The Medicine Wheel Briefly Explained


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The Medicine Wheel Briefly Explained

  1. 1. The Medicine Wheel A symbol of Native American Spirituality
  2. 2. Symbolism: the Circle and the Cross <ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>To the Lakota the most sacred symbol is the circle as it represents the Earth, the path of the sun around the Earth and the Circle of Life, through which all things must pass. </li></ul><ul><li>This is why Lakota villages were always pitched in circles and the tepees themselves were round. The Lakota thought the white man out of touch with the world and not at peace with himself, an opinion strengthened by the white's preference for houses with corners, i.e. square or oblong.     </li></ul><ul><li>Another sacred symbol was the cross which was sometimes shown as running across the hoop of the world. This represented the four directions and was made up of two roads. </li></ul><ul><li>First road: began in the east where all the days of man began. It ended in the west where all the days of man ended. This road was black and was the Road of Earthly Difficulties. </li></ul><ul><li>Second Road: began in the south where dwelt the power to grow and it ended in the north, the realm of white hair and the cold of death. This road was red and was called the Good Road of Spiritual Understanding. </li></ul><ul><li>Where the roads met and crossed stood the tree of life. The Lakota considered that the white men only walked the black road and were poorer for it. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>The Medicine Wheel is representative of American Indian Spirituality. </li></ul><ul><li>The Medicine Wheel symbolizes the individual journey we each must take to find our own path. </li></ul><ul><li>Within the Medicine Wheel there are the Four Cardinal Directions and the Four Sacred Colors. </li></ul><ul><li>The Circle represents the Circle of Life and the Center of the Circle, the Eternal Fire. The Eagle, flying toward the East, is a symbol of strength, endurance and vision. East signifies the renewal of life and the rebirth of Cherokee unity. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Colors of the Medicine Wheel <ul><li>East = Red = success; triumph North = Blue = defeat; trouble West = Black = death South = White = peace; happiness </li></ul><ul><li>There are three additional sacred directions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Up Above = Yellow </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Down Below = Brown </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Here in the Center = Green </li></ul></ul>
  5. 6. <ul><li>Two NUMBERS are sacred to the Cherokee. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Four - represents the four primary directions. At the center of their paths lays the sacred fire. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Seven - the most sacred number. Seven is represented in the seven directions: north, south, east, west, above, bellow, and &quot;here in the center&quot; the place of the sacred fire. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 8. Blue <ul><li>Winter = go-la The color for North is Blue which represents sadness, defeat. It is a season of survival and waiting. </li></ul><ul><li>BLUE symbolized failure, disappointment, or unsatisfied desire. To say &quot;they shall never become blue&quot; expressed the belief that they would never fail in anything they undertook. </li></ul>
  7. 9. Red <ul><li>Spring = gi-la-go-ge The color for East is Red which represents victory, power. Spring is the re-awakening after a long sleep, victory over winter; the power of new life. </li></ul><ul><li>RED was symbolic of success. It was the color of the war club used to strike an enemy in battle as well as the other club used by the warrior to shield himself. Red beads were used to conjure the red spirit to insure long life, recovery from sickness, success in love and ball play or any other undertaking where the benefit of the magic spell was wrought. </li></ul>
  8. 10. White <ul><li>Summer = go-ga The color for South is White for peace, happiness & serenity. Summer is a time of plenty. </li></ul><ul><li>WHITE denoted peace and happiness. In ceremonial addresses, as the Green Corn Dance and ball play, the people symbolically partook of white food . </li></ul><ul><li>The White spirits lived in the South. </li></ul>
  9. 11. Yellow <ul><li>Autumn = u-la-go-hv-s-di The color for West is Black which represents death. Autumn is the final harvest; the end of Life's Cycle. </li></ul>
  10. 12. Black <ul><li>BLACK was always typical of death. The soul of the enemy was continually beaten about by black war clubs and enveloped in a black fog. In conjuring to destroy an enemy, the priest used black beads and invoked the black spirits-which always lived in the West,-bidding them to tear out the man's soul and carry it to the West, and put it into the black coffin deep in the black mud, with a black serpent coiled above it. </li></ul>
  11. 14. Medicine Circle Explained <ul><li>Four directions, four seasons of life, four stages of being </li></ul><ul><li>As we grow, we change like the seasons, passing through the sections of the circle, learning from each. The center of the circle is the touching of the Spirit - the pure of heart, the truth. Everything extends from the circle and everything comes together in the middle. </li></ul><ul><li>For this reason the circle is used for ceremony, especially those that involve contacting the spirit world. The center of the circle is a safe and protected place of love, a centered and grounding area. </li></ul>