Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Winds or Roles of the Medicine Wheel.

We gather twice a month in Montreal to discuss the Medicine Wheel. Last week our topic was “the winds or the eight roles of the Wheel.” When I started this group almost a year ago I explained to everyone how I wanted our circle to explore the wheel empirically. So it wasn’t only about intellectually understanding the Wheel; but also about applying the teachings of the Medicine Wheel to our daily living. Personally, I get a lot from our discussions because the stories, which we share are always incredibly descriptive and do more than just define the 36 different stones of the Medicine Wheel. These personal stories show the meaning of processing and mastering the different facets of the Sacred Circle.

Last week, IL talked about the Fire Keeper as someone who gets a project started. She explained how the Visionary is the person who comes up with the idea; but the Fire Keeper is the one who gives direction to a concept by organizing ways to make it manifest. IL has been climbing the corporate ladder. She mentioned how lately she seems to come across quite a few Fire Keepers. The company that employs IL is trying to find innovative ways to improve public relations. It’s one thing to have the idea; but in the business world an idea isn’t worth much if it doesn’t make money somehow. IL expressed how she always defined the Fire Keeper wind as being related to wishes, needs, desires, passion and intentions; but when it came time to connect it to a story she was incredibly surprised with the form it took.

“The Fire Keepers in our company are interested in hearing both sides of a story.” IL explained totally impressed with these people’s ability to maintain objectivity and get things done.

“They need to hear from both sides: the clients and the employees. This way they can find the appropriate way to connect them together, and reach good results in customer services.”

KM told us about her sister (the family Fire Keeper). Inspired by IL’s comments KM explained how one of her family members had once come up with the idea to get a garden started for their mother. In KM’s family they are 12 children and countless more grand-children. KM stated that the sister who came up with the idea was no doubt the visionary. According to KM it’s always the same sister who comes up with the ideas and the same sister who organizes everyone and everything in order to give form to the vision.

“My sister,” she said with a bit of sarcasm, “got completely excited with the idea of getting a garden started for our mother. Without a second thought she started bossing everyone around. Soon she had us divided into groups and responsible for different chores. Some of us were supposed to go out and buy seeds and plants while others were responsible for gathering the tools. In the end, we followed her instructions and got the garden done while she sat back and watched.”

Everyone agreed that Fire Keepers are skilled organizers. Where IL demonstrated admiration for the Fire Keepers in her environment, KM expressed a bit of annoyance.

KM announced: “Fire Keepers are quick to take credit for the success of a project; but they often forget the commitment and hard work of the people behind them.”

As a traditional Dreamer I’m always impressed with how details come together super-naturally or phenomenally; and reveal the god-like nature of the Medicine Wheel. For example with KM’s last comment you get why the Fire Keeper is the 1st role or wind of the Wheel; and why every role needs to come together to have anything accomplished.

“What’s a Peace Keeper?” I asked MS because everyone knows she often takes this role in our Montreal community.

Right away MS recited the definition: “A Peace Keeper is an expert in conflicts.”

“But give me a story…” I asked.

MS brought us back to the Great Gathering at the end of September. They were four women two cars traveling back together at the end of the workshop. One driver, FRAN was stopped by the police (question of speeding). Everyone was rattled by the event. MS asked FRAN to give her a call when she got home; but when she didn’t she became obsessively worried about her. She tried calling FRAN; but for some reason FRAN wasn’t taking her calls. MS started imagining the worst and soon she was keeping everyone up with fears. The next day FRAN finally called MS and apologized for not calling her sooner. MS made sure to point out all the reasons why FRAN’s actions were irresponsible and disrespectful. FRAN explained that she completely forgot.

“I’m just not used to answering to people,” FRAN explained, “I’ve always done things on my own and nobody has ever cared for my well being before. It just didn’t cross my mind that you would.”

What is interesting through MS’s story is how it not only recognizes the Peace Keeper’s ability to detect, trigger and work with conflicts; but it also shows how it can bring someone to major moments of epiphany. Like I told MS during our circle, she often has a tendency of judging this role because she judges the word “conflict.” Because MS understands conflicts as synonymous to “fighting, disagreement, and broken relationships” she’s not often functional in the role and runs away from it. It’s important to realize that when working with these roles (winds) we have to focus on the concept of “empowerment.”

