Practicing Medicine Wheel: Vision Quest
Kathryn LaFevers Evans, Three Eagles
When patients come to a practitioner for help, their problem can often be summed up as physical, mental, or spiritual fragmentation. They are in some sense broken open, not whole. The practitioners’ job, in a nutshell, is to renew their patients’ sense of wholeness, their experience of inner and outer unity. Medicine Wheel is, therefore, not only a practical tool with which to mend a patient’s mental health, but also a transformative practice with which to re-weave a patient’s soul, or the whole person. Health practitioners trained in any field of medicine that touches upon mental health are qualified to practice Medicine Wheel with their patients. Here I use the term Medicine Wheel in its broadest sense ‒ to denote any ritual, mental, or spiritual practice that revolves around (pun intended) circles or spheres. Medicine Wheel is a creative practice, applicable in psychotherapy, that encompasses imaginal cosmologies spanning the history of humankind. This breadth of practice is due to the fact that the idea or image of circle-sphere-wheel is a universal archetype for unity or wholeness ‒ it is, in one word, holistic.
Humans, then, “stand in” as the hub or center of their personal Medicine Wheel, whose spokes emanate equally in all directions to the cosmic sphere that surrounds them. In this way, the realm of psychology can be envisioned as the holistic web of life itself, woven by the archetypal patient-practitioners, who are personified according to their own mythic traditions. Grandmother Spider Woman, for instance, fits the mythic narrative of a female Native American patient-practitioner. In this shamanic practice, it is important to note that the patients also stand in as their own psychologist-practitioners, where psychotherapy and life are interwoven in the same web ‒ the patient-practitioners’ Medicine Wheel that is in continual transformation or rebirth. Thus, this chapter fully empowers patients to co-create their own best-practices manual out of the physical, mental, and spiritual materials available to them in life ‒ nature as experienced through all of their faculties in real time. It is that simple. In this way, we include ourselves in the circle of life. We are shamanic practitioners. The Medicine Wheels come for us.
In the below presentation, Kathryn takes the audience on a captivating journey of what it's like to practice Medicine Wheel.
Kathryn LaFevers Evans, Three Eagles holds a BA in comparative literature and research in consciousness, and an MA in literature and writing studies. She is retired adjunct faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute, a member of APA Division 32, humanistic psychology; a member of the International Transpersonal Association (ITA); and of the International Association for Jungian Studies (IAJS). A Chickasaw shaman and longtime practitioner of esoteric techniques and rituals, she teaches Medicine-Wheel-Vision-Quest™ and natural magic through her company, IAWHE (www.threeeagles.net). More information about her can also be found at: https://iawhe.bandcamp.com.