I have a passion for sacred circles. Whether it’s a group of friends passing a talking piece in a circle to speak and listen from the heart, or a medicine wheel built in nature for meditation or a Vision Quest.
I recently completed a 28-day course in the Native American shamanic tradition. One of the lessons was how to make a medicine wheel. The process is a beautiful one and I have to admit I went a little crazy with it. During dog walks in the past month I’ve created multiple medicine wheels in parks and forests around my city.
On completing each wheel I’ve taken a few minutes to slow down, sit in the centre, ask for guidance and listen. I’ve noticed some magical insights and inspiration emerging out of the stillness.
Anyone can use the principle of a medicine wheel / sacred circle to deepen into a soulful connection with nature and themselves. You begin with an intention, thinking of something you’d like help with. It could be your health, your work, family, a relationship, etc.
Next, find a place in nature or at home to build your wheel. Gather four items – river stones are great. You can also use pinecones, shells, flowers or anything else available. Place one stone in each of the four directions moving from East to South to West to North. (The compass app on a cell phone is useful.)
Call in the blessings of each of the four directions to help with your intention. Then, enter the circle from the East and sit in the centre. (If you have built a small medicine wheel – for instance on a coffee table at home – you can simply sit beside it rather than in it.)
Whenever you create “sacred space” it can also be helpful to incorporate other rituals such as smudging yourself with sage or palo santo, spraying a favourite essential oil blend, lighting a candle, singing, drumming or rattling.
Once you’ve established your medicine wheel, take a few minutes to feel your connection with the earth and to open your heart and mind to listening. If you’re in nature, and it’s warm enough, take off your shoes and ground yourself energetically through your bare feet. You might choose to sit for just a few minutes or up to an hour or more. Once you feel complete, give thanks to the circle for any insights received.
Undo the medicine wheel in the opposite order in which it was made, removing the North stone first, then the West, South and East. Leave the circle from the East, just as you entered it. I personally don’t always undo my circles. Sometimes I leave a medicine wheel in a forest or on a beach so I can return to it like a nest on another day.
You may discover that the physicality of building a medicine wheel and carving out sacred time and space in this way helps you unplug from the busyness of life and resource yourself deeply with nature’s blessings.