The Medicine Wheel
By: Barry Goddard - Moon Books, $25.95
Description: Fire, Earth, Air and Water: the Medicine Wheel shows us what we are made of and how to transform ourselves.
Verdict: The Medicine Wheel shows us how to both live and transform ourselves while remaining in balance with the natural world. Indigenous peoples in the Americas, with whom these Wheels originate, have a profound understanding of what it means to be human that has been largely lost in the modern world.
This book is not just another ‘self-help’ guide, but rather an exploration of an ancient map that shows how human beings and the world work. A Wheel is very simple and experiential – dividing the world into the four basic elements of Fire, Water, Earth and Air – and on that basis it creates a deep and transformative psychology, a subtle and practical philosophy and a ceremonial form through which the community can celebrate the sacredness of life.
Not something I myself was aware of, in truth, The Medicine Wheel, sometimes known as the Sacred Hoop, has been used by generations of various Native American tribes for health and healing. As noted, it embodies the Four Directions, as well as Father Sky, Mother Earth, and Spirit Tree — all of which symbolize dimensions of health and the cycles of life.
Indeed, The Medicine Wheel can take many different forms. It can be an artwork such as artifact or painting, or it can be a physical construction on the land. Hundreds or even thousands of Medicine Wheels have been built on Native lands in North America over the last several centuries.
Movement in the Medicine Wheel and in Native American ceremonies is circular, and typically in a clockwise, or “sun-wise” direction. This helps to align with the forces of Nature, such as gravity and the rising and setting of the Sun.
Thus within this truly fascinating, majorly eye-opening new book from author Barry Goddard, The Medicine Wheel: Maps of Transformation, Wholeness and Balance (a telling that encapsulates both Paganism and Shamanism), we quickly learn that different tribes interpret the Medicine Wheel differently.
Each of the Four Directions (East, South, West, and North) is typically represented by a distinctive color, such as black, red, yellow, and white, which for some stands for the human races. The Directions can also represent:
Stages of life: birth, youth, adult (or elder), death
Seasons of the year: spring, summer, winter, fall
Aspects of life: spiritual, emotional, intellectual, physical
Elements of nature: fire (or sun), air, water, and earth
Animals: Eagle, Bear, Wolf, Buffalo and many others
Ceremonial plants: tobacco, sweet grass, sage, cedar
So for those of you that have been following along with Goddard’s online blogs for the past good few years, well, none of this will come as a surprise to you, but for the interloper, those that peak over the hedge and wonder what is going on, this book is pure dynamite on the subject; of that you have my word.
For, as I am reliably informed by a dear friend of mine in the UK, Goddard’s works have always been found to be inspiring for their left of center perspective, one that makes you think more than you expected, shall we say. And this book, much like Goddard’s own knowledgeable and highly relevant ideas, do not disappoint in that way either.
About the Author - Barry Goddard is well known for his social media writings on shamanism and astrology, to both of which he brings a fresh and sometimes controversial perspective. He does astrology readings, teaches shamanism and lives and walks on Dartmoor in Devon, UK.
Official Book Purchase Link