Why Shamans Use A Medicine Wheel
The medicine wheel is a spiritual concept in which the teachings of each direction north, south, east, west, above, below, and centre are used to convey the teachings of the spiritual realm. Each direction has it’s own set of teachings designed to bring the shaman into a state of oneness with the earth and with spirit. I’m going to describe what teaching are in each direction each wheel is different depending on the tribe, the Cree medicine wheel will be different from the Lakota medicine wheel and again different from the medicine wheel of the Andes shamans. Because of this I am going to show you the blend of what I learned between my Cree, shaman and witchcraft teachings, I find that because of my blend it has been easier for me to really integrate the teachings of each of the directions. This is a very individual practice and depending on your tradition is commonly called the path of the wounded healer as we heal our wounds to be able to heal others. As you might have guessed these wounds are not physical wounds, but the spiritual soul wounds that one gets as they have lived and acquired emotional damage for whatever reason.
The east is a source of beginnings as this is the direction that the sun rises everyday, it is also associated with the mind, intellect, new beginnings and is connected to the breath of life and the soul. The reason we start in the east is because we want to work from the centre of our selves out. You see when you first begin to walk the Medicine wheel you are working on healing your self for better understanding so we being to work on the concepts of the mind and the soul. The direction east is also associated with certain animals, eagle, owl, and raven, these air elementals each have there own teachings to learn. When you begin this path you are taking all the lessons that the east has to give and incorporating them into one’s self. This is of course a multi step process that first begins with with healing the self and overcoming ones mind.
The south is the direction of change, fire is associated with the soul it self of spirit internal, Fire is transformation it self. When we begin the teachings of the south we are connecting with our souls, our true selves, we learn what we need to learn from that connection. Typically associated with snake, salamander and jaguar each has it’s own lessons of transformation to convey we work with each of the elementals as each teaching of transformation is a different one as fire both creates and destroys it is the element of passion.
Colour: Black/dark blue
West is about death, this is where the sun sets and the day ends, we see the end of things in this direction. Water connects us to the realm of spirit the lessons in this direction usually convey communication with the spirits in the other realms, also emotions, this is where our spirits return back to the flow. Once you are at the point in the path where you are walking the west wedge of the medicine wheel you will begin to understand the spiritual side of the path better as we begin to walk in both worlds at this point. Elementals associated with water and west are Seals, Otter, and Wales, as water also represents the womb of the earth a place we were all birthed from we also add the mysteries of birth to this direction.
North is associated with earth the mother her teachings include that of rest and of strength, earth teaches us that it’s okay to rest. When we begin down this path we have been stripped down from what we used to be we are in a place of quiet where we begin to connect to things out side of our selves. We find our teachings from the great bear, elk and wolf, and we connect with the earth it self in the trees and forests and we listen to the quiet hum of the earth and we focus on being birthed in the spring.
this is the realm of sky and all the teachings that the sky people can teach us, it is not very common to find this direction used in witchcraft it’s more of a Indigenous peoples/ shaman thing. The realm of the sky is the realm of spirits of universal energies where we connect to the teachings of spirit and refers to one of the three realms of the spirit world.
below refers to the spiritual under world, the world where our lessons are created for us, it is the path where we find spirit guides and being the process of letting go of our fears and ego and is also referred to the lower world one of the three realms of the spirit world
this refers to the earth plane the spiritual plane of the here and now and is one of the three realms of the spirit realm.
Above, below and centre are the three realms that the teachings very greatly between individuals, not everyone’s experience will be the same and not all teachings will be the same. There are some commonalities when it comes to the basics of the spirit realms but each is different in lessons and spiritual beings.
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~The Wyrding Wytch