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Nkisi - Medicine Pouch

How about a medicine pouch made from a tea infuser? I bet you have an infuser in your kitchen drawer. When I saw this idea in Robert Dancik’s book Talismans and Amulets, I thought it looked like great fun to make. Not to mention easy. Luckily Colburn doesn’t mind (I hope) when I cannibalize things around the house to use for jewelry making.

The nkisi or medicine pouch originates in the Congo Basin in Central Africa and was often used for healing and success in hunting, trade and sex. (Source: Wikipedia)

First, we heated the screen of the infuser with our new little Bernzomatic torch which gave it a pretty, multicolored patina. Then I filled it with beads, an acorn and other little tokens that had special meaning to me. I also used my metal letter stamps to put my wish (prayer) on some scrap copper.

As a woman who was born and raised a Christian I’m fully aware that this amulet has no power within itself. I use it to remind me — when I see it hanging in my jewelry room — to say a quick prayer. Just like a sticky note reminds me about my errands for the day.

As Dancik says, “Minkisi (plural form) can be used for protection when we travel into our future or to guard against a specific fear or threat. Seen as exotic by some, they are actually very close to many objects used in western religious observations, such as crucifix or rosary beads.”


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