The Medicine Wheel

  

 

 

In the Hopi Medicine Wheel of the Hopi prophecy of the four peoples of the Earth, the cardinal direction North represents the body, plants and animals, the color white and ‘white skinned peoples’, and Childhood. (can also represent birth, and/or meeting a stranger and learning to trust as in infancy, explained in Erik Erikson’s stages of Psychosocial development).

The East is held to represent the mind, air, the color yellow and ‘yellow skinned peoples’, learning the groups to which people belong and Adolescence.

The South holds the heart, fire, the color red and ‘red skinned peoples’, and Adulthood.

Finally West holds the spirit, water, the color blue or black, and ‘black-skinned peoples’ and Elderhood. West also represents the final life stage in the wheel, being an elder and passing on knowledge to the next generation so that the wheel may start again just like the circle it takes after.

In many other tribes, however, the Northern direction corresponds to Adulthood (the White Buffalo), the South represents Childhood (the Serpent), the West represents Adolescence (the Bear) and the Eastern direction represents Death and Re-birth (Eagle). In terms of social dynamics, community building and the use of Circles in Restorative Justice work, the four quadrants of the circle correspond to Introductions.

 

 

 

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