What is a Medicine Wheel and what is it for?
There is something mysterious about a Medicine Wheel. Whether it’s the name, or the sense that you are in a sacred place, it is difficult not to feel some connection with the past, other visitors, and your surroundings when you visit one. Nose Hill Park’s Medicine Wheel (est. October 2015) gives you that feeling even though it isn’t ancient like its brothers and sisters scattered across the province. Interconnectedness is, indeed, what the medicine wheel is about.
While visiting a medicine wheel, you are to leave offerings and be blessed by the Creator1. An offering can be a prayer or song, or physical thing you leave on the central cairn. Your time at the medicine wheel should be a time for gratitude and positive thoughts. Intrigued? Here are some more things you should know when visiting a medicine wheel.
What Is A Medicine Wheel?
|Nose Hill Park Medicine Wheel|
What Are They For?
Since medicine wheels are so ancient, no one knows for certain what their original purpose was. A few have been found to mark the graves of famous warriors4. Larger ones have been found to align with certain stars, or sunrises during significant celestial events such as solstices5. It is speculated that medicine wheels may also have been places for rituals such as Sun Dances.
In more recent times, Medicine Wheels have been places to pray and give offerings to the Creator or Sky Beings. Artifacts up to 4,500 years old, including bones and arrowheads, have been found at some sites.
Who Made Them & Where?
What Offerings Can I Leave?
Place your offering on the central cairn, being careful not to disturb any stones or others’ offerings.
|Nose Hill Park Medicine Wheel at Sunset|
What Is the Correct Way to Go ‘Round the Medicine Wheel?
Topics of Discussion
Why do you think the number 4 is significant to so many First Nations?
(see how many your friends/family can come up with)
- 4 directions – north, east, south, west
- 4 seasons – spring, summer, fall, winter
- 4 aspects of a person – physical, spiritual, mental and emotional
- 4 elements – fire, earth, wind, water
- 4 stages of life – childhood, youth, adulthood, old age10
- 4 kingdoms – animal, mineral, plant and human
- 4 sacred medicines – sweetgrass, tobacco, cedar and sage11.
Have you visited a Medicine Wheel before? How did it make you feel?
For More Information
For more information on Calgary’s Medicine Wheel in Nose Hill Park, please see this post.