Medicine Wheel Protocol

By Ai Gvhdi Waya
Copyright 2005-2011. All Rights Reserved.

NOTE: Hello Everyone,

Because of WHAT is coming up (See my article: Crack in the Cosmic Egg), I wanted to share with you some of my training in hopes it would help you. If this article and the information in it appeals to your spirit, try it. If you find it worthwhile, then you are ready for more training along your spiritual path with this particular type of training. There are many, many paths that lead to spiritual development and this is simply one of them. But it is mine and it works daily for me. It may, also, for you, if you are wanting to reconnect with Mother Earth.

I would urge you to try it. Why? Because, as we enter the gauntlet on the next two years, we need to be in the best state of balance and harmony we can become. THIS protocol will aid you in doing just that. If you ‘sit the medicine wheel’ daily for only twenty minutes, it CAN change your life on every level if you allow it.

If you have questions, please post them to If you are not a member of athena, you can join by going to and read the
instructions on how to join.

I do invite your questions and I’ll try to answer them. I’m in hopes that many of my students, who have been taught this very protocol, will jump in here on athena and share how it has helped them in their life.

And so, this is a gift from my heart to each of your hearts. May you use this sacred information in a good way for all our relations…


I thought I’d share some of my knowledge with you in hopes that it will help you to maintain your balance and try to stay in harmony during these trying times. I am part Eastern Cherokee and I’m going to talk about the medicine wheel. All protocol information comes from my teacher, Richard Graves, Western Cherokee Medicine Man. The assignments of the animal in the wheel are the assignments he’s given me that I have practiced with for twenty years now. The rest of the information below are my experiences with the medicine wheel.

If you could imagine a circle with North, East, South and West on the respective, correct sides of it, you have a medicine wheel. In the center, it is GREEN to represent Mother Earth and our grounding with Her.

The importance of the wheel cannot be underestimated. As Dick once told me,  “We all have a personal medicine wheel of energy surrounding each of us.”

The circle symbolizes the continuity and connection to all living things–we are part of, not separate from, all of them. ‘All my relations’ means just that. It is an acknowledgment that two-leggeds are no better, no higher, and not smarter or better than any of of our
other relations.

Relations are all living things that walk, crawl, swim or fly. They are the insects, the reptiles, the amphibians, the birds and animals. Even protozoa, bacteria and viruses are acknowledged as being part of the great Hoop of Life and are never excluded. Relations also include us- all two-leggeds known as human beings.

The Medicine Wheel is our foundation. We are aware of it in so many different ways.

Each Nation has their own, unique assignments of plant, animal and stone for the major directions. My advice is stick to one Nation’s medicine wheel assignments and do not ‘mix and match’ different nations with the wheel. The reason the wheel works in the first
place is that thousands of years of energy with those particular assignments to the directions and what is ruled beneath it, has created a powerful thought form that can be tapped into when we step into a Medicine Wheel, and we can consciously work with that energy. The below information is what I was taught and what I work with. I never change or swap out anything that has to do with these directions.


There are rules to the Medicine Wheel (and please note, depending upon the Nation, these may vary, but this is what was passed on to me).

  1. You always enter through the East Gate.
  2. You always walk CLOCKWISE in a wheel; never counter clockwise.
  3. You always exit out the East Gate. You never break through the circle at any point nor leave the circle in any direction other than the East Gate.
  4. You enter with humility, humbleness, and open heart and an understanding that as you come to the East Gate, you are there to work WITH the energies present within the wheel.
  5. You come to the East Gate, stop, give cornmeal or tobacco to that Spirit who rules that direction, the Spotted Eagle (Golden Eagle), and silently or verbally ask permission to ENTER into the wheel. You NEVER assume you can go in. By coming to the East Gate you are acknowledging oneness with all relations and by stopping, giving a gift and asking permission is no different than if you went to a neighbor’s house and knocked on their door asking permission to go into it.
  6. Once in the Medicine Wheel, I gift a gift of cornmeal–female energy symbol (or you can use tobacco–male energy symbol). I then go in a clockwise direction to the South, to Grandfather Coyote, and thank him for allowing me to be in the wheel while gifting him with the cornmeal. I resume my slow walk (there is NEVER any talking or chatting in a Medicine Wheel!!) to the West and gift Grandmother Medicine Bear. Next, I walk quietly to the North and gift the Great White Buffalo. I continue my walk to the East Gate where I will stop and then face the center of the wheel, where Mother Earth resides.



