Medicine Wheels

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Medicine wheel in Sedona, Arizona. A Native American symbol, the wheel is a circle of stones with four spokes and a center. The outer circle is made up of sixteen stones, one for each of the twelve moons and one for each of the four spirit keepers, while the center represents the Great Spirit. Fortean Picture Library.

Medicine Wheels

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Scattered throughout the plains of western Canada and the United States are hundreds of prehistoric medicine wheels, circles of stones that seem to be aligned in patterns designed to represent astronomical sighting plains. When Europeans first discovered them, they naturally asked the Indians who built them. The answer was always the same: "The people who were here before." In other words, these were old— very old. They were considered sacred, protected by the spirits, and the destination of many a vision quest.

They remain so today. Many still travel to sit quietly, meditating on the circles which, by their very antiquity, provoke feelings of awe and wonder. Who built them? How were they used? And why are they here?

The pattern is not unique to America. Stone circles are found throughout the world, from Stonehenge, the "granddaddy" of them all, to the small, mountaintop circles of the American high desert that are known only to a few initiates.

The circle or sacred spiral pattern is also found consistently throughout the world's record of rock paintings. What does it mean? The standard theory is that astronomy figured heavily in its use. It is the common denominator in astrological alignments. Some speculate that the pattern is representative of the womb. But beyond that there seems to exist a spiritual component lost to modern humans. The best we can do is guess.

The question remains concerning the universality of the designs. Some consider it coincidence, believing the pattern represents a religious feeling we all must have in common. Whether we live in Siberia or Arizona, we all share the same human psychology. Others believe the design originated in one location and then spread throughout the world. This is the "diffusion" theory.

References in periodicals archive ?
(25,26) We therefore drew upon three indigenous health frameworks from the literature: the Medicine Wheel; (18) the Community Life Indicators Wheel; (27) and the Integrated Life Course and Social Determinants Model of Aboriginal Health.
Sun Bear's Medicine Wheel has a certain organization of stones in circles and pathways into and out of the center.
Utilizing Aboriginal epistemology each of these themes can be further examined by using features associated with the four components of the Medicine Wheel and its teachings pertaining to life and learning.
Each of these books instructs its readers in the ways of a particular animal, relating them to the Medicine Wheel.
Last year, the centre held a similar event at the site, planting four cedar trees to honour the four directions of the medicine wheel. People are invited to return to the site on June 20 and are asked to bring rocks to create a circle around the garden.
In particular the use of the medicine wheel in coastal tribes.
A future phase calls for another portion of prairie to be relocated in an area where sandstone rocks will be arranged to simulate a native medicine wheel. Interpretive signage will describe its historical significance in Alberta.
The group was helped by American Indian called Roy Little Son, from Arizona, who brought his medicine wheel with him to the gardens.
Michael Anthony Hart considers the various methods of utilizing the circle that have evolved and comments on values, beliefs and rules associated with sharing circles and the medicine wheel. For example, "for many traditional First Nations people, the idea of noninterference is important" (p.
But by 1986 he was spending time with his own Elders, and most importantly, learned about the Medicine Wheel. He was seven years sober by the time he learned about balancing his life with the teaching, and soon realized he needed to go deeper, So far he had just abstained from drinking but hadn't gotten to the root of his addiction.
Bolton's personal path is with the Medicine Wheel traditions (with Leo Rutherford of Eagle's Wing in the UK) and in shamanism with Jonathan Horwitz of the Scandinavian Centre of Shamanic Studies, in Sweden.
The second part, the Circle of Courage, based on contemporary research, uses the medicine wheel to show young people how to benefit from the model in the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual realms.