(Scroll down to the bottom to find out how to order)
A project I’ve been working on for at least a decade has finally come to fruition. After years of exploring wheels of life or medicine wheels, I’ve created a piece of folk, contemplative art for the times, printed on 100% organic cotton (natural color) using soy-based ink (teal, as seen above). It was printed by the awesome folks at Cream Design & Print, a collective of printers in Arizona.
Originally, I used this medicine wheel as a guide for a few 5-day back-country retreats in Yosemite. Each day we faced a new direction and stretched our limbs. At night we used the wheel to guide our discussions and introspective activities under the endless, star-filled sky. It was on these back-country trips that I realized how medicine wheels, which are guideposts for the soul, are accessed for soul growth and personal/community reflection.
(Scroll to the very bottom of this post to find out how to win a free, 1-hour consultation!)
Teachers, elders, and healers such as Elina Avila, Jeanette Armstrong, Starhawk, and Laura Van dernoot Lipsky inspired my work. As well, I drew from the book, ‘The Sacred Tree,’ which was created to support First Peoples who happened to be dealing with substance abuse issues.
It doesn’t surprise me that a book about the traditional medicine wheel would help those dealing with substance abuse issues, either. Medicine wheels have always been used to orient oneself, to guide the soul on its journey, and to reconnect a person with their own narrative within the greater current of life.
In terms of soul-work, medicine wheels open the mind to the spiral flow of time, allowing us to tap into archetypal concepts. It is with these age-old concepts that we find our place in the wheel of life.
Each direction of the wheel of life I’ve created is host to a contemplative question, themes, a psycho-spiritual action, and a creature or spirit guide.
The purpose of this medicine wheel is to encourage awareness that life is a creative process…with its own peaks and valleys…sunshine filled and dark moments…beginnings and endings… Use the medicine wheel to facilitate therapy groups, stimulate journaling, infuse your meditation practice with new concepts, or to tap into new themes for visualization.
Again, it’s a mobile, contemplative art piece…
You can travel with it. You can put it up on your wall. You can wrap precious things in it to carry with you. You can wear it.
Over the years, I’ve had some really powerful dreams of certain creatures. This is how I chose the creature or guide for each direction of the medicine wheel.
Hawk provides us with an overarching vision and the ability to see the whole picture. It is from this place that we can figure out what needs attention in our life. Hawk flies above and rides thermals until it has spotted its prey. This can be likened to the practice of “drifting,” or letting yourself move about the day with no agenda, but with great awareness. Then, when your mind has settled on something of interest, with attention and focus, we dive into it just like the hawk diving for its prey. Hawk’s energy catapults us into each turning of the medicine wheel.
Skunk is keeper of the transformative and creative powers of the south. It teaches us to honor ourselves (our gifts) and walk our own walk because no one else can do this for us. It also teaches us the importance of healing, integrating, or transforming old wounds so that creative/life energy can flow. As you well know, its reputation is strong in the animal world because it has fully embraced its stink (the dark and the light side). Skunk wants us to respect our bodies, and its sensual nature, as well. It reminds us that we are responsible for our choices and to be accountable for our decisions in life.
Snake teaches us the importance of coiling up in the earth for safety and rest. It also teaches us the importance of shedding our skin for renewal and personal growth. Indeed, if the skin is not shed or the snake is caught in the shedding skin, death is surely a result. For people, this can cause a soul death or the loss of a part of our soul due to incomplete personal process. Snake can guide us through the difficulty of parting with a part of our life to make room for new growth. It is with the protection of the earth and the stillness of its own body that the snake can shed and release old habits, safely.
Whale is the great record-keeper, storing the narratives of all times in its dark, cavernous body. Whale shows us the way to our ancestors through ancestral myths, songs, and stories. When we connect with these narratives, we connect with a timeless, living language that speaks to the life questions we are living out. Without this connection to the ancestors, our life lacks context, connection, and continuity. Whale teaches us to remember and recite so that our memory grows stronger. Sometimes, we will even breach the water, just like the great whale, and catch a glimpse of just how moving and powerful this connection to narrative can be.
With each bandana, you will receive a piece of paper outlining ways to use the contemplative art for soul growth and repair. However, some of you may intuitively come up with ways to integrate this contemplative art into your personal life; go for it. Either way, the medicine wheel can be used on your own solitary hikes, walks, and travels or it can be used in a group therapy setting.
I’m doing a limited printing of these bandanas.
If you are interested in purchasing one, you can pre-order at this time.
HOW TO ORDER
PAYPAL – Send $25 (that includes S&H) to firstname.lastname@example.org using paypal money transfer or you can click the donate button (paypal as well) to the right of your screen. Make sure to write “bandana” in the description section of your transaction.
Please email me your mailing address when you are done at email@example.com. I will respond letting you know I received your order!
CHECK – You can also mail me a check. Just email me at the email address above and we’ll go from there.
I WILL DRAW FIVE NAMES to win a free 1-hour consultation using the medicine wheel from the pool of the first 30 purchasers (there are only 60 bandanas being printed).