Power Pouches

"I made mine at a Renaissance Fair that I attended with my family on one of my birthdays, and holding it now reminds me of the goals or hopes that I held for that new year. Cognac-colored, the leather is shiny and smooth, and the large African beads that I strung on the leather cord that closes it give a resounding clack — it is an abacus of my intentions; it is my power pouch.

"Like the medicine bag of Native Americans, you can craft a power pouch (or prayer pouch) that holds your personal 'medicine,' the tiny reminders of things and qualities that help you to stand in your spiritual power. These could include a leaf, pebble, or bit of beach glass from a particular place that brings you solace; a small photograph of your loved ones; a scroll of spiritual wisdom; a representation of your particular faith path, such as a cross or Star of David; or any other minute memento that helps you to realign with what has the most heart and meaning for you . . . and with the Divine.

"A variation of this could be a 'magic bag.' Once, when I was on a weekend camping trip — a Vision Quest — with a group of people, a friend gave me a magic bag before we separated to spend two days alone in nature. In it was a collection of whimsical things — a rainbow-colored birthday candle, a dragonfly charm, a snip of gold-sequined fabric — but just sifting through its contents brought a smile to my face and a sense of the, yes, magic that can be found in everyday life.

Inner Inquiries for Journaling and Reflection

• "What are my gifts, my talents, my wisdom? From where do I get my spiritual power, and what will best remind me of that?

• "What helps me to remember my personal 'medicine'?

• "Have I lost my sense of life's 'magic'? What could I carry that would remind me of it?

DIY: Crafting a Power Pouch

"To make a power pouch, you will need a circle of leather or heavy fabric (approximately ten inches or less in diameter), a leather punch or hold punch, leather cord or satin cord to use as the drawstrings, and beads and other embellishments, if desired.

"Punch holes approximately an inch apart around the edge of your circle. Thread your cord around that circle (going down through one hole and coming up through the next, until your cord has gone through all the holes). When done, make sure that the two ends of cord go up in the same direction (punch one final hole if necessary to make sure that the two cords ends both can be pulled from the outside of the bag). String beads on each cord, if desired — then knot the two cord ends together tightly. Pulling on the cords should draw the material together, making a pouch."