The human medicine woman began her training in early childhood.
Her responsibilities are both varied and grave. She must
minister to the physical, mental and spiritual health of her
Her training begins with outlook. As a young girl, she was
taught to see all of the life around her. Then her eyes were
guided inward to the places deep within herself. She learned to
know herself and she became aware that all the life forms around
her must be considered and respected.
Her guide was an older woman, her mother or grandmother. As a
young woman she had already learned to walk alone in the woods
and identify the plants needed for a patient or ceremony because
individual plants come to her by what she would describe as a
gentle nod. Her sensitivity is such that the subtle beckoning
can be seen by her alone. By now she is attuned to the seasons
and knows the time of day or night when the medicine she gathers
will be most effective.
She is a competent healer and treats the whole person. She is
aware that physical ailments are often the outward manifestation
of a sick spirit.
The medicine woman is respected by all people. There is a
quietness among her people when she walks among them. Her
pronouncements are next to law. To disregard her advise is to be
not only foolish but an invitation to peril.
A medicine woman of such stature has achieved a position that
makes her sought out by many who come to her as strangers. She
is loved and the deep respect accorded to her is mixed with a
touch of fear.
The great among the honored sisterhood will go further. To these
few the last unfathomable great mystery will be made known.
Alone they cross that impenetrable division between human and
spirit. The human medicine woman has assumed the awesome
responsibility of walking with spirits while retaining her
humanity. She is called the human medicine woman because she
walks with spirits and is still a human woman.
The human medicine woman can change into an animal often a wolf
in order to move easier in the forest. She knows when a patient
is soon to join the spirits. The human medicine woman walks
through the great mysteries of life and death and she alone fears