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Medicine Wheel. Aboriginal Views on Psychology. The medicine wheel represents the sacred circle of life, its basic four directions, and the elements.

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medicine wheel

Medicine Wheel

Aboriginal Views on Psychology


The medicine wheel represents the sacred circle of life, its basic four directions, and the elements.

  • Animal totems serve as guardian of each of the directions. The four animals commonly represented in this role are: the bear, the buffalo, the eagle, and the mouse, although this varies.
design meaning
Design Meaning
  • Circle - The circle represents the sacred outer boundary of the Earth often referred to as the Sun Dance Circle or the Sacred Hoop. It represents the continuous pattern of on-going life and death.
  • Lines - The horizontal and vertical lines represent the sun and man’s sacred paths, respectively; the crossing of the two lines indicates the center of the Earth where one stands when praying.
  • Feather - The eagle feather is a sign of WakanTanka’s- the Great Spirit's - power over everything.
  • The medicine wheel teaches us that:
    • The four symbolic races are all part of the same human family.
    • The four elements are all part of the physical world and must be respected equally for their gift of life.
    • We have four aspects to our nature: the physical, the mental, the emotional, and the spiritual. Each of these aspects must be equally developed in a healthy, well-balanced individual
  • The medicine wheel is a symbol of symmetry and balance.
  • During the process of constructing the wheel you will begin to recognize what areas of your life are not in balance, and where your attention is lacking and requires focus.
  • Symbolic teacher is the mouse
  • Development is childhood
  • Gift is the ability to focus our attention on the events of the present moment
  • Symbolic teacher is the cougar
  • Development is young adult
  • Gift is the development of emotional and physical senses
  • Symbolic teacher is the black bear
  • Development is the adult
  • Gift is the ability to accept ourselves as we really are
  • Symbolic teacher is the mountain
  • Development is the elder
  • Gift is both memory as well as completion and fulfillment
aboriginal views on psychology
Aboriginal Views on Psychology
  • Children were named for a purpose to help them learn something
  • The entire community knew the name and would help foster the development
  • Children were given control over their education but parents were watchful to ensure that the child developed into a proper adult
  • The storyteller was the traditional First Nations equivalent of a psychologist
  • They observed behaviour and told stories to subtle guide that behaviour
  • Stories were always told in a positive fashion and did not include negative words or lists of dos and do nots