April 9, 2001

Medicine Wheel

Wheel Cross Picture

As our ancestors walked a life of relative peace upon the land, they went with a sense of connection and continuity that is lacking in modern life, today most people fail to get the opportunity to even feel the wind on their face or bare their chest to the rays of the sun. It is small wonder then that many people are distressed and feel a sense of lacking. Communion with the elements, that was once a daily affair and taken for granted, is now looked upon with awe and a sense of longing.

The ancients sought, as many have through the ages, to order their lives, cut through the confusion and create a more productive understanding. So was born a system connected to the rhythms of life, the universe and natural order.

Wheel Cross Picture

The universal constancy is created from two halves of the one whole, Masculine and Feminine, passive and active, so it should be of no surprise that these were seen in the world around us and is depicted in the two central lines, the horizontal being the line of the horizon or the land around us-the feminine essence. The vertical line being the line the sun travels across the sky from east to west, this being the masculine essence. The two intersect each other equally and serve the whole in compliment.

Theses two elements serve as the beginning of our perception and all that lies in our own definition. This is the shape of our own thoughts and our world which, in turn, is held within the void or that without form (or definition) and holding unlimited potential. This is the basic formula for this system and the workings of the universe. Masculine and feminine – form and spirit – passive and active – yin and yan, (though one will always contain the seed of the other and transform to the opposite). This is a simple way, without complications, allowing for all the potency and power that life holds, our secrets of existence. What does this symbol mean or invoke within you when seen.

Five Cross Picture

This would be as good a place as any to leave off, but I will elaborate a little further though from here on all things said are subject to interpretation. Many different cultureshave adapted it for their own way. Different colours to each quarter, different elements and so forth. For myself I only use the four elements of Earth, Wind, Fire and Water. As far as colours are concerned I feel that the following are most comfortable – though anything may be used and certainly should be if felt inappropriate. In the East with the rising sun I place yellow and to the West with the setting sun, red. South in the height of the sun is white and the North is black with the dark of night. This latter one has the added advantage of representing masculine and feminine like the yin & yan.

Going Further Within

Looking deeper within the whole symbol we can search for more understanding by further dissecting it into smaller parts and putting them back together again.

EW Picture

Firstly we shall start on the vertical or heavenly line, the line of divine essence. This starts at the top and descends to the bottom, again splitting the one whole into two separate polarities. At the East or top of the line we have the sunrise where the energy of the suns rays enters in. This energy being more of a motive energy and being given to masculinity. The west is where the Earth, the holder of that energy receives the sun. This retentiveness giving itself to femininity.

NS Picture

Along the horizontal plane or the Earthly line we have the divine form. This line has two ends being left and right. The south or right hand side is commonly give to masculinity, it is the power or action of the sun in its height, while to the north or left hand side which is usually given to femininity has the nurturing aspect of the night, akin to being in the womb.

As We look at the interaction of a line and how it plays upon itself we see the motiveness of the east being received by the west where it is held and nurtured so that it will go full circle again and be given out anew, reborn to rise again.

Similarly the masculine energy of the south is fostered and given sustenance by the north which is then protected and sheltered by the south, each giving strength to the other by the compliment of their ways.

Through these interactions both take on something of each other’s energy and revolve around each other, changing their action from passive to active with each other. In effect transmuting and changing one to the other. In this way we can see the journey completing a full circle, its destination being back at its own beginning.

Let us recap on the journey as a whole. We started with our wholeness of the cross within the circle and sought to understand more, so we went within to see what it was made of and came out with two parts the circle and the cross, form and spirit – each containing something of the others way. Again we travelled deeper and divide the cross into two seperate lines and found again two basic elements – masculine and feminine, passive and active. Dividing these lines we have both the masculine and feminine properties contained within the whole. All the while as we apparently journey in a straight line we find our destination brings us once more to our starting point, thus the likeness that all journeys will travel in a full circle, though it may be more correct to say that we stay still as the scenery of the journey passes us by. So again it is easy to draw to the same conclusion of the active and passive actions transmuting into and through each other.

Truly a great mystery and a great awakening.
© Stuart Waldron, 2001