As you walk in the woods or in other wild places, keep on the lookout for objects to include in a medicine bundle. Objects that attract you for no clear conscious reason may, from a shamanic point of view, be power objects whose spiritual aspect can be revealed to you in the Lowerworld through journey. A shaman may group objects together in a power or 'medicine' bundle. He especially includes objects encountered during powerful personal experiences connected with shamanic work. If you have a visionary experience or sense power at a particular location, look about you and see if something distinctive is lying there for you to put into your bundle.
While there is potentially an almost infinite variety of power objects, there is one kind in particular that is regularly found in the keeping of shamans. This is the quartz crystal. In North and South America, Australia, southeast Asia, and elsewhere, shamans ascribe a singular importance to these pointed, six-sided stones that are usually transparent to milky-white.
The quartz crystal is considered the strongest power object of all among such widely separated peoples as the Jivaro in South America and the tribes of Australia. It is viewed as a spirit helper, as its material and spiritual natures are the same. Quartz crystals are in a sense 'solidified light' involved with 'enlightenment' and seeing. For example, a phenomenon not unlike the 'third eye' concept occured among the Australian Wiradjeri. Shamans in training had a piece of quartz 'sung' into their foreheads so that they would 'be able to see right into things'. The association of quartz crystals with the sky and celestial phenomena is a significant one, connected not only with light but with the sun.
In native Australia, the quartz crystal is associated with the sky and may be found by a shaman at the foot of the rainbow where it ends in a body of water. The Australian Kabi or Wakka shaman 'with many crystals in his body' could journey down into the deepest water holes, where the rainbow spirit lived, and receive more quartz crystals. Such a shaman would arise 'full of life, and be a medicine-man of the highest degree'. The shaman normally carries his quartz crystals concealed from other persons and from the rays of the sun.
The present day Paipai (western Yuman) shaman may keep his quartz crystal in a small deer-skin pouch or in a trouser pocket. He depends on it for advice to such a degree that, in his case, it may function more like a guardian spirit than simply a spirit helper. A Paipai shaman stated, " When you carry that in your pocket, in your dreams it tells you everything, that wii'pay (quartz crystal). It tells you what you are going to do, what you ask it. And it gives you everything. You need to carry it in your pocket. Yes, if you want to be a shaman then you must do this."
When you start your own medicine bundle, it is desirable to acquire at least one quartz crystal to put into it. Such crystals are the center of power in many shamans' medicine bundles or kits. Their power diffuses through the bundle and helps to energize and maintain the living aspect of the power objects.
The easiest way to begin is to visit a mineral supply store until you find a small quartz crystal that particularly attracts you. Do not immediately put the crystal you choose into your bundle or with your other power objects. First you must cleanse it, since its history is unknown to you. Cleanse the crystal by washing it in the water of a natural spring or the ocean. Then keep it separate from your medicine bundle until the arrival of a winter or summer solstice. Take it to an isolated high place, such as a mountain top. There split a stick at one end, push the unsplit end into the ground, and place the quartz crystal, point upward, in the cleft of the stick. Leave it there right days in the sun to 're-charge' before putting it in the medicine bundle. Periodically between solstices, you should remove the crystal from the bundle and 'wake up' its power. The is done by hitting its non-pointed end lightly on a rock protruding from a spring or an ocean.
If you are being called to create a medicine pouch, Puakai Medicine Bundles are available to support you in beginning this empowering and intimate practice.
* Words from the book The Way of the Shaman by Michael Harner, the photograph above of Quartz Crystal captured in Tucson, Arizona by Maggie Harrsen