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Working with Medicine Wheels: North (Part 3 of 4), by Jude Catallo & Scott Emerson

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Know this. When the ego weeps for what it has lost, the soul rejoices in freedom for what it has found.

The use of the Medicine Wheel and its four compass points in the spiritual and healing practice of the indigenous peoples of the western hemisphere of Earth stretches back a least 5,000 years, likely much longer. Each direction is associated with one of the four energetic bodies that make up the human energy field: the particle or physical world (the body), the realm of emotions and thoughts (the mind), the realm of myth (the soul), and the world of Spirit (energy). For many thousands of years, the shamans of the Americas have used each direction of the Medicine Wheel as an interdependent doorway to unique perceptual levels, or “ways of being,” in order to recover an individual’s true essence, personal power, energy, and inner wisdom for healing. Each direction of your Medicine Wheel mandala offers a unique perspective on any aspect of your life that you feel you are ready to change in order to affect personal healing—South, things with which you strongly identify, West, things from which you are mentally differentiating yourself, North, things you newly integrate into your life, and East, transcendence and full incorporation into your luminous energy field.

Movement around the directions and perspectives of your Medicine Wheels over time also possesses great power for spiritual growth. Eventually, as you spiral around and around the four directions in a series of private ceremonies, you will discover your true authentic self within the eye or center of the Medicine Wheel. Here the gifts, teachings, and power of the four archetypes converge in harmony and balance with a fifth unifying, fundamental property of the universe. This is an expansive, infinite, frequency resonance that is alive and felt through the heart, a consciousness, somewhat like unconditional love, that links everything everywhere and simultaneously stokes your own life force.

To have the most power, Medicine Wheels should be done by you privately,

electronic gadget-free,in a special natural setting, and accepting the Earth’s wild card role in the process. It is most important that your ceremony be within a sacred space.

You can create sacred space as a healing bubble around your chosen Medicine Wheel site by “calling” to the four direction master archetypes (S-Serpent, W–Jaguar, N–Hummingbird, E–Eagle, as well as down-Mother Earth, and up-Father Sky). With humility and gratitude, ask for their power and assistance in your personal healing work. Use a compass if you’re not certain of directions. The creative and intimate process of constructing your Medicine Wheel in a natural setting, using natural items that come to you at your chosen site, quiets the mind and creates a highly meditative state. In sacred space there is no time, and you can trust your instincts and synchronicity.

The realm of the soul is associated with the North direction.

Among many indigenous people of the Americas, Hummingbird is recognized as the archetype of the North. In North America, the Lakota Sioux word for the North is Waziyata, and is associated with night, winter, and old age. White is the Lakota color for the North. The language of the North is art and myth.

When we connect with the energy of Hummingbird, we experience the pure sweet essence of our soul, the place where the divine resides within us and where we also gain the awareness that we are eternal beings. The perceptual state here is that things are what they truly are. Hummingbirds possess a beautiful resilience and great endurance for long migrations between North and South America each year, yet can hover and change directions quickly. This archetype feeds on the flowers and the sweetness of life, and ignores that which is not supportive of life. Hummingbird represents the courage, determination and guidance required to embark, endure, and succeed in the voyage of our divine essence through sacred space and time. This archetype teaches us how to be in right relationship with the sweetness of ourselves, the natural world, evolution, and community as we co-create with the Great Spirit on this grand journey.

The four teachings of the North provide a portal to the way of the seer “who enters the stillness of the soul and dreams the world into being.”

They are: Beginner’s Mind, Living Consequently, Transparency, and Integrity. Become more childlike. Refuse to allow the baggage of your stories and preconceived notions to weigh you down and cloud your assessment of fresh ideas and opportunities that present themselves to you. Recognize the impact of each thought, intention, and action, and be sure they are in a supportive and healing relationship with all of life. Refuse to hide parts of yourself from others. Be who you are and say who you are. Be true to your word, and recognize its power to create reality.

For so many of us, the momentum of our life is on cruise control, leading us to a fate as opposed to our higher purpose, or our destiny. In order to change this momentum, we must get rid of some of the mass of our life (physical stuff, roles) that no longer serve us, as well as decouple ourselves from the time sickness of our culture. The tools we have to make big positive changes in our lives, to slow or halt our momentum toward fate, are de-cluttering our physical space and letting go of roles that drain our energy, and a regular meditation practice that facilitates an escape from the time sickness.

Healing work with the Medicine Wheel honoring the North and the Hummingbird archetype begins with the creation of a mandala in the sand, snow, grass, or forest floor. Find a stone to become your essence stone. Hold this stone with eyes closed and begin the 4/7/8 breath—4-count inhale, 7-count hold, 8-count exhale. Do this for at least 7 cycles as you let go of your mind and thoughts. Now continue the breathing pattern with the silent mantra on the inhale “I Am.” Hold at the top of the inhale and let yourself slip between the moments into timelessness. What do you see or feel here? Then exhale with the silent mantra “Only the Breath.” Repeat this until you begin to see and feel your authentic self and perhaps even a different higher destiny for this self, or your soul. Now blow any of these images or feelings into your essence stone and place it into the North quadrant of your Medicine Wheel. If you saw or felt nothing, blow that into your stone and place it.

