The Medicine Wheel demonstrates how all life is interconnected and embarked on in a circular journey. The four cardinal directions, each of which has a guiding spirit and unique attributes, symbolize the stages of the life journey. The East, direction of the daily birth of the sun, represents a child’s birth and first few years of life. The South relates to childhood and intellectual growth. The West is symbolic of adulthood and introspection. And the North represents the elder phase of life and the spiritual aspects of it. The center of the wheel is symbolic of Mother Earth and the Creator and their role in the beginning and continuation of life.Religions in Canada: Native Spirituality

Big Horn Medicine Wheel:

The term "medicine wheel" was first applied to the Big Horn Medicine Wheel. It is located on a ridge of Medicine Mountain in Big Horn County, Wyoming.

It is a circular arrangement of stones measuring 80 feet across with 28 rows of stones that radiate from a central cairn to an encircling stone rim. Placed around the periphery of the wheel are five smaller, stone circles. The Medicine Wheel's function and builders remain a mystery. However, there is general agreement that it was built approximately 200 years ago by indigenous Native Americans, and that its 28 "spokes" may symbolize the days in a lunar month. To Native Americans, this remains a sacred, ceremonial site.

The Medicine Wheel:

The Medicine Wheel is a powerful metaphor for the totality of life. All aspects of creation and consciousness, inclusive of the mineral, plant, animal, human and spirit realms, are contained within the center and four directions of the medicine wheel. They overlap and interweave to form the whole. It is in the center of the medicine wheel that we find the void, black hole, sacred zero, the chaos at the source of creation, containing all possibilities.

Graphics: Andy Everson