tsa-la-tsi-s-gi gv-do-di ka-ne

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Medicine Wheel

The Medicine Wheel is representative of American Indian Spirituality. The Medicine Wheel symbolizes the individual journey we each must take to find our own path. Within the Medicine Wheel are The Four Cardinal Directions and the Four Sacred Colors. The Circle represents the Circle of Life and the Center of the Circle, the Eternal Fire. The Eagle, flying toward the East, is a symbol of strength, endurance and vision. East signifies the renewal of life and the rebirth of Cherokee unity.

The medicine wheel is a symbol for the wheel of life which is forever evolving and bringing new lessons and truths to the walking of the path. The Earthwalk is based on the understanding that each one of us must stand on every spoke of the great wheel of life many times, and that every direction is to be honored. Until you have walked in others' moccasins, or stood upon their spokes of the wheel, you will never truly know their hearts.

The medicine wheel teaches us that all lessons are equal, as are all talents and abilities. Every living creature will one day see and experience each spoke of the wheel, and know these truths. It is a pathway to truth, peace and harmony. The circle is never ending, life without end.

In experiencing the Good Red Road, one learns the lessons of physical life, or of being human. This road runs South to North in the circle of the medicine wheel. After the graduation experience of death, one enters the Blue or Black Road, that is the world of the grandfathers and grandmothers. In spirit, one will continue to learn by counseling those remaining on the Good Red Road. The Blue Road of the spirit runs East to West. The medicine wheel is life, afterlife, rebirth and the honoring of each step along the way

East = Red = success; triumph
North = Blue = defeat; trouble
West = Black = death
South = White = peace; happiness

There are three additional sacred directions:
Up Above = Yellow
Down Below = Brown
Here in the Center = Green

Winter = go-la
The color for North is Blue which represents sadness, defeat.
It is a season of survival and waiting.
The Cherokee word for North means "cold" u-yv-tlv.

Spring = gi-la-go-ge
The color for East is Red which represents victory, power.
Spring is the re-awakening after a long sleep,
victory over winter; the power of new life.
The Cherokee word for East is ka-lv-gv

Summer = go-ga
The color for South is White for peace, happiness & serenity.
Summer is a time of plenty.
The Cherokee word for South means "warm" u-ga-no-wa.

Autumn = u-la-go-hv-s-di
The color for West is Black which represents death.
Autumn is the final harvest; the end of Life's Cycle.
The Cherokee word for West is wu-de-li-gv.

RED is symbolic of success. It is the color of the war club used to strike an enemy in battle as well as the other club used by the warrior to shield himself. Red beads are used to conjure the red spirit to insure long life, recovery from sickness, success in love and ball play or any other undertaking where the benefit of the magic spell is wrought.

BLACK is always typical of death. The soul of the enemy is continually beaten about by black war clubs and enveloped in a black fog. In conjuring to destroy an enemy, the priest uses black beads and invokes the black spirits-which always live in the West, bidding them to tear out the man's soul and carry it to the West, and put it into the black coffin deep in the black mud, with a black serpent coiled above it.

BLUE symbolizes failure, disappointment, or unsatisfied desire. To say "they shall never become blue" expresses the belief that they will never fail in anything they undertake. In love charms, the lover figuratively covers himself with red and prays that his rival will become entirely blue and walk in a blue path. "He is entirely blue, " approximates meaning of the common English phrase, "He feels blue. "The blue spirits live in the North.

WHITE denotes peace and happiness. In ceremonial addresses, as the Green Corn Dance and ball play, the people symbolically partake of white food and, after the dance or game, return along the white trail to their white houses. In love charms, the man, to induce the woman to cast her love with his, boasted, "I am a white man," implying that all was happiness where he was. White beads have the same meaning in bead conjuring, and white is the color of the stone pipe used in antiquity in ratifying peace treaties. The White spirits live in the South.

Two numbers are sacred to the Cherokee. Four is one of those numbers, it represented the four primary directions. At the center of their paths lies the sacred fire. Seven is the other and most sacred of numbers. Seven is represented in the seven directions: north, south, east, west, above, below, and "here in the center" the place of the sacred fire. Seven also represented the seven ancient ceremonies that forms the yearly Cherokee religious cycle.

 

Medicine Wheel - Circle of Life

The native people believe the medicine wheel is sacred because the Great Spirit caused everything in nature to be round. The Sun, Sky, Earth and Moon are all round, thus, man should look upon the Medicine Wheel (circle of life) as sacred. It is the symbol of the circle that marks the edge of the world and so, the Four Winds that travel there. It is also the symbol of the year. The Sky, the Night, and the Moon go in a circle above the Sky, therefore, the Circle is a symbol of these divisions of time. It is the symbol of all times throughout creation.

 

Medicine Shield

The medicine shield is an expression of the unique gifts that it's maker wishes to impart about his or her current life journey. This can be a new level of personal growth, or illustrate the next mountain a person wishes to climb.

Every shield carries medicine through it's art and self-expression. Each shield is the essence of a time and space that carries certain aspects of knowledge. All persons carry shields of the lessons they learned from the four directions on the medicine wheel.

They are the healing tools we give ourselves to sooth the spirit and empower the will. The truth needs no explanation,, just reflection. This allows intuition to guide the heart so that humankind may celebrate more than it mourns.

 

 

 

 

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VIRGIL G. RICHARDS

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