Us­ing the Medicine Wheel in Teach­ings

Say Magazine - - COVER STORY -

The Cir­cle

The cir­cle, or wheel, is a com­mon sym­bol in many cul­tures and rep­re­sents sev­eral el­e­ments to the First Na­tions. The cir­cle ac­knowl­edges the con­nect­ed­ness of ev­ery­thing in life, such as the four sea­sons, the four stages of life and the four winds, and it rep­re­sents the con­tin­u­ous cy­cle and re­la­tion­ship of the seen and un­seen, the phys­i­cal and spir­i­tual, birth and death, and the daily sun­rise and sun­set.

The cir­cle is di­vided into four coloured quad­rants. The colours can vary, but the sym­bol­ism re­mains sim­i­lar amongst the first peo­ples. The wheel moves in a clock­wise di­rec­tion, with the teach­ings al­ways be­gin­ning at the yel­low, or east­ern, quad­rant. Th­ese colours re­late to teach­ings of the di­rec­tions, sea­sons, el­e­ments, an­i­mals, plants, heav­enly bod­ies and the stages of life.

Ques­tion you can pose to stu­dents: Many things in the world are round. Can you name some? Pos­si­ble an­swers: The moon, the sun, the sa­cred hoop, the con­nec­tions of all things, etc.

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