Medicine Wheel

Medicine Wheel Exercise – 20 Min
OBJECTIVE: Understand benefits of self-care within the medicine wheel teachings.
 Introduce the Medicine Wheel (15 min)
The following information offers some insight into terminology used in Aboriginal
community. The best knowledge source regarding Aboriginal culture and traditions is
Aboriginal people and communities themselves.
Refer to the Medicine Wheel handout as a resource for further understanding of the
The Medicine Wheel is a symbol that represents the circle of life. It is a very deep and
complex symbol. A full understanding of all the teachings related to the Medicine Wheel
would take a lifetime. A core concept of the Medicine Wheel is balance, harmony, and
The four directions of the Medicine Wheel remind us of many things, particularly the
need for balance in the world, and the balance we must strive for every day, within
ourselves. For this workshop, we provide a handout with a very basic explanation of the
Medicine Wheel. We acknowledge that teachings vary throughout Turtle Island (North
America), and are respected as such. This is one version of those teachings. The
underlying basic precepts of each Nation's teachings are the same.
This direction is the place of the Physical realm, the colour Yellow.
This direction is the place of the Mental realm, the colour Red.
This direction is the place of the Emotional realm, the colour Black. Finding peace
doesn’t necessarily come from the head, as the West teaches, it comes from the heart.
It also teaches us about creativity and the joy of spontaneity and artistic expression.
This direction is the place of the Spiritual realm, the colour White. Spiritual in this
context means where you find peace, connectedness and deep meaning.
And so now we have come full circle, and I give thanks to the Teachings of the East, the
South, the West, and the North. Meegwetch (gratitude) to the many Elders who have
shared their Teachings for the next seven generations.
Creating the Change We Want – A Guide for Building Neighbourhood Capacity
-- Source: Traditional Teachings from various North American Aboriginal Grandmothers and
 Complete the Medicine Wheel (15 min)
Invite individuals to complete their own medicine wheel by providing the Medicine
Wheel handout.
Pose the question: “How do you, or would you like to, take care of yourself in the
specified directions?”
exercise, eating well, relaxation
learning, reading, time for reflection
honouring and expressing your feelings
prayer, meditation, time in nature, connection
Invite participants to report back and share one self-care idea from their medicine
wheel. Write responses on Flipchart.
Give participants the Benefits of Caring for Ourselves handout with the individual at
the centre, the next circle is family/friends, the next circle is the neighbourhood, and
the last circle the City.
Refer to the drawing of the above circles on a flipchart and invite participants to
share one response from each section. (5 min)
Tip: Highlight that in taking care of ourselves within the context of doing
neighbourhood work, we as individuals and as a group, are better able to affect
system level change such as voicing our concerns and working with service
providers and the City.
Creating the Change We Want – A Guide for Building Neighbourhood Capacity
Medicine Wheel
Creating the Change We Want – A Guide for Building Neighbourhood Capacity
Benefits of Caring for Ourselves
and Each Other
Creating the Change We Want – A Guide for Building Neighbourhood Capacity