The Sacred Hoop
The medicine wheel, or the sacred hoop, is an ancient symbol that originated in the traditions of Native American culture. While there is no one traditional medicine wheel, to all those who honor its power and medicine, it represents the circle of life and the interconnectedness of all things.
For the individual, the medicine wheel is a path of learning and self-discovery. To experience the teachings of the medicine wheel is to connect deeply with the journey of your own life. This journey will deepen your understanding of your relationship with all things.
The medicine wheel represents the cycle of an individual’s life from birth to death and one’s healing and spiritual journey. It symbolizes the four cardinal directions, the journey of the sun in the course of a day and the change in the seasons. The circle teaches us about inclusion, oneness, and the interconnectedness of all things. The colors in each of the directions represent the four races of mankind. Within the circle we find balance between the mental and emotional and the physical and mental aspects of human consciousness. Each direction has its own teachings, power, and medicine represented through the plant, animal and mineral kingdoms.
The center of the medicine wheel signifies creator, the sacred center, and the individual soul.
Each tribe, family, and person will find their own way. The symbols in each direction will have personal meaning for the individual.
Associated with the medicine wheel and the four directions are the upper and lower realms. Mother Earth is the keeper of the natural resources we need for our survival. Father Sky is keeper of the celestial realm, providing the warmth of the sun by day and the moon and stars by night.
The symbol of medicine wheel with the four directions, plus the upper and lower worlds and the sacred center explain why numbers four and seven are sacred to the people of the First Nations.