Shamanic Witchcraft: The Medicine Wheel
“All things within this Universe Wheel know of their harmony with every other being.”
– Hyemeyohsts Storm
The Pattern of Wholeness: The Medicine Wheel represents the vital force of the universe, ever in motion. It also represents the cycles and the natural order of things. The Wheel embodies balance, life energy, and the pathway to understanding. Each person’s medicine is within this wheel. And by medicine, we mean the key to his or her spiritual awakening, knowledge, and experience of life lessons. By comprehending The Medicine Wheel on a personal wheel, we apply our wills and intention and create the magic of wholeness.
What is Wholeness and What Does It Mean for the Shamanic Witch?
The word wholeness does not simply mean our physical health. It encompasses our mind and spirit as well. Each person’s wholeness depends on that person’s ability for creating and maintaining spiritual connections. The most common culprits that generate or support “dis-ease” are fear, hard-heartedness, bitterness, spiritual closure, and self-doubt. When we face fear, it generates courage. When we unlock our hearts and spirits, it engenders love, trust, and connection. When we express our real self, it propagates confidence and proactive living.
Courage, love, self-reliance, and spiritual connection all improve natural healing functions by opening the necessary energy pathways. Each of these pathways (the Chakras), appears like little energy wheels-a perfect microcosm of the great Medicine Wheel whose lessons we are about to study.
Native American Medicine Wheel Directions
Every direction on the Medicine Wheel has its own inherent powers and correspondences very similar to the sacred circle of Wiccans, and the directions in Feng Shui. These powers and correspondences differ slightly depending on tribal custom. So, bear in mind that the correspondences here represent a broad generalization to which you should add your own insights.
Studying the Medicine Wheel’s correspondences is important for the urban shaman, and is useful for other spiritual seekers too. Each point on the Wheel is like a miniature classroom for your body, mind, and spirit. Through quiet meditation, you’ll begin to discern the deeper meanings behind the Wheel’s representations, and the applications for them. Each glimmer of understanding is one giant step toward improved self-knowledge and integrated magical ideals.
North Symbolism & Meaning
North is the element of air and the region that holds the mind. This is the place of knowing, of clearing away what is not real and understanding what is. Regarding wholeness, north represents wellness that comes through wisdom and inner harmony or that which comes through animals in symbolic or literal forms. For example, some types of shamanic healing rely on a person’s power animal for aid. This direction corresponds with the color white, the season of winter, the stars, and animals like the buffalo and horse, who move powerfully through their environment.
East Symbolism & Meaning
[wisew_rectangle_large align=”left”]East is the place of seeing. Here, dawn’s fire illuminates one’s spirit and releases our inner potential. For wholeness, the east offers an awareness of each person’s power and path. This is also where we connect with the god aspect, recapture hope, stimulate inspired thinking, and learn joyful living. East corresponds with the color yellow, the season of spring, the sun, creative inspiration, and animals like the eagle, who offer refreshed perspectives.
South Symbolism & Meaning
South is an intimate region close to the heart. Here we find the element of water that expresses our emotions honestly. Generating wholeness here begins with self-trust, learning how to overcome our fears, and banishing negativity. Healing may also be found here in the gifts that come from nature (e.g., herbs). This direction corresponds with the color red, the moon, the season of summer, and animals like the mouse who symbolize the need for quiet and periodic aloneness.
West Symbolism & Meaning
The west is the place of looking within yourself and seeing what’s really there. Within the earth’s embrace, you will discover your inner priest or priestess, rediscover and reconnect with the mother goddess, become more accepting of change, and begin understanding the mysteries of life’s cycles. Regarding wholeness, this quarter deals with the physical self, and with taking care of our soul’s temple (especially in maintaining proper mineral levels: This can be considered figuratively by making amulets from minerals.) This region also reconnects us with our tribes for stability, support, and well-being. The west is aligned with the color of black, the earth, the season of fall, and animals like bears (who hibernate in the earth’s womb for a figurative rebirth each spring).
The Four Cardinal Directions of the Medicine Wheel
Harmony within Animal medicine, Realness
Potential within, Faith medicine, Perspective
Truth within, Nature medicine, Serenity
Stability within, Mineral medicine, Recognition
Attentiveness within, Mindful living
Magic within, Connected living
Between the north and south lies the axis that represents the heart-mind connection. This axis stresses the awareness of the way emotions affect the way we think and act. Between east and west, we discover the body-spirit connection. Here we’re reminded that spirituality cannot be separated from the physical, or our magic-our medicine−dies.
The convergence of the two axis lines, wrapped within the Wheel’s protective circle, shows that the Medicine Wheel is very holistic. It illustrates that every facet of the human being is important and worthy of our attention and care.
The Shamanic Witch, The Medicine Wheel, Magick, and Spellcraft
So, how exactly can the Shamanic Witch put the symbolism of the Medicine Wheel to work in her magic? Really, much in the same way Wiccans use the four quarter associations. Review the energy of each part of the Wheel and then consider applying it to a ritual, spell or whatever.
For example, you might work in the Northern part of your sacred space when focusing on the conscious mind. Work in the East when enacting divinatory efforts. Work in the South for matters of the heart and family. Work in the West for self-improvement spells and personal transformation.
You might also consider the colors and animals of each direction in decorating your altar or sacred space.
Based on “Shaman in a 9-5 World,” by Patricia Telesco. All rights reserved.