Medicine Wheel

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A Peek At The Gifts Of The Four Pathways
By CinnamonMoon

There are four pathways to the center of the Medicine Wheel…to Spirit and Oneness and back out into the world. Each pathway has its own set of lessons that we can opt to explore. Whether we are consciously aware or not, these lessons come to us in life through our experiences as well but a conscious choice to examine an issue or issues along one or all of these paths brings about some very clear enlightenment. Whether we’re going in toward center or out from it, Spirit experiences through us just as we experience through Spirit, this happens in the Oneness as we merge our awareness. So, where do we begin? Well there are 3 stones along each of the 4 paths so let’s take each stone one at a time.

The Path of Air from the outer rim of the Wheel (like all the others to follow) has 3 stones. In helping our inner spirit to evolve, we as humans must purify ourselves to honor the spirit within us. This is a sacred process, one in which we open the shell of the human body (figuratively) or ‘Robe’ to expose the spirit and be naked in this sense before Creator. In this mindset I am open to Spirit teaching, shaping, and remaking me. This path cleanses and heals the mind so our conscious awareness can rise up, so we can embrace and wrap our minds around the abstract spiritual concepts that we will be shown. The 3 stones along this path take us to the point of Oneness within Air. This healing path then allows us to see our Truths and shatter the illusionary misconceptions we’ve held to…the ones that have either come to us misguided or by family tradition and conditioning.

I remember in the Lutheran Church I attended growing up how I had to take Confirmation classes and become ‘confirmed’ in that faith. The classes were mandatory both as a member of the church and by my family. It was expected. But I was young, I did what I was told and I didn’t have a choice in the matter or really understand what I was committing myself to. I just did what I was expected of me to do. Within the church the lessons and homework consisted of biblical studies and a lot of memorization work. The Apostle’s Creed is one that always stood out to me. And it’s not that I was misled but I didn’t choose that for myself and it always felt like I was being hypocritical not knowing if I really meant what I was confirming myself to or if it was just expected. I was confused back then, sorting my own feelings about Spirit/God, and I had some real issues there. So my mind and my spirit needed healing along that path. Those were my reasons but we all have them along that line according to our experiences. We have to come to a point where we face the facts about what we’ve been told and then challenge those beliefs that were instilled in us to either prove themselves or be dismissed…whatever tradition (or not) that we come from initially. This journey is about the purification and healing that we, as individuals need mentally to embrace the essence of Spirit and our mental relationship with the Creator and therefore all of life…All Our Relations.

The Medicine Wheel seminars take you into the details of these pathways but I want to give you an overview here of what they’re like. I know that when you journey into Air or work with your Guides/Totems from that element that they bring you the illumination through experiences of enlightenment, and I know in that you gain the wisdom of that experience and then come back to the physical reality to sort it and express it with clarity (assimilation and use). We all do this. This is the ‘personal’ journey…the spiritual path where we come from the mundane mind into a state of Witness and recognize our own inner spirit…and its relationship with the Creator. Here you will begin to see the spiritual path your spirit is taking in life.

Air is the element of the mind’s eye, true sight, as opposed to the human eye and the sight within the physical reality. Conditioning from family, society, religious traditions etc. captivates the mind and holds it to a belief structure within those teachings. Through the Wheel you will Dance and experience a level of truth, not all truth at once, just some of it as you initiate to this pathway. Each time you Dance these stones you will gain greater and greater depth of insight into spiritual truths. This is going to affect your journey toward Spirit and be the focus or theme of the path at this time so it will be relative to you personally; and of course your relationship with the world as you come back to it.

Take a question with you, something like: ‘What is my role, what is my path, what will it look like, what will I look like, or what is my place in the world?’ Look into that question as you take this path and you will come to see this simply as your part of the whole. As human beings we all have egos, the ego says to us: ‘Make me feel special, I’m somebody important, I have power, I AM’ and it builds itself into an illusionary image of the false Self. This is not our spirit talking and the path takes us to our spirit…so we may be shown our place in the world and who we are in a humble fashion. Then, as a part of the Whole and All That Is, we begin to walk humbly with the Powers That Be. We see our role and our Self simply as a functional part of that whole and the touch we have on the world around us shows us the truth of the path we’ve walked, are walking, and how we will walk it in the future to serve. The simple Truths that we discover are ‘Clear Truths’, there is no questioning them. In recognizing them we come to that clarity of mind to see them for what they are and we raise our conscious awareness, wrap our minds around them, and can thus communicate them to others…walking our talk.

