Tribute to Jamie Sams
In the beginning stages of my work in shamanism I was introduced to the Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson. I didn’t really click with the more traditional tarot cards at the time so when these came along I was immediately taken by the beauty of the cards and the accuracy of the readings that came forth. It was also a time when I was beginning to appreciate the gifts that Native American traditions held, and here was someone who could make some of these traditions more available through these well-crafted oracle cards.
These were so inspirational and more akin to oracle cards than tarot and I found them to be more “user friendly” than tarot. The design was brilliant and the illustrations were simple and clear. Each of the cards had the name of the animal, and an image of the animal outlined by a medicine shield. Dangling from the medicine shield were different sacred items, such as a feather, a bone, and a strand of sweetgrass.
Accompanying these Animal Medicine Cards is a book that explains the background of the cards, the various ways of setting up the cards for a divination reading, and for each card a detailed message. The process is one of intuitive collaboration, meaning the cards that come to you are those that will likely resonate with your own intuitive self. Once you draw the card or cards you then read the detailed message in the book. From working with them for a few years I can attest to their accuracy and wisdom offered.
Here is an example of a reading. I pulled the card after asking the question of Spirit what is it we need to know or pay attention to in this coming year. The card that presented itself was FOX with the keyword “Camouflage.” Here is the transcript from the book:
“Wily Fox has many allies in the woodlands, including the foliage, which offers protection and much medicine. Fox is seemingly able to vanish amidst the lush undergrowth of the forest. This flora is Fox’s ally. The ability to meld into one’s surroundings and be unnoticed is a powerful gift when one is observing the activities of others.
Another natural gift of Fox is the ability to adapt to winter by changing color, like the chameleon. Its rich, white, winter coat allows Fox to blend into the snow when the leaves no longer linger. Fox medicine involves adaptability, cunning, observation, integration, and swiftness of thought and action. These traits may also include quick decisiveness and sure-footedness in the physical world.
Fox’s ability to be unseen allows it to be the protector of the family unit. If danger arises, Fox is johnny-on-the-spot. Nanih Waiya, Great Spirit in the Choctaw tongue, honors Fox with the duty of keeping the family together and safe. This is accomplished through Fox’s ability to observe undetected, without making others self-conscious. Fox is always concerned with the safety of family members and is an excellent talisman for those traveling far afield.
If Fox has chosen to share its medicine with you, it is a sign that you are to become like the wind, which is unseen yet is able to weave into and through any location or situation. You would be wise to observe the acts of others rather than their words at this time. Use your cunning nature in a positive way; keep silent about who and what and why you are observing. In learning the art of camouflage, you need to test your abilities to pull this off.
One test of this exercise that may be helpful to you is deciding to be invisible. In doing this exercise, you might try to visualize your body as part of your surroundings, full of the colors of the location you are in. See yourself in your mind’s eye, moving with stealth and grace, unheeded by others. If you do it right, it works! You can leave a party unnoticed or become as unobtrusive as a piece of furniture, watching the developing drama of the subjects you are studying.
While learning from Fox, you might also gain confidence in your ability to know instantly what will happen next. After observing for a while, you will become aware of a certain predictability in given situations and be able to quickly make your move. Fox medicine teaches the art of Oneness through its understanding of camouflage. This applies on all levels, from rocks to God. With Fox medicine, you are being asked to see all types of uses for Oneness.
Much like the clowns at the rodeo, Fox can keep the raging bull from stampeding a friend or family member. Fox can use silly tactics as a brilliant camouflage move. No one could guess the sly power behind such ingenious maneuvers.”
To summarize, Fox’s communication through the cards in response to the question says that we need to be much more observant of our surroundings from a place of stillness and detachment. She also reminds us to be willing to adapt to whatever Life presents to us, using our intelligence and cunning to make choices and once made, to not equivocate but take decisive action and do so as silently and inconspicuously as possible. Taking care of family has and will become more important in the coming weeks and months, whether family is your blood relations or close friends.
Fox also wants you to practice camouflaging yourself, accessing the power that you’ve funded through your shamanic work and relationships with your spirit allies. You can either set the intention and manifest this invisibility by visualizing being the unnoticeable eye, or for more advanced work, shapeshift into a fox and observe how you “disappear” to others. Another option is to journey to Fox spirit and ask directly for a response to this or other questions.
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Not only was Jaime co-author of these cards with David Carson, she also produced a body of work that stemmed from her heritage with ancestors from the Cherokee, Seneca, Choctaw, and Mohawk tribes, aimed to bring forth this ancient wisdom and medicine of Native Americans through her books, cards, and being a key member of the Wolf Clan Teaching Lodge. If the Medicine Cards were her only contribution to educating and enlightening others to the ways of Native Americans that would have been enough, yet the body of works she produced is testimony to her sincerity and dedication to bringing indigenous wisdom to the western world.
As she has stated, “In Native American thought, we understand that the external world and the things we experience in day-to-day life are mirror reflections that show us what we are doing to ourselves internally. If we honor who we are without an arrogance or sense of pride, but do it in a balanced way, and we walk life in a manner that allows us to honor and respect every other living thing, then we don’t bring the experience into our lives that would necessitate us being shown how it feels to be bullied or humiliated by another human being.”
She is now an ancestor and has left a considerable legacy that will carry forth her teachings. Blessings to you, Jamie Sams. Thank you for the inspiration and gifts that you have offered us.