The Native American Medicine Wheel is a Mandala that represents an individual’s passage through various stages of experience.
A Mandala takes images that have different meanings and puts them together to create a message, story or prayer.
This message can represent an entire lifetime or an isolated lesson in life.
There are many renditions of this theme. This is my interpretation of it.
The journey begins in the South, the Coyote, where the Soul begins. This is the “Child- like” part of the experience. You could describe it with words like, carefree, innocent, daring, inexperienced and even selfish. It is the beginning of growth.
As the Soul develops, it makes it’s way up the red road North, to the place of Wisdom. That is represented by the Buffalo.
By the time the Soul reaches this place, it has gained experience, knowledge and hopefully, wisdom.
At this point the body dies only to have the spirit grow more. The Soul or Spirit, as depicted by the footprints, then walks over to the East.
The East part of the wheel is symbolized with an Eagle carrying the golden door to the blue road of Spirit.
The Eagle represents the highest flying bird that can see life from a much broader perspective.
Here, the Soul becomes enlightened by all that it is allowed to view of it’s past earthly life. Things become much clearer.
Once this vision occurs the Soul then travels West to the cave of Bear.
What does a Bear do?
A bear hibernates.
This is symbolic of the time needed by the Soul to be still and go within in order to absorb all that it has learned from it’s past life lessons.
Once the Soul is ready, it starts the whole process over again.
One does not have to believe in reincarnation to see the symbolism of this Mandala. The Soul can experience this evolution all during it's lifetime. From childhood to old age we experience all these lessons of growth, wisdom, enlightenment and introspection.
Here's an example of what a medicine wheel print looks like colored.
This is a project in process. I often times color them before matting to sell.
Examples of colored and matted Medicine Wheel prints.