Earth — NORTH

Attribute-Wisdom/practicality/logic/rational/left brain/feminine

Animal World-Buffalo, white (cow)

Mineral World-Jasper, Agate, Obsidian Quartz crystal, any black stone Plant World-Sacred sage (to burn), to cleanse one’s spirit and set intentions

Gender: female

Human World-Physical manifestation, making things into reality, understanding daily symbols/endurance/common sense/stability/calmness/groundedness/determination/ your word is your bond /working hard in a step-by-step manner to create and manifest
your dream or goal/success/high standing in the community/respect by peer group/master of some area of expertise/archeology/loves the past and history/paleontology/always a serious demeanor/does not know how to ‘play’/always the adult/always the responsible one/leader/corporate head/owns their own company or cottage industry/team player/team cheerleader/manager/boss/owner/ slow-but-sure/deep thinker/looks at all the details before making a decision/holds their own counsel/able to keep a secret or a confidence/loyal/longtime friends for decades/few friends but good ones/placid/hard to get angered but once there like a ‘bull in a china shop’/peacekeeper/counselor/diplomat/bringing sides together to resolve/arbitrator/real estate/loves the land/Mother Earth oriented/ecology oriented/gardner/greenhouse/ green plants in home/mountains/ living in mountains/living alone without feeling lonely/back to Nature/living close to Nature/hermit/escape to the mountains


Air — EAST


Animal World-Spotted Eagle (Golden Eagle)

Mineral World-Fluorite, Rutilated Quartz, any yellow stone Plant World-Cedar (to burn); activates Crown Chakra and opens it

Gender: male

Human World- Zen meditation, brainstorming, writing, speaking, teaching/communicating/writers /screen writing /songs/left brain–our every day working world/the mind/all mental activities/air travel/may fly an airplane/wants to be in the sky/loves the wind and weather related to wind/restless in the mind/insomnia/mind doesn’t shut down/curiosity/inquiring/asks a lot of questions/why?/scientists/doctors/ pilots/academia post/moves often/cannot stay still in mind or body/expert in some field requiring higher learning/lifelong learner in higher education/college degree/Ph.D. paper chase/alert/misses nothing/observes all the details/has a grasp of the microcosm AND macrocosm/a person of vision/ignores emotions and feelings/uses their mind only/cut off from the neck down–out of touch with senses/feelings/emotions/uncomfortable around emotional people or crying/always trying to keep their world in logical and rational only


Fire — SOUTH

Attribute-Faith, Protection, Anger, Pro-active

Animal World-Grandfather Coyote

Mineral World-Ruby, Red Jasper or any other red stone

Plant World-Juniper incense to honor all our relations during ritual
or ceremony

Gender: male

Human World- physical exercise/body awareness/passion in our work/sexuality and a passion for life in general/desire/procreation/vigor/vitality/appreciating our physical
body/athletic/spontaneity/playfulness/being childlike (but not immature or childish) about being alive/awe of life/loving life/appreciating all five senses/sense of humor/laughter/seeing the comical side of things/lightness/dancing/glad to be alive/the will to live is powerful/quickness/impatient/in a hurry/walks fast/talks fast/hand-arm movements/restless/unable to sit still/ADHD/jokester/plays jokes on others/remembers a lot of jokes to share with others/would rather play than work/late maturity/may be
childish even at 30 years old/late marriage (30 to 40 years old)/sales people/truck drivers/rocking chairs/love of railroad travel/travel by horse/hiking/rock climbing/adventurous, risk taker/gambler/eco-traveler/romanticist/idealist/no common sense/no rationale/no logic


Water — WEST

Gender: female

Attribute- Inner knowing/emotions/intuition/right brain/feminine

Animal World-Grandmother Medicine Bear

Mineral World-Pearl, Coral, shells, any blue stone

Plant World-Sweet grass to draw the elemental (wee folks, gnomes/fairies) to work with you in ritual and ceremony

Human World- Dream work/Vision quests/our emotions/being centered only in our emotions/knowing/feeling/sensing/our right brain/clairvoyance/knowing without knowing why you know something/deep faith no matter the adversities thrown at you/depth of feelings/emotional intelligence/sensitivity /situational awareness/super sensitive to everything/strong love of water, especially the ocean/healing through water/swimming/living near water/love of storms/thunderstorms/rain/weather–all kinds/love of storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, wind/boats/canoes/sailboats/love of ship travel/has a spa/has a swimming pool


Ideally, you need a friend who can help you do this. He/she can have a clip board with a piece of paper and pen. On the paper draw a circle and put N for North, E for east, S for south and W for west on the wheel.

What you want to do is go to the CENTER of the Medicine Wheel.

