For those of us who believe in the Way of the Sacred Circle – we believe in the concept that “we hold a whole community within us.” The notion of “beliefs” especially for contemporary Westerners often falls under the heading of “figurative or symbolic reasoning,” yet for traditional shamanic practitioners it’s an empirical reality. In other words, for people like me the belief of an “inner community” takes tangible forms.
Many years ago when Gérard and I started our study of the Wheel we were very impressed with how each “moon” explored very specific characteristics. When we mention the word “moon” we assume “cycles”. Every moon repeats itself every 13 years. In other words you’ll revisit the Moon of Welcome or the Moon of Affirmation for example every 13 years: As a child, as an adolescent, as an adult and as an elder. Through exploring the Moons and their unique traits G and I eventually named the moons to represent these features, and to help our student better explore their inner fragments.
Moon fragments are called “inner children” in the World of Psychology. Of course the Wheel helps us to bring growth, trust and love (the south elements of the Wheel) to these children so that they may develop into functional teenagers, adults and eventually elders. When working through fragments on the Wheel with the help of Moons – it’s more then just “inner children”. It’s also “inner teens, inner adults and inner elders.” Even before you become an adult or an elder these “inner members of your community” exists. You can refer to them for wisdom, resources and to so degree you can also have some “power” over how they develop.
Through researching myths and legends Gérard and I noticed how the ancients were aware of natural and cosmological influences and personified them through stories. The Gods and Goddesses for example were the “fragments” of the cosmos. Mountains, Rivers, Rainbows and Northern Lights became Spirit with stories. Even these fragments exist within our inner reality. I’ve met a few people who hold the Medicine of Thunder and Lightning…
Humans have worshipped “superheroes” for millenniums. The “superheroes” were neither good nor bad / heroes or villains. They were simply “complicated or complex” with dualities; which influenced them to make countless choices, and take endless actions within the stories they starred in. Like the Hebrew God of the Bible – his fragments ranged from “being angry and vengeful; to being fair and merciful; to being loving and protective; or even judgmental and unforgiving.”
It’s not surprising that the same kind of characteristics can be explored in humans. Some will argue that man invented God; and that like every author since antiquity we write fantasy stories inspired by our personal struggles. Others will debate the topic and explore the possibility that “humanity mimics nature and the stars: The true inspiration behind the gods and goddesses.” One way or the other a rainbow of characteristics or forms exists showing that each our Wheel (personal, collective, natural or cosmological) holds an array of fragments…
As I was growing up my parents often made the mistake of pegging my siblings and me under static, negative human characteristics. My brother was often called the “cluts”; my sister “the drama queen” and I was “cold blooded.” My life certainly became easier when I stopped needing an “identity.”
It was clear to me that I was a little bit of everything. What makes me – ME – is how these different ingredients come together: The dosages of timidity, abruptness, kindness, or even snobbiness. I found it exciting and even inspiring to explore myself through “fragments”. It gave me an opportunity to re-examine my life story and pinpoint the birth of these “characters.” When did I suddenly find self-assurance; or get a touch of vanity? I was able to explore the emergence of ME through my “fragments.”
There are so many different creative ways to explore “fragments.” For example as a child I loved dolls. They represented parts of me and I valued them through this perspective. On some days, I preferred the dolls that were athletic and adventurous; while other days, I brought out the homemaker and caregiver. Through games I explored “duality” and searched for ways to be both independent and dependent; selfish and generous; loving and self-indulged …
There had to be some way where I could bring all parts of me together and I didn’t need to feel divided, sad, angry or lost.
The 36 stones of the basic Medicine Wheel represent 36 different fragments of the self. These fragments are scattered over an immense territory divided by the four directions. They tell a story. They explain every consistent and inconsistent detail within what we call: Our Story. They represent “ME / US”.
Fragments speak of us now (inner children, teenagers, adults and elders), yesterday (ancestral fragments / past lives) and even tomorrow… They can be totems (vegetable, animal, or mineral); and describes us within a communal setting; hence, within relations / relationships. In the 21st century we can even relate to objects and suddenly, we’ve added another spiral of depth to our Wheel. Fragments are all the different parts of us. Through them we learn about self-discovery and we attempt the difficult task of “coming into wholeness or oneness.” With the help for fragments we become more aware of how we represent the Universe at the finite and infinite dimension.