Reflect on your last Medicine Wheel honoring the West.

How successful have you been at letting go of either the mental or emotional attachment of roles that remained in the West quadrant of your mandala? Are you ready to work on the distortion they may be causing to your authentic self? If so, find a stick representing the role, powerfully blow your new intention into it, and place it into the North quadrant. How ’bout those roles you placed into the North quadrant that you determined were distorting and masking your soul’s true essence that you threw into the fire last time? Are you ready to permanently free your soul from this distortion, remove this energetic imprint from your luminous energy field, and change your fate? If so, find a stick representing this role and powerfully blow your new intention into it. Place it into the East quadrant of your mandala. If no movement is possible, leave the role sticks where they were last time.

What about the teachings from the South or the West that you may be working on at the level of mental acceptance? Are you ready to begin experimenting with these in your daily life? If so, move these objects you have retained from last time into the North quadrant. Are you ready for any teachings you moved into the North last time to transcend from the level of just feeling and experiencing the way they are working into a new you that actually becomes these teachings? If so, move these teaching objects into the East part of your Medicine Wheel. Lastly, are there any of the teachings of the North that you are ready to work on and accept at the mental level? If so, find a new object representing each new teaching and place it into the West quadrant. If not, leave these for future work. Go, and return the next day.

Pick up and hold your essence stone and repeat the breath work exercise. Again, blow any images or feelings into the stone. Place it into the center of your Medicine Wheel. Gaze at your Medicine Wheel and appreciate its timeless pattern of sticks and objects without thinking about them. Appreciate how it is a reflection of your current self and how it may feel different from your authentic self. With gratitude, turn your gaze out and appreciate the natural setting you are “finding yourself” within. Savor in timelessness the experience of moving from thinking into feeling into being. Leave, and return the next day.

Destroy your Medicine Wheel and close sacred space. Take your essence stone as a sacred object to retain as a gateway to your authentic self. Collect your role sticks for the fire ceremony, and teaching objects as previously described, for your next Medicine Wheel ceremony honoring the East direction.

Jude Catallo and Scott Emerson, MD of timelesshealing.org are both graduates of The Four Winds Society: Shamanic Energy Medicine Intensive Apprenticeship 2017 – ongoing;   members of the Oklaweva Native American Church 2016 – ongoing; & Andean Cosmic Vision Apprenticeship, Don Theo Paredes 2003 – ongoing.

Reprinted with permission from the Winter 2019-2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. All rights reserved.

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Working with Medicine Wheels: West (Part 2 of 4), by Jude Catallo & Scott Emerson

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Know this. Wherever you place your personal intention, into fear and contraction, or into expansion and light, you will give it power.

The use of the Medicine Wheel and its four compass points in the spiritual and healing practice of the indigenous peoples of the western hemisphere of Earth stretches back a least 5000 years, likely much longer. This is actually the traditional and original “Western medicine”—a knowledge and practice almost lost to those of us living today. Although some of the details of different tribes’ medicine wheels, such as the animal archetypes for each direction, differ from North to Central to South America, the major concepts appear similar.

Each direction is associated with one of the four energetic bodies that make up the human energy field:

the particle or physical world (the body), the realm of emotions and thoughts (the mind), the realm of myth (the soul), and the world of spirit (energy). In North America, the Lakota Sioux also associate each direction with the time of day, the time of year, and the time of life. For many thousands of years, the shamans of the Americas have used each direction of the Medicine Wheel as an interdependent doorway to unique perceptual levels, or “ways of being,” in order to recover an individual’s true essence, personal power, energy, and inner wisdom for healing. The Laika people, isolated in the Peruvian Andes Mountains, seem to have a well-preserved and undistorted record of the use and meaning of their Medicine Wheel. Thus, their version is used in our personal energy medicine and integrative medicine practice.

The realm of emotions and thoughts (the mind) is associated with the WEST direction. Within the Americas, West is predominantly represented by the JAGUAR archetype. In North America, the Lakota Sioux word for the west direction is Wiyopeyata, and is associated with evening, autumn, and adulthood. Red is the Lakota color for the South, and black is the color of the West.

The word “jaguar” comes from the Native American word “yaguar” which means “he who kills with one leap.” For the indigenous peoples of the southwestern United States, Mexico, and South America, Jaguar represents the healing power of fearlessness. The perceptual state here is that nothing is exactly as it appears to be. This archetype journeys and can track through the darkest domains beyond death and back, revealing that death is part of life, not to be feared, and not the end of our being. Jaguar medicine can also provide sudden leaps of clarity, especially when dealing with complex situations and confusing landscapes in our lives. Jaguar’s presence gives us the confidence to step out and boldly explore, with the certainty that life provides us with everything we need.

