then we read.

I ask them, of what Clan they are and THAT CARD I pick out of the deck and put it up as a significator.

It is their Clan Guardian. That is different then their personal Spirit Guide. Should during the reading that one appear, they usually are VERY glad 🙂

I usually lay out a “6 directions + You” spread and read accordingly.

Most First Nations People around here are Anishenabee, Odawa or Mohawk and it helps , that I know the names of many of  the Animal Manitous in the respective languages and also what their spiritual significance is in THEIR traditional belief system, which often is quite different from what Jamie Sams writes in her book.

After the reading the querant will get to take a picture with his cell phone – or I take it for him/ her and then they will – in a very poignant and Sacred manner put “Silver” = money onto the reading, to ensure to the Spirits,, that they received the message and will heed it.

Trouble usually is, that I will have to let this reading =+ the Medicine Gifts then lay um-disturbed until sundown – or sunrise…..

I always better ask, before just gathering the cards together and clean off the money….

So- to continue reading, I will put another blanket over it and Iffff another person wants a reading with this deck I better have another full set of cards for them. So, for readings of this sort I have at least 4 decks and a lot of table coverings. Red, green or yellow being preferred colours.

I have had it, that a while later the querant – or a loved one came back bringing a snall Medicine Gift, a Feather, a hand made token or even a few more coins…..

Sooo I always have enough dough to buy yet another deck of the card.s

Often I give away a portion of this “Power” back to the First Nations, during the “Blanket Dances” for the needy or in the raffles to raise money on the local Res.

My Native querants know this and are OK with that. It only gives more “Power” or kanstansera” as the Haudenosaunee would say.

Now, sure there are also none Native sitters, that want a reading with the Medicine Cards. But it is rather rare. Most people interested in Oracles have this deck at home and so they chose another Animal themed deck or Tarot deck for their reading with me.

Here a few of my additional cards, created from the blanks provided:


DSCN5333 (376 x 700)



Medicine Cards:

There is a new Oracle deck study group on Aeclectic Tarot:

When the Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams were chosen by several participants, I decided to join in 🙂

This is one of my main reading decks – especially for my Native American querants, who are interested in, what the “Manitous” have to say to them.

So here is me answering the questionnaire the group host, Dragon Fae put out:



Let’s introduce our decks….

Name of Deck and creator/publisher

I too will be working with the Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams 🙂



What made you pick the deck?

I do know Jamie a little, from waaaay long ago when both of yo were young and receiving teachings from the same Medicine teacher.

The Medicine Cards are a mayor reading deck of mine- for public readings for my querants with First Nations heritage or background.


Do you have a specific animal guide present in this deck, if so, which one?

Well, I myself am part Siberian indigenous, from my father’s side – from North West Tuva, north of the Yenesay River.

From my father’s side I am Wolf Clan, so Ee’ren Börü is my paternal Clan Guardian/ Totem.

Ada’s personal Medicine Guides were Magpie and Lynx, So they have deep meaning to me.

His Gran was the healer shaman of the tribe and her Animal Guardians were the Owl and the Tigress.

They raised Reindeer….. so guess what…..

The whole Clan system had an overarching Spiritual Protector – an Irbis = Snow Leopard… You can read more about my Guardians on my Shamanic Drum blog: about Owls

  “Spirit of Snow” about the Snow Leopard in our Clan 

My maternal grandmother was Manoush Gypsy and her maiden name was “Usari” which means Bear. They trained Bears for performances in the circus where they worked. (NO violence, but lots of honey!!! 😉 )

I have written about Gran Elizza and her Tarot reading habits on the AT forum and on here my blog, so suffice to say, that her personal Guardian was a small Screech Owl 🙂

Now, I follow the ways of my Siberian Ancestors in which I was raised and their shamanic traditions.

My personal guardians are a small Ferret and my small Owl, But All the Guardians of my family play a very important role in my shamanic practice.

Ad to that, that I live waaaay out in the bush and see many of the Animals in this deck on a regular basis….

Right now, as I am writing this, a small Flying Squirrel is sitting outside the sliding door to my left and dining on his nightly ration of Sunflower seeds.

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3days ago we had 2 Wolves walking down the frozen creek and photographed them from the living room window…..




So, yes, no wonder, this is an important deck to me. 🙂