Background

I have worked with the Medicine Wheel and shared it with groups and individuals for over 35 years, after my teacher, Mahad’yuni (Evelyn Eaton), instructed me to share what I had learned. I resisted this initially because I felt I was too young, but she insisted, saying that when there is an emergency, one does what one can; she felt that the situation on Mother Earth required more sharing of this wisdom as quickly as possible.

An important note: I do not offer any of the various culturally specific traditional teachings I learned from Lakota, Cree, or Anishinaabe  teachers. If you are seeking those teachings, then it is up to you to bring your offerings and ask for teaching from one of those elders.

As I grew up, I knew that there was something else possible, and radically different from what I learned growing up Catholic. As a young person, I felt so different from most of the people I grew up around, and I looked into everything I could find that might offer what I was looking for – a deeper connection to spirit. To that end, I explored Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Yoga, Nature,  and other ways that seemed to have promise, including Holistic Health and Human Potential information.

Interestingly, everything I explored had something good in it, but as I looked into those traditions I felt that I was “wearing someone else’s clothes.” One day in 1978, an acquaintance stopped by to give me a book that he thought would interest me. In this book I found a few paragraphs about the Medicine Wheel. Immediately, something within me came to attention, and I sensed that the Medicine Wheel was actually for me. I had the sense that I belong with the Medicine Wheel – that it actually is part of me. It was later that I learned that my Lakota people have the Medicine Wheel as part of our foundational teachings.

It took me about three years, and traveling about 3,000 miles, to find the woman who became my teacher and adopted grandmother, and when I found her I did everything I could to visit with her as often as possible. I attended every event and gathering I could to learn from Mahad’yuni. At the end of her life, I was one of the young women who were invited to assist her family in making her comfortable as she prepared to make her journey Home.

What I have to offer are the things I have learned directly from the Medicine Wheel itself – in addition to the wisdom of a variety of elders and teachers. Teachers and elders from many traditions have told me that our ancestors received their wisdom from direct connection with spirit, through being closely connected to the Earth, through ceremonies, and sometimes through traumatic or near-death experiences.

I know that there is one Source, called by myriad names, and that all wisdom comes to us through this Source – calling to us, reaching to us, inviting us home in the Oneness of true Being.

It is clear to me now that we each must follow our heart, no matter what other people say. If we are mistaken, we can make amends, but NOW is the time to come together in the best way we can to join our energy for the healing of the wounds that keep us feeling separate and impotent. Together we can offer kindness and support in this healing, and be at our best to deal with the many challenges that we as individuals, and as societies are facing.

There is no point in being paralyzed by fear of the distress on Mother Earth, rather we can mobilize the best within us and come together to “Be the Change.”

The Mi’kmaq Honour Song, as interpreted for me by the awesome elder and Mi’kmaq National Treasure, Mildred Milliea, says:

“When we all come together, that is when we are strong. When we all come together, that is when we can do what we need to do.”

Is now the time for you to go beyond what has held you back? You are cordially invited to see if what has come to me and assisted me, has benefit for you.

Many blessings,
Susan Inyanskawin

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