quillwheel2.gif (6811 bytes)THE MEDICINE WHEEL - Circle of Life

In researching past my personal believes of how a Medicine Wheel  is represented, I found to my amazement that the construction and what the four (or six) directions and sections varied from different tribes. Some thoughts are common, such as the principle that life is a circle and that the four directions stand for North, South, East and West with Mother Earth being down and Father Sky being above; giving six directions. Some include one more - Spirit seen as either us as a human or as the All that Spirit is; giving then seven. A circle is also used in other practices considered pagan with the same four directions,   general color schemes, and even most of the same animal totems. For links to more traditional Native American Medicine Wheels and additional great information on the Medicine Wheel - scroll to the bottom of this page.

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What is A Medicine Wheel? by Tree-Song

A Medicine Wheel is a physical manifestation of Spiritual energy. An outward expression of an internal dialogue. A mirror in which we can better SEE what is going on within us. It is a wheel of protection and enables us, and allows us, to gather surrounding energies into a focal point and to commune with Spirit, Self and Nature (ALL elemental forces)........Creation!

It helps us with our "Vision," to see exactly where we are and in which areas we need to develop in order to realize and become our potentials. That we are all connected to one another, and by showing us the intricacies of the interwoven threads of life, what our part in it all is. It helps us understand that without our part in the tapestry the "Bigger Picture" is not as it should be. We add colour, dimension and life to each other, to all of life. No matter what colour, race or creed we are, we need each of us to create a beautiful existence and expression of the Whole.

It is a model to be used to view self, society, or anything that one could ever think of looking into. The wheel, once learned how to dance within it, offers a picture to you and also helps to add clarity to a foggy view. Like so many other things...it is a tool to be used for the upliftment and betterment of mankind, healing and connecting to infinite. We are all but one realization of "God" trying to realize self...so lets see what part we ourselves are.

Please remember that all that I am to share with you although taken mainly from Native teachings, are also of my own teachings provided from Spirit and my own experiences. It is with an open heart and mind that I ask you receive these teachings. Not all will be for you. Take what is yours and disregard the rest or set it aside for another date. I will do my best to let you know from which teaching the information that you receive comes from, as there are many interpretations and symbologies applied to the Wheel, but the basic principle is the same.         Tree-Song

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As we grow, we change like the seasons, passing through the sections of the circle, learning from each. The center of the circle is the touching of the Spirit, the pure of heart,  the truth as everything extends from the circle and everything comes together in the middle. For this reason the circle is used for ceremony, especially those that involve contacting the spirit world. This is a safe and protected place of love, a centered and grounding area.

The following are some general beliefs but do not represent the whole collection of varied colors, animal totems, and uses of the sections of medicine wheels. Different tribes use different  symbols.  I personal think we should use the colors and symbols that best represent what we believe. Here is just a small fraction of possible animal totems, plants, growth patterns, and colors. I think there are no 'right' and 'wrong' colors and animal totems.

To see how to make a medicine wheel click here
How to make a Medicine Wheel - Stone placements

SOUTH  - Fire - Passion

Growth in the South it is the time of Summer. From  the bloom we transform into the fruit of the labors.  It is the time of mid-day, the hottest part of the day, the part when the sun is overhead and no shadows are cast.. Maturing and growing into an adult to be that who was are. It is the time to accept the change and learn, to understand.

Red is for fire, passion, time of fertility. The South is the place of passion in all things, sex, fertility, mating - the fires that burn within. The direction of fire, like the phoenix  we can rise from the flames, we take and rise again from childhood into being an adult in the direction of the South.

The animals in the South represent pride, strength and courage.  The eagle with keen sight and strong wings. The lion for the strength and courage to speak out and roar. The wolf so proud to be a team member of a pride.

EAST   - Air - Flight
Beginings starts in the east - from where the sun rises we begin a new dawn. Each day is a good new day with a fresh beginning, a new start.  East is the direction of the physical body and newness including children and new borns. It is the time of change for all is a new beginning. New ideas and seeing the light. Change. Spring is the season when all things begin to grow and awaken. Yellow is the path of Life, to begin the walk as a warrior, to shine in all that you do. The sun rising in the east empowers each of us. The energy to do and to begin the action of the mind and heart is there.

Animals of wings and flight include hummingbird, the owl, and the hawk. Our words are given to the east that the smoke in the air or the voices in the air may be carried to Spirit.
WEST  ( Blue)   Water - Emotions

Later adulthood the time of Fall, the time of the setting sun - twilight. The daylight fades and brings a new awareness in this time of gradual change. When the darkness comes we must look inward to find the light and have courage. To understand what we see in the darkness may not be real but only shadows.

This is the emotional part of ourselves, like the flowing water we must learn to go with the flow of life. The time of the West is when we learn that we are responsible to all things and to each other.  It is the time to prepare, to finish things for the time of Winter is coming. We gather ourselves and family, working together to prepare for what is to come.   As the place of emotions it is the place of family and love - of responsibility from our hearts because of the love. It is hard work and team efforts. Black symbolizes change from this life.

The Beaver shows us of the team work and pre-paredness needed for the winter coming. The snake reminds us to shed our skin to grow and change.

NORTH  (Green)   Earth - Wisdom

As we get older our hair turn white, as we come to our time of winter. White (and purple) also symbolize spirituality.  With experience and age we gain wisdom. Now we have time to rest and contemplate the lessons. North is purity and wisdom, a great place of healing.  This is the time after midnight, a dream time. The time to be grounded within yourself and deep within, like a bear in a cave.

North is the place of winter. This reminds us to stop and listen. That we must have prepared for the long time of winter. Having been in action the other seasons we now rest and contemplate to understand the wisdom we have been given.

The white buffalo, Moose and Bear. Each prepared and have a layer of fat to sustain them through the winter. They are also the primary source of meat during the winter time for people. They rest and take things slow, not wasting energy, and with the understanding of what winter brings.