The celebration of the ever-turning wheel of life can be found in a ceremony from the indigenous people of our country - the Native Americans. Various tribes used the labyrinth-like circle of stones for meditation and prayers. My experiences have shown me that the process of building a medicine wheel is a perfect time for story telling, prayer, singing, meditation and contemplation. It sets the stage for a-ha experiences and the ability to see life from a greater perspective.
During our last phenomenal drumming circle at The Crystal Garden, one of the participants sitting in circle asked me what tribe I'm from or what lineage am I associated with. With my red lipstick in hand, I indicated that although I apprenticed for 2 years under a Peruvian medicine man who followed the lineage of Grandfather Wallace Black Elk, I am an Italian American from Brooklyn of my own tribe - one that I created in 1990 - called the Angelic Warriors Tribe.
I did have the distinct honor of sitting in ceremony over a period of 10 days with Grandfather Wallace Black Elk. We were on a remote mountain about an hour away from Morelia in the state of Michocan, Mexico. Lucky for me that Grandfather was there because that made them speak all the ceremonies in English as well as the native Spanish! Whew! I had a lot of interaction with Grandfather because I was one of the few English speaking people there. I called him for meals, brought him food, helped him in sweat lodges and every second was an extreme honor. I couldn't have planned it if I tried!
Angelic Warriors Tribe met every Wednesday night from around 1990 through 1997-ish. We sat in circle and laughed, cried, ate, sang, did ceremony, sat in meditation, and re-created the wheel. Re-created the wheel?? Huh? Yep - we took Sun Bear's version of the Medicine Wheel and made it our own. Victoria Martin, artist extraordinaire, painted each stone to show the symbolic energy as a tool for teaching and story telling. Now these stones sit in sacred space in the front of portion of one of the classrooms at The Crystal Garden - in the Angel Room.
The stones are river rocks which I collected with my cousin, Maria, in Hermosa, CO. In fact, you just saw pictures of my trip back to Hermosa in an earlier post. There are 36 stones and each stone tells a story. There is an inner circle, 4 portals and pathways and 13 moons.
I'm going to offer a Teachings of the Medicine Wheel event on Saturday, Sept 19 from 1 - 4:30 PM at The Crystal Garden. The cost is low - only $13 - because I want to keep it affordable to experience these teachings.
I'll probably record the experience because I was told by someone whom I really respect that perhaps this is a subject for my next book. Hmmm . . . what shall I call it? Shall I be daring? Sacred Irreverence is the key here . . . Red Lipstick and the Wheel of Life . . . or Brooklyn Girl goes Native - naaaah - OK - Maybe Walking the Cycles of Life: Native Traditions meet NYC.
I'll have to give you a few more installments of what the medicine wheel is all about. So stay tuned.