Manataka American Indian Council
Using the Medicine Wheel
to Bring Balance to the Earth
B Y J I M P A T H F I N D E R E W I N G
IS OUR PURPOSE, each of us, to bring balance to the Earthly Mother. In doing this, we bring balance to ourselves.
Within each of us, male and female, are male and female elements. For the past few thousand years, since the rise of settled civilizations in the West, the energy of the Earth has been tilted toward the masculine, a patriarchal power. This is not bad. It just is. In the scheme of things, perhaps it was necessary to provide the impetus for the rise of hierarchy, to bring order to the world in human relations.
We would not be a global society today without it. Technology, the result of the literal, rational left-brain thinking of the male power, is not a bad thing. It is a powerful force. But when out of balance with its goal-oriented, task-formed action, it also has negative influences such as cruelty, dominance, war and action without regard for others. And it is not the whole truth. Being literal, straight-line energy, its "truth" can be easily broken. (An example is legalese: How something can be true and false at the same time. How it can indicate one thing while meaning another, allowing "advantage" to one over another.)
The female power is necessary to hold the excesses of the male power in check. Female power is holistic, circular, right-brained. Its "truth" is often not easily described because it is non-rational, more symbol than word, difficult to put into literal words that separate ideas and, thereby, doesn't represent the "whole" truth when put into words. (An example would be: "My heart is warm and the birds sing, the Earth and I are one." It is true and totally true, and cannot be dissected, nor verified in a rational way.)
Prior to the ascension of the male power, for thousands of years, before even recorded time, societies around the Earthly Mother were based on female power, goddess energies. They took many forms, but the female energy of the Earth was bountiful, as the communal societies that resided in that power, receiving pleasure through the gifts of air, water, earth and fire.
It was a time of community when the interests of the whole took precedence. The tribe, the people came first. This is female energy: Inclusion, wholeness, being receptive and fertile to be in synergy with the male power. In balance, to provide abundance. Female power alone cannot sustain, as it needs the male power to come to fruition. But neither can the male power exist alone, for it lacks the ability to sustain. That, then, is the aim, to bring our energies into balance. That is to recognize the nvwati (Cherokee), the good medicine in all things.
Native way the world outside reflects the world inside. They are one. But we don't try to manipulate the world to create inner states. That’s backwards, male thinking: Doing to achieve, rather than achieving to do. We achieve an inner state and it reflects in the world, ever outward into The Sacred Hoop of Life where it’s reflected back to us as part of The Sacred Hoop of Life.
The Great Secret is that we always carry The Sacred Hoop of Life within us all the time. It is up to us to use it, keep it whole.
This is reflected in The Medicine Wheel, which incorporates male (straight line) and female (circular) energies as one.
If you look at the Medicine Wheel, it is first a set of lines. To create one outside yourself, put a rock in the middle, then a rock in a straight line outward in each direction: One to the East, one to the South, one to the West, and one to the North. It describes a straight-line equal cross.
This is the male energy. Each direction has a power, and each direction has a color associated. Different tribes used different colors, reflecting where they were. But we use the colors red, yellow, black and white here to reflect that we are all members of the five-fingered tribe, one people of many hues, one humanity.
The colors and directions are:
East, red – Newness, beginnings, new awareness, dawn
South, yellow – Healing, growing, vigor, youth
West, black – Inner vision, reflection, soul-searching, endings
North, white – Wisdom of ancestors, Higher Power, guidance
Now that you see the powers of the directions, notice that it actually is a circle. You could place stones outward from the center indefinitely, and it would be a stone circle, which is what the lodges of the Hopi and the ancient Celts used as sanctuaries for healing ceremonies and prayer time.
Each of these lesser lines has a power, too. Different tribes have different associations with different medicine wheels that describe a purpose or meditation. But for our purposes, we’ll stick with the simple one. It is one stone in the middle, one at each direction: East, south, west, and north. There actually are six directions, counting above and below (a three-dimensional Medicine Wheel, extending in a perfect circle, however large or small you make it, as an altar on a desk top to a circle on the ground). It has great power.
Whoever we are, wherever we are, we are important instruments of the Creator in doing this duty, giving prayers in The Medicine Wheel.
It is the soul connection that resides within each of us, the "true" path we walk, that knows no time or place. For we carry it from lifetime to lifetime like underwater divers, their air hoses connecting them to above.
Our "diving suits" into this 3-D world, our bodies, are removable, and interchangeable. The real "source" of life and the provider of all we have here in this world is not here in this world. But we are connected to it permanently. We only think we live here in these skins and that our surroundings are "real." They are a dream. Admittedly, sometimes, a bad one. We each add to this dream with our consciousness, moment by moment.
We are each and all "minute." But the "saving grace" is that we each have the power of the Creator within each and every one of us, which is greater than all. That is the power we access in giving our prayers. And that is the power we use to change our Dream of the World to bring balance to it. Balance is at the heart of the Flow of Creation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jim Pathfinder Ewing (Nvnehi Awatisgi), 52, is an enrolled member of the Southern Cherokee Tribe and Associated Bands in Texas, a former Elder of the Manataka American Indian Council (Hot Springs, Ark.), a member of the Bear Society (Russelville, Ark), a Bear Dancer (Yona Galisgisgia) and Water Pourer with training in Shamanism, Reiki and other forms of energy medicine. He lives in Lena, Miss., where he practices, teaches, holds Bear Lodge (Asi/Inipi) and leads a monthly Drum Circle, a prayer ceremony honoring the Native American Medicine Wheel. A Registered Karuna Reiki® Master Teacher, Usui/Tibetan Reiki Master Teacher and sponsor of workshops by The Foundation For Shamanic Studies, he writes a monthly newsletter ("Keeping In Touch …") that has subscribers across the United States and in several foreign countries.
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