The Medicine Wheel
The Medicine Wheel was created by Loki and Smiling Bear over 10 years ago. Bear and Loki had been studying Native American spirituality and ceremony with several teachers in Sedona, Arizona. After working Sweat Lodge with Dawson Hayward, who is now in Spirit, they bought the book Dancing the Wheel by SunBear. They agreed that a Medicine Wheel would manifest the healing energy that everyone always seems to feel when they come on the land.
One hot afternoon, Loki was running the tractor cutting grass, and found she was going in a circle. Bear looked out the bedroom window and called to her to come in because of the heat. He did not know Loki was on a quest. She was circling where the Medicine Wheel was to be activated. For Christmas that year Loki was gifted with a backhoe and an operator by her son-in-law Gregory Edwards. The land was cleared and tidied up. At the center of the Medicine Wheel site was a wild Cedar tree, the only tree in the entire back field. It was a gift from Great Spirit when perk tests had been conducted twenty or so years ago. The tree was moved to make way for the Medicine Wheel. Today it stands at the entrance to the tipi.
In the Spring, work began on the Medicine Wheel itself. The layout was approached quite scientifically by ole Bear. A compass was used to set the four directions, and SunBear’s book was followed exactly in setting the Spirit pathways and inner circle. When the Medicine Wheel was complete, and every stone had been gathered and placed in its new location, we realized that we needed to have ceremony to dedicate the Wheel and set it in motion. We just naturally called our teacher and friend, Dawson Hayward. We offered him round-trip airfare and a week’s free lodging, plus a truck to use while at our home. He eagerly agreed. We knew that Dawson often led ceremony in Sedona. We did not know that he was anxious about coming East to do his work. Dawson arrived terribly sick from food poisoning he got in Atlanta’s airport. We were frantic that our Shaman friend would be sick for ceremony! Dawson would later correct us in calling him a Shaman. He said a Shaman never refers to himself as such, he is just a Pilgrim. Thanks to rest, Reiki, and hot soup, Dawson recovered sufficiently to set the Medicine Wheel in motion and open it for ceremony.
Funny looking back on how things actually played out. In the beginning I thought you judged success by the number of people who showed up. I did not yet know the concept of “the right people will show up.” We had originally invited about 50 people from my old Christmas card lists. When they started to RSVP about being Catholic, Jewish, etc. and that it was against their religious beliefs to do this pagan type work, I knew I was addressing the wrong audience. I had just started doing my own work in spirituality. I am not religious but I am indeed spiritual. So I looked at the box of business cards I had been gathering and started making phone calls. I still knew I wanted a “crowd” to open the Medicine Wheel. The right people did show up. It was a beautiful ceremony. Dawson was indeed a star that evening. The ladies loved him. His long blonde ponytail was a big hit with the ladies. They treated him like a King. He did enjoy the attention but kept his humble spirit throughout the following week.
Now, 10 years later we still do seasonal ceremony. We celebrate summer, fall, winter and spring. We send an invitation along with information about the attributes of the season we are honoring so that everyone feels comfortable participating in the event. Much work goes into this part of the event by Loki. We now share many of the speaking parts with those who feel called to do the work. It is always an interesting, educational, and very much emotional event for all who participate. Over all those 10 years, we have never missed a ceremony. We honor the changing of the seasons on the exact day that it actually occurs. People don’t have to be told when ceremony will happen. They know and can plan accordingly. Although there is structure to the event, there is always someone who brings to light things we have not yet encountered. Tears have been shed and laughter has been heard. Recently, this past Winter, we had a spreading of the ashes of the mother of a long time participant now living in Florida. And at this writing Smiling Bear is in Ohio attending the funeral of his father. He will bring the ashes home to Maryland so they can be spread at the Medicine Wheel at Sanctuary.
We have learned that participation in the Seasonal Ceremonies must be by invitation only to ensure that kindred spirits are in attendance. If you believe the Medicine Wheel may take you home to yourself, just let Loki or Bear know so you can be invited. We journey well at the Wheel at Sanctuary.