The Medicine Wheel Workshop
by Susanna Grows
The Medicine Wheel, sometimes called the sacred hoop, it symbolizes life’s cycles. The Native Americans have used it as an evolutionary blueprint for centuries. Each cycle of life is honored in a sacred way, giving us a way to see the value of each step of our path and a new understanding of our growth patterns.
The Medicine Wheel is a circle of lessons that each person must pass through life to complete their journey on the Good Red Road of physical life. Physical life begins at birth, which is the South direction on the Sacred Hoop. We will all travel through the circle on the South-to-North path until we reach the place of the Elder, which is in the North.
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 legend says that to the north on the medicine wheel is found wisdom. The color for wisdom is white and the medicine animal is the buffalo. The mouse represents the south, the color is green. The south is a place for innocence, trust and for perceiving closely things of nature and of the heart. The west is the bear. The color is black and is a point of the introspective nature of mankind. The eagle marks the east. The point of illumination is where all things are seen far and wide. Also, very clearly the east is the color of gold or yellow for the morning star. It is also home of the Golden Door. It is the entry point to all other levels of awareness and consciousness. Spirits of the Ancestors, who have finished their Earth Walks, leave at the East. This allows them to pass through the Golden Door and enter the Blue Road of Spirit, which crosses the Wheel East to West. We also return to new physical lives via the Blue Road. Once again we come through the Golden Door in the East as spirits and travel the rim of the Medicine Wheel to the South where our spirits are born again into physical bodies. We are each given a particular point, at birth, on the great wheel, which guides our life. But we must strive to gain knowledge and wisdom from all points to become a whole person.
There are 36 stones in a medicine wheel. Each one has its own meaning even though it may be a simple one. When collecting your stones think of each meaning and see if you can see that meaning in that stone. The stones are as follows:
The Meaning Of The Stones
1. Creator - Centre of life, the Medicine Wheel itself.
2. Earth Mother - Gives us our home, and lives.
3. Father Sun - Warms life, source of energy and light
4. Grandmother Moon - Guides dreams and visions.
5. Turtle Clan - The element of earth. Growth and life.
6. Frog Clan - The element of water. Cleansing
7. Thunderbird Clan - The element of fire. Energy
8. Butterfly Clan - The element of air. Transformation
9. The North - Knowledge and wisdom.
10. The East - Daybreak, Illumination. Spirit.
11. The South - Youth and innocence. Emotion.
12. The West - Introspection, Looks within.
13. Snow Goose - Direction
14. Otter - Balanced female energy.
15. Cougar - Leadership without insisting.
16. Red Hawk - Observant. Messengers of the Gods.
17. Beaver - Builder and doer
18. Deer - Power and gentleness.
19. Flicker - Music
20. Sturgeon - Moving through life, swimming.
21. Brown Bear - Sweetness of truth.
22. Raven - Keeper of Sacred law.
23. Snake - Power of creation. Transmutation.
24. Elk - Stamina. To go the distance.
25. Cleansing - To make clean. Purify
26. Renewal - To begin again.
27. Purity - Clean and innocent.
28. Clarity - Unclouded. Free from darkness.
29. Love - To delight in a higher state of appreciation
30. Illumination -
31. Wisdom -
32. Clarity - Unclouded. Free from darkness.
33. Love-The color is Rose and the keeper of the stone is the Wolf.
34. Experience - Knowledge and understanding
35. Introspection - To look inside.
36. Strength - Power and vigor of mind.
What Lessons can be Learned from Each Direction?
From the East, we begin to seek knowledge, the direction where everything is fresh and new. We look east to greet the sun and appreciate the potential for new learning experiences. The new day that enables us to see the miracles and harmony of the Creators creations.
The sacred plant of this direction is "tobacco". As we offer our prayers and thoughts to the spirit world of our Creator, we give thanks and offer this sacred plant. The smoke carries these visible thoughts to those honored spirit beings.
From the south we experience growth, the direction where everything in life is replenished and in full bloom. To taste the ripe fruit of appreciation and not take what we have for granted.
The sacred plant of this direction is "cedar", the purifier for the body and the protector from evil.
From the west we encounter reflection and spiritual insight, the direction where dreams and visions allow you to go within and appreciate yourself and your Creator.
The sacred plant of this direction is "sage", the purifier for the body and to keep you in good health.
From the North we experience the purity, the direction where the secret to many cures is found for healing. Like the white snow that resembles the white hair of our elders we honor wisdom.
The sacred plant being the "Sweet Grass", to keep you free from evil and make your travels safe.