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.
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
The color for North is Blue which represents sadness, defeat.
It is a season of survival and waiting.
Cherokee word for North means "cold" u-yv-tlv.
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
The color for South is White for peace, happiness & serenity.
Summer is a time of plenty.
Cherokee word for South means "warm" u-ga-no-wa.
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 was symbolic of success. It was 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 were 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 was wrought.
BLACK was always typical of death. The soul of the enemy was continually beaten about by black war clubs and enveloped
in a black fog. In conjuring to destroy an enemy, the priest used black beads and invoked the black spirits-which always lived
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 symbolized failure, disappointment, or unsatisfied desire. To say "they shall never become blue" expressed the
belief that they would never fail in anything they undertook. In love charms, the lover figuratively covered himself with
red and prayed that his rival would 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 lived in the North.
WHITE denoted peace and happiness. In ceremonial addresses, as the Green Corn Dance and ball play, the people symbolically
partook of white food and, after the dance or game, returned along the white trail to their white houses. In love charms,
the man, to induce the woman to cast her lost with his, boasted, "I am a white man," implying that all was happiness where
he was. White beads had the same meaning in bead conjuring, and white was the color of the stone pipe anciently used in ratifying
peace treaties. The White spirits lived in the South.
Two numbers are sacred to the Cherokee. Four is one number, it represented the four primary directions. At the center
of their paths lays the sacred fire. Seven is the other and most sacred number. Seven is represented in the seven directions:
north, south, east, west, above, bellow, and "here in the center" the place of the sacred fire. Seven also represented the
seven ancient ceremonies that formed the yearly Cherokee religious cycle.
Cherokees of California, Inc.
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, on the
great wheel of life many times, and that every direction is to be honored. Until you have walked in others' moccasins, or
stood on 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 those 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.
Medicine Cards, by Jamie Sams & David Carson
End of the Trail
An end to the old ways of life,
Freedom to hunt and fish,
Nomad, migrating with the season.
Four directions on Mother Earth,
Four seasons of the year,
Four age groups.
Ernest Hunt - Navaho
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
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.
Medicine Cards, by Jamie Sams & David Carson
Sun who looks to four winds on
Mother Earth: North, South, East,West.
Enriching one's health,
Healing the sick.
Buffalo horns for strength, protection
Eagle feathers for wisdom, honesty, happiness.
Ernest Hunt - Navaho
Medicine Wheel - Circle of Life
The medicine wheel is sacred, the native people believe, because the Great Spirit caused everything in nature to be
round. The Sun, Sky, Earth and Moon are 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 therefore, 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.