Life Arts 10/28/2016 at 17:39:56

The Matrix of Four of The Medicine Wheel

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"The elders knew peace would not come on the Earth until the circle of humanity is complete; until all four colors sat in the circle and shared their teachings."


The sacred medicine wheel of the four directions is for all extents and purposes a mandala, a visual depiction of the universe, our Earth and our inner universe . It's symbolism is simple and primal, and through these qualities it is powerful and meaningful.


Representing the intersection of duality and polarity , four is recognized as symbol for completion. In nature this symbolism is illustrated in the cycle of four seasons -- spring, summer, winter and fall -- derived from the flow of cycles between two solstices and two equinoxes of our orbit, as well as the elements of nature: air, fire, water and earth. Four is also reflected in the four aspects of the self: the mental, physical, spiritual and emotional. Mathematically, the symbolism of four it is represented in the four forms of arithmetic (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) while philosophically, comprehensive human thinking encompasses four dimensions: the thesis (is it so?), antithesis (is it not so?), synthesis (are both so?) and nullesis (are neither so?)



Correspondingly, this matrix of four is presented in the beginning of practically every creation story, from Genesis to the Popol Vuh (the Mayan creation story). Nearly all creation stories start with the polarities of Heaven and Earth, and male and female. In this respect, this matrix of four is the basis of most creation stories as well as being depicted in every cross-like symbol shared by so many religions (the Christian cross, the Hindu swastika, the Egyptian ankh etc.) The four Vedas (Sanskrit for "knowledge") are the foundational scriptures in Hindu theology, while the cross symbol adopted by Christianity, Judaism and Islam, its presence in the creation story, and its basis in the four worlds of the Kabbalah reflect its major significance to those teachings.


Indeed, all peoples share traditions that include the symbolism of four directly (or subtlety) as part of their core belief systems -- as I explore in detail in the article, The Common Origin of Religions and Theology. And it is this universality of the cross symbol and the unanimous celebration of the matrix of four, symbolically and philosophically, in Hindu, Taoist, Native American, Egyptian, Celtic and Judeo-Christian theology and symbolism that most clearly illustrates its commonality to human spirituality and understanding of our world.


But perhaps no group has lived so completely in unity and reverence to the seasonal cycles of Earth Mother and the universal system, as the indigenous peoples of Turtle Island, now known as North America. Most significantly, the Hopi believe we are living in the fourth world. Hopi tradition states the first world was Endless Space, the second was Dark Midnight, the third was the Age of Animals and the fourth is the World Complete. Four migrations were written upon four sacred tablets which man was supposed to undertake once in this fourth world -- to separate into smaller tribes, divided by color, and began to migrate in four different directions, settling in new lands.


The Medicine Wheel Prophecy: The Polarity of Institutions vs. Individuals

"At the beginning of this cycle of time, long ago, the Great Spirit made an appearance and gathered the peoples of this Earth together, and said to the human beings, "I'm going to send you to four directions, and over time I'm going to change you to four colors, but I'm going to give you some teachings, and you will call these the Original Teachings; when you come back together with each other, you will share these so that you can live and have peace on Earth, and a great civilization will come about"


"And so He gave each of us a responsibility, and we call that the Guardianship. To the Indian people, the Red people, He gave the Guardianship of the Earth" To the South, He gave the yellow race of people Guardianship of the Wind" To the West, He gave the black race of people Guardianship of the Water" To the North, He gave the white race of people Guardianship of the Fire" Each of the four races went to their directions and learned their teachings" [but] some of the brothers and sisters had forgotten the sacredness of all things, and all the human beings were going to suffer for this" The elders knew peace would not come on the Earth until the circle of humanity is complete; until all the four colors sat in the circle and shared their teachings -- then peace would come on Earth."


~ Source : A Cherokee Legend by Lee Brown, Cherokee



The Ancestral Puebloans were one of four major prehistoric archaeological traditions recognized in the American Southwest. This area is sometimes referred to as Oasisamerica in the region defining pre-Columbian southwestern North America. The others are the Mogollon, Hohokam, and Patayan. In relation to neighboring cultures, the Ancestral Puebloans occupied the northeast quadrant of the area.[5] The Ancestral Puebloan homeland centers on the Colorado Plateau, but extends from central New Mexico on the east to southern Nevada on the west.




