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Medicine Wheel


Numbers have always played a significant part in traditional Aboriginal life. Four is one of the most sacred numbers used in Aboriginal culture. Many aspects are seen in terms of four. The Sacred Mystery, the source of all creation, reveals itself as the Powers of the Four Directions and these four powers provide the organizing principle for everything that exists in the world: The Seasons, The Races, The Elements of the Universe, The Stages of Life, The Emotions and Aspects of Human Behavior.

The Medicine Wheel, which is symbolized by a cross within a circle, is a ceremonial tool and the basis for all teaching wheels. The Power of the Four Directions is implied whenever a wheel or circle is drawn. Since traditional Native American cultures view life as a continuous cycle, life mirrors the cycling of the seasons, the daily rising of the sun, and the phases of the moon. They also hold the view that all things are interrelated. The Medicine Wheel incorporates the Powers of the Four Directions and the interrelatedness of all things.

The teachings of the Medicine Wheel were originally explained orally with the circle being drawn in the earth and a gradual overlaying of symbols, as meanings were explained by an elder. The elder would begin with an explanation of the Four Directions and the center of the wheel which represents the Sacred Mystery. He may have gone on to explain some of the following concepts: The Four Aspects of Human Personality-the physical, mental,emotional, and spiritual; The Seasons-the changing from fall, winter, spring and summer, occurs in a cycle; The Four Stages of Life-childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and elders; The Races-red, white, black and yellow; The Four Elements-water, air, fire, and earth.

The basic Medicine Wheel of the the Powers of the Four Directions, can be expanded to include other wheels, such as the emotions wheel, or the mind wheel. These wheels within wheels are used to explain and examine such concepts as those emotions that impede personal growth and the development process that involves leading a person to wholeness.

All Medicine Wheels are tools for teaching people about their place in the universe and their relationship to all things created by the Sacred Mystery.

The Four Directions representing East, West, North, and South each have their own meanings:

East: Air, Animals, White, Receives Energy, Mental Aspect, Widsom and Logic

West: Water, Plants, Red, Gives Energy, Emotional Aspect, Trust and Innocence

North: Earth, Black, Holds Energy, Physical Aspect, Introspection, and Insight

South: Fire, Sun, Yellow, Determines Energy, Spiritual Aspect, Illumination and Enlightening,

… from http://www.indianheadfirstnations.com/wheel.htm

South-Fire, Sun, Yellow, Determines Energy, Spiritual Aspect, Illumination and Enlightening

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