In many cultures throughout the ages, the circle is the principle symbol used for understanding life’s mysteries. Everywhere in the natural world, in the movement of the heavens, the dance of wind and water, the growth of living things, the movement of the year and the cycles of life itself, human beings find circles. To remember, celebrate and learn from the cycles of the universe, some cultures create great circles of stone and wood in places of natural power and beauty. One such circle used by the Native American culture is the medicine wheel.

The Ranch treatment center is home to a special medicine wheel on a high hilltop, looking out over the rolling woodlands. Many of our clients come to this place for private meditation and prayer, communal celebration, group therapy, and powerful ceremonies. Whatever the intention, the wheel helps connect people with their own institution and the spiritual wisdom, love and strength of all creation.

Meaning and Symbolism of the Medicine Wheel

The word “medicine” means more than a substance to restore health to a sick physical body. Medicine means “power,” a vital energy force that can be drawn upon and directed. Medicine also means knowledge. The Medicine Wheel is literally a “Circle of Knowledge” that restores wholeness and power over one’s life.

“Wheel” is a word that has no equivalent in any Amerindian tongue. The concept is of a spiral or vortex of energy in motion. Medicine Wheel means a circle or spiral of generated power at the control of mind. It is a spiritual, mental and physical device that provides its users with both a map of the mind and a chart of life that enables self-discovery, finding balance and harmony in the universe.

The center of the wheel usually holds the buffalo skull to represent the wisdom of the Great Spirit. The four arms that come out from the center represent the four directions, or four Great Paths: Love and Trust, Knowledge and Wisdom, Introspection and Transformation, and Illumination and Clarity. The twelve moons that mark the yearly earth cycle are arranged around the wheel. Each moon is named and carries a powerful animal totem as a guide for humans born during each moon cycle, as well as elemental membership and mineral and plant attachments.

The wheel contains and connects the flow of human life, from infancy to old age, with the seasonal flow of the Earth Mother from the planting of a seed, its germination, growth, harvest and finally dormancy of the land at rest, as a reminder that life is in constant movement and change, and new wisdom enters experiences as easily as the turning of a wheel.

Find your path to recovery. Call us at 844-876-7680 now for a confidential assessment.