How To Work With A Medicine Wheel for Spiritual Growth

How To Work With A Medicine Wheel for Spiritual Growth

In the vast landscape of alternative healing, the Medicine Wheel is often overlooked as a powerful, ancient resource for spiritual growth.

The Origins of the Medicine Wheel
The Medicine Wheel is a sacred symbol that has been used by various Indigenous cultures, particularly those of the North American Plains. These ancient peoples constructed physical representations of the wheel, often with stones laid out on vast expanses of land, aligning them with the stars, the seasons, and the elements of earth. But more than just a physical structure, the Medicine Wheel represents a map to the human journey, embodying the cycles of life, the four cardinal directions, and the interconnectedness of all beings.

Understanding the Medicine Wheel

At its core, the Medicine Wheel symbolizes the circle of life, with each direction offering its own lessons, color frequencies, and Spirit Animal Totems.

The East represents new beginnings and inspiration, symbolized by the color yellow and the eagle.
The South stands for growth and vitality, represented by the color red and the coyote.
The West holds the space for introspection and healing, marked by the color black and the bear.
Finally, the North embodies wisdom and gratitude, with the color white and the buffalo as its symbols.
Integrating the elements of earth, air, fire, and water, the Medicine Wheel offers a framework for how to balance our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual selves.

How can you build your own Medicine Wheel?

Medicine Wheel at Urban Healers of LA,

A Medicine Wheel is an altar that is made of stones of any size. One way to begin working with Medicine Wheel teachings is to go on a hike to gather 36 pebbles into a small drawstring Medicine Bag and then bring this introspective tool into any space you’d like to contemplate an issue with. The process of placing the stones in the Medicine Wheel structure is a meditative exercise that can calm the mind and open our perspective to receive new insights.

Once the little pebble wheel is build and the four quadrants are clearly defined, it can be helpful to place the four elements in those quadrants with a crystal, a candle, a bowl of water, and a bundle of sage. Then you can write a question on a card and decide where in the wheel you fele it wants to be. Which stone is the question closest to? Look up the meaning of that stone and see if it gives insights into the issue. 

We always build Medicine Wheels at any campsite we stay in by gathering stones from the area. I also bring a small bag of Medicine stones with me whenever I stay in a hotel or in a new place. 

Creating your own Medicine Wheel is a deeply personal and powerful process. Here’s how you can start this transformative journey:

  • Find a quiet, natural space where you feel at peace. This could be your backyard, a secluded spot in a park, or a corner of your home. I like to place small wheels on tables and window sills all over the house as well as a larger one in my back yard. 
  • Choose stones that speak to you, and if possible, gather them from places that hold personal significance.
  • As you lay each stone, hold an intention or prayer in your heart. This process is all about observing the energy you imbue in the Wheel as you build.
  • Once your Medicine Wheel is built, place an issue or a question in the space somewhere and make observations about the location of the issue. Where you put the issue in the Wheel reveals information about the energy nature of the issue. Is it in the South? The North? Are you the student in this issue or are you the teacher? Contemplate what happens in your environment as you sit with your Wheel. Does a bird land? Does an ant arrive? Is there a noise near by? Does something fall? Does a siren ring out in the distance? Does a dog bark? These are all the ways the language of the day can bring you messages.

In the traditional Indiginous ways of working with a Medicine Wheel it was good practice to bring an offering of a dried medicinal herb such as tobacco, or lobelia and leave it in the Wheel as a sign of gratitude and respect. 

Hesitations in working with a Medicine Wheel

It can be easy to feel hesitant about working with a Medicine Wheel if you are not Native American. But it is important to remember that this is a timeless spiritual tool for connection and enlightenment. It is a personal, introspective process that is free and available at any time. A variation of the Medicine Wheel is found in every ancient culture, from stone hinge to mandalas, to the Asian Bagua symbol of the cycles of Changes.

A Medicine Wheel is a universal symbol of balance. If you approach it with a sincere heart, respect its origins and read as much as you can about the history and use of this tool, you will be what is called Walking the Good Red Road. 

Publications by native authors are gifts and glimpses into their ways. While it is important to respect and give space to the healing movmements of those whose people were so decimated, it is also important to support and be a student of the ways that they taught and lived by. Working with a Medicine Wheel, if done with respect for personal self-improvement is a form of respect to those surviving cultures and can be a quiet way of expressing sorrow and grief.

The journey with a Medicine Wheel can be a life-long companion that teaches you how to learn. It serves not only as a bridge to the ancient wisdom of the earth but also as a mirror, reflecting our own inner weather conditions and cycles. 

Further Resources

For those eager to dive deeper, there’s a wealth of information available on Medicine Wheels and Indigenous spirituality. Books like “The Medicine Wheel: Earth Astrology” by Sun Bear and Wabun Wind offer an accessible introduction. But I believe that it is important to make timeless spiritual teachings your own and to not get too concerned with doing it correctly by a book. The reason spiritual teachings survive the test of time is because the adabt to the times at hand. Your work with a Medicine Wheel is part of the movement that brings the wisdom teachings into the future for generations to come. Do not worry if you make a mistake or get it wrong, for all the mistakes you could make have already been made, and still the wisdom teaching endures to be discovered anew with every new curious student. 

After building lots of Wheels with rocks of all sizes, I also began to explore arranging the stones in other variations of circles and shapes. This brought my attention to how each stone has an energy and a charge. Some like to be together while others like to be farther away. This was the begining of a larger field of study called Energy Grid Work. 

All rocks are record keepers. The stones you gather to build your wheel are not random. They hold messages uniquely for you. Follow the pathway of their movements in this meditative practice of communing with stones and you will be amazed by the wealth of quiet insight there is to be found in this ancient way of wisdom. I wish you joy on your journey to the Wheel!

About the Author

Hi, I’m Jess. In my own experience when working through my own struggles in life, I found the process of traditional psychotherapy to be too formal and analytical.  I was frustrated with how talk therapy seemed to circle the airport and never land a solution or resolution.  When I found Constellations work I realized the importance of connecting to a greater mysterious power of Grace when searching for the healing movement. When I discovered IFS, (Internal Family Systems work) I realized the power of my imagination to heal and release buried pain. Resolutions to my struggles really began to land for me with Family Constellations and IFS work. Because I found real results in these alternative healing methods, I have dedicated my life to studying them and bringing these resources to others.

Learn more about me

How To Work With A Medicine Wheel for Spiritual Growth

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