Medicine Wheels or Sacred Hoops are stone circles that have been found all over north America. A typical Sacred Hoop consists of a center stone with numerous stone spokes radiating out to an external ring of stones that create a Wheel or a Hoop. The Sacred Hoop shares many common features with other types of Solar mandalas.
Medicine Wheels have been incorporated into many new age practices. However, many Native American groups have voiced their displeasure at what they believe is non-natives appropriating their spirituality by adopting Native spiritual practices such as Sacred Hoop rituals without authorization from recognized native spiritual authorities. Being native myself i can not accept this attitude from my brothers and sisters, it is too late to be propriatary about sacred ritual and shunning would be seekers at any level.
Most Native American cultures do not openly share their rituals or beliefs in connection with the Sacred Hoop. I think this is a shame. The Hopi wisdom is one of the least known indigenous spiritual traditions in the Americas. However, they have openly shared some of their mythology with the world.
One Hopi myth that has been publicly shared states that at one time all peoples of the Earth were one family. The Great Spirit called all the people together. The Spirit sent one group of people North to master the Fire Element. These people became the Europeans. Spirit sent another group East, to master the Air Element. These became the Oriental races. Spirit sent a third group West to master the Water Element. These became the African people. Great Spirit sent a fourth group of people South to master the Earth Element. These people became the Native American tribes.
According to the Hopi and other tribes, the cardinal directions correspond with the four colors, the four Elements and the four human races.
North corresponds to the color White, the Fire Element and the European races.
East corresponds to the color Yellow, the Air Element and the Asian races.
West corresponds to the color Black, the Water Element and the African races.
South corresponds to the color Red, the Earth Element and the Native American races.
Many people have made the mistake of associating the physical Elements of the cardinal directions with the racial elements of the Sacred Hoop. It is important not to confuse the Elements that the Spirit asked each tribe to master with the actual cardinal direction associated with each Element. The colors and Elements associated with the Native American Medicine Wheel correspond to the races of humans and the elements they were meant to master, not solely with the actual Element associated with each direction.
In order to best understand how the Elements and colors of the different races differ from those of the cardinal directions, we need to first research how anthropological history actually confirms the Hopi myth of the Sacred Hoop.
more tomorrow, Crazywolf