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The Medicine Wheel Garden: Creating Sacred Space for Healing, Celebration, and Tranquillityby E. Barrie Kavasch
Synopses & Reviews
The Circle Is Sacred
The Ancient History of Medicine Wheels
Circles in nature draw our attention. I see the concentric circles within the faces of flowers and their ovaries, fruits, and seeds. I study the geometric spiral in the face of a sunflower, like the patterns in pinecones and acorns. The growth rings radiating from the heartwood of a tree, which we count to learn its age, are classic circles of life. I am drawn to the circular rosettes of lichen colonies on tree bark and old stone walls. Patterning in nature seems to be a mosaic of circles.
The circle symbolizes many ideas for different people and provides healing, too. We are awed by the prehistoric circle of great standing stones at Stonehenge, in England, which relate to the perceived annual movements of the sun, and by the detailed circularity within pre-Christian labyrinths and Roman mosaics on temple floors. In our lives, the sacred protective link represented by a wedding band is a universal symbol. Hindus represent the great Wheel of Existence within a circle, and the Chinese, too, fashion the symbols of active and passive forces within the yin and yang of the universal circle. Tibetan lamas create a sacred universe within the circle of an intricate sand painting, as do Navajo sand painters pouring healing energies into their lengthy Chant Way ceremonies blessed with cornmeal.
The sacred circle has long been a basic form in American Indian artwork, dwellings, clothing, and dances as well as in healing practices and rituals. Sacred drums, rattles, dream catchers, and bull roarers embody the circle and mirror the shape of the sun, moon, and earth. The year's passage of time comes full circle and continues. Wherever we look, circles embrace us and teach us about the interconnections of all life.
Ancient Stone Circles
Great stone circles are considered feats of ritual architecture. These are terrestrial and celestial markers on the landscape that have forever changed the land. Some authorities believe certain of these sites were solar calendars that regulated work and hunting among the people of these regions under the protection of the ancestors and gods. These ancient ruins have a certain spell about them that affects everyone who journeys to see them.
Striking parallels may be found between the prehistoric stonework of Europe, Africa, South America, and North America. Amazing similarities exist between the Celtic menhirs (tall standing stones), Mayan stelae, and the great standing stones of Easter Island in the Pacific, all marking sacred ritual sites. Also, stone cairns--stones carefully placed in a pile as a marker--are one of the earliest human constructions found around the world.
Many ancient stone medicine wheels still dot our landscape from Canada to Mexico and from Florida to the Rocky Mountains. Across North America, they can be found from the Cree homelands on the plains of Alberta and Saskatchewan in southern Canada to the Ute territories in southern Colorado, Pueblo Indian sites in New Mexico, and east into the ancient Mound Builder sites along the Mississippi floodplains. They are usually located on prominent features of land, such as the summits of hills, plateaus, and ridges--places often hard to reach but well worth the effort of doing so. Earlier people must have journeyed great distances to reach these sites. Perhaps those journeys, much like pilgrimages, served to heighte
The American Indian medicine wheel was an ancient way of creating sacred space and calling forth the healing energies of nature. Now, drawing on a lifetime of study with native healers, herbalist and ethnobotanist E. Barrie Kavasch offers a step-by-step guide to bringing this beautiful tradition into your own life--from vibrantly colorful outdoor circle designs to miniature dish, windowsill, or home altar adaptations. Inside you’ll find:
• Planting guides for medicine wheel gardens in every zone, from desert Southwest to northern woodlands
• A beautifully illustrated encyclopedia of 50 key healing herbs, including propagation needs, traditional and modern uses, and cautions
• Easy-to-follow herbal recipes, from teas and tonics to skin creams and soaps--plus delicious healing foods
• Ideas for herbal crafts and ceremonial objects, including smudge sticks, wind horses, prayer ties, and spirit shields
• Seasonal rituals, offerings, and meditations to bless and empower your garden and your friends, and much more
Practical, beautiful, and inspiring, The Medicine Wheel Garden leads us on a powerful journey to rediscovering the sacred in everyday life as we cultivate our gardens . . . and our souls.
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Cooking and Food » Diet and Nutrition » Natural Healing