Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Medicine Wheel

Different people will teach the Medicine Wheel in different ways. Still the Wheel and its contents is pretty much the same. Recently I was making a comparison between learning the Medicine Wheel and learning Karate. I explained that in Karate, the initiates called Karateka have to earn belts by memorizing katas which are patterns of fighting moves; and by passing practical fighting tests. With each new coloured belt the techniques and challenges get more difficult until they finally reach the black belt. Once the Karateka reaches the black belt, he or she has to show the Sensei (the Karate Master) that they have learnt what has been taught to them; but they also have to show the Sensei that they can contribute to the art of Karate by creating katas of their own. They have to show that they can be masterful as well which in many sacred arts means being able to be in service to the art. In the end, there may be different schools of Karate but they all share a common ground of fighting based on a spiritual philosophy.

Committing to the study of the Medicine Wheel is not very different than learning Karate except for the fact that the Medicine Wheel is not a martial art. Traditionally the Wheel is taught through stages and the initiate learns with the help of a teacher or Keeper of the Wheel. There are no belts earned but there are visions or dreams that mark the process as well as sacred tools. By the time initiates reach the point where they can become Keepers of the Wheel they are asked to show the teacher that they have learnt what they’ve been taught, and can also bring a self-originated awareness to the tradition. For those who are more familiar with teachings of the Medicine Wheel you’ll notice that every teacher has their own style or their own approach to the Wheel showing that they’ve reached a level of mastery. Traditional teachers of the Medicine Wheel like a Sensei in Karate commit and devote to the art their whole life.

Today, we see the Medicine Wheel being used by facilitators in corporate settings; psycho-therapists; and even teachers. Many of these individuals will have a basic notion of the Medicine Wheel and will incorporate it in their main field of study. Yet, there’s a difference between using elements of the Medicine Wheel to complete one’s perspective on life and being completely in service to the Sacred Circle Tradition. A teacher of mine once said: “It takes many life times of devoting to the Medicine Wheel before someone can fairly say they know the Wheel.”

I learnt the Medicine Wheel as a spiritual philosophy which was meant to be a guide in my practical life. And it has been for more than 20 years. Most people will understand the Medicine Wheel as a circle divided into four different colours (yellow, red, black and white). I’ve seen crafts representing the Wheel and hanging from the windshield mirror of cars. Other individuals will refer to the Wheel as a transfiguration of 36 stones. I’ve met psychics for example who will use this diagram of stones to do their readings. We see more and more massage therapists using the Medicine Wheel (structures of stones) as well. Finally, a good number of people will refer to the Medicine Wheel as Native teachings. The fact of the matter is Medicine Wheels can be found all over the Planet and in countless different cultures. Like Karate you can find different kinds of Wheels but they all share a common ground. They all share a wisdom that relates to nature and the stars; hence, no doubt the Wheel is a shamanic tool which guides us to better understand our human role in nature and the cosmos.

If you have any questions on the Medicine Wheel please don’t hesitate to ask. One of my goals this year is to offer an entry on the Wheel once a month. If you’re looking to learn something specific on the Wheel or you’d like for me to trigger a discussion on a particular component of the Wheel please leave me a comment…

Thank you.

P.S. This picture was taken in Golden, B.C. This Medicine Wheel is a permanent WHEEL.

When we first made the Wheel it attracted a lot of wild life. The owner of this Wheel and the property where it permanently resides kept us informed of the phenomenon this Wheel produces. We've been constantly amazed by this Wheel and we continue to collect data in connection to it. I was impressed with how the Wheel showed us through literal magnetic changes that it was connected to the seasons. Wheels teach us so much about the Earth we live on and the planets or cosmos we live in.


Heart of Gold (Pyrax) said...