The Calendar itself was made up of a combination of the earlier calendars and aztec's beliefs. The aztecs believed that every era of the world was marked by the end of the 52nd year or cycle, and that after that either a new era was about to begin or the end of the world was near. Every era was marked by a unique process, like Ïthe Era of the Earth Sun, the Age of Great Winds, the Age of Fire, the Age of Floods, and the present one the Age of EarthquakesÓ. These were the five Suns, all of which are depicted in this calendar: the present one in the center and all other four, with their date of destruction, surrounding the fifth sun, which is symbolized as one of the Aztec gods, probably the sun god, (Brundage 27). So the stone didn't commemorate the birth of the fifth sun but its destruction by earthquakes, and the Aztecs believed that in order to keep the gods happy they had to supply them with fresh human hearts, so as to preserve continuity of life (Fagan 35).


The ring following these four suns, represented as rectangles, depicts the representation of the 20-days of the tonalpohualli; and the second outermost ring depicts the xiuhmolpilli with its 52 years. As I said before the complete meaning of the sunstone is ignored, but that it is an impressive archeological piece there is no doubt about it.



The history of Native Hawaiians, like the history of Hawaii, is commonly classified into four major periods:


the pre-unification period (before c. 1800)

the unified monarchy and republic period (c. 1800 to 1898)

the US territorial period (1898 to 1959)

the US statehood period (1959 to present)



THERE were four maidens with white mantles in the mythology of the Hawaiians. They were all queens of beauty, full of wit and wisdom, lovers of adventure, and enemies of Pele. They were the goddesses of the snow-covered mountains. They embodied the mythical ideas of spirits carrying on eternal warfare between heat and cold, fire and frost, burning lava and stony ice. They ruled the mountains north of Kilauea and dwelt in the cloud-capped summits. They clothed themselves against the bitter cold with snow-mantles. They all had the power of laying aside the white garment and taking in its place clothes made from the golden sunshine. Their stories are nature-myths derived from the power of snow and cold to check volcanic action and sometimes clothe the mountain tops and upper slopes with white, which melted as the maidens came down closer to the sea through lands made fertile by flowing streams and blessed sunshine.



Four snow goddesses lived in the mountains on the island. They were none too pleased with the arrival of these beautiful young upstarts.



It’s very ancient, and what’s important to know, Peter K, is that

the Kawena Johnson Kumulipo takes up the Egyptian Nilometer

as a pattern which can be obserbed in the old Hawaiian counting

system using four finger as 1/4 each for 1 (4), as kauna…


Then 8 fingers as 1/4 each for 2 (4) = 2 kauna, etc.


That was discovered by Ephraim Clark.



Not only was Kawelo a great Ali‘i Nui of Kauaæi, and later Mō‘i of that island, his kite contest foretold his rise to ultimate power. The names of the four major stars in the Great Square are names of Kawelo's four greatest ancestors, that also represent the four main Hawaiian islands, in history, poetry and chant.

Alpheratz = Manōkalanipō [Lit., Shark of the heavenly night. Mō‘i of Kaua‘i famous for establishing the moku and ahupua‘a land divisions on that island, creating peace, harmoiiy and prosperity for the people. Hence, the poetic phrase 'Kaua‘i-a-Manokalanipo' (sharks are the ‘aumakua of Kaua‘i Ali‘i) recalls the people's love for him. And, since Kaua‘i Ali‘i had the highest rank of all the islands, it is appropriate to name Alpheratz, with the highest declination of the Great Square stars, for the most famous ancestor of Kaua‘i Ali‘i.]

Scheat = Kākuhihewa, [Lit. To mistake a person for someone else. Mō‘i of O‘ahu famous for bringing warring family factions back together in a peaceful manner, creating harmony and prosperity for the people. Despite the unfortunate implications of his name Kākuhihewa's court was reknown for its devotion to the arts of hula, chanting and oratory, and many Ali‘i Nui trace their lineages back to him; hence the poetic phrase 'O'ahu-a-Kākuhihewa'. The declination of Sheat is only second to Alpheratz and the rank of O‘ahu Ali‘i were second only to Kaua‘i; indeed they descend from the same ancestor - Māweke. However, O‘ahu Ali‘i were the more famous as great navigators and voyagers around the Pacific.]

