Are you feeling a bit edgy lately?
I know I am. And whenever I’m feeling unsettled and looking for some insight, or needing to take a break from my usual day-to-day activities, or simply wanting to engage in my spiritual practices, I always turn to the medicine wheel.
At first glance, the medicine wheel is a very simple structure: a circle with a marker in each of the four directions: east, south, west, and north. It can take many forms, but whether you are looking at an image or actually standing in it, the medicine wheel is a shamanic tool with vast applications. Each direction holds its own unique characteristics. When I go beyond the surface appearance of the medicine wheel and contemplate its meanings and metaphors, the directions act as guideposts for my life. I find that deep support and wisdom emerges.
For example, the east represents the sunrise, the beginning of each new day. The sun is a huge ball of fire, the element of transformation and a powerful force that turns nighttime into day. When I witness a sunrise, I am filled with awesome wonder and gratitude for the beauty that nature displays.
Going a bit deeper, the sunrise represents all the ways in which new beginnings appear: birth, the first day of school, a new relationship, a new home, and so on. During these times, there is often a mixture of excitement and anxiety, maybe even a bit of fear of the unknown.
Still deeper, when we contemplate the east and new beginnings, we realize these are times when things are just emerging. It’s like a void: nothing has taken form yet. The possibilities for what can happen are endless.
There is also a season associated with each direction of the medicine wheel. Right now we are transitioning from the north (winter) into the east (spring). Change is in the air. Things as we have known them for the past few months are shifting. If you live in the upper Midwest, you may be saying “enough already!” to the cold and ice of winter. Even if you live in a more temperate climate, you may be experiencing some vague unsettledness without really knowing why.
Whenever nature is in a time of transition, we can feel edgy and impatient. If you, like me, are experiencing this same impatience, it may help to acknowledge these feelings rather than letting them get the best of you. Think of this time of transition with anticipation rather than anxiety. Allow yourself to open up to all the possibilities, like a bud just waiting for the perfect moment to burst forth, and be filled with inspiration and hope.
To learn more about the medicine wheel, join me on March 20th when I will be celebrating the Spring Equinox and leading the first in a series of quarterly workshops for 2019. This is an opportunity to discover ways to incorporate shamanism into your life, enjoy some drumming, and experience an individual shamanic healing session.