MEDICINE WHEELS are 28 day lunar calendars

Discussion in 'Ancient, Indigenous, & Tribal Calendars' started by CULCULCAN, Jan 28, 2015.


    CULCULCAN The Final Synthesis - isbn 978-0-9939480-0-8 Staff Member

    MEDICINE WHEELS are 28 day lunar calendars
    • A Discovery By Susan Lynne Schwenger from 1984

    Medicine wheels are 28 day lunar calendars, as, well as solar calendars

    ~ each spoke represents a day within the lunar cycle

    ~ there are six (6) spokes within the solar cycle that extend beyond the circle

    and, they can be aligned to the sunrise,
    on the first day of each of The Six (6) Season Calendar Months

    known as: Winter, Spring, Break-up, Summer, Fall, and, Freeze-up Seasons.

    The Six (6) Season Calendar aka The Ancient Year (360)
    aka The Thirteen (13) Moon Calendar is defined by a start date
    on the last full moon of December, each and every year - which begins The Winter Cycle
    flowing through The Spring cycle, The Break-up Cycle, The Summer Cycle, The Fall Cycle,
    and, The Freeze-up Cycle.

    It can also be aligned to a Six (6) Event Calendar
    where it aligns 4 seasons (winter, spring, summer, fall, and,
    runs through the yearly dates of both The Equinox & The Solstice

    ~ Susan Lynne Schwenger

    Medicine Wheel, A Native American Sacred Site
    and National Historic Landmark in Wyoming - 213 feet

    Source of Photograph:

    Last edited: Jan 28, 2015

    CULCULCAN The Final Synthesis - isbn 978-0-9939480-0-8 Staff Member

    The Bighorn Medicine Wheel predates the Indian tribes in the region
    and is thought to be about 700 years old.

    Members of the Crow tribe, who have long used the Medicine Wheel for rituals,
    ascribe its creation to a boy named Burnt Face.

    According to the story, the boy fell into the fire as a baby and was severely scarred.

    When Burnt Face reached his teen years, he went on a vision quest in the mountains,
    where he fasted and built the medicine wheel.

    During his quest, he helped drive away an animal who attacked baby eaglets.
    In return, he was carried off by an eagle and his face was made smooth.

    For centuries, the Bighorn Medicine Wheel has been used by Crow youth
    for fasting and vision quests.

    Native Americans also go to Bighorn to offer thanks for the creation that sustains them,
    placing a buffalo skull on the center cairn as a prayer offering.

    Prayers are offering here for healing, and atonement is made for harm done to others and to Mother Earth.

    A number of great chiefs, including Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce,
    have come to the Bighorn Medicine Wheel
    to pray for wisdom and guidance to lead their people
    in the transition from freedom to reservation life.

    The medicine wheel was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1969.
    ~ Listry Dakota

    CULCULCAN The Final Synthesis - isbn 978-0-9939480-0-8 Staff Member

    Native American's of the Americas by Blood Not by Government Papers
    at Big Horn National Forest

    The Medicine Wheel is Native, and only Native.
    It does not originally exist anywhere else in the world,
    nor does it represent races of man as many believe in error.
    The Medicine Wheel of today has been redefined and distorted
    to suggesting each color represents a race of man,
    yet when the original wheels were built Native man had no contact with any other races of men.
    The original medicine wheels are thousands of years old.
    The majority of stone structures built representing ancient Medicine Wheels on our land are located in Alberta, Canada.
    Some of these medicine wheel have been dated to nearly 5,500 years ago.
    The oldest medicine wheel is the 5,500 year old Majorville Cairn in southern Alberta.
    There is evidence of dancing on some of these Medicine Wheels.
    These wheels were built long before any contact with the White race, the Black race, or the Asian race
    that are now associated with the main stream meaning of the medicine wheel with the colors of black, white, yellow, and red.
    The Authentic Medicine wheel represents the Four Corners of our land,
    with the following colors representing direction.
    There are slight differences within tribes which have about the same meaning.
    West - black - night. (not Black man)
    North - white - snow - cold - white haired wisdom elders - white clothed birds and animals. (not White man)
    East - yellow - morning - new day - beginnings. (Not Asian Man)
    South - red - warmth of full day sun. (Not Native man)
    We as Natives must reclaim OUR CULTURE and what is ancient and sacred within it.
    We must discontinue any alterations of our Ancestors original teachings,
    we must stop adapting our ways to accommodate the ways of others.

    Page Administrator
    ‎Red Nation‬

    CULCULCAN The Final Synthesis - isbn 978-0-9939480-0-8 Staff Member

    Medicine Wheel

    In Native American spirituality, the Medicine Wheel represents harmony and connections and is considered a major symbol
    of peaceful interaction among all living beings on Earth. A number of stone Medicine Wheels are scattered across the plains of Alberta
    and northern United States. Some are extremely large with a diameter greater then 12 meters across.

