It’s been a wonderful summer: Lots of sun and heat. It’s the kind of summer I remember enjoying as a child and teenager; but ironically haven’t witnessed since my children were born. When I was growing up my grandfather often compared his childhood with mine; showing me each time how much our worlds were different. I loved listening to his stories because they invited me into the unknown where I could imagine a life without a refrigerator, television or even cars. Recently, I’ve been noticing how much my life has been different then the life of my children. It’s no longer difficult to understand the Mayan perspective that all it takes for the world to change is 52 years.
In August of 2012 we’ll be celebrating a Blue Moon. This event occurs approximately every 3 years when there are two Full Moons in the same month. The second Full Moon of the month is what we refer to as a Blue Moon. For as long as I’ve participated to Medicine Wheel Circles, we’ve always celebrated the Blue Moon with a ceremony; which is about crossing two of the sixteen gates; which lead to the Dream Time realms: One outer gate and one inner gate. Depending on the gates we cross, our experience is meant to decide our journey for the next 3 years until the next Blue Moon. It’s understood amongst traditional people that within 52 years you should experience approximately 16 give or take a year – Blue Moons…
Notice the genius and sacredness or medicine (power) within these numbers. Change occurs through a process of sixteen steps or sixteen challenges; which give us access to sixteen divine teachings.
Since spring many of the participants who are coming to the Great Gathering (a workshop we give every year) have been preparing for their Blue Moon experience. For many it implies getting to know the gates; and choosing two gates to cross. It’s also about asking questions and gathering knowledge as well as opening up to the experience each gate can offer.
You don’t have to be an initiate of a Shamanic path or even part of our circle / community to be interested in the Ceremony of crossing the gates; which is done every Blue Moon. In fact the Blue Moon phenomenon is a cosmological event; which affects everyone and every thing on Earth. For a great majority of people crossing the gates is simply unconscious experience as well as its results.
I definitely encourage everyone to learn more about the Medicine Wheel and it’s different teachings because it allows an expansion in consciousness that is no doubt well worth the time and effort.
Like anything in Shamanism it’s not enough to simply theoretically understand the meaning behind each gate; but it’s also crucial to back up knowledge with experience. During the ceremony, a gatekeeper whose role is to initiate and celebrate the individuals who attempt to cross their gates protects each gate. Along with bringing an offering every participant to the ceremony is asked to be ready to face a challenge.
In traditional shamanic circles these gates are understood as very real doorways that we can regularly cross in order to shift reality. Some traditionalists will speak of these “black holes” as bound to specific geological sites. Dreamers in particular will refer to gateways as belonging to “no-man’s land:” A reality that is not of our human world and not attached to our earthly principles. Mages, Witches, Sorcerers, Shamans, Priests and Priestesses etc… have talked about these gateways for millenniums often referring to these gates as a veil between worlds or realities.
Life constantly brings us to “change” and every time we allow a shift in our life whether it be about “inner or external transformations” we are crossing one of the sixteen gateways of the Sacred Circle.
The first eight gateways – outer gates
· Spider (fears)
· Deer (choices)
· Lizard (conjuring)
· Coyote (trickster)
· Raven (the world of in-between)
· Snake (sexuality, sensuality, seduction)
· Owl (death)
· Dolphin (love)
The last eight gateways --- inner gates
· Eagle (guidance)
· Dinosaur (extinction)
· Bison (family, community, nation)
· Wapiti (not having any choices)
· Turtle (storytelling)
· Wolf (path finder, the way of the pack)
· Thunderbird (destruction/construction/creation)
· Orca (determination)
There’s no doubt that “change” is part of our daily living; but no matter how many changes we come across in life there are as many “consistent, repetitive ribbons” threading through life. The gateways bring us both to change and to the awareness of the timeless consciousness behind it.
The gateways basically ask us the question: “Are we ready to explore stillness and movement; and their countless teachings and lessons?”
P.S. Part 2 “The Sixteen Gateways of the Medicine Wheel” is being written as we speak. I’d like to give you a more empirical and personal description of the gateways. If you have any questions mean time – please don’t hesitate to ask or share.