Medicine Wheel

Page 8

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How You Approach The Study Of The Medicine Wheel Matters
By CinnamonMoon

Are you one who goes out to buy a book seeking a structured learning approach? Then in trying to understand working with the Medicine Wheel you find you are totally confused and in way over your head? Or perhaps you are one to follow your own inspiration and interests learning as you go? Or maybe you seek out a teacher and ask a lot of questions to learn by experience. Perhaps you poke here and there at information on the Medicine Wheel out of curiosity and start to grasp it that way? I think for most of us it's a bit of both. Something strikes our interest and we look into it a bit wherever we can then when we're stumped, we either go off seeking the answers or toss our hands in the air and let it go. If the interest still holds then we want to understand deeper so we seek to explore the structure of what is before us. It's like this in life lessons and it's like this in our spiritual explorations. We seek to understand what interests us to the best of our ability and if we can't get those answers we get frustrated. I'd like to try to alleviate that frustration for some of you and share my approach to understanding the Medicine Wheel.

People come the Lodge with an interest in shamanism and Native spirituality, some are just curios and others more seasoned on their paths. We see frequently that it's the unseasoned who most readily demonstrate the inspirational approach in their questioning and interests. I say this because they are all over the place with looking into things and trying to apply the information they gather in ways that relate to mundane logic. There is structure to the Medicine Wheel but an understanding of the foundations of it needs to form and that forms not with the logic of the mundane but the logic of the spiritual approach. When these individuals come to see that the Medicine Wheel is a major factor in Native and earth-based teachings they begin with interest to explore that foundation.

It is the container for all the knowledge you could want to tap into. Some will buy a book, and as I've indicated, they find it very confusing after the first few chapters. Why? Because the foundation of the spiritual philosophy behind the Medicine Wheel isn't clear yet. They get frustrated and many turn away or start asking questions where the answers won't make sense to them…yet. This is because they haven't experienced the foundations that will put things into a cohesive context for them. Maybe they've read a few articles or a book or two, perhaps they've heard references to aspects of the Medicine Wheel discussed at different times, but these are just bits and pieces of information without any real cohesion to them.

Eventually structure is to be explored if someone is serious about understanding the fundamental Medicine Wheel and the capacity for its use in their lives. In this process they discover, too, that there are many different kinds of Medicine Wheels so now it's more confusing, which is which and what are they used for? At that point everything they've gathered so far has to basically be set aside until, in their exploring, those pieces comes back into play and fit themselves into place. The foundation of that structure is now being explored in a spiritually logical manner. With the approach to studying the Medicine Wheel that I use there is a shift in focus so that we go from wandering around lost in the woods to taking a well-traveled path that will get us to our destination much faster.

It is important to focus on the basic Wheel rather than the variations, then once we get to that point, understanding is present to explore other options with it. It's important to understand that the basic wheel is like a map with the placement of the 36 stones, each a significant factor…each a classroom or course of study in itself. All other Wheels are derivatives of that. So where does one begin? In my option it is important to begin the study of the Seven Sacred Directions because that leads up to understanding the Wheel. They are the cornerstones of everything else. It is for this reason they are so sacred and why instead of sending someone off to explore the Wheel itself I direct them to the Sacred Directions course which is in reality the foundation of understanding the Wheel...they start you on the path of making sense of things.

In studying the Seven Sacred Directions, taking one at a time and then bringing them into union, you come to meet your Guides, to experience the elemental forces at play, are introduced to your Totems, learn to recognize, read, and weave the energies you're exploring, and take on an enlightened understanding of what all this means.

These insights take time to absorb, the growth takes time to be honed, and there's no quick way to comprehending the whole without understanding the sum of the parts. If you do try another approach it only leads to missing links and confusion. With my method you will discover that your abilities grow, your awareness becomes more pronounced, you begin to understand what walking between the worlds really means, and you are interacting on dimensional levels with the Spirit Worlds and their inhabitants as well as your own Inner Spirit. It's amazing! Then you learn to balance yourself there and to see where your spiritual path is uniquely your own, where it is taking you and why. At least to the capacity you can hold at that time. This allows you to see where you are in the scope of things, getting a feel for *your* needs and your successes that have recently been achieved. It puts the Wheel into perspective and allows you to grasp the rest of its benefits more fully.

I have seen this time and again over the years and from the foundation of the Sacred Directions the Medicine Wheel really begins to come together. You're already familiar with 7 of the stone placements themselves so going on from there is less confusing. In fact it takes you deeper into the overview and layout that you hold expanding on what you already know and understand. Mind you, we're still studying at this point on spiritual terms but later it has placement in the mundane sense as well because the physical and spiritual come together as a whole. So in learning how the Wheel encompasses all aspects of life it starts coming together for you and you can see how the year, the seasons, the beginnings, middle and end of things flow with harmony within it. You can see how it can become a learning institution, a vehicle to travel dimensionally, and how it holds its own navigational system where you can program in any issue or intent you could want to explore and find your way to investigate or manifest it.

In the Medicine Wheel section of the Library you’ll find articles on understanding and exploring. I’ve asked our members who use the Wheel to share a little on how they find it so helpful, what it is to Dance it, and how they create the steps in that Dance. Why would you go to a certain stone, or group of stones? Which ones would you choose if you were looking for specific answers and why? They were free to create examples to explain these things or to use examples from their own explorations. I'd also like to thank them for their participation because from what they have shared others are able to grow.

