The Medicine Wheel Garden & New Beginnings

March 10, 2023

It was Mary who first called me to the Church and Jesus who called me back in early 2020. One of the first things I did after returning to the faith, was to look for a statue of the Blessed Mother to replace the two I had given away.  

I bought my first replacement Mary statue on eBay and was excited to have found an exact replica of the old chalkware statue I had given up.

Unfortunately, when the statue arrived the beautiful face of Our Lady was completely smashed!  At first I was upset, and even started to wonder if this was some kind of sign that coming back to the Church was a mistake.  But the more I thought about, the more determined I felt to continue in the Faith.

I decided to repair the statue.

It was tedious, painstaking work, but as I reconstructed the statue my attention was drawn the snake that Mary was standing on.  I knew that the snake represented Satan. 

I thought about the many negative influence in my life - influences that included my fear of snakes and the presence of many garter snakes in our new year. And I started to feel that somehow Mary might help me to face that fear.  I wasn't sure how that would happen exactly but I was willing to believe that it was possible.

Enter St. Kateri 

A little later that year, a DNA test confirmed that I had a distant American Indian ancestor.  While I have no direct connection to the indigenous culture, I've always been interested in Indian spirituality.  Now  I began to learn a bit more. As I did, I started think about what I was learning had to say about my lifestyle and my relationship to the land.

At that point, I was spending most of my time inside.  I got very little exercise and my diet was terrible.  My participation in the family vegetable garden was minimal and I had let my own medicine wheel herb garden go. I felt bad about that but the worse the garden got, the harder it seemed to turn it around. 

Then I found out about the St. Kateri Conservation Center.   According to the website, anyone could transform a yard, garden, school, farm, or parish into a Saint Kateri habitat.

Even people, I thought, who live on busy streets and are afraid of snakes - or maybe even those people especially.

Where I'm at Right Now

Right now, I'm busy working with my son in our backyard. We haven't got to the medicine wheel garden yet but we are making progress with we are working hard on getting our three raised beds ready for planting.

The Mary Garden is still in the planning stages and I am still snake phobic but I wanted to write this post to hold myself accountable.

The image above is of medicine wheel garden not long after we put it in.  It is badly overgrown now and needs a lot of work.  But I hope to posting on my progress very soon!

I also want to learn more about the medicine wheel and related aspects of American Indian spirituality.

About the Medicine Wheel

The Medicine Wheel, sometimes known as the Sacred Hoop, has been used by generations of various Native American tribes for health and healing. It embodies the Four Directions, as well as Father Sky, Mother Earth, and Spirit Tree—all of which symbolize dimensions of health and the cycles of life.

The Medicine Wheel can take many different forms. It can be an artwork such as artifact or painting, or it can be a physical construction on the land. Hundreds or even thousands of Medicine Wheels have been built on Native lands in North America over the last several centuries.

Movement in the Medicine Wheel and in Native American ceremonies is circular, and typically in a clockwise, or “sun-wise” direction. This helps to align with the forces of Nature, such as gravity and the rising and setting of the Sun. - Excerpted from "Medicine Ways" on the Native Voices Website

When I read about the medicine wheel garden and what it means, I can why I let mine go and why I must return to it.


My journey back to the Church was a long one.  You can read about some of it in my post The Long Way Home.   

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