How You Approach Study Of The Medicine Wheel Matters
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? Perhaps you poke 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 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 Native spirituality, some more seasoned than others, and 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 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 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 come 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 once we get to that point, and it's important to understand that the basic wheel is like a map with the placement of the 36 stones, each a significant factor. All other Wheels are derivatives of that. So where does one begin? IMHO 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 which are in reality the foundations 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. What this does is that it 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 puts the Wheel into perspective and allows you to grasp the rest of it's 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. The overview and layout of the basic Wheel then holds a logical perspective. Mind you, we're still studying at this point on spiritual terms but later it has placement in the mundane sense as well as the two 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 and find your way to exploring or manifesting it.
In our Medicine Wheel Library we have articles on understanding and exploring but I'd like to ask 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? Please feel free to create examples to explain these things or to use examples from
your own explorations. I'd also like to thank you in advance for your participation because in what you share others are going to grow.