Next, you GROUND yourself. You always ground yourself before working with ANY kind of energy, but especially within the Medicine Wheel because it is a place of raw power. If you do not ground yourself beforehand, you can feel very disjointed, spacey and fragmented after being in there. So, always remember this part of the protocol. Ground before you work.


Imagine silver tree roots twining gently around your ankles with the tip of the root going down through the center of your foot and at least a hundred feet into Mother Earth. You are now grounded. You can open your eyes and begin.


I assess a person’s strength and weaknesses by asking them to stand in the CENTER of the medicine wheel. I ask them to face North after grounding and close their eyes. I ask them to ‘feel’ that direction.

There are three responses a person can give to their friend who is standing outside the wheel with the clipboard:

Comfortable: In other words, there is a ‘nice’ sensation to standing in a particular direction. Some people feel it as warmth, others as coolness or even cold. Others feel a tingle. Whatever you feel, it is correct. The one sensation that MUST be with it, however, is you
feel comfortable with this energy direction.

Uncomfortable: The sensation in this direction may make you feel restless, wanting to move away from it to downright not liking it at all. Again, you may feel a heat or cold or tingling with it as well. The one sensation that MUST be with it, however, is you feel highly
uncomfortable standing and facing that energy and direction.

Neutral: There is no sensation. It feels like a ‘dead zone’ or numbing. There is no sensation of comfort or discomfort. It’s as if there is NOTHING there interacting with you. This is what we refer to as a ‘neutral’ sensation.

When you ‘feel’ an energy you want to visualize or imagine your Heart Chakra opening up–wide open–and you perceive, imagine or visualize the energy from the North (or whatever the direction), coming into your heart. Wait 1-2 minutes to ‘adjust’ to the direction energy and then, whatever your feeling to the North: comfortable, uncomfortable or neutral, speak up and share it with your friend. He/she will then write on the North direction one of your three responses. Then, open your eyes.

Your next direction (remember: we always move in a clockwise direction in a wheel) is EAST direction. Close your eyes repeat the same as you did with the North direction. Respond to your friend if you feel comfortable, uncomfortable or neutral with this direction. Then, open your eyes.

Your next direction (remember: we always move in a clockwise direction in a wheel) is SOUTH direction. Close your eyes repeat the same as you did with the North direction. Respond to your friend if you feel comfortable, uncomfortable or neutral with this direction. Then, open your eyes.

Your next direction (remember: we always move in a clockwise direction in a wheel) is the WEST direction. Close your eyes repeat the same as you did with the North direction. Respond to your friend if you feel comfortable, uncomfortable or neutral with this
direction. Then, open your eyes.

Turn clockwise and return to the NORTH position. Then, turn to the EAST and walk out the East Gate. Sit down with your friend to assess what he or she has written on the diagram.


Your STRENGTH is where you felt COMFORTABLE. It means you have integrated the tools and knowledge of that direction into your being and you use them all the time without even thinking about it. Usually, most people under 40 years of age have one direction where they feel really good. When you’re over 40, you may have two, three
or even all four directions feeling comfortable.

Whatever direction it is, write it down. Then, look up the definition above and see that you and that direction’s energy and spirit are working well together. For example, let’s say you feel comfortable in the NORTH direction. If you look at the adjectives and information for it, compare it to your life and you. Are you organized? Are you grounded? Practical? Common sensed? Are you slow but sure? Do you have tremendous endurance and staying power when others fall behind? Do you have lots of patience? Are you slow to make a decision? Think things through a lot before giving an answer? If you say yes to all of these questions, then you can see that you are resonating comfortably with the North direction, spirit and energy. This is a considered a strength because you’ve learned the lessons of that direction and have mastered them, integrated them and have become a North energy person.

If you have a second comfortable direction, then read up on it and see if you agree or not with what it rules. Often, we have a very strong direction and a secondary one that is not as strong; perhaps 50% less, but still comfortable or semi-comfortable. That means on
your second direction that you’re still working with the tools, to assimilate the teachings of this direction and you’re well on your way to learning how to be like that direction–but you’re not quite there yet. But you will be in time.

Whatever your strength, this is an area where you have learned, integrated and become an emissary of the direction, that animal symbol and energy expression. For example, if you were strong in the North energy, you can ask yourself: “Am I like a buffalo?” If you don’t know anything about buffalo, their habitant, their environment and social order, go google it online and find out. Ask yourself how you are like the buffalo (or not). Write down your similarities as well as where you are not like them. Where you are not like them,
these are areas for you to learn and integrate as you live life.

A good book by Ted Andrews, called Animal-Speak, will give you fantastic information and I highly recommend this book to be added to your library. The information in there will aid you a lot. But you can still find out a lot of free information on the Net if you
search a little. And, if you’re a North energy/strength, you will scour the Net to find every detail!


