The Path to the Medicine Wheel

While exploring the Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming, I visited the Native American Medicine Wheel. The Medicine Wheel was constructed between A.D. 1200 and A.D. 1700 in a circular pattern about 75 feet in diameter. Twenty-eight rows of limestone rock connect a large cairn in the center to the rim of the wheel.

The Wheel is said to serve as a type of landmark to identify the sunrise of the summer solstice. In its most simplistic definition, the Medicine Wheel is a symbol of ALL creation, of all races of people, birds, fish, animals, trees, and stones. It’s shape is that of a wagon wheel, made of stones. According to tribal beliefs, the circular shape of the wheel represents the earth, the sun, the moon, the cycles of life, the seasons, and day to night. Movement around the perimeter of the Medicine Wheel is in a clockwise direction, the rotation path of the earth. At the center of the wheel, at the hub, is Creator, who sits in perfect balance. Outside the center, there is an inner circle representing the Old Woman (the earth), Father Sun, Grandmother Moon, and the four elements. Four distinct rock mounds, set in the four directions, lay on the perimeter, separated by stones representing the moon’s cycles. Stones, laid from the perimeter, in straight lines, to the center (the spokes of the wheel) represent spiritual paths, leading us to the center, to perfect balance, to the Creator.” (*USDA Forest Service)

Truly a gift to have the opportunity to experience this incredible place! I followed the winding 1.5-mile trail up Medicine Mountain to an elevation of about 9,700 feet. Peace filled the air even though a marmot sent out a shrill call, which I’m sure could be heard for miles (LOL!). The wind blew gently and the snow melted as the sun began warming the day. Beauty and mystery enveloped me…

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*USDA Forest Service – Medicine Wheel Historic Landmark