One of my readers asked me for information on Native American Medicine Wheels. Specifically, she wanted to know how the phases of human life were represented within the wheel – to which I respond:
Dear Native Nurturer:
As you know, there are numerous Native American tribes. Each tribe (if each indeed has a specific symbol for the life phases) will each have a different symbol. Although some tribe symbols are similar, no symbols are universal amongst all tribes.
The best I can provide you with is the assignment of characteristics of human growth designated by the Navajo medicine wheel (shown above). These assignments are according the the directions of the wind, the creatures of the Mother, and the colors of the spirit realm. Attributes of this powerful Native American Symbol are as such:
- Child: South/Mouse/Red
- Death: West/Bear/Black
- Adult: North/Buffalo/White
- Birth: East/Eagle/Yellow
The symbolism of each quadrant within the wheel is mammoth, and require much devotion for fullness of understanding.
As you contemplate the wheel, and the developmental stages through the Native’s eyes, consider the following philosophical phrases in conjunction with the above listed wheel designations:
- “With the sway of south winds we flow from the blood of the Mother, small as mice and innocent yet with powerful potential in our tiny eyes.”
- “Our newborn dew passes off from us like the sun setting west. We explore our domains and form conclusions about the way of things. In play we mount courage and find our way as the bear. “
- “As high pines kiss north skies, we stand tall in our growth. We provide, we expand, we rule thunderously as the buffalo.”
- “The sun rises upon our lives and judges it fit for sacrifice. With supple eagle wings we now slip off the flesh and climb light’s highest rung.”
I hope this information proves useful on your journey to deeper understanding of Native American symbolism/philosophy.
Regards & blessings to you,