Community comments:

I find someone that seems insightful and knowledgeable. Bug her three times... she gets a nudge and it starts from there lol. Sorry I felt like being silly. But Cinn should get the inside joke. But seriously, I think I’m more of the follow your inspiration type. That’s what I do now when a need arises, I go and see what I can glimpse about it.

I'm more of a where inspiration leads me person than a structured step-by-step person. For me it's quite common to say 'hey, apparently I'm working on lessons about North' or 'that's the third reference to East for the day. Wonder what that's all about'. It's more of a 'watery' style of learning I guess.

What I find extremely helpful with the Wheel is to be able to use it on many levels simultaneously. I can use it to quiet the mind, to turn inward, to explore the query at hand from the different directions, request support from Guides accordingly, move back into the center and come out with a clearer mind and a clearer understanding of the query.

It can take all of 10 seconds or 10 minutes or half an hour - it can be done while on my bicycle, cooking dinner or sitting in a meditative position in a quiet room... it's always there, it's always available.

Paah Wenchokws:
For me, before approaching the medicine wheel I smudge and meditate to clear my thoughts. I wrote this prayer for my medicine wheel and thought I had posted it here before.

The Medicine Wheel
No grains of sand can equal
the teachings of the Medicine

Finding nothing but peace

You are the oldest of teachings

Oh great teacher of teachings

Seeing the universe
as above

Seeing the universe
as below

Seeing the universe

Seeing many worlds
of the inner soul

The left seeing the universe

The right seeing the universe

All directions seeing the

The teacher, healer, visionary,
warrior, Mother Earth,
Grandmother Moon,
Grandfather sky

Air, Earth, Fire, and Water,
Rooted beings, Ancestors,
stone beings, Earth crawlers
and walkers, Water beings,
Flying beings and Rainbow

Being humble in your presence,

Thank you Paah, that's a lovely poem and embraces the Wheel beautifully.

I was one of the people, as Cinn mentioned, who got a book and tried to figure out the Medicine Wheel. I became frustrated. Now for me it is intuitive, but there was a process I had to go through to get to this point. I first had to spend time, an entire year, intimately coming to understand, feel and know the Seven Sacred Directions. Without spending the time, dedicated and focused, on the Sacred Directions, I believe I would not be as comfortable as I am now with the Medicine Wheel.

And, I'm a newbie at it. Each time I use the Medicine Wheel I learn something, I discover something new. It is exciting that way. I always walk away from it knowing more about myself than I had before.

My use of the Medicine Wheel varies depending on what it is I need or would like to more fully understand. I always center within the Sacred Directions and then I pause. I Enter the Silence and feel my Self fully.

Where I go on the Medicine Wheel or the paths I take on the Wheel depend solely on the reasons I am using it. I may just want some information and there is a specific stone that I intuitively feel would be most appropriate to go to. If I don't know where to start, I ask Spirit and Mother for guidance on what stone to being with.

Sometimes I walk the pathway stones of East, South, West or North. Which direction I go to depends on what type of information, in which area I'd like clarity. So, I may start on the outer stone and move toward Creator and then back outward. Or I may start at the inner stone, move outward and back in to Creator. So, you see, understanding the Sacred Directions before using the Medicine is the first step in my opinion. The deeper I understand the Elements and my Guides in each Direction, the deeper my experience is when I use the Medicine Wheel.

Sometimes I walk around the Medicine Wheel through the same stones in each Direction. For example, I am at a complete loss as to something. I will walk the outer stones of the Medicine Wheel beginning in Air, then Fire, then Water and then Earth for a comprehensive picture of the initial situation. When and if I want more information, I may Know which stone to go to next anywhere on the Wheel, so I may begin to walk around again or I may fully go to an entirely different stone. It has happened to me before that I went around the Medicine Wheel seeking insight, and I got stuck in the South, in Fire. I was walking the middle pathway stones in each Element, but when I got to Fire, I was not to move on to Water. I had to spend time with each pathway stone in Fire. I realized then that the issue before me involved me working through a lot of my stuff as it related to that Element.

I also sometimes have questions and I would like a perspective of a given Moon on the Medicine Wheel. I tend to go to the Moon at the current time. I get different information and Insight depending on which Element I am in, on which stone I have placed my awareness, and on which Moon, plant or spirit animal connected with a stone.

I know this may sound complicated. But, thankfully it isn't now that I dedicated time to coming to know the Elements and Sacred Directions. Then it was just a matter of exploring, not being afraid to explore and use, the Medicine Wheel. I figured that I had nothing to lose and so much to gain.

And, one more thing that is important to mention - I take time on each stone (it may be seconds or more) to appreciate the Above World, Below World and the Middle World. I try to appreciate the full perspective of the given place or stone on which I've put my awareness.

That, in a nutshell, is my experience with the Medicine Wheel.

Sage Napala:
“Are you one who goes out to buy a book seeking a structured learning approach? Then in trying to understand working with the Medicine Wheel you find you are totally confused and in way over your head? “

I recently encountered a couple such as this. We never ever stop learning the Circle just as we never stop living it. I was lucky I had my grans as guides and my guides as guides and I live the 7 Directions and the Wheel and I hope never to have all the answers but continue to walk the walk round and round. Today I honor the West…many days and weeks of introspection with goals. I find your explanations and readings wondrous good Cinnamon Moon.

Thank you for sharing, EagleSinging, well spoken! And thank you for the kind words, Sage!

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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