The Medicine Wheel
The Medicine Wheel is a Native American symbol used to teach balance, harmony, and the interdependent relationships of all things.
The circular form of the wheel represents the earth, the moon, the sun, the seasons, and the cycles of life. Movement around the perimeter of the Medicine Wheel is in a clockwise direction, the rotation path of the earth. The center of the wheel symbolizes balance. The four outer stones represent the four directions. Stones, set from the perimeter to the center (the spokes of the wheel) represent spiritual paths, leading us to the center. The wheel also teaches about the four aspects of our human nature — physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual.
It is easy to understand how the wheel symbolizes the turning of the seasons, the movement of morning to night, the four elements. It is through study and experience that the less obvious teachings are revealed.
There are as many different ways to study and utilize the symbolism of the Medicine Wheel as there are tribes on the earth and constellations in the sky. The consistent factors are the celebration of the four directions, Mother Earth, Father Sky, and one’s own heart as the center of the wheel, the crystal fire and the ”seventh arrow*”. Taking time to return to this union with nature creates new ways of living in balance and harmony.
The Medicine Wheel teaches us that we are all related and what we do and how we think makes a difference to the whole. The teachings encourage us to discover our place within the universe and to become all that we are meant to be by facing and letting go of fear and misunderstanding. We learn to trust in the process of growth. As we learn these lessons, we naturally share our experiences with others.
It is by giving away what we have learned that the sacred hoop is mended. Sharing this common language gives us the tools we need to build positive, nurturing and enlivening communities in which to live, raise our children and help each other make the journey to join those who have come before us.
The Indian has struck our vulnerable spot,
unveiled a truth to which we are blind.
— Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams & Reflections