Vijali, Medicine Wheel
What is a medicine wheel?
A medicine wheel is a way of creating a sacred space.
In a medicine wheel each direction has an animal that lives there and stands
for one type of energy. For example, in our medicine wheel the East has
the owl and stands for
change, the South has the lion and stands for passion, the West has the bear and stands for healing power, the North has the turtle and stands for grounding, and the center has She who gardens us from above and stands for spirit. Each person calls in their own animals that hold or represent for them each energy and each direction. The medicine wheel can be populated by any of the animals that live or have lived around you on the earth.
The medicine wheel is built by placing a small object that stands for the animal or energy in each direction around a circle. The circle can be as small as a hand or as large as the earth. The object can be a animal fetish, a feather, a sea shell or a special stone. It is always something deeply meaningful to you, something you have found or been given as a gift. In the process, a center is also created and another special object can be put there. Through this process you create a sacred space that becomes a mini vortex of power. It is used to create intention.. Balance is created by the equal presence of all four energies acting at once. In The Path of the Feather, the medicine wheel is built with the shaman's stones and their animal or spirit carvings.
By creating the medicine wheel, you make a physical manifestation of the earthís energies. It is a sacred alter which evokes the powers of the earth. Like an alter, it brings your prayers in harmony with the energies of the earth. By actually making something real in physical space, you act and create. The energy and prayer to heal is embodied and seen and can be touched.
A medicine wheel is simply a way of making sacred space
more real and more visible. Ancient peoples believed that the medicine
wheel in itself had great power and helped create change and healing. Medicine
wheels were circles that were made all over the world. They come from the
most ancient cultures and remain alive to the present. They were found
throughout history in almost every culture.
Medicine wheels were always a place of sacred ceremony and ritual.
The medicine wheel creates an axis and an atlas to sacred space. It is a mapping of the sacred landscpe we live in. The medicine wheel is spinning. It is rotating like the earth. The things in your life are spinning and you are the center.
The rituals that were done at the medicine wheel are hidden or long forgotten. They probably were about the hunt, rites of passage, the stars, planting, migrations, the spirits. They were done at a community level, and involved huge amounts of energy. Often the making of a medicine wheel involved moving huge stones hundreds or thousands of miles. It was like the making of the pyramids in Egypt. The technology of making a large medicine wheel or stone circle is not clear, how did they move those huge stones? Medicine wheels or stones circles exist from Europe to North America. There are stone circles in Florida and in England. They were certainly a place of great ceremony, a place for the gathering of peoples, and were often away from village sites. Sometimes they were places of burial and temples, sometimes they were astronomical devices, but they always were sacred.
Medicine wheels were always built on sacred sites. The sites were often at the intersection of rivers, on mountain tops, in the center of plains between mountain and rivers. People could get there via the rivers. Even today, the water ways and mountains will lead you to medicine wheels on sacred sites. They were often on the high places, a point to look at the distant landscape. In any case, the places were deeply sacred. When you go to a medicine wheel or circle, you can feel the energy. They are in places that are the intersections of ley lines, energy lines, places where churches, and later sacred sites were built intuitively by more recent peoples. When you build your small medicine wheel in a power place it has huge energy for change.
The medicine wheel is a sacred living object and a teaching tool. The one I describe below is mine, the animals and meanings are mine, if you want to, you can find and make yours. All native peoples have different animals and meanings of the directions, so donít feel funny about choosing your own. I put the medicine wheel here so you can see it, and be familiar with it, and make one if you feel connected to this type of work. I am not trying to get anyone to use shamanic or medicine wheel imagery who is uncomfortable with it. If it is not your metaphor, consider it a way of looking at the world that is an earth driven spirituality.
this is the direction of the medicine bear, the traditional animal of
healing, it is where the imagery comes from, it is the depths of our visionary
space, it is the place of power, the controller of the wheel