The medicine shield had nothing to do with protection in battle. It was a personal shield which declared its owner’s sacred intentions and “medicine” or inherent power.
As such it was treasured by many American Indian tribes.
The personal shield was made of animal skin or hide stretched over a wooden hoop. Around the edges were attached feathers, fringes, and sometimes other dangling objects. It had special emblems and symbols painted on it which indicated the owner’s special qualities and quest in life. It could show a representation of an animal or animals with which the person was particularly related and which represented his or her principal power source and protection. The colors used also had significance.
Making your own medicine shield can be a valuable lesson in shamanic understanding because it can help you to recognize your own “medicine” power and how also to express it:
You can make your own medicine shield from chamois leather or fabric stretched around a wooden embroidery ring. Your shield is intended to be a mirror of the self, reflecting what you are and expressing in some way the dreams or aspirations you want to bring into being. So it can serve also as a reminder of your mission in life–your soul’s path–as you presently perceive it.
Making a medicine shield is a means of making contact with the Higher Self for the purpose of “dancing a dream awake”–bringing into material reality a ‘dream’ or intention of the soul and thereby fulfilling the soul’s purpose.
The medicine shield is not a static thing. It can be added to, developed, and even changed as one’s life unfolds.