Centre for Indigenous Studies, University of Toronto
The Medicine Wheel represents the worldview of Anishinaabe people. As a worldview it shows how all life is connected. It begins with the four cardinal directions: north, south, east and west, which articulate the relationship of humans to earth, sky, fire and water. Anishinaabe teaching, the seven grandfather teachings, the good life teachings, the spiritual belief system and the stories are all contained in the wheel. It also represents the medical paradigm of the Anishinaabe people in which illness is viewed as an imbalance within the body in its connection to the heart, spirit and mind. More than that, the Medicine Wheel is also a methodology, a way of arriving at an understanding of a being, phenomena, or an event as it constitutes a way of tracking a being’s journey, examining its connections with other beings, determining the influences of events/others/obstacles had on its journey and charting a way to restore balance or maintain balance as the case may be. In a sense, as both a worldview, a paradigm and an analytical methodology, the wheel becomes a sphere within which all spiritual and physical life can be understood in and of itself and in relation to all other beings. Lastly, it is a means by which many people can participate in understanding, studying, or discovering life, phenomena, ceremony or experience spirit-to-spirit connection.