On the Medicine Wheel the word “wind” implies movement or action and relates to male energy. When looking at “moons” we refer to feminine energy and look more at the idea of behavior. Moons bring us to the whole process of making choices whereas winds take us through the process of acting on these choices. Both are necessary if we’re looking to live a life of wellbeing and wholeness.

All through the evening, I kept coming back to the Dreamer’s perspective. After all, it’s a role I embody a good 75% of the time and it’s also a role I know extremely well. Basically a dreamer observes repetitions and attempts to interpret the meaning behind the synchronicities. A dreamer always looks towards bringing awareness to any given situation. For example, I went shopping with my daughter a few weeks ago and while we were about to park a car literally stole our spot right from under nose. We obviously let it go because there wasn’t much we could do. The driver didn’t even give us the time of day. He rushed into the mall and made it look like it never happened. About an hour later, we got to the cash and guess who was screaming at the cashier right in front of us?

• “Is the man in a hurry?” I asked my daughter.
• Or “is he just a jerk?”
• “Is he living some kind of crisis in his life; which is making it difficult for him to stay in control?
• Or “does he struggle with an addiction of some sort?”

My daughter made the comment: “Who cares? He shouldn’t be allowed to treat people this way.”

For a dreamer there’s always a curiosity: What is behind everyone’s actions or reactions? There’s always a fascination towards mystery. Dreamers like to explore the dark and come up with countless possibilities. Most dreamers will have eccentric personalities. They like to embody characters and they love stories. They make for the best storytellers or the most devout fans. Whether it’s a music fan, movie fan, or theater fan --- a dreamer is all about the love of a story.

Last week, we explored the Fire Keeper, the Peace Keeper, and the Dreamer in detail. We talked superficially about the other roles or winds; but promised to return to them again in two weeks. I know that many of you often ask questions about the eight winds of the Medicine Wheel. I figured you would possibly enjoy hearing about some of our discussions. It’s always good to get new perspective on the winds because it allows us to explore them deeper on our own.

If you liked this blog – leave me a comment. This way I’ll return in three weeks to talk about our next circle and what we’ve discussed on the next 5 winds or roles on the Wheel.


Fishrarr said...

I am looking forward to hearing about the other winds as well. Interestingly in Mongolian, working with spirit energy is call riding windhorses. Tom.

Brynn said...

I enjoyed this post a great deal. Thank you!

Looking forward to more.

Rose said...

That was really interesting! Do you have a picture of the medicine wheel somewhere that shows all the stones and their names?

Linda R said...

I really enjoyed reading this as well....learned a lot! Even tho I've been learning about & working with these roles for a while it's good to hear you explain things from another perspective. Gives me more info & insight! Love it & look forward to hearing more about the other roles! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Loved it :)

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading this blog and learning in more detail about the winds.
When I was a teenager I often took on characters and role played. My friends at the time used to enjoy 'playing' as well. It came to the point where others (and myself sometimes) didnt know if I was playing a character or creating a story or if it was reality. I was accused of playing mind games.
I wonder if this is a part of the Dreamer...

Lisa F. Tardiff said...

YES Rose - I do have a diagram of the Medicine Wheel with the names of each stone. I can send you a copy to your e-mail address. Send me a note at and I'll get it to you...

Yes "playing mind games" (so to speak) or shape shifting (taking many different characters) does relate to the Dreamer role.


Miranda Macondios said...

On the Wheel you state the Winds are a masculine energy. Does this relate to the world as well or do you see the Wind as feminine or genderless? I hear the First Nation peoples talk of 'Father Sky'. I think of atmosphere as being in the realm of Sky, thus wind is of air & therefore masculine. However I have for years now thought the wind akin to me. When it comes to me to play, or inform, I stand clad in a female form (although I consider myself of two spirits), so I have thought of the wind as feminine. Have I misconstrued the nature of our fellowship (lol)? Perhaps I should rethink the relationship. Where do you come down on this issue?
BTW good blog. Very informative.

Anonymous said...

Hello Lisa,
Thank-you for the blog. Always good material and the inside track on The Medicine Wheel.
I must have a strong Dreamer influence, I can really relate to your perspective of wondering, is this person in some difficulty or is this the regular pattern of their behavior? Then the voice of youth pipes in with “Who cares? He shouldn’t be allowed to treat people this way.” Also a very valid observation! LOL
Thanks again for adding to the value of our lives with the value of your expertise!
~ Jackie