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Friday Feature: Medicine Dreams

Mark Swazo Hinds Large Sandstone Bear Sculpture

Sometimes prayers are not enough.

There are days when we need to call on other spirits, too: for protection, for strength, for courage; for the power of medicine and the wisdom found in the world of dreams.

And on some days, we need them all combined.

Today is one of those days, one of weather extremes and circumstances beyond our control. It’s the sort of day that takes a toll on heart, body, mind, spirit. We need the power and protection of the spirits, the healing powers of medicine dreams.

And so it happens that today’s featured work is especially apt today. From its description in the Other Artists:  Sculpture gallery here on the site:

This enormous medicine bear by master carver Mark Swazo-Hinds (Tesuque Pueblo) is substantial enough to be displayed on a large coffee table.  A museum-quality showpiece carved of very pale sandstone in a subtle version of the traditional Southwest hump-backed style, he’s more than a foot long and extremely heavy.  He carries a complex medicine bundle crafted in Mark’s own inimitable style, of macaw and turkey feathers, pieces of turquoise, old pottery sherds, and shells, tied on with fabric to keep it secure.

Sandstone; turkey feathers; macaw feathers; pottery sherds; turquoise; shells; fabric
$2,500 + shipping, handling, and insurance
Weight and fragility require special handling; extra shipping charges apply


This was, of course, planned for this day long ago, but these things have a way of finding their time and place independently of whatever will we believe ourselves to be exercising. And so it seems with today’s bear, a medicine spirit possessed not only of a substantial physical presence, but of the accoutrements of the sacred: prayer feathers, offerings, talismanic bits of turquoise and shell, the imagery of flowering worlds and visionary spaces.

The prayer feathers send our most closely-held hopes and requests spiraling upward on the currents; the offerings consist of bits of elemental earth and water spirits; the bear itself is formed of earth tempered by fire over time on an epochal scale. For an earth-bound being, it possesses much in the way of communion with more powerful spirits of the air and the winds and the sacred spaces of worlds beyond this one, worlds of visions and dreams and the beings who dwell there.

It’s a reminder that there are spirits upon whose powers we may call . . . and that there is help to be found in medicine dreams.

~ Aji





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