Symbols, such as the medicine wheel, are common among Sioux Indians, especially the Lakota Sioux. The Lakota Sioux believed each section of the medicine wheel had some spiritual significance. To them, the medicine wheel represents enlightenment, growth, strength and knowledge. Each color on the medicine wheel signifies a different season and lifestyle. Inside the circle is a cross shape. The cross symbolizes the four directions, and also the Four Lakota Virtues. The shape of the wheel represents the never ending circle of life and death.
It means the Alpha and the Omega, Beginning and End, and to the Lakota Sioux, represents unity in the Great Spirit. One of the four sacred colors found on the medicine wheel is red. It is located at the top left hand side of the four corners. Red symbolizes several things, including north; this (north) symbolizes the passing of the ancient and ancestors. “North brings cold harsh winds of the winter season”. This cleansing wind causes the leaves to fall and buries the earth underneath a blanket of snow. Lakota Sioux believed “.
If someone had the ability to face these harsh winds, like the buffalo, they have learned patience and endurance” . The element of the North is Air. Air is movement and” freedom - the clearing of thoughts and the carrier that allows us to manifest our dreams” . Air represents the mind. The color red and that section of the wheel also symbolize wisdom. They believed wisdom to be of one of the best qualities, and is usually met in or after death. Red also represents the last part of the lie cycle: afterlife
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White is the second of the four sacred colors found on the medicine wheel of the Lakota Sioux. It is located at the bottom left corner on the medicine wheel. “White stands for youth and friendship”. It represents the south. This direction is for warmth and growth since the sun is at its highest peak in the southern sky. “The sun’s rays are powerful in drawing life from the earth” . The Lakota Sioux believed life of all things come from the south, so this section also represents the second phase of the llie cycle. ” The South is where our journey through life begins - with the knowing of self” .
Yellow is the third of all the sacred colors found on the medicine wheel. Yellow signifies the east where the sun rises. This brings us the energy of adventure. The Lakota Sioux believed this to symbolize family and newborns. This is also the beginning of a new day and a new understanding of life and people. “On a deeper level, east stands for the wisdom in helping people live good lives” . This section is located at the bottom right corner of the medicine wheel. The element of the East is Fire. Fire is the radiant energy of transformation. Fire contains the great power of expansion” . They believed this section of life is to help us find innocence and purity. It is a great path among the rode to spirituality. Black is the last color section in the medicine wheel. It is located in the top left hand corner.
Black signifies the west, where the sun sets and the day ends. The color is black, not in nothingness, “.. but the black of "all things"”. It is the color of mystery and of the unconscious. The Lakota Sioux believed the west the be the source of all water, so this section is vital. The great thunderbird lives in the west and sends thunder and rain from this direction”. Back represents solitude, reflection and growing old. The direction of South was our beginning of knowing who the “self” is. “The direction of the West deepens this knowing through dreams and visions of the future”. They believed the element of the West is earth. Earth is passive, receptive and nurturing. A deep connection with earth is needed to bring ourselves into balance with Universe. Black is the second to last part of the life cycle: death.
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