Published November 01, 2023 by

Native American Medicine Wheel


The medicine wheel is also known as the Sun Dance Circle. The medicine wheel consisting four quadrants is a historic circular symbol. Each quadrant is coloured differently most often with white, yellow, red and black. It is to be noted that there is no perfect one medicine wheel. Medicine wheel can differ from nations, tribes and their culture. These symbols have been used for centuries. The oldest symbol is estimated to be more than 5000 years old.

Some common questions people wants to know about the symbol is discussed below:

The Significance of the Symbol 

Medicine wheel might seem a simple circle but it is an ancient holy symbol to many tribes specially to the Great Sioux Nation. This holy symbol was used by them to represent all the knowledge of the world. 

The Circle

The circle of the medicine wheel is often called the holy loop which represents the outer boundary of the world. It symbolizes the great lakota culture, the continuous pattern of the life and death and more importantly represents the Native American beliefs and traditions. The circle represents our own awareness of self balance. The two lines inside the circle are horizontal and vertical and the crossing of two lines indicates the center of the earth. 

The Four Directions 

Different tribes signifies the medicine wheel differently according to the direction and colour association. The four directions can be addressed as west, north, south and the east direction.

The East direction 

The East side is colored with yellow which represents the arrival in the world and also represents spring associated with beginnings. This gives us the lessons of purity, courage, love, trust, truthfulness and politeness. 

The South direction 

This side represents summer which indicates the period of our adolescence and the red color of it means the heat of the summer. It represents the time of our life when we start to build our-self. We can get some lessons from this side like: sensitivity, loyalty, self controlling, respectfulness and so on.

The West direction 

This portion is colored with black which indicates our adult age and when we make our own decisions and develope our thoughts. We can learn balancing our-self, challenging, spiritual and mediation from the west side.

The North direction 

This side represents our older time with white colour when we ends our life with enlightenment. We can have the lesson of wisdom, intelligence, visionary thinking, fearlessness and so.

These four directions indicates four important phases of our life with four seasons. These four directions are just the perceptions of things that exists around us. But many tribes believes that, these four parts symbolizes cultures, nations, elements of nature, animals and so on. But clearly these symbols indicates all the positiveness, wholeness and balance ourselves between positive and negative. 

Importance of the Medicine  Wheel  

The message of the wheel to us is to remain balanced, positive, polite equally while developing our physical, mental and emotional aspects in our personality. 

It is simply a traditional symbol of lifestyle which approaches one to living in a good way. It teaches us to 

• love ourself

• build good attitude

• be anger controlling

• be affectionate

• be creative

• think positive 

• be respectful 

• be polite