#5: Honor the 4 Directions and 4 Sacred Elements:
Earth, Air, Fire, Water
You do not have to be Native American to appreciate one of their traditions, which is to honor the Medicine Wheel, facing each of the four directions, thanking each one for their gifts. This is also a tradition in all indigenous cultures including pre-Christian Europe (a.k.a. Wicca, Druidry, paganism, et al.), Africa, Australia, Hawaii and South America.
In fact, if you scratch the surface beneath contemporary religions on any part of the Earth, you will find an ancient shamanic tradition that honors all the directions and all of nature as sacred.
All things follow this cycle of birth, growth, fruition and quietude, whether we are looking at seasons, a lifespan, a day, or a garden. The beauty of Medicine Wheel ceremony and the paradigm itself is that it can be applied to our lives in so many ways.
So how do you honor the directions and elements, to give thanks for what they give to us so generously? Here are a few ideas:
* Altar: Create an altar to each direction or a Medicine Wheel altar encompassing all the directions/elements. This can be in your home or outside. My husband specializes in creating Medicine Wheels as a sacred practice on the land, and has helped others to do this as well.
* Cherokee Dance of Life – You would need to learn this in person from someone who has learned it, oral tradition. This is an incredible moving meditation to all 4 directions, peoples, and elements which also honors Mother Earth and Father Sky, balances their energies as sacred partners in our hearts, and helps us give away the gifts of Spirit that are our special medicine to share with the world through our right work and service. Occasionally my husband and I share this Dance with our community. If you live near Sacramento, and would like to experience this dance, let us know so we can invite you. Or perhaps Spirit will guide you to another teacher of this beautiful tradition.
* Drum, chant, play flute to each direction
* Give offerings such as cornmeal, tobacco or sage smoke to each direction
* Speak aloud from your heart to each direction and give thanks
* Sweat lodge
* Vision quest
If you do either sweat lodge or vision quest, please do so with the guidance of a Native elder to be sure you do it properly and safely.
* Journal or journey (shamanic meditation) to discover what power animals comprise your personal Medicine Wheel of your own energy field. I love to lead these meditations when I am called to do so. Honoring your own inner Medicine Wheel supports a strong aura and keeps you connected to your spirit guides, if this resonates for you.
Associations with Each Direction
Depending on which culture or even which tribe you consult, there are somewhat different associations with the directions, colors, elements and meanings, the medicine or power that direction helps us receive and embody. The one I am most familiar with follows but this is not dogma, merely a summary of what I have found to be the more universal associations. Follow your own heart and work with any spiritual practice in the way that resonates for your own heart and inner truth.
While I have a small amount of native blood, I was adopted and was not raised in that tradition. I discovered shamanism after my initiation and spiritual awakening 15 years ago. I do not claim to be a tribal elder or teacher of any one tradition. I am an interfaith minister, meditation teacher, hypnotherapist, energy healer and intuitive life coach. I have been on the path of Spirit, studying, practicing and sharing healing and wisdom teachings from many cultures for several decades, so I offer here a simplified summary as a starting point for your discovery journey. You would do well to study more in depth with a local teacher steeped in the particular tradition that calls to your spirit, and of course feel free to research further on the Web, in books, classes, and listen to your own inner guidance. I always say the best way to pray, do ceremony or ritual is the way that feels best to you, with harm to none, of course. But we do need to honor the specific traditions so they are not all diluted through multiculturalism.
From the East we have the yellow people (Asia) and the gift of Air, Brother Wind, clarity of vision, inspiration, the new day, new beginnings, establishment of purpose and intention, and springtime.
From South, we receive the wisdom of the black people (Africa), Fire. The tools, strength, perseverance and energy to follow through and manifest, midday/ noon, summer, also humor and passion, innocence and trust.
The West gives us the culture of the Red people (such as Native Americans), the setting sun, Water, emotions, the fall season, self-evaluation toward completion, looks-within time, peace, rest and healing.
And the North represents the White (European) people and all their cultural gift. The sacred mountain, winter, midnight, time to slow down, go within and be still to receive guidance for what comes next. Completion, what you keep from the past cycle and all that you have accomplished and learned. It is also associated with the Spirit and wisdom.
Note: You can also honor the other 3 directions: Earth (below), Sky (above) and Center (within).
I hope you enjoyed these five creative ways to give thanks and I wish you abundant blessings on your journey!
Finally, in the spirit of Sufi mystic poet Rumi, I invite you to kiss the ground. Blow kisses to the sky. Bow to everything. Everything is sacred.
More resources for your path, including free special reports on abundance, love, transformational classes, hypnotherapy, soul and shamanic/Reiki energy healing sessions, intuitive readings, matchmaking and more are at: