My own Medicine Wheel
More pictures and plants.

Original story on the medicine wheel

Most Medicine Wheels or Prayer Gardens represent the element of the circle. The circle represents the world and encloses everything within. The circle is divided into four quarters according to the compass. Each quarter has it's own powers, colors and symbols. These vary from tribe to tribe, but are often interpreted as:

North (Earth:white for winter) 
South (Fire: red for passion -time of fertility)
East (yellow -Air-Spring and where the LIGHT begins)
 West (black - Water-ending of the day)

I tried to indicate the usage of rocks to represent an outer border and an inner circle. The four larger rocks represent the primary anchors of N,S,E and West.  As a Nurseryman I found those color combinations uncomfortable but since I was using an earlier template made by Jan Butler of P.A. WA ., I continued with the idea, but added the 12 astrological divisions shown next. Another alternative would change the West to Blue representing Water - emotions. and the North to Green representing Earth - wisdom gathered. Had I to do it over again I would use those colors.

The three rocks between represent the divisions I made to represent the astrological signs be they of Western or Native American traditions. Into those I placed rocks of my closest friends (chosen by time. The outcome was interesting and dispelled some of my scepticism about astrology. More on that later.
The four  dark lines only represent pathways that I put down with bark to get to the inner circle. The Eastward path is where one enters from..
The color divisions are the crossed lines.

My own interpretationhad the addition of a smaller inner circle in which where I placed the rocks of my parents or other friends who had finished walking the outer circle. The number of these rocks would grow as  I grew older - and the rocks in the outer circle grew ever smaller..

The outer quadrants were planted with low perennials and groundcovers that had the colors I wished to represent the four seasons.

As the West (fall) leads into winter I chose the darker colors of fall, red's and even black to represent closure.

North is usually white, because winter comes from here. It is a cleansing color and has the power to heal. As we grow older our hair turns white as we come to our own time of winter.r 

East is the color of spring and the first beginnings of buds swelling, it has the power to bring forth life. Green or Yellow to represent the coming of light with the morning sun..

South is the summer and brings with the strong sun, warmth and the the passionate power to grow and propagate..

I feel that we all begin in the Sign we were born and move with the seasons to the next -- winter to spring and so on, until we leave that circle and travel to the circle within..

Into each quadrant my friends placed their own rock to celebrate our connected journeys. 

The Four directions points should be marked using a compass to find exact North. It is not where you might expect it.
You will need to determine how large your own medicine wheel will be and this will be determined by the size of your lot
or perhaps the number of friends you have made and still can put up with you.
You might also consider some options or considerations.
  1. Some may opt to build a small fire pit in the very center.
  2. An interesting focus stone might be used in the center.
  3. Eastward is where you enter the circle from.
  4. This is your space and whatever is powerful for you should be used.
  5. It would be helpful if the site is flat and does not have horsetails in it. (My own big error!)
  6. . With the four power points marked complete filling in the circle with three stones between each power point. Between these points are three stones each representing months or the astrological signs. As asomewhat twisted rock-a-holic I would attempt to use a marking stone representing the power of the sign. Aries (Red Jasper), Taurus (Jade), Leo (Carnelian) and so on. Being a Sagittarius I used LAPIS!

I am sure that much more needs to be said and sadly I do not have any pictures of Jan's circle garden or of my own. I suspect they all reside in 3 inch floppies that my computer can no longer read. I also began with some musings about what I no longer have. As with Jan, A medicine wheel garden I had to leave behind.

Sign               NativeNumber of  friends in the circleCompatable withExplanations

Red Tailed Hawk 
Beaver Taurus
Deer Gemini
Flicker Cancer
Sturgeon Leo
Brown Bear Virgo
Raven Libra
Snake Scorpio
Elk Sagg
Snow Goose Cap
Otter, AQ
Cougar Pisces

Four Two loves, Both 3-21, ex wife 3-20 couldabeen 3-25
One and my OMA
Two  dearest friends, one who died way too young
Two  including an estranged daughter
Two Another daughter
One  undescrible relationship
Five and myself
One  my mother
One another daughter
Two  An ex-wife and a difficult friend
Leo, Sagg
Virgo, Cap.
Libra, Aquarius,Gemini
Scorpio, Pisces
Sagg. Aries
Cap, Taurus, Virgo
Aguarius, Gemini,Libra
Pisces, Cancer
Aries, Leo
Taurus, Virgo
Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
all loves of mine
recent pen pal,

also easy good friends
best friends mostly
not with Sagg.


not Sagg. Diff relationships
You may note that I only included the dearest (or worst) of relationships. But the same proportion also fell to casual friends who contributed their rocks to the circle. Some ended up being filled and others remained empty. In my case being a Fire Sign, Leo and Aries  were populated  and  others remained empty. We simply did not mesh.
 With the exception  of one dear friend now passed on in Virgo.

How is this explained or this note:  "Cougar - mortal enemy of Deer and Elk. YUP. Or  that I was supposed to be attracted to Aries  and Leo. YUP.
All this before I met Jan and some people into astrology. Building and maintaining this medicine wheel convinced me of some of its truths..

TRY IT OUT YOURSELF -- Even if it is on a spreadsheet!

(c) Herb Senft 2002 and 2013