    The term "medicine wheel" was first applied to the Big Horn Medicine Wheel in Wyoming, the most southern and one of the largest in existence.

    That site consists of a central circle of piled rock surrounded by a circle of stone; "Rays" of stones travel out from the central core of rock and its surrounding circle. The structure looks like the wheel of a bicycle. Alberta and British Columbia, have two-thirds of all known Medicine wheels (47) which suggests that Southern Alberta was a central meeting place for many Plains First Nations tribes who followed Medicine Wheel ceremonies.

    Despite their physical existence, there is a lot of mystery that surrounds the Medicine Wheel as no written record to their purpose has been found.

    Of the many theories to their purpose, the two learning theories are: the wheels contain significant stellar and cosmological alignments,
    and/or, the performance of specific rituals and ceremonies that have been long forgotten.

    Medicine Wheels are still used today in the Native American spirituality, however most of the meaning behind them is not shared
    among Non-Native peoples.
    A medicine wheel at Big Horn.

    Erecting massive stone structures is a well-documented activity of ancient man, from the Egyptian pyramids to Stonehenge, and the natives of Northern America are no different in this regard. What does separate them from the rest is how non-intrusive their structures were.

    Unlike the usual towering stone monoliths, the natives simply laid down lots of stones on the earth in certain arrangements.

    One of the more obtuse arrangements is the medicine wheel. Medicine wheels appear all over northern United States and southern Canada, specifically South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Alberta, and Saskatchewan.

    Most of the wheels have been found in Alberta. In all over 70 medicine wheels have been found.

    One of the prototypical medicine wheels is in Big Horn County, Wyoming.

    This 75 foot diameter wheel has 28 spokes, and is part of a vast set of old Native American sites that document
    7,000 years of their history in that area.
    How are they made?

    Medicine wheels were constructed by laying stones in a particular pattern on the ground. Most medicine wheels follow the basic pattern
    of having a center cairn of stones, and surrounding that would be an outer ring of stones, then there would be "spokes", or lines of rocks,
    coming out the cairn. Almost all medicine wheels would have at least two of the three elements mentioned above
    (the center cairn, the outer ring, and the spokes), but beyond that there were many variations on this basic design,
    and every wheel found has been unique and has had its own style and eccentricities.

    The most common deviation between different wheels are the spokes. There is no set number of spokes for a medicine wheel to have.

    The spokes within each wheel are rarely evenly spaced out, or even all the same length. Some medicine wheels will have one particular spoke
    that's significantly longer than the rest, suggesting something important about the direction it points (see Meaning below).

    Another variation is whether the spokes start from the center cairn and go out only to the outer ring, or whether they go past the outer ring,
    or whether they start at the outer ring and go out from there. An odd variation sometimes found in medicine wheels is the presence
    of a passageway, or a doorway, in the circles. The outer ring of stones will be broken, and there will be a stone path leading up
    to the center of the wheel. Also many medicine wheels have various other circles around the outside of the wheel,
    sometimes attached to spokes or the outer ring, and sometimes just seemingly floating free of the main structure.
    What do they mean?

    Medicine wheels have been built and used for so long, and each one has enough unique characteristics, that archeologists have found it
    nearly impossible to tell exactly what each one was for, and haven't had much success at making broad generalizations about their function
    and meaning. One of the older wheels has been dated to over 4,500 years old; it had been built up by successive generations
    who would add new features to the circle. Due to the long existence of such a basic structure, archeologists suspect that the function
    and meaning of the medicine wheel changed over time, and it is doubtful that we will ever know what the original purpose was.

    It is not hard to imagine that medicine wheels, like most large stone structures, would probably have served a ceremonial or ritual purpose.

    There is evidence of dancing within some of the wheels. Other wheels were probably used as part of a ritual vision quest.

    Astronomer John Eddy put forth the theory that some of the wheels had astronomical significance, where the longest spoke on a wheel
    could be pointing to a certain star at a certain time of the year, suggesting that the wheels were a way to mark certain days of the year.

    Other scientists have shown that some of the wheels mark the longest day of the year.

    (Note that an astronomical/calendar theory has been suggested for just about every unnatural stone structure on Earth.)

    This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
    It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Medicine Wheel ".

    CULCULCAN The Final Synthesis - isbn 978-0-9939480-0-8 Staff Member


    Why were the Medicine Wheels Built and For What were They Used?​

    bighornNG. There are hundreds of known medicine wheelsin North America with the majority of them in Canada. Although they are numerous, only a small percentage have been studied. In that small percentage, an interesting correspondence has been discovered: most of these wheels have a cairn, or central pile of stones, that can be used to align to the sunrise at summer solstice. Could this be a coincidence, or an important step in unraveling their mysteries?

    The more elaborate constructs of the Bighorn and Moose Mountain medicine wheels have become the center of the studies of astronomers and archaeologists alike. What makes these two wheels so unique is that they are thought to be aligned to other objects in the sky as well as the summer solstice Sun.

    Solar and Stellar Alignments

    Astronomer John Eddy* became intrigued by the cairns of the Bighorn medicine wheel in the 1970s. He discovered that one pair of cairns was aligned to solstice sunrise and another to solstice sunset. But he could find no answer for the existence of the other cairns. They seemed to have a purpose since they were so prominent. What could it be?
    Dr. Eddy began his search with the sunrises and sunsets of other important dates, such as winter solstice and the equinoxs but found no correlations. Not easily deterred, he checked for alignments to the Moon and stars. The paths and cycles of the Moon lead to nothing substantial. However, in the stars he found an intriguing correlation. Because of the Bighorn wheel's location, on top of a high and windy mountain, the wheel is only accessible for about two months in mid summer. The rest of the year the wind-swept plateau is covered in snow and freezing cold. Eddy needed a starting point so he began looking for stars that were in the sky in the months before and after summer solstice, when the mountain was accessible.
    What he found were alignments to three stars during their heliacal risings. Heliacal risingsoccur when a star has been behind the Sun for a season, but is just returning to visibility. There is one morning when the star "blinks" on before the sunrise. That one special morning is called the star's heliacal rising. Not all stars have heliacal risings because some stars remain above the horizon all the time. Only certain stars rise and flash into existence in the predawn glow of the horizon. Each day that passes after the heliacal rising, the star will appear to rise earlier and remain in the sky longer until its soft glow is obliterated by the rising sun. Because these helical risings were so specific, just one day, they were used by many different ancient civilizations to mark specific events such as the drought season and planting time. It is not surprising that the Plains Indians would use heliacal risings to signal the coming and going of the solstice.
    Eddy found that three major cairn-pairs had corresponding heliciacal rising alignments to Aldeberan, Rigel, and Sirius, three of the brightest stars in the sky. A later researcher found a cairn alignment for Fomalhaut, another very bright star. These alignments all occur from standing and sighting at one specific cairn.

    The heliacal rising of Aldeberan signals the coming of the summer solstice in just a couple days. Rigel rises almost exactly one lunar month (28 days) after Aldeberan and Sirius one month after Rigel. This could account for for Bighorn's 28 spokes. The rising of Sirius could be the signal to pack up and leave Bighorn because the weather was going to take a severe turn. The alignment of Fomalhaut occurs 28 days before the solstice.
    For more details on the astronomical alignments, see Petroform Astronomy.

    What else might the wheels have been used for?

    There are many different ideas about the origins of the wheels and the reasons they were built. One of the most exciting connections to the wheels is the Plains Indian Sun Dance. For many of the Plains Indians, the Sun Dance was their major communal religious ceremony. Generally held in the late spring or early summer, the rite celebrates renewal, spiritual rebirth, and regeneration of the living Earth with all its components. The ritual involves staring at the Sun while dancing, sacrifice, and supplication to insure harmony between all living things. Contemporary Native Americans continue this practice today.
    Some researchers believe that Bighorn closely resembles a Medicine Lodge or Sun Lodge. These structures were built out of wood by the Plains Indians for the their sacred Sun Dance ceremony. This supposition is supported by the lack of timber in the area where Bighorn was built. Stone would have been a more abundant building materials. wood. However, this correspondence does not fit with all medicine wheels since Bighorn is one of the few wheels that resemble the shape of the lodge.
    The heliacal alignments on the Bighorn wheel could be as simply as signifing the times of year when the weather is suitable for being on the mountain. The rising of Sirius would hav been the signal to pack up and leave before the winter weather set in.

    We do know that wheels had many different uses and those uses changed over the years from tribe to tribe. Some of them were used as burial mounds, or created to mark a special day in history. Some of them point not only to the Sun but other medicine wheels or natural resources. There seems to be evidence that some of the wheels were updated over the centuries to track the slight changes in solar and stellar alignments.

    * Eddy, John A, "Astronomical Alignments of the Bighorn Medicine Wheel," Science 184(4141):1035-1043; 1974.
    Image credits:
    • Medicine Wheel sunset photograph by Tom Melham. The Tom Melham photograph appeared in the National Geographic. According to them, it is part of a collection "Mysteries of Mankind: Earth's Unexplained Landmarks" and the image is listed as usuable, with no permission or payment required. One does need to give credit, which is: Medicine Wheel sunset photograph by Tom Melham.
    • Medicine Wheel color photo by Richard Collier, Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office. Used with permission.
    • Diagram from original by Jack Eddy{/td}

    CULCULCAN The Final Synthesis - isbn 978-0-9939480-0-8 Staff Member

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