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Medicine Wheel - Sacred Hoop

Sacred Circle of Life

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Medicine Wheel

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Healing Lesson of the Day
The medicine wheel, originating from Native American traditions, is also referred to as Sacred Hoop. The medicine wheel represents the sacred circle of life, its basic four directions, and the elements. Animal totems serve as guardian of each of the directions. The four animals commonly represented in this role are The Bear, The Buffalo, The Eagle, and The Mouse. However, there are no fast rules about which animals represent the directions of the Medicine Wheel. Michael Samuels, co-author of The Path of the Feather, teaches that all native peoples have different spirit animals and meanings of the directions, encouraging us in choosing our own. Each direction of the wheel offers its own lessons, color, and animal spirit guide.

Medicine Wheel as an Introspection Tool

The medicine wheel is a symbol of symmetry and balance. During the process of constructing the wheel you will begin to recognize what areas of your life are not in balance, and where your attention is lacking and requires focus. Continuing working with the wheel after you constructed it. Sit with your wheel in silent meditation. Allow the wheel to assist you in gaining new and different perspectives.

The medicine wheel represents the many cycles of life. The circle is representative of life's never ending cycle (birth, death, rebirth). Each stone or spoke placement in the wheel focuses on a different aspect of living.

A personal medicine wheel can be made using fetishes such as crystals, arrowheads, seashells, feathers, animal fur/bones, and so on. Take time to reflect on each aspect of your life (self, family, relationships, life purpose, community, finances, health, etc.) as you place objects within the circle.

Simple and Complex Medicine Wheels

A medicine wheel can also be constructed without the use of objects, simply draw out your circle with colored pencils and paper. If you have the room outdoors for a large scale medicine wheel and are up to the project go ahead. If you can make it big enough for you to sit inside the spaces between the spokes of the wheel after you have constructed it all the better!

Medicine Wheel Elements and Directions

Four Elements:
Air, Water, Fire, Earth

Four Directions:
North, East, South, West

Five Directions;
North, East, South,West, Center (Heart)

Six Directions:
North, East, South, West, Sky, Earth

Seven Directions:
North, East, South, West, Father Sky, Mother Earth, Center (Self) Learn more about Native American healing traditions

David McNew/Getty Images

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