The Lightning Path Medicine Wheel
The Medicine Wheel is a Native American tool used to understand and talk about human health, healing, development, and even the entirety of creation. Shamelessly appropriating the healing wisdom buried deep in North American native traditions, the Lightning Path offers its own Medicine Wheel, which you can use to understand the nature of human health, and the healing, connection, and growth process.
Native cultures have a deep understanding of the interconnected nature of all things, an awareness that science is only now beginning to catch up to (watch this Nature of Things documentary on Fungi). This deep understanding in reflected in the native medicine wheel, which we appropriate to describe the healing and connection process.
In the LP Medicine wheel, the circles in the wheel represent the various “levels” of our reality and their interconnected nature. The LP Medicine Wheel is designed to help you focus your attention on the interconnected nature of our beings, and the complex and interconnected nature of health, healing, and healing. To properly heal and connect we must attend to all levels of our reality (self, public, civic, planetary), and all dimensions of our self (physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual).
The first level of reality is our self-reality. This is our personal/individual self-identity, our Bodily Ego, whether connected or disconnected. In our consumer-based western culture, this is the only reality that most people identify with, but it is not the only level of reality that is important.
The second level of our reality is made up of our family reality and our social reality (our public reality). This is important because this reality, when it is healthy and functioning properly, plays an important role in the support and satisfaction of our Seven Essential Needs. Here, our need for belonging, our need for safety, even our need for alignment and connection are rooted and, when our reality is healthy and functional, satisfied Our parents make us feel loved and belonged. Our friends and family encourage us to be aligned and to connect.
The third level of reality is made up of our community and civic circles. We are also interdependent with these realities. Our community provides support, connection, entertainment, and so on. Our city provides the same, plus essential supports and services (roads, utilities, etc.) that allow for safe and productive existence. Our cities are important and with them our lives would be greatly diminished.
Finally, the fourth level of our reality is our national and planetary reality. This includes our nation-state a world government if a species evolves to that point without self-destructing, and also the biological realities of the planet.
Taken together, these realities make up our Integrated Material Self. This is important. Who you are as a person, who you are capable of becoming, is entirely dependent on your family, friends, community, national, and planetary realities. If any one of these is toxic or undeveloped, you (we all) are diminished as a result. This is obvious in the case of family toxicity, but it is true in the case of a community, nation, and planet as well. If a community is riddled with dysfunction, if a city is ruled by oligarchs, if a nation is greedy and war like, if a planet cannot provide full satisfaction of all seven essential needs, the self in the middle becomes less than it could otherwise be. The implications should be clear. Full health and full connection require healthy existence at all levels of our collective reality.
As you can see if you look at the LP Medicine Wheel, the wheel has four quadrants, representing four aspects of human health, well-being, growth, and connection. These are physical health, emotional health, psychological health, and spiritual health. To be considered fully healthy you must be healthy at all of these levels.
To be healthy, we must have physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health, at all levels of our reality. No person can claim to be totally healthy while they exist in a family, a public sphere, a community, a city, a nation, and on a planet that is not healthy as well. Each of these spheres interpenetrates and impacts the other. Denial of the interpenetration doesn’t make this not so. All levels in all quadrants must be healthy, whole, and non-toxic.
To get healthy, to heal the damage caused by Toxic Socialization, we must have healthy, nurturing, and safe environments at all levels. To get healthy, we must also work at each of the levels and quadrants, moving from the center out. First, heal yourself. Then, heal your family, your community, your society, your nation, and finally this planet.
I know this might sound crazy difficult, but if we all start with the individual (the “Man in the Mirror,” as Michael Jackson sang) and work to heal and connect that, the rest flows automatically. The more we are all healed and connected as individuals, the more that health will radiate out and transform the family community, nation, and the planet.
Of course, and obviously, you can’t do this all yourself. For healing and connection to radiate out we need the help of family, social, society, nation, and even the entire planet. Right now, because there is so much toxicity in each of the outer spheres, the most many of us can do is work on our self-healing, and perhaps our immediate family. If that’s all you can do right now, that’s just fine. Focus on your self. Later on, as things change and you heal and get stronger, you can connect with others who are working to heal. Work with them to create health and healing at the other levels. In the meantime, whatever you do, don’t expose yourself to spaces that are toxic. Doing so will undermine any precious progress you have made.