The Medicine Wheel

Cultural Wisdom

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I was first introduced to the medicine wheel as a tool of spiritual development by Grandfather Hollis Littlecreek. He said that many tribes talk about a time when the American Indian Nations were constantly at war. They fought over land, water and the buffalo. Many nations of the plains Indians travelled around following the buffalo and would encounter other nations who did not want them on their territory. This was a time of war and each nation wanted control.

Then along came a very great chief (I believe now that he was referring to Hiawatha from the Iroquois nation). He had great insight and he called gatherings together of many nations to talk peace. He convinced the chiefs that there was enough for all the animals and the two legged to share on the earth mother.

A large medicine wheel was constructed and each nation had their place within it. Agreements were formed and eventually the people found harmony

Then other people came from different lands. They were not at peace with themselves and fought with weapons unlike the ones we knew. They took our lands and slaughtered our buffalo. They did not work with the earth mother. This was a difficult time again in our history.

Now, he said, there is promise of change. It was foretold that the red, white, black and yellow peoples of the earth would come together after a time of fighting and find harmony and learn to share just like we did many moons ago. I feel the time is near. I will not be here when this happens but I will be here in spirit and it is for this reason I teach. One of the concepts he then shared with me was the medicine wheel. Medicine, he said, is what is good for the body, mind and soul.

We construct medicine wheels to connect us to spirit. We build these wheels with respect and energy, to give them the power and ability to amplify our intention when working with spirit. We build medicine wheels for many things as they give us the opportunity to focus.  Medicine wheels can help us to connect to the different kingdoms. They could be to aid healing, dream work or self-development. There are as many uses for the medicine wheel as there are needs of the body, mind and soul.

It is of the utmost importance to consider the reason for, and, the design of the medicine wheel because it is in the construction of it that lies the success of the outcome. People need a recipe. They need a ritual to help them remember, and they need focus.

Grandfather Hollis Littlecreek said that the medicine wheel concept is all over the world. That people need to get back to their roots using ancient wisdom to re-connect and find their way home. When we look within we can find the answers that are right for us and the medicine wheel empowers us to follow our truth.

The traditional medicine wheel represents the four directions, the four elements and depending on the purpose, the four colors of the people who live on the earth mother. It is a sacred hoop that in the dimensions of spirit forms rainbows around the world. Those who talk, share and teach this knowledge are the rainbow warriors, and it is those who will bring peace by building rainbow bridges.

The words of Grandfather Hollis Littlecreek were not entirely new to me as I had studied the Golden Dawn and Wicca for many years. There appears to be much similarity between spiritual concepts and practices. However stepping away from comfort zone and embracing the beautiful teachings of such a wise elder helped me accept myself and my ancestral heritage. For that he has my deep respect and appreciation.

A Medicine Wheel may take many forms. It could be constructed like a piece of artwork that you sit or meditate on. I have seen beautiful quilts done like this. It could be a physical construction in the landscape. There are many stones circles across the globe. Smaller more personal sets of crystals can be carried in a pouch. Medicine wheel circles could be made of any material. I have seen some made of colored sand, herbs and flowers that when the ceremony is finished are scooped up and buried with offerings.

To actually construct your medicine wheel and partake in ceremony you would select a clear space. Turn all distractions off. Make sure you have all the ingredients for your workings. Then once the crystals or stones have been blessed and put into their correct positions you are ready to begin. It is usual to burn some kind of incense as an offering to spirit to encourage their attention. It is also usual to smudge the area within the medicine wheel and your body to clean and clear negative energies before you begin.

Invite the elements and directions to come into your circle. It is usual to travel the medicine wheel in a clock-wise direction although this may change depending on which hemisphere one lives in. Light coloured candles to represent these energies. If you know your guides you would ask them to attend. You may know or feel your angels and these too make powerful allies. Things could be brought into the circle to make an offering. If you are talking to nature you may make a corn dolly or carve a piece of wood. If your aim is to release something you may write it down on a special piece of paper, parchment or handmade maybe. Choose a coloured ink, juice or charcoal from the fire to write with and make your request clear to the universe. The same would go for inviting something into your life, you write it down on a piece of paper. The paper would then be burnt during the ceremony or buried after the ceremony.

When you have finished your ceremony remember to give thanks to those who watched over you and attended. Release the elements and open your circle. Cleanse your crystal pouch and clean up.

These are my simple guidelines on the medicine wheel, remember that it is an ancient concept that we are using in a modern world so we need to make changes to these as our understanding grows.