Where you felt UNCOMFORTABLE in the wheel/direction, is where you have yet to integrate the learning and teachings of that area into your life. For example, if you were uncomfortable in the East direction, look at the definition above and see if you agree with it
or not. People uncomfortable in the East tend to be very emotional and think secondarily, not first. They run on their feelings, not their head. And they tend to make emotional decisions without utilizing logic or rationale in the finale end. While emotions are good, you need to use your mind, too. Frequently, these people have had trouble learning in school, dropped out of high school or gotten poor grades. It is not that they are stupid or dumb; far from it. Usually, they come from a family where the mind/learning is not seen as important. When you lack family support for education, then you tend to live an emotion-filled life, instead (West energy).

If you are uncomfortable with East energy, it means you probably don’t like ‘book learning’ but you can learn to use your mind in different and unique ways and would do well in a vocational school rather than a high school where book learning is stressed over equally important ‘hands on’ learning.

Everyone has at least one weak direction, perhaps more. This is where your work is at. This is where you struggle and are not comfortable but, over time, you will learn from this direction and integrate it, too.

As we integrate our uncomfortable direction(s), we become a more well-rounded, harmonious and balanced human being. Knowing where your weaknesses are at is a plus in deciding to make them a strength consciously instead of always blindly being led into
situations to get you used to working with them.


Neutral means that you have not yet started to work on that direction or the energies symbolic to it. This is not bad or good, right or wrong. It is what it is. Often, I see people under 40 years of age with a neutral but rarely with someone over 40 years old. It simply means the time has not yet come for you to open that door to begin learning new tools, awareness and abilities associated with that direction. All things in good time.


A long time ago I created my own portable Medicine Wheel by carrying five stones in a small cloth bag with me. I had:

North: Obsidian

East: Citrine

South: Red Jasper

West: Sodalite or Lapis Lazuli

Center: Green Quartz

I would lay these out on the floor starting with the NORTH stone and going clockwise and laying down the Citrine (East), then around the imaginary circle to the Red Jasper (South), then to the Sodalite or Lapis Lazuli (West) and then back up to the North position. I would then walk to the East Gate (Citrine) and go straight into the center of the circle and place the Green Quartz symbolizing Mother Earth.

I would then sit down (you can lie down with your head in the direction you are wanting to connect with), or bring a chair in and sit on it if my legs weren’t up to being folded, and FACE the direction I wanted to work with. Ideally, on good days we should sit an uncomfortable direction so we can work with integration. On a day when I wasn’t feeling particularly great, I would sit a comfortable direction and ask for a healing if that is what I needed.

Or, as an example, if I was tussling with a decision I had to make, I would sit NORTH and ask Grandmother White Buffalo for help in solving the problem or what decision I should make.

If I was feeling sick, had a cold or flu, I would first try to figure out what CAUSED these symptoms to come on. Let’s say I had a terrible fight with my husband–that is emotions. And the direction for emotions is WEST. So, I would sit West and asked Grandmother Medicine Bear for a healing and an understanding of the fight I had with my husband. I would ask for awareness, clarity and resolving the issue.

If I had a fever, I would sit South (fire element) and ask Grandfather Coyote to put the fire out in me (like cures like).

If I had to solve some kind of complex problem, I would sit EAST (air element) and ask the Spotted Eagle for counsel, suggestions and a way to figure it all out.

You can take your portable Medicine Wheel anywhere with you. You can make it large or small, depending upon what you are wanting to use it for. In your office, put one stone on each of the four walls to create it. Of course, you can’t put the green stone in the middle unless your desk or something sits on top of it to protect it, but that’s okay if you can’t put this fifth stone down. You can make your office space hum at maximum efficiency by putting down the medicine wheel and appropriately placing your desk in a COMFORTABLE direction for yourself.


Sitting the directions is easy. Just remember to GROUND yourself before you enter the Medicine Wheel to begin working. If you don’t, you will come out feeling disjointed, floaty and spaced out. It will take you hours to come down from this feeling and get back into your body.

Neutral directions won’t always be that way. It doesn’t hurt to sit a neutral position because some day, it will open up and be available to you. The only way to find out is to sit it every once in awhile and see if it is yet available to you.


If we have a particular weakness that we want to work on to make a strength, we sit that direction and ask for that spirit’s guiding help, suggestions. You may receive a dream answer, so don’t be surprised. Or, you may receive a ‘double check’ out in the real
world (your every day waking world). A double check is a validation of whatever you thought about, or ask for guidance on, coming to you in the here and now. It’s very magical.

