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Lakota (Sioux) Medicine Wheel

The Native American medicine wheel is a sacred symbol used by indigenous Plains tribes to represent all knowledge of the universe.

Lakota (Sioux) medicine wheel

Style Representation

Circle - The circle represents the sacred outer boundary of the Earth often referred to as the Sun Dance Circle or the Sacred Hoop. It represents the continuous pattern of on-going life and death.

Lines - The horizontal and vertical lines represent the sun and man’s sacred paths; the crossing of the two lines indicates the center of the Earth where one stands when praying.

Feather - The eagle feather is a sign of Wakan Tanka’s - the Great Spirit's - power over everything.

Directions

East:

  • Color: Yellow
  • Messenger: Brown Eagle
  • Associated with the sun, brings light to all creation.
  • Because the sun travels east to west, in a clockwise manner, all good things conform to the same pattern.
  • The Morning Star, the star of wisdom and new beginnings, comes from the east.
  • Elk people call the east home.

South:

  • Color: Red
  • Messenger: Crane
  • Associated with warmth, happiness, and generosity.
  • Connected with life after death, directs men as they walk toward the next phase.
  • Life begins in the south.
  • Nourishment of every kind comes from this direction.
  • Home to the animal people.

 

West:

  • Color: Black
  • Messenger: Black Eagle
  • Connected with the power of rain and the purity of water;
    joy and growth follow the rain, releasing the ignorance.
  • West is home to the Thunder-being. His wings produce thunder and lightening flashes from his eyes. The bird-like
    being stands against evil and ensures the respect of others.

North:

  • Color: White
  • Messenger: Bald Eagle
  • North is home to winter and is believed to promote good health and growth.
  • Those who misbehave look to the north for the wisdom needed to walk a straight path again.
  • Home to the Calf Pipe Woman and buffalo people.

 

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