The Medicine Wheel and the Four Directions
The Medicine Wheel, sometimes known as the Sacred Hoop, has been used by generations of various Native American tribes for health and healing. It embodies the Four Directions, as well as Father Sky, Mother Earth, and Spirit Tree—all of which symbolize dimensions of health and the cycles of life.
The Medicine Wheel can take many different forms. It can be an artwork such as artifact or painting, or it can be a physical construction on the land. Hundreds or even thousands of Medicine Wheels have been built on Native lands in North America over the last several centuries.
Movement in the Medicine Wheel and in Native American ceremonies is circular, and typically in a clockwise, or “sun-wise” direction. This helps to align with the forces of Nature, such as gravity and the rising and setting of the Sun.
Meanings of the Four Directions
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When setting up your altar you should have a candle that represents you. This candle would be lit first and then used to light the incense if you are using one, and your candle representing Fire or to start burning anything you may need to burn during for ritual.
First chose the type of candle you want, a pillar or a 12 inch/30.48cm taper candle or a smaller candle. Using a smaller candle means making your personal candle more often. I find the taper candle is the easiest to work with when lighting my incense and the Fire elemental candle. If you chose a pillar candle it should be unscented. The color can be any color with the exception of black. The color could be your favorite color or whatever color you feel drawn to make it from. Next using your Atheme or another sharp object if you do not have one yet (You can bless a kitchen knife you rarely use or even a letter opener as an Atheme – some Witches would disagree with me on using one of these objects but as I know how money can be tight and you might not be able to purchase a regular Atheme I figure use what you already have to make the item into one) inscribe your first name and last name you were given at birth or adopted parents surname you grew up and if you have one your Witches/Spirit name. You can write the name or names in the alphabet of your country or with Runes, Ogham or other “Magical” alphabet there are samples of different ones on this website, to find them use the search box and put in the word “alphabet.” Hold the candle in your non-writing hand start your name from the end with the wick showing going downward. Turn the candle each time you write a name so you have a fresh surface to write on, the exception being your given first and last names they should be in the same line. Next starting from the top and moving in a downward motion use your favorite or an all-purpose essential oil saying this spell “This candle is a sacred representation of me to be used during meditation, spells, and rituals to light my way”. You will use the oil three times turning the candle so it covers different parts of it each time and repeat the spell each time you apply the oil. Pick out a special candle holder that you either already have that has a special meaning for you or you can purchase one that when you hold it, it feels as if it is supposed to be with you from a dollar or thrift store. You can also get out Magical Necessities for one that catches your eye. Some witches say you should not blow a candle out but use a snuffer others, myself included say it is ok to blow them out. I usually blow mine out because of the belief that the smoke carries whatever I used the candle for out into the universe.
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Many times we are asked “how do you cast a circle ?” There are so many different was that this can be done. Differs from each Tradition to the next. Even within our own Avaloian Tradition we make improvisations on this.
The main factor is to cast a sacred space. A space that separates this world from the other. A space that we ourselves make holy. And that is what is important. A space that you set aside from all else, to glorify and exalt. For you are the one casting, cleansing, purifying, and setting it aside from all else.
Before you cast, one should make sure of the intent of casting. Ask yourself why…
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by Selena Fox
Honoring the directions of the Sacred Circle is a widespread spiritual practice in ancient and contemporary Nature wisdom traditions. For many practitioners, honoring the directions is an essential component of all rituals. It is a way to create and to connect with sacred space. It also is a way of communing with Nature. Furthermore, it can be a way of mapping consciousness and viewing life.
The Sacred Circle with its directions is called by some, the “Magic Circle,” and by others, the “Medicine Wheel.” Some traditions emphasize the four compass directions of the Circle. Others work with the four compass points plus a central point representing unity. Some also include two additional directions in the center, up and down, to create a Sacred Sphere as well as the Sacred Circle. Qualities, images, colors, and other symbolic associations with the directions vary from path to path, but the idea of Sacred Circle as a place of balancing, healing, and…
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WHY CAST A CIRCLE?
Do you need to cast a circle every time you perform a spell or ritual?
Much like many other questions in modern Paganism, this is one where the answer really depends on who you ask. Some people opt to always cast a circle prior to formal rituals, but usually do spellwork on the fly without the use of a circle — and this is something that’s doable if you keep your entire home designated as sacred space.
That way you don’t need to cast a brand new circle each time you do a spell. Obviously, your mileage may vary on this. Certainly, in some traditions, the circle is required each and every time. Others don’t bother with it at all.
It’s important to remember that traditionally, the use of a circle is to delineate sacred space. If that’s not something you require before spellwork,…
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