Monday, March 23, 2009
The Medicine Wheel
The Medicine Wheel is an ancient healing/living modality created by Native American and other indigenous peoples throughout the world. It's a way of moving through life which is closely infromed by our connection to the earth; earth as mother, nurturer, healer. Earth as home and hearth. Earth now as victim who requires our assistance and cooperation to help her return to balance. I believe recovery is dependent on this connection and on our willingness to begin to treat the Earth, and ourselves, with respect.
Our physical bodies are part of earth, part of this dense matter, but our spirit - through our consciousness - is not, and exploring that frontier is also part of the Medicine Wheel. Freedom of consciousness is encouraged through intention, ritual and celebration. Acquiring even a small amount of freedom of consciousness requires some level of purification and so purification is also part of the Medicine Wheel.
The Medicine Wheel is a circular and organic process wherein each direction offers specific lessons that bring about balance, joy in living, respect for self and others, understanding and growth. Many of the processes I've previously explored and continue to explore: archetypes, meditation, ritual, mindfulness, self-examination, tarot, astrology and writing have their place within the wheel. The Medicine Wheel is a framework with tremendous room for individual expression and the freedom to customize what is chosen to place within that framework.
Of course, the most important thing about the Medicine Wheel for me is that I'm attracted to it. One of the principles of AA is that it is based on attraction rather than promotion, but in my experience AA was, and continues to be, promoted as the best if not the only way to recover from addiction. It wasn't intended to be that way, but the treatment industry (I think especially here in the west, but I'm not sure about that) basically grabbed onto the 12 steps and for years made it the only available option. When other programs began to spring up, they were mostly secular in nature, touting the rational road to recovery and these programs work well for many people. But the spiritual aspect of AA is not what bothers me at all. I want my recovery to inform my spirituality and vice versa so the secular programs left me feeling like something was missing as well.
I'm excited about exploring this framework here at Eclectic Recovery.