There Are Many Connections Between Celtic Or Keltic Tradition And The Medicine Wheel, Both Sharing A Similar Spiritual Alchemy And A Focus On Natural, Organic Magic.
There is an obvious connection between the Celtic or Keltic traditions of Europe and the Medicine Wheel path of the Americas, in that the circle was a significant and powerful organising principle used within their spiritual cosmologies. As well as a great reverence for the natural world and organic magic and in this respect they share a similar spiritual alchemy.
But the connection between these traditions goes far deeper and a study of one can inform and expand the knowledge of the other. Without doubt the Celts and the original inhabitants of the British Isles, had a vast and complex knowledge of the spiritual nature of reality and how to work with the natural and elemental forces of nature. It must be remembered that the Celts were not the original inhabitants of these Islands, both Stonehenge and Newgrange predated the arrival of the Celts by over nearly 3,000 years and it is very likely that these original people like the Maya were the remnants of a previous maritime civilization possibly related to the mythical Atlantis.
Unfortunately much of the original knowledge has been lost over time through the hostility of the Romans who sort to destroy the power of the Druidic Priesthood and the Christian Church, who persecuted any kind of indigenous spirituality and natural magic. Much of our current understanding comes from fragments of folk law and a few texts from the 11th Century and beyond. Despite this there is a lively present day revival of the Celtic Magic of our ancestors.
When I discovered the Medicine Wheel teachings I felt I had touched something crucial and it grabbed my attention like nothing I had encountered before. During my first adventures on this path I was unsure as to exactly what it was, but it was alive and exciting and touched something deep in my being. Many years on and wiser through my association, I am clearer as to the nature of this.
The Medicine Wheel teachers that I first encountered came from an unbroken linage of verbal teachings that stretched back thousands of years. There was an authority here that held the accumulated power and continual practice of those countless generations and it was a tangible force that could be experienced, one that opened doors inside my consciousness. As I listened and participated in the ceremonies I felt that I had a direct connection to what was being offered. It was as though I knew the truth of what was being said, had heard it before although I knew in reality I had not.
It was the power, aliveness and the sheer depth of understanding and knowledge that these teaching possessed that motivated me to continue my studies and commit to several serious apprenticeships. As I continued I started to see how this new knowledge was enhancing and developing my understanding of the Celtic path. Many years on I am now aware of the reality of some of these connections, some of which are very direct. After working with Hyemeyohsts Storm and reading his book 'Lightningbolt' I discovered that there was direct contact between the Medicine Wheel tradition and the traditions of these islands. He suggests that the Medicine Wheel was brought to North America by the Mayans during one of their large migrations from Central Mexico.
They settled in Arizona in the Chaco Canyon area and there they came into conflict with a large land army of European's who were a formidable military force possessing 'iron shirts'. The conflict between these peoples threatened to annihilate both and it was only the secret meeting between the medicine people of both that stopped the conflict. They found though their dialogue that they shared many values, in particular both had strong inhibitions against human sacrifice and slavery.
Eventually both groups decided to join together and become one people, which they did after assassinating those leaders that argued for war. Hyemeyohsts Storm states clearly that these peoples brought with them a substantial body of knowledge which he calls the 'Earth Lodge Sun Dance Teachings' and that this knowledge was integrated into the Medicine Wheel tradition. My understanding of this is that these teachings informed and created the Native American Sun Dance and the sweat lodge ceremonies.
Although our history has not recorded the Sundance as part of our culture or any large migrations of our people to the Americas before Columbus, it is fact that the Vikings created colonies in Newfoundland and that both the Runes and Celtic Ogham have been discovered. Interestingly when early Welsh settlers in the Americas encountered a tribe of Native Americans, known as the Mandan who grew beards, they had blond hair and blue eyes among them, and spoke a defendable form of Welsh. Unfortunately this tribe which when first encountered numbered over 7000 individuals was quickly reduced to a few hundred by the ravages of disease brought from Europe, to which they had no immunity. Thus much of there history died with the tribe.
I feel that those who walk the Celtic path have much to learn from an investigation and study of the Medicine Wheels and I recommend my online course 'The Cartography Of The Invisible' or any of my Medicine Wheel Workshops to those who are interested. I will be running a series of workshops for the Wiccan Education Society that are aimed at those working in the British Traditions
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