The Truth experienced is not recognized by the mind only, it is also recognized by the heart so it is that balance we strive to hold to measure the clarity of that Truth. We feel it in the heart at the same time we see it with our mind’s eye.

The Path of Fire brings us to experience, where the Path of Air brought us clarity and mental healing, the Path of Fire is where we seek to know that clarity and healing personally and embrace it with our heart’s trust. It is in the world around us that we discover the ups and downs, the joys and the disappointments. It's where we find our faith and ability to trust in life and in Spirit. Illusions shatter in Fire when we've walked through our trials and sometimes the heart has to find new faith. Sometimes an experience lends us faith when we are weak or feeling a victim and things take a turn of conquering fear to find strength. Then our conviction through courage comes forward as we learn to take another step, reach a little further, explore a little deeper and discover wonders. Walking toward the center from the outer rim of the Wheel the first stone we encounter is Growth.

Growth is about evolution, about learning and understanding life, coming to know our relationship to the world around us and all it contains. This means that relationships on many levels come into play. Thinking of the people you've crossed paths with or the experiences you've had you can look back on your life and see your reality as it pertains to your understanding of life. What conditioned you then? What conditions you now? What will condition you in the future? The world around you holds many different influences and ideals are sometimes something that can take form while at others they are illusionary concepts. In the latter case reality will eventually take us by the ear and through Fire to burn away the falsehoods…a process that can be disappointing, crushingly painful, or simply an ah-ha moment.

We change as we grow, life evolves and changes around us. What may once have held sway over our conceptualizing may no longer hold importance or validity. Sometimes the truths in life serve us for a time to regulate the stage we're at and as we evolve those truths can change. Change ushers in new concepts and experiences to contribute to our evolution, to the BE-coming of who we are based on those experiences. This path will help you see how you've grown through the past, how you are growing today, and what you need to experience to grow tomorrow. Understanding your growth process is important as it allows you to embrace the lessons with a higher awareness and move through them with that understanding. As Fire represents youth on its journey of growth to maturity, our lessons along this path help us to mature.

We take our conceptualizations from Air and move into the experiences of bringing them into being in Fire. It's where we learn to do, to reach, to accomplish things in life moving from one comfort zone to another or one level of awareness to another through physical participation. We might begin our first job, make a career change, try something we've never tried before here and we'll make mistakes along the way so we can grow from them. If we don't learn we will learn that we repeat our lessons because they will continue to cycle through our life until we do. We continue to make mistakes until we learn what we're doing wrong, chose to correct that, and make a change. This path is life's experiences and taking them to a level of spiritual understanding on the other side of the experience itself.

The issues you addressed on the path of air would continue to be addressed here to achieve that fullness of understanding. In this manner we’re learning to be responsible for ourselves, much like the teen learning new boundaries or experiencing new freedoms and having to be responsible for the consequences of the decisions or choices he or she has made. If mom and dad are not watching over one's shoulder that freedom connects the teen to their free will. What will they do? What will they explore? What advice will they follow or will they learn something from Fire the hard way and be burned in the process because they choose to ignore good advice? Once burned, twice shy. Whether we're a teen or an adult, we all experience hard lessons sometimes and it is this path that helps us cope with them and grow from them…we still do this through the physical act of hands-on exploring. (Again, the Medicine Wheel seminars in the course section of the study center will share much more detail on this aspect with you.)

The Path of Water leads us to understanding ourselves and then ourselves in relation to others on spiritual and emotional levels. Water is home to the Great Smoking Mirror where we either hide from ourselves or clear away the smoke and face our truths to heal. It is home to the Moon and all reflective work, the surface of water being like a mystical mirror when the moonlight shines across it and we begin capturing visionary landscapes to explore. Here we hold what is sacred within life and the experiences that have caused us pain emotionally or spiritually wherein we've experienced or caused pain in others that needs healing. It is this path that will teach us what we need to understand in order to bring that healing about. We see our old patterns and we can then see what our role was in that pain, choose to change the pattern and avoid receiving or causing pain in the future. In this process we can go through layers of regression to dig through our experiences and work our way back to the source of that pain. Knowing where we started that pattern of behavior allows us to see where it needs to initiate the change. Here we gain our balance through finding our inner courage and strength to walk in conviction of knowing we are right. When we can walk with that conviction (our truth) we can be true to ourself, to Spirit and to the world around us, to all those others with whom we have relationships.

