What does the Native North American Medicine Wheel have to do with the Tarot?
Plenty. At least enough for us to get a different view of the Tarot and thus enhance our perceptions.
Firstly, both Medicine Wheel and Tarot are esoteric systems built to unfold wisdom according to the perception of the observer. Obvious meanings are clear to the initiate. Esoteric (hidden, deeper) meanings are unveiled to the more seasoned seeker.
Also, both Wheel and Tarot share four roots of wisdom.
The Medicine Wheel provided by the Sioux is divided in four equal parts. Similarly, there are four major divisions in the Tarot as seen in the suits (Pentacles, Wands, Cups, Pentacles).
Here’s a Sioux Medicine wheel illustrating corresponding Tarot suits:
Each quadrant within the sacred Native Wheel represents an aspect of life, wisdom, distinct qualities, elements and attributes – just like the Tarot suits.
Walking the Native North American Indian Medicine Wheel in our Tarot practices can galvanize our understanding of the deeper meanings of life. Furthermore, there’s something about the indigenousness of Wheel-Wisdom combined with Tarot that brings about tremendous insights.
Maybe it’s the polarity juxtaposed to similarity that causes odd shifts in our mental paradigms.
Whatever the case, I’m inviting you to fuse the Wheel and Tarot together. Approach this branch of contemplation in a loose, meditative way.
Attributes of the Medicine Wheel and Tarot suits
Yellow : Wands : Fire
A tribute to the East. Where the new beginnings of creation stir at the cusp of dawn. With the rising sun, a dawning of something greater overwhelms us. As the new warmth presses upon us, our own divine spark ignites and we are aware of far more potential in life than ever before. In this spiritually-focused quadrant, the intangible self lives vibrantly and scintillates creative wisdom.
Black : Pentacles : Earth
A tribute to the West. When we trace the path of the setting sun our eyes are left looking upon the earth’s body. With this earthy, grounded vision we contemplate the material, and the bounty borne from the mouth of matter. In this physically-focused quadrant, the roots of our own bodies mingle with mass. We understand totality.
White : Swords : Air
A tribute to the North. Science and knowledge accumulated through our life cycles has purified, and trickles from the tips of ice-capped mountains of wisdom. As these trickles of knowing move to our awareness, we prepare for Intellectual illumination. In this mentally-focused quadrant, the greatest reaches of our comprehension roll back into us, causing avalanches of deductive reason.
Red : Cups : Water
A tribute to the South. A dive into liquid bloodlines reveals the music of undulating emotions. We submerge into renewing waters where we lean into the cosmic aortic pulse. . Each beat of our collective heart mixes our life waters, and we experience whole love. In this emotionally-focused quadrant, we softly feel our way into a greater current. We understand unity.
These are just a few thoughts to get your inspiration rotating in the Sioux Medicine Wheel and your Tarot practices.
Once you’re familiar with the four cornerstones of this deeper wisdom, begin to conduct further study and make more connections.
This article, The Elements – Understanding Tarot Suits (free on this site) is a fabulous next step on your spiritual journey.
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