Thursday, August 2, 2012

Medicine Wheel Prayers

Wyoming Highway 14A curving west and up from Burgess Junction, Wyoming, is breathtaking in its perpendicular-ness and attendant scenery. Gold and purple wildflowers, stunning vistas, and amazing cliffs suffuse you in awe – appropriate preparation for the Medicine Wheel.

 Driving up a gravel road above the tree line, you approach the entrance. From a certain point, you are asked (if able) to walk the one and a half miles further up to the site of wheel.


 When you get there, a path leads left around a pattern of gathered stones surrounded by posts and wire. The wheel is 80 feet in diameter. In its center is a doughnut-shaped pile of stones, a 12-foot cairn, from which 28 lines of stone extend to the rim. Six more stone cairns are placed in the circle, like camp chairs.


The 28 lines or spokes of the wheel probably correspond to the days of the lunar month. Everything about the wheel is astronomically aligned. Four of the smaller cairns line up with the rising and setting sun of the summer solstice and the others with the three bright stars that fade as the summer sun rises.


 This is a place of prayer. It has been for at least 800 years – probably more. It is still used for ceremony and vision quests. Prayer ties and other offerings are tied to the posts and wire and some can be seen inside. I shared a ride to the site with two couples who knew nothing of Native American traditions. Their reaction: “This is a very prayer-full place.” Well said.


 Photographing the offerings, I was attracted to an abalone shell in the wheel’s interior. Only after getting home did I discover that it sat beside a model of a white buffalo – a prayer, within a prayer.

May the power of tens of thousands of prayers permeate our world, healing us all.

Aho, Amen and Blessed Be

1 comment:

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