Simply speaking, the medicine wheel is the symbol and teaching of the natural world in Native traditions. It is a circle, or wheel, symbolizing the elements of the earth (earth, fire, water, air), seasons, time, moon phases, and the cyclical nature of Mother Earth. It is our compass and guide to walking this life, revealing each season's teachings as the time comes. Currently, we are in the North direction of Winter, earth medicine, a time of hibernation, endurance, and home life.
During the Winter, while I am complaining of the cold, layering and stocking up on scarves, sweaters and blankets, I can easily forget what's going on in the natural world around me. And then I am reminded by the perseverance and power of the Gray Whale. During the cold winter months, the Gray Whales migrate 7,000 miles from Alaska to Baja, California, and long the Pacific coast of the US, to birth their babies in warmer waters. Once the babies are born, the whales with their babies in tow make the 7,000 mile trek once again to Alaska where the feed and raise their young. Overall, it is a 14,000 mile migration and one of the largest in the world. I am blessed to live in Southern California and have the opportunity to watch and witness this phenomena in action.
So thank you, Gray Whale, for reminding me to stop complaining-- after all I cannot and do not have to swim 7,000 miles, let alone, walk 5 miles in one day. Thank you for reminding me to move my body in the winter months-- my body is more capable than I ever give it credit for. Thank you for honoring your natural rhythms, as the moon pulls the waters you live in. I am in awe of your steady power and endurance.