Let me give an example. The other day I was undertaking my two mile hike up and out of the canyon when I obliquely wondered if all Thunder Beings (creators of thunderstorms) were male. That was what I’d been taught. I wondered if perhaps somewhere else in the
world there might be female ones. It was a passing thought. Two minutes later I turned and looked up at the sky. What I saw just about made me gasp. There, in the south, was a large thunderstorm. Only, at the front of it was a man’s profile with ‘hair’ in the form
of many strands of clouds, around his head. Behind him was his body and the dark storm he was bringing with him! Clearly it was a male face. There was no guessing on that! I stood there and just laughed at the sheer clarity of answering my question. A Thunder Being had unveiled himself to clearly show me he was ONLY male! I have photos
I took so that you can make up your own mind on it.

Double checks are everywhere if we know what we’re looking for. We receive validation in numerous ways. If I’m wondering if I should trust someone new and a rattlesnake comes across my path at the time I’m wondering this, I know the answer is no. Snakes come
into my life only when there is deception afoot.

Or, I’m washing dishes at the sink and I wonder if I should go to the store today or not. A hummingbird suddenly comes and hovers in front of the window to say, “Yes!”

If I’m driving along and a hawk swoops low in front of me, I know there’s an important phone call coming my way within an hour or two.

Seeing my buzzards fly the canyon, I know that there’s something transforming and I’ll know, usually, within 24-48 hours what that means. It always means a CHANGE to me so I am more alert than usual and sure enough, change does occur in some mode or fashion
as a result.

The world around us mirrors us if we just pay attention. And when you work in the Medicine Wheel you may sense color, symbols, feel a particular sensation or emotion. Remember them. They are a message from the spirit who symbolizes that direction. If you don’t know what it means, do the footwork to find out because it has something to do with you, your growth or giving you a message about something meaningful you’ve been pondering.


Knowing that energy is all around us, we can harness it and utilize it to help ourselves in the most positive (strongest hit) UNCOMFORTABLE direction. For example: Know which direction(s) are your uncomfortable ones. Do you sleep with your head in that direction? If you do, I bet you don’t get a good, deep sleep. Rather, it’s restless and broken or worse, you suffer from insomnia.

How about the direction your desk at work faces? I’d want my desk in one of my COMFORTABLE directions to make my work as pleasant and flowing as possible.

Are you watching TV from your couch or chair facing an UNCOMFORTABLE direction? If you are, you aren’t getting the most out of your ‘down time.’

And when you meditate, is there a specific direction you always sit? Most people do, so check yours out. Are you sitting in a COMFORTABLE direction or not? You’ll get a lot more out of meditation if you do.

Do you want a deeper spiritual life? Then sit the wheel and the directions. Nothing opens you up like the Medicine Wheel.

Are you ill? Then sit the direction that helped create the symptoms in the first place. Many times, that is the WEST because it symbolizes water and our emotions. And it is our emotions that usually get us in an unhealthy place.

Are you all work and no play? Have people accused you of being dour and too serious? Then sit in the SOUTH and get the playful energy of Grandfather Coyote. Over time, you will start to cultivate a better sense of humor and even a more playful demeanor. Life is not all work and no play!! We must have a balance.

Upset? Anxious? Panic attack? Sit the NORTH direction for it will bring you calmness, clarity and practicality. It will also bring you awareness and arm you with information so you no longer have to emotionally knee jerk on it and go into high drama.

Want to be more creative? Sit the SOUTH direction. It will help to tap into your inner passions for creativity and bring them to the surface.

Depressed? Again, it depends upon what is fueling this but often, it is suppressed rage. If that is so, then sit SOUTH, the position of fire, righteous anger and getting it out instead of sitting on it. If you are depressed with grief due to a loss, then sit in the WEST. You will cry an awful lot but remember this: better OUT than IN. Discharging our emotions, especially our hurt ones, is the specialty of this direction. Tears shed in the West are healing.

Unable to make a decision? Sit the NORTH direction. You’ll be able to parse all the possible combinations and figure out the best course of action to take.

Stuck for ideas? Writer’s block? Sit the EAST direction and watch your block get disintegrated in a hurry. Ideas will come like an avalanche to you.

Trouble with tests and memorization? Sit in the EAST direction and it will stimulate your left hemisphere of your brain when it comes to memorization of material. It’s also useful to carry the yellow citrine of the EAST in your left pocket during a test–you’ll be able to recall things much more easily!

The possibilities for the Medicine Wheel are as endless as people and ideas. There is a direction for everything. Try using it when you’re stuck or unsure. Watch how it will help move and support you.