What Wheels Tell Us
Each position on the wheel corresponds to one of the four cardinal directions: South, North, West, East – or one of the four non-cardinal directions: SouthEast, SouthWest, NorthWest and NorthEast. Furthermore, there are specific qualities and characteristics that exist for each direction. Thus, no matter which wheel is being used, the subject matter is placed in a particular direction because it contains the corresponding properties.
For example, on some wheels in the West, you have the earth element. West is also the physical body, strength, power and stability. One can quickly see that these energies all work with and carry within themselves similar properties. And so the wheel goes. Even properties that have seemingly nothing to do with each other, when overlaid, allow you to make amazing connections into deeper understanding. Those of us who were taught to think in linear terms will find studying wheels a particular challenge! However, it is also fun.
On any medicine wheel, the cardinal directions will hold the energy of a circle and the non-cardinals will move energy in and out of the circle.
When you are studying a particular aspect of a wheel or trying to gain understanding of something, you first determine where it is located on the wheel. That direction is called its sitting place. Directly across from it is its working place. This means you are gaining an opposite perspective of what you are studying, – you “work” with the information.
There is another way to study something on the wheel once you have located its sitting place. Look at what is to its left to see what energies it is receiving from. This is the female and creative-receptive side. Look to the right to see what energies it is giving away to. The right side is the masculine active-conceptive side which gives out energy.
For example, I am studying something which has a sitting place of SouthEast. Its working place is NorthWest. It will receive energy from the South, and give away energy to the East. (See Figure 2c.) Try this exercise physically, or in your mind’s eye. Draw a circle and identify the eight directions. Sit in the SouthEast direction facing in toward the Center. You are sitting in the “sitting place” of the SouthEast. Look directly across the wheel to the NorthWest, this is the SouthEast’s “working place.” Stretch your left hand toward the South, you receive from this direction. Pull your hand toward you, receive the energy from the South. Stretch your right hand toward the East. Feel your energy giving away to the East.
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