Mother Earth Essentials was founded in order to share the nature-inspired teachings rooted in the sacred plants of the Medicine Wheel. We’ve interpreted our offering based on the teachings of our founder, Carrie Belcourt-Armstrong and elder Francis Whiskeyjack (Cree, Saddlelake FN). For other variations or to learn more about Indigenous medicine and culture, we encourage you to speak to local knowledge keepers in your community.
The Medicine Wheel is an important teaching tool as it symbolizes the interconnection of all life and the seasonal cycles of nature. The four sacred medicinal plants (sweetgrass, tobacco, sage & cedar) each correspond to the four seasons (winter, spring, summer, fall) and four directions of the wheel (north, east, south, west).
Sweetgrass is sometimes called the hair of Mother Earth and is considered a gift. After the grass is harvested, it is carefully braided; the three sections representing mind, body, and spirit. By braiding it, we bring those aspects of our being together, care for and strengthen them. When we smudge with sweetgrass, we are taught that the smoke from that burning sweetgrass prepares us for prayer because the scent is pleasing to the Creator. It is the northern direction of the medicine wheel. We create this nature-identical oil using a mix of plants that yield more oil than this dry-climate grass can alone.
Tobacco is considered a sacred medicine. The smoke is believed to be the pathway to the spirit world. It is also used as an offering of thanks or when requesting something from nature, an elder or knowledge keeper. Sacred herbs are powerful. Tobacco can be healing or harmful depending on how it is used. When used in a sacred way, it can promote good health and assist with spiritual guidance, gratitude and growth. Commercial tobacco is very harmful and is laced with thousands of harmful chemicals. Tobacco can remind us that life is a gift. It is the eastern direction of the medicine wheel.
Sage is found abundantly in dry areas of North America and has an herbal, spicy scent. It is used in ceremony for smudging; as a means to cleanse negativity from ourselves and our spaces. Our ancestors also used different varieties of sage for medicinal purposes. It is the southern direction of the medicine wheel.
Cedar is nature’s purifier and boasts a distinctly resinous fragrance. Leaves are cleaned from the stems and separated into small pieces to be used in many ways (for making tea, bathing and ceremony). It represents grounding, maturity, purification and balance. Elders suggest walking with cedar in your shoes to walk in a good way down your path and it was one of the first gifts of natural healing shared with settlers upon their arrival (its high vitamin C content was a great antidote for scurvy). It is the western direction of the medicine wheel.