We are assessing the experiences of life that we have just passed through with Fire and now we're adjusting to those lessons. In this we learn to be discerning in our choices, to understand spiritually with the deeper inner journeys of the spirit, the path we are to walk in life, how we're to walk it and why. You can see at this point ‘why’ the focus is on yourself rather than others. The deeper you take the enlightened understanding the better you understand yourself…and in that others. So later you’ll apply it in the world around you but you must walk the path toward Creator first to know the way in and navigate your way back out into the world. Water is the element of maturity and the harvest season so we are maturing through the harvesting of our experiences by taking this path to the center. It's where we come when we want to understand ourself inside and out. That understanding helps us see where we stand in the world around us and in relation to others. How we want to walk our talk basically.

The Path of Earth is like a culmination of exploring the Path of Air, Fire and Water. It’s here we come to the wisdom of the heart. Here we learn what sustains us and how to share that with others from the heart. At times our hearts may need cleansing in order to remove gunk that has gathered there through time. A clean heart is important as we step forward in the world to share and so the first wisdom gained is that of the value of Cleansing. The quantity of the heart and what we give or share from it is not nearly as important as the quality of what it has to offer. A clean heart, as I said, is important to begin with. A clean heart is a healthy heart, and we would seek this path to rid ourselves of impure ideas or toxic waste that we carry in our bodies by learning the lessons that cleanse and sustain us along those lines. Here we find our sustenance in healthy outlets, in the give-away and what we can share with others to help sustain them. We explore all that Mother Earth offers to assist us in 'sharing the wealth' or the treasures we have discovered. Clothing, shelter, nourishment, tools, and our wisdom are the things a loving heart will share to assist others. A clean heart is an unblocked heart and we seek this path when our hearts become blocked or hardened.

Here we come to rid ourselves of waste…mental, physical, spiritual, or emotional waste. The heart does not need to become a compost pile. It needs to be clear and open as a sacred place from which we can extend ourselves to the world around us. This is the element of change wherein we experience the death and rebirth cycle. Here we look back on the journey we've made be that a season or a year or a lifetime and we draw from all that we know to share with others. We've learned to be the spiritual warrior, to fight for what is right and to pick our battles. We've learned what is not worth fighting over and through our discernment we can walk away from foolish battles others try to start. We have learned to see those who are striving to walk in a right manner, whatever tradition or whatever their path may be, and assist those who need our help, who strive for themselves.

We have learned the energy signatures of the 'takers', those who take and deplete not giving back, of those who look for the easy way through life. We’ve learned the energy signature of those individuals we should offer to teach, showing them how to sustain themselves, we give them sustenance in that way. Is someone cannot accept our help we learn to be tolerant that they are seeking a lesson in sustenance the hard way or from a different teacher. A tolerant heart does not find fault with others but it does discern the 'how to give' and it does not waste its generosity where it will do no good. This doesn't mean we're cruel to others, nor are we selfish, it simply means we may have to exercise tough love at times and learn to readjust our pattern of giving at the moment.

Through these four paths we have the balance we need to resolve our issues, heal ourselves, grow strong, evolve and make a difference. We can Dance them anytime we choose, and we can take our confusion or troubles to the Wheel in this way to resolve matters and transform our lives as well as our place in the world. Do check out the series of Medicine Wheel seminars if you’re interested in furthering your studies.



Libraries are on this row
INDEX Page 1
(Divination & Dreams, Guides & Spirit Helpers)
INDEX Page 2
INDEX Page 3
(Main Section, Medicine Wheel, Native Languages & Nations, Symbology)
INDEX Page 4
(Myth & Lore)
INDEX Page 5
(Sacred Feminine & Masculine, Stones & Minerals)
INDEX Page 6
(Spiritual Development)
INDEX Page 7
(Totem Animals)
INDEX Page 8
(Tools & Crafts. Copyrights)

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