Medicine Wheel


While Miles and I played hooky from preschool on Friday, we made our way outdoors to the big basket of rocks that has been awaiting the perfect time for us to create our Medicine Wheel. We've been collecting rocks for years to be used in this project, picking up some at the beach and some in the mountains.

The rocks displayed at each of the four directions are of a specific color and I was picky about making sure these four were placed according to the colors that represent them. Miles chose all of the other rocks and heaved them into position as I instructed him from nearby, telling him a bit about what each stone and position teaches us. He seemed to really love learning about the wheel and took his time to choose a rock that seemed to fit.

Different peoples associate varying colors and meanings to the four directions, but I have come to know them in my own way based on my interactions with them, as well as other schools of thought, and based on the traditional teachings I've received. The oral histories of a tribe and their location also impacts the variations within the wheel.


East=Yellow, for the sun, Eagle, birth, illumination, the beginning of the journey.

South=Red, for fire, creativity, Coyote, the warmth of the earth, learning, material lessons.

West=Black, for the water, reflection, self-examination, Bear, emotions.

North=White, for the wisdom of the elders, the sacred circle of life, Buffalo, spirituality, rest.

I use the medicine wheel rather loosely, entering it at any place, any time, and working with the positions in it as things come up for me.

Today I sought help from position number 13, the large white rock just to the left of the red rock in the South position (about 7 o'clock in the above photo). This is the position of the Ancestors.

In some of the work I've been doing since we moved back to my hometown, many opportunities have arisen for me to heal myself in the context of my family and the unhealed stories that have been passed down for many generations. It seems like this year in particular has been pushing me to resolve, within myself, some of the deeper and more generational wounds that affect me.

As we plan our relocation in our third and final year here, I am being asked to make some vital changes that I will need to take with me on my journey. I am being called upon to cleanse, let go, cough up, release and leave behind that which does not serve. While I'm always eager to do this, it sometimes takes me a few trips around the wheel to feel the click, and wire it in. Ceremony always helps, and by the time I get to it, I'm ready to wave a confident farewell to the last of the loitering residue.

During the time I've been sick with the coughing, for example, I've been quarreling with each member of my family on some level. Louise Hay's, You Can Heal Your Life says this:

Bronchitis: Inflamed family environment. Arguments and yelling. Sometimes silent.

(If this doesn't spell out my experience of conflicts between my family members and I, then I. am. a. monkey's. uncle.)

Her new thought pattern is this:

I declare peace and harmony within me and around me. All is well.

Oh, Louise. I'm glad you're always handy to punctuate the incidents.

If you would like to create a Medicine Wheel in your garden to meditate with or as a tool for healing and going deeper within, I suggest reading a book called Medicine Wheel Ceremonies by Vicki Ray and C.V. Rodberg. Their simple pamphlet-like book gives an easy description of each of the positions and includes a set of cards for use with each position. 


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