Native American Medicine Wheel

~ | ~ Sacred Altar ~ | ~ East ~ | ~ South ~ | ~ West ~ | ~ North ~ | ~

The Four Directions have been more than just the cardinal points on the compass from the early age of the human race. They have been represented by the Four Winds, Four Guardian Spirits, and Four Creatures by nearly every culture known. Each has been given a persona, and each persona, ironically, has a matching persona in the next culture. And each represents a path from the center stone to the outer circle.

Buffalo and the Path of Sacrifice

From the East, the Buffalo Spirit Keeper opens the Path of Sacrifice.
  • Buffalo is the "give-away" animal. As giver, every part of the buffalo was used. Hides were used for shelter, meat for food, hooves for glue, and it sinew for thread. Buffalo was the perfect, complete potlatch, giving everything of itself for the people.
  • The Turkey is spoken of as the "Give-Away" Eagle. This winged example of the Buffalo, gives of itself for the people in its own potlatch.
  • Turtle represents the sacrifice made in Native American creations stories which speak of Grandmother Turtle forming Turtle Island. She represents Mother Earth, whose dust from which we all came.
  • Owl brings us closer to the Sacred Altar with his night vision. Owl shows us how to see in the dark, and in the mysteries where we could not otherwise see.

Bear and the Path of Service

The Medicine Wheel Spirit Keeper is Bear, representing the Path of Service from the South. Warriors, leaders, and healers help the community with their services.
  • Bear opens the door to the Path of Service. The Bear Clans of Native American tribes are usually the healers, leaders and warriors of the tribe. Theirs is the service that benefits the whole of their community.
  • Industrious Beaver builds dams, canals, and locks to control water in its environment. This helps the community of animals by giving them constant water and food sources. The Beaver never stops growing, and shows us that we should never stop growing spiritually. Beaver shows us how to manage time and energy in our service to others.
  • The strong little Ant is a builder and achiever. This little guy can lift many times his own weight in his service for his community.
  • Squirrel gathers and stores food for the winter. Squirrel shows us how to gather all the spiritual information we need for our quest for truth in the winter. Squirrel shows us how to be prepared to help in our service to others.

Eagle and the Path of Incarnation

This is West in the Medicine Wheel, the door to the Path of Incarnation.
  • The symbol of Creator God, Eagle opens the door of the Path of Incarnation. This is the deity incarnate, present in the physical world we know. This is the indwelling of deity in us.
  • Butterfly guides on the path of transformation. In the cocoon stage, the focus is inward, at areas within that need to be developed and transformed in order to become something beautiful. This is similar to the Sweat Lodge, when we enters to cleanse our spirits of the things that prevent us from transforming.
  • Bat symbolically embodies the sweat lodge experience. Hanging upside down in its cave, the bat "transforms" into a new creation. We leave the "old man" behind us in the sweat lodge, and walk out in the "new man." The vision quest is another experience where we become transformed, leaving behind those things which no longer matter for new life.
  • Grouse teaches the spiral dance of death and rebirth, bringing you to the Sacred Altar and helping you to transcend to higher stages of spiritual development. Grouse helps us to become more aware that Creator God is dwelling and working within us.

Cougar and the Path of Search for Truth

North in the Medicine Wheel, this is the direction of the winter storms. A time for introspection and learning.
  • The Cougar is the great huntress, climbing high to seek out prey, and in the spiritual sense, this is the search for truth. She opens the door to the Search for Truth. She climbs higher than any other feline, yet prefers to be on the ground. This helps to keep us well-grounded while on our quest.
  • Hawk, the great high-flying hunter, can see its prey from great heights. Hawk feathers are used by many Native Americans for ceremonial purposes. The only bird that flies higher is the Eagle.
  • Goose provides us with the endurance to continue the quest for truth.
  • Wolf, our Pathfinder and Protector, protects us from incorrect teachings while guiding us to the Sacred Altar.

Introduction: Page One ~ | ~ Page Two ~ | ~ Page Three ~ | ~ Page Four ~ | ~ Page Five ~ | ~
~ | ~ Sacred Altar ~ | ~ East ~ | ~ South ~ | ~ West ~ | ~ North ~ | ~
Inner Circle: Owl ~ | ~ Cougar ~ | ~ Hawk ~ | ~ Coyote ~ | ~ Wolf ~ | ~ Bear ~ | ~ Raven ~ | ~
Outer Circle: Snow Goose ~ | ~ Otter ~ | ~ Cougar ~ | ~ Hawk ~ | ~ Beaver ~ | ~ Deer ~ | ~
~ | ~ Flicker ~ | ~ Sturgeon ~ | ~ Bear ~ | ~ Raven ~ | ~ Snake ~ | ~ Elk ~ | ~ Blue ~ | ~

© 1997-2009 Refiner of Gold Creations
Created 6/18/1998 by EMC, Updated 11/13/2009.