How to Understand the Native American Medicine Wheel

Medicine Wheel Gates
This is a short outline of The Medicine Wheel’s demonstration of how everything in creation fits together. The gates represent the cardinal directions of the compass. The animals are representative of the lessons to be learned. I talk much more about all of this in my book, Ancient Spirit Wisdom, An Elder’s Guidebook to Native Spirituality and Beyond. The Medicine Wheel helps us put together concepts, from a higher perspective, that we may not see as related at first.
East– Eagle, Yellow race, Air element, Mind/mental aspects, Spring, Planting seeds (new beginnings)
South-Wolf, Red race, Earth element, physical Body aspect, Summer, Nurturing plants (growth of what has been started)
West-Bear, Black race, Water element, Emotions/feelings aspect, Fall, Harvest
North-Buffalo, White race, Fire element, Spirit aspect, Winter, Share stored harvest with others so all can survive
Don’t hesitate to ask me if you have any questions. This is all part of learning to walk the Red Road of spirituality which brings peace to our hearts and balance to our lives. Thanks and have a great day.

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4 Responses to How to Understand the Native American Medicine Wheel

  1. I would love to know more about the Native American Ways.

  2. Simone Hébert Allard says:

    Hello IllgaAnn,
    I will be having a field guide to butterflies published very soon and would like to know the meaning of the butterfly in the Medicine Wheel. I have found mentions of it on many websites but no clear explanations. Could you direct me to a website or a book that explains its importance?

    Thank you!


  3. IlgaAnn Bunjer says:

    Greetings and thanks for asking,
    There are several resources for insights on varied animals from the Native American perspective. You may want to consider Ted Andres who has been writing about them for some time. Another resource is Jamie Sams and David Carson’s Medicine Cards. They do not actually note the Medicine Wheel connection but have good information.
    My book, Ancient Spirit Wisdom notes the meaning of the butterfly as follows: The key words for butterfly are, “Ascension, Transformation, Transcendence. The butterfly goes though very visible stages of growth.It has the ability to shift from its physically denser caterpillar stage to going within the cocoon and ultimately transforming to light of spirit” The butterfly carries female energy and is used by some Native American tribes to be designated as one of the cardinal direction animals on the Medicne Wheel. The designataions vary considerably from one tribe or culture to anotherand all are “right” for them. Have a great day. IlgaAnn

  4. IlgaAnn Bunjer says:

    I apologize for the delay in responding. There is much information and misinformation available on Native American spirituality and practices. In addition to my book, Ancient Spirit Wisdom, an Elders Guidebook to Native Spirituality and Beyond! from Balboa Press. You may also want to read Honoring the Medicine, The Essential Guide to Native American Healing by Kenneth Cohen, Ballentine Books. Black Elk Speaks by John Neidhardt, or writings by Jamie Sams and Thomas Mails will give you more insights. I ho pe this helps. IlgaAnn

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