History has taught us a lot about the native tribes; however one of the most interesting pieces of tribal history has to be the soul catchers. These small intricately designed amulets were worn by shaman, better known as medicine men or healers. Souls that were bad were sucked out of a body and held in the amulet or lost souls were retrieved with the amulet from the spirit world and returned to the body of the ill member.
Handcrafted from the bones of bears, the center was hollow with both ends open. Cravings of animals and sometime humans were etched into the bone and sometimes it was decorated with abalone shell. Cedar shavings were placed in the open ends in order to keep the bad souls from escaping. The small amulet was usually worn as a necklace by shaman.
The amazing thing about these beautifully crafted amulets is that no one is exactly the same. Each piece contains different animals etched into them. Dependent on the powers desired would determine the animal etched onto the amulet. The magical powers of this healing tool were used when natural medicines would not cure aliments the tribe members had. Therefore, shamans were held as high members as well as powerful. They were the ones that could enter the world of lost souls and return or remove souls.
A journey into the dark realm, locating good and disposing of the bad, these small ornate amulets were the key. Just like the name suggest, it was used in order to capture and return the lost souls. It is hard to believe that this handcrafted tool could hold so much power and only shaman had the ability to use it properly.
The soul catchers are as interesting and mystical as the name suggest. Hand crafted and decorated differently, no one is just alike. They carry the history of native tribes and the way in which illness was viewed. Simple yet ornate, an very powerful amulet.