Medicine Wheel

For thousands of years the Medicine Wheel has been used by not only the Anishinaabe but by many Indeginous peoples. The Anishinaabe refer to the medicine as The Circle of Life. The colors of the medicine wheel stands for many different things. Today we will cover the directions, sacred medicines, seasons, and the four stages of manhood. 

The Colors

The color Mkade (black) stands for Ningabianong (West). When you hang up your medicine wheel the Mkade color should be facing Ningabianong. Mkade stands for the season Dgwaagi (Autumn). It’s when the days start growing shorter and night starts growing longer. And the trees and plants lose their color. Mkade is the 3rd stage of life, Gitziimak (Adulthood). The sacred medicine that correlates with Mkade is Mmuskode (Sage). Mmuskode is a material used for burning before a ceremony. It is said to purify the area and is a strong medicine. This is used more because it is stronger than Wiingashk (Sweetgrass).

The color wabishkaa (white) stands for Kewadin (North). It should be facing Kewadin when you hang up your medicine wheel. The season for wabishkaa is Biiboon (Winter). The ground of the earth is covered in snow or frost. The sun is more white than yellow. Wabihskaa stands for the final stage of life, a Gchi ei itzjiik (Elder).The sacred medicine for wabishkaa is Wiingashk. Wiingashk is also used for burning and purifying but is used during the ceremony because it has a more calming effect.

The color zawaa (yellow) is the color of the Waboon (East). Its season is Mnookkmi (Spring).The sun turns zawaa and brings color and life to the land again. Zawaa stands for the first stage of life, binoojinhsag (childhood). The sacred medicine is Semaa (tobacco). Semaa can be used for burning as well but is most commonly used and given to the Gchi epi itzik as a sign of respect and as a gift. The Gchi epi itzke are the most respected in the tribe. They are given a sacred pipe that they smoke the Semaa in. The Semaa is unedited and pure. It is not something owned by a tobacco company. It is pure with no added chemicals. 

Miskwaa (black) symbolizes the direction of Shawan (South). The season it represents is Niibin (Summer). When the sky and ground is hot and wild fires often start. It stands for the second stage in life, Shki niigi (adolescence).The sacred medicine is Giizhik (Cedar). Giizhik is like Wiingashk. Giizhik is used for calming and is used in baths and for burning. 

Oh my, oh my, so many new words!! You don’t have to get them today, they will be repeated again next week! What did you learn today? Share your knowledge with your friends and family. Draw a Medicine Wheel and send it to me to get your artwork on the cover of next week's article. You can reach me at….... Next week We will fall into the art part of the Medicine Wheel and how to make and design one. Have a fabulous week and practice the new words you learned!!