Hello Wapeyit,

I am amazed to see just how much the philosophy of the medecine wheel is world-widely used, even by psycho-therapists ! I would have never thought it you go that far. It's odd to me, because since I started learning from it, I always saw the medecine wheel as something that's apart, different from many things, making it sacred. When I look at psycho-therapists, I always had a problem understanding the relation to it, seeing them only as "artificial" if you will. (as if they & the medecine wheel couldn't be compatible ... I was mistaken it seems .. i'm learning something new everyday, this is fun) :)

The medecine wheel connects to SO many things in our lives ! With the insights of my teacher, I was shown that many people WILL live their lives according to the medecine wheel, but they just don't know about it yet ... huh.

What's saddening to me is the fact that I would hope EVERYONE could know the teachings of the medecine wheel ... to me, it is THE way of life that everyone should know & befenit the most from. The very basic and core of each of us.

As for a specific part of the wheel, I don't really feel a need to ask anything to know about, my teacher's there for that & I trust her.

I just took the time to share my thoughts on this subject. Keep the posts coming, they get me very intrigued every time ! :)

Michelle said...

I saw the medicine wheel not as I know it now but in our school systems with the kids that we work with the Physical, Emotional, Spiritual and Mental aspects of Support plans. Really these were wheels that I was not aware of until I started learning about the wheel I am learning to see the wheel in my day to day life. Bringing it back to the wheel trying to figure out where a persons story fits on the wheel. Even when a person is not a follower of the wheel I like to know where they fit so that I can better understand how to work with them. How I can relate to their story and learn somtimes they are not aware of the things they are teaching me,but I can't go back to my old way of thinking I dont want to lol. I would like to know more about the anchors and how they interact with the moons. I know lately I have felt the elements influence on the mooons I would like understand the Anchors influence how the East, South ,West and North influence each moon or is that an individual journey?


Cougar-D said...

Hi Lisa, I recently set up a wheel and there were a few things that were noticed. First, there was alot of space between the stones. Second, the energy felt less than when the stones were closer together. Thirdly, each day the wheel was up (7days) I added things to it.
I would like to know how to feed the wheel? What is the maximum time an indoor wheel can stay up? I would Luke to know more about the spaces between the stones. What is the impact?

Thanks Lisa


Wapeyit Malsom said...


A Medicine Wheel lasts about 3 days indoors. 3 days without bringing any kind of changes to the Wheel... Once you start changing stones and feeding the Wheel -- it can live indefinitely. When a Wheel is built out doors it's a different story because it is fed by the earth and the stars.

There are several ways to feed a Wheel. If people sleep interact or speak near or around the Wheel --- it will be fed by Human energy. You can keep a Wheel alive for up to a week this way...

If you change some stones after a few days, you'll also renew the energy of the Wheel. The new stones will give it new movement.

Traditional Wheels were fed by adding new stones to the Wheel. People who came to Wheels would often bring stones as offerings. Sometimes people would exchange a stone for a stone. Leaving offerings in the Wheel also feeds the Wheel. Prayer bundles for example were always visible in traditional wheels -- showing that people left offerings (prayers, stories, wishes, etc...) All of this feeds the Wheel.

There's definitely importance to the space between the stones of a Wheel. If the Sun was closer to the Earth for example-- there would be no life. If the Moon was closer to the Earth the tides would be different ---- life as a whole would be different. These are examples of the importance of space between objects. The same applies with the Wheel.

When taught the Wheel -- we are taught about symmetry and the importance of it. If you make Wheels that are not symmetrical you'll notice it's impact on your life and the people around.


WampumBlueRaven said...

I like Michelle would like to know more about how the Anchors interact with the moons and with the mysteries. I was actually thinking of making a wheel with only Anchors this month.

Lastly, this as been something I have been dealing since I started making wheels- all my wheel are not balance -in the sense that from the south to north everytime- their more space between the stones; moons, anchors and elements in particular. I try to make it symmetrical -when I think i have it I take a picture -and realize it still off. I've tried to make my my nord to south with wider space but that does not work. Any suggestions? on what I need to work on or maybe approach it different.

take care
love and light

Wapeyit Malsom said...


I've read your comment and I've heard your questions.
Keep reading because I'm working on a blog entry just for YOU. LOL


annie jackson said...

* I am planning on visiting the Golden Wheel in a couple weeks. I will take picture for you!