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The medicine wheel - Your signpost toward totality
The medicine wheel has many meanings in shamanistic traditions and one of them is being a signpost in the dreaming reality. Shaman Vidar taught me about this medicine wheel ritual and you read more about this in the next excerpt from The Sorcerer’s Dream.
Tonight we will set up my medicine wheel. The medicine wheel toward the totality to be exact. I await in expectation.
With slow movements Vidar takes five pebbles from somewhere between the junk and the papers. He places four in an imaginary circle and puts the fifth one right in the middle. “The medicine wheel is a guide in the dream reality,” he starts to explain. “Every stone signifies one of the four wind directions, the stone in the middle is the centre from where you travel. Accompanied by the drum you will momentarily travel to the four wind directions and in each one of them you will identify the dwelling places of knowledge.” I worry because I know my sense of direction has it’s short comings for such a trip. “With wind directions I mean the spiritual wind directions,” he exemplifies. “By identifying these wind directions and the dwelling places, they will prevent you from having a spontaneous experience and being unaware of your whereabouts.” He adds that the medicine wheel is the fastest way to reach the totality. “Look at it this way, the spiritual wind directions are represented by entities and together with your animal totems, whom you will meet at a later stage, they are the roadmap leading you into totality.” I ask what significance is attached to these wind directions, in the sense that it might represent a certain development or phase in ones life for example. He would rather wave away any possible meaning. “Originally there is no significance to it,” he says, “it prevents you from fixating it. The medicine wheel is an individual process and its significance depends on the specific information you obtain elsewhere.” Finally he says, “wherever you travel you retrieve your history and accumulate enormous reserves of spiritual energy.” Vidar gets up and gathers five big pebbles from the floor in front of the cabinet and places them in a circle in front of the deerskin. “We commence in the north,” he says and invites me to take place on the deerskin, facing the street. Then he picks up his drum next to the deerskin and explains: “The repetitive rhythm and fast beat of the drum will guide you during your journey. The overtones of the drum influence the wave patterns of the brain, meaning it sets off an increased state of perception, perceiving with your spiritual senses, your inner eye if you will.” He gives further instructions. “Look intensively in every wind direction to determine what you see and absorb every little detail.”
I try to place myself in a comfortable crossed-legged position and tell him I am ready. As the rhythm intensifies I fly away on the deerskin toward the northern wind direction, high above green mountains, interrupted by rough rock formations. From the highest point there is a crystal clear stream which flows down the sloping hills. “Search for your dwelling place,” I hear Vidar say. My feeling tells me I have no time to lose. Far beneath me I discover a sandy path effortlessly making its way among the hills. I descend as soon as possible and quickly take a sharp turn to the right, into another path which leads toward a splendid bare piece of sandy soil with a little lake. Here and there long strong blades of grass arise from the ground. To my left, at the foot of the lake, steep rock formations rise up to the blue sky. A frail looking woman with long black hair comes toward me. It looks like she is floating. Her cream colored skin and grey eyes are in beautiful contrast with her long black hair all the way to her waist. She signals for me to follow her as she runs in the direction of the rocks. Then she climbs up the cliff and I climb after her, pulling myself up into the opening of the cave, just as she does.
Once we’re in the cave she invites me to sit opposite her, I take a good look around, I hear Vidar telling me to return to the centre of the wheel to travel to the next wind direction. I say good-bye to the woman and return to the slowing of the rhythm of the drum.
About the author:
Alysa Braceau, Dreamshield Braceau is the author of The Sorcerer’s Dream.