The Medicine Wheel
The Medicine Wheel is sometimes called the Sacred Hoop it is a symbol of the cycles of life and embodies Father Sky, Mother Earth and the Four Directions; it reminds us that each cycle of life should be valued and honoured in a sacred way, which permits us to appreciate the whole of our path offering understanding and growth on many levels to those that are seeking.
When we share our personal understanding of life, the wisdom that we have gained from our experiences benefits the whole tribe, the whole family, the whole of society. The understanding that other people gain from us sharing our own experiences and wisdom will be different for everyone for we all see things differently, we all see things through our own view of the world, through our own lenses, after-all, we are all individuals, although all inter-connected.
When used appropriately, the Medicine Wheel is a circle of lessons that brings us wisdom and assists us on our journey along the Red Road of life. Our physical life begins at birth, which is said to be in the south of the wheel and takes us through the wheel to the north where we will find the elders, the north is a place of wisdom.
Once our earth walk is complete, we leave at the north of the Medicine Wheel with the wisdom we have gained, our spirit travels to the east of the wheel which is sometimes called the Golden Door; this is the door that allows us to pass through to enter the Blue Road of Spirit, the Blue Road is said to go from east-to-west. It is via the Blue Road where knowledge and new levels of awareness and understanding are received.
The Medicine Wheel is used for all situations and can be used in a multitude of ways. To build a physical Medicine Wheel for sacred ceremonial use, twelve Stone People are needed. The first is placed in the south, representing the beginning of life, our starting point on the Red Road. The second and third stones are placed in the west and the north and no stone is placed at the east at this point, the door is left open. Following the circle, the fourth stone is placed at the four o’clock position, and the placement of the stones continue at what would be five o’clock, then six and seven etc, all the way around to the east.
Before the east Stone Person is placed to close the circle, the Medicine Wheel is blessed and cleansed with sage, and the Spirits of the Four Directions are asked to enter the circle through the eastern door as well as the Spirits of the other three sacred directions – Above, Below and Within. Often spirit animals are called upon to enter the sacred hoop as well, when the energies of the directions and any spirit animals have entered, the Medicine Wheel is dedicated and honoured as a sacred space for ceremonial purposes. The Stone People are thanked for their guardianship and for holding the energy of the circle and the east stone is put in place closing the Golden Door and completing the circle.
We can make a large Medicine Wheel outside or we can make a small wheel inside, it can be used for dedications, for honouring Spirits, for cleansing, for seeking guidance and answers, for healing and meditation. The Medicine Wheel is a sacred gift, a sacred way of re-connecting with the powers around us, it is a great way to connect with Great Mystery. The Medicine Wheel is a beautiful way to expand our knowledge and wisdom, to gain answers to those difficult questions in life, but it is not a game, so when using a Medicine Wheel to connect or re-connect we need to be respectful and open to listening and change.
In seeking answers from the Void, the place where Spirit lives, we begin to experience the true beauty of life, we begin to experience our true sacred self, life becomes a place of beauty and hope as we begin to recognize our connection with Spirit and our reflection as Spirit and begin to embrace the winds of change.
All around us, life is filled with life forms that we can connect with, receive messages from and feel part of if we just open our heart and eyes to all that is around us.
The Medicine Wheel or Sacred Hoop can be a way of life, through it, we can learn to live our life in a more sincere way, we learn to walk more gently on our earth, the Medicine Wheel becomes a part of us, it becomes a way of living, being, seeing, breathing and thinking. It becomes an all-encompassing way of life as each direction and related totem animal offers their gifts and lessons to assist us on our road. As we begin to connect with Eagle, Coyote, Bear and Buffalo, the colours of the directions, and begin to embrace all the teachings we enable ourselves to come back to a place of inner knowing. A place where words may fall short of the experience and the true deeper meaning.
It is by living the Medicine Wheel or the Sacred Hoop, and by staying on that path that we begin to live the beauty way, a way that not only supports us, but also supports all other creatures, all other beings.
By returning to a life of ceremony and ritual and using the wisdom of the ancestors to heal our wounds, we prepare ourselves for peace, and as our spirits heal, we will begin to see the Rainbow of Peace where all of earth’s people will become one; unified in heart and soul, as true children of the earth as our dear Mother Earth intended; where we shall live upon her stomach in harmony, and feed from her breasts in unity and peace.
Always Walk in Peace – Kenzo