Algenib = Pi‘ilani [Lit. Climbing to the heavens. Mō‘i of Māui famous for bringing warring family factions back together in a peaceful manner, creating harmony and prosperity for the people; hence the poetic phrase 'Māui-a- Pi‘ilani.' He established a great line of Māui Ali‘i who ruled Nā-Hono-a-Pi‘ilani (the bay ,of Pi‘ilani, or the waters between Māui, Moloka'i, Lāna'i and Kaho'olawe, as these islands were often part of the kingdom of Māui).]

Markab = Keawe [Lit. The tentacle of the octopus, which is a kinolau of the God Kanaloa, and refers to this family's worship of Kanaloa. Mō‘i of Hawai‘i island famous for bringing warring family factions back together in a peaceful manner, creating harmony and prosperity for the people; hence the poetic phrase 'Hawai‘i-moku-a-Keawe'. He was an ancestor of many great Ali‘i Nui and maka'ainana as well, the most famous being Kamehameha, the father of the modem Hawaiian nation. Since Algenib and Markab have the same declination, it is appropriate to name them for Māui and Hawai‘i Ali‘i Nui who were of similar rank.]



To help remember the pattern of stars in the sky, Nainoa Thompson has organized the sky into four star lines, each line taking up about one fourth of the celestial sphere:


Ke Ka o Makali‘i ("The Canoe-Bailer of Makali‘i")

Iwikuamo‘o ("Backbone")

Manaiakalani ("The Chief's Fishline")

Ka Lupe o Kawelo ("The Kite of Kawelo")

One way to remember the sequence of the four quadrants of the sky is to remember it geometrically :


1. a curve (Ke Ka, "The Canoe-Bailer"); followed by 2. a line (Iwikuamo'o, sometimes called the "North-South Star Line"); followed by 3. a triangle (Manaiakalani contains the three bright stars of the Navigator's Triangle); followed by 4. a square (the fourth quarter of the sky includes the Great Square of Pegasus).

meaning of the dream as follows:

“If we hark back to the old Pythagorean idea that the soul is a square, then the mandala would express the Deity through its threefold rhythm and the soul through its static quaternity, the circle divided into four colours. And thus its innermost meaning would simply be the union of the soul with God.”

And later he says:

“... the quaternity is the sine qua non of divine birth and consequently of the inner life of the trinity. Thus circle and quaternity on one side and the threefold rhythm on the other interpenetrate so that each is contained in the other.” [22]

According to Edinger:

“It is clear from these quotations that Jung does not consider the quaternity a com- pletely adequate symbol for totality: rather, a union of the quaternity with the trin- ity in a more complete synthesis is required. The trinity archetype seems to symbol- ize the process, while the quaternity symbolizes its goal or completed state” [64]. 


Keoe / Rapanui (Easter Island; a new name): This bright blue star is the first in Huinakolu to appear. Keoe, Keoea, Keho'oea are traditional Hawaiian names: "Keoe is a Hawaiian name which Alexander believes was applied to Vega (Alpha Lyrae); but Kupahu describes it as a group of four stars forming a diamond. Hence it probably stood for the entire constellation of Lyra" (Makemson 220).


Me'e ("Voice of Joy"-Makemson): Four stars which rise before and to the south of Hikianalia. Me'e is the name of this constellation in the Marquesas, according to Johnson and Mahelona. No recorded Hawaiian name. "Mee is the Marquesan form of the widespread Polynesian star name Mere, Meremere, or Melemele, signifying 'Voice of joy'" (Makemson 235). The Hawaiian form of Me'e, "Mele," means "song" or "chant "or "to sing" or "to chant." "Me'e" in Hawaiian means "hero or heroine" or "heroic," "admired," or "prominent." Johnson and Mahelona identify Melemele or Mere as a name for Orion's belt and a homeland in the north (17). Serepwen and Sarapori are Micronesian names for this constellation. In Pukapuka, it is called Te Manu ("The Bird"-M). The Western name for this constellation is Corvus ("Crow").


Me‘e, an irregular box of four relatively bright stars, rises to the east of SE (in the chart below; the four brightest stars on the left side). The star nearest the horizon line is Kraz. Going clockwise, the other three stars are Algarob, Gienah Corvi, and Minkar.