The Four Teachings of the West provide a portal to the way of the luminous warrior “who has no enemies in this world or the next.”

They are: Fearlessness, Non-Doing, Certainty, and Non-Engagement. Because anger and violence are rooted in fear, letting go of fear allows us to approach people and situations as a luminous warrior, projecting our light instead of our shadow. Discover the power of just observing the way the universe and events are flowing. Don’t jump to fix everything, but in communion with Spirit, allow time and the world to create some of its own resolution. Be efficient with your energy. If you do decide to act, use your luminous sword with ethical and impeccable action. Allow yourself no other option but success. Don’t allow yourself to get dragged down into the drama of rescuer, perpetrator, or victim roles.

Each direction also offers a unique perspective on any aspect of your life that you feel you are ready to change in order to affect personal healing—the South, things with which you strongly identify, the West—things from which you are mentally differentiating yourself, the North—things you are newly integrating into your life, and East—transcendence and full integration into your luminous energy body. Movement around the directions and perspectives of your Medicine Wheels over time possesses great power for spiritual growth. To have the most power, they should be done by you privately, electronic gadget-free, in a special natural setting, and accepting the Earth’s wildcard role in the process. The days of a new or a full moon, or solstices and equinoxes are preferred. It is most important that your ceremony be held within a sacred space.

You can create sacred space as a healing bubble around your chosen Medicine Wheel site by “calling” to the four direction master archetypes (S-Serpent, W–Jaguar, N–Hummingbird, E–Eagle, as well as down—Mother Earth, and up—Father Sky). With humility and gratitude, ask for their power and assistance in your personal healing work. We have found soft rattling or drumming and offering tobacco gifts to the “spirits of the site” greatly facilitate this “calling.” Use a compass if you’re not certain of the directions. The creative and intimate process of constructing your Medicine Wheel in a natural setting, using natural items that come to you at your chosen site, quiets the mind and creates a highly meditative state. In sacred space there is no time, and you can trust your instincts and synchronicity.

Healing work with the Medicine Wheel honoring the West and the Jaguar archetype begins with the creation of a mandala

in the sand, snow, or grass, preferably with a westward vista. Reflect on your last Medicine Wheel honoring the South. How successful have you been with letting go of the conscious attachment to your roles you threw into the fire last time? Are you ready to let go of these further and relinquish not just the mental and emotional attachment, but also the feelings they may exert at a deeper level, masking the true essence of your soul? If so, find a stick for each of these roles, and place these into the North quadrant of the Medicine Wheel. If not, leave them in the West quadrant for a further time and a future fire ceremony.

What about the teachings of the South you may have placed in the West? Are you ready to move any of these from the level of mere mental acknowledgment to actually incorporating them into the way you act within life’s laboratory, and place them into the North quadrant of your Medicine Wheel? If not, leave the two objects from your last Medicine Wheel in the West quadrant for further work.

Lastly, are you ready to mentally and emotionally acknowledge any of the teachings of the West?

If so, find one or more objects to place in the West of your mandala. If not, leave that for a future Medicine Wheel. Leave and return the following day. Powerfully blow the distortion your roles may be causing to your soul’s true essence into the chosen role sticks in the West, but retain the lessons the role has taught you. Put them into the North space of the mandala. Place any of the new “West teachings” objects into the West space as you also move these “teachings” firmly into your awareness. Move any of the South teachings from last time into the North if you are ready to fully incorporate them into your new life. Savor, in timelessness, how this all feels.

If you can’t honestly do this, and no further movement seems possible at this time, just leave things as they were with the last Medicine Wheel ceremony, and continue to work on those roles and teachings. Keep it comfortable and simple. Leave and return the next day. Feel if any further movement is possible (roles, teachings). Collect your role sticks and “teachings” objects. Destroy your Medicine Wheel. Leave no trace! Close sacred space by thanking and releasing the four archetypes as well as Mother Earth and Father Sky. Within the next two weeks, build a fire safely somewhere, open sacred space, and in a fire ceremony, throw your role sticks and their perspectives into the fire as you stomp your foot, intending for a mental or a soul’s attachment to them to be destroyed. Retain the objects representing “teachings” as daily reminders, and to be used in the next Medicine Wheel. Now take the time to see how these mental, emotional, and soul-liberating changes begin to work in your life until your next Medicine Wheel ceremony, honoring the North direction.

*Sources for information referenced here are available from the authors upon request.

Jude Catallo and Scott Emerson, MD of timelesshealing.org are both graduates of The Four Winds Society: Shamanic Energy Medicine Intensive Apprenticeship 2017 – ongoing;   members of the Oklaweva Native American Church 2016 – ongoing; & Andean Cosmic Vision Apprenticeship, Don Theo Paredes 2003 – ongoing.

 

Reprinted with permission from the Fall 2019 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, copyright 2019. All rights reserved.

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