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Objects of Power: the Medicine Wheel Shawl

Medicine Wheel Shawl, hand made.

Medicine Wheel Shawl, hand made.

I was given this shawl as a gift, this past summer. It was an incredible surprise, which left me both humbled and in awe. I had never seen anything like this. I am familiar with the Medicine Wheel and the way people of the First Nations create amazing things with their hands and hearts but something like this I had not seen before.

One cannot go anywhere to buy a shawl like this. Not because one cannot be duplicated some place in Asia (where most things are made nowadays) and fabricated in minutes but this was made in altogether a different manner: with Spirit. Mr. Yvone puts his heart and soul into his work. When he gave it to me, I asked him how long it took him to make it and he said: “about a week”. The man gave part of a week of his life to make it and he simply gave it away. Now, that’s an amazing human Being, in my opinion.

The shawl was made as he mentioned, in rows of 3s and 4s. 3 and 4 add-up to 7 and 7 is an important number in many First Nation communities. For the Anishinaabe people whom I have had the great honor to spend time with in the past eleven years, 7 is the number that stands for the Teachings of the 7 Grandfathers: Wisdom, Love, Respect, Bravery, Honesty, Humility and Truth. These teachings are embedded in the creation of this shawl. One can wrap himself/herself up in these teachings and one’s path will be well guarded.

The Medicine Wheel incorporated in the middle of it, is there to remind us of the interconnection between humans and all that is around us. The four colours of the Medicine Wheel represent the four directions, as in north, south, east and west but they also represent us, humans: the whites, the blacks, the yellows and the reds. We’re all One. And in this case the Medicine Wheel is protected by an orange ring, representing Fire and an outer blue ring representing Water. Fire and Water protect us and are within us our entire life. We come from Water (our mother’s womb) and Fire burns constantly in each one of us (in our heart).

Now, this piece of clothing is very nice and warm. So, it can simply be appreciated for that but it has a significant function in Spiritual terms and besides that, it is also very comfortable. I can vouch for this as I have used it this past fall at Sunrise Ceremonies, when it gets a little frosty just before the sunrise and I sit on the ground around the Sacred Fire. It also attracts a lot of people, something I was not ready for when I first put it on but I learned to manage. As with my Medicine Pouches, It carries me – I do not carry It.

I should mention that this is not the only shawl made in this manner. Mr. Yvone made at least a dozen, if not more (probably more and as we speak he’s probably making some, haha!) but they have all been given as gifts and none are identical. I gave one away myself, as Mr. Yvone wished me to do and I still have another for somebody else, which I did not send away yet. I only know of one shawl that Mr. Yvone traded for a hunting knife/dagger but as I mentioned earlier, all these Medicine Wheel shawls are gifts and one cannot go and purchase something like this anywhere. If You wish to get one, You will have to find Mr. Yvone, in Verner, Ontario, or at the Nippissing Pow-wow and maybe he’ll have one for You. (This is how I try to get people to come to traditional Pow-wows, haha!!)

Alrighty, that’s about it. I just wanted to share this amazing piece of perfection and by doing so to promote First Nations work, art and culture. And yes, to get people to come to traditional Pow-wows; to attend the ceremonies and help with reconciliation. Miigwetch to everyone and chi-miigwetch to Mr. Yvone! Until again.

Medicine Wheel Shawl hand made.

Medicine Wheel Shawl hand made.


Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on October 28, 2020:

Yes, it is very much an honor in my opinion as well, Mrs. Bowling.

"Cloak the world in a medicine wheel shawl" - I very much like that idea. Hmm ... haha!! : )

So, yes I am a tad jealous for your hanging out with Richie Havens. A big part of me wishes a little bit that I was alive during those times. That I could hang-out and chat with Janis Joplin and listen to Jefferson Airplane live at Woodstock. Ya ... I can dream. Haha!!

I do wear the Medicine Wheel Shawl proudly but only at certain times. Mr. Yvone was extremely generous this year. He gave me a few more and I gave some away already as gifts. I can't seem to allow myself to have two, even though the new ones he made have some amazing new green colours, which I love. We have a saying in Romanian: "Dar din dar se face raiul", which means "Gift by gift heaven is created". I try to manifest that and Mr. Yvone certainly manifests that all the time. He's incredible and I am very thankful for his Being.

I'm also very thankful for your visit and comment. Cheers!

May Wakan Tanka guide your path.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on October 28, 2020:

Wow, what an honor to have been gifted with this beautiful shawl! Thank you for explaining the colors, patterns, etc. and what they represent. Very cool. Too bad we can't cloak the world in a medicine wheel shawl!

When I lived in South Florida many moons ago, I spent some time with the Miccosukee tribe. I'd written a TV commercial for them and the relationship blossomed from there. I attended many of their celebrations and was even invited to their Green Corn Festival (Dance), which is normally closed to White people. I was in pretty tight with Lee Tiger, who was acting chief at the same and he invited me. What was really cool is Richie Havens was playing that year (actually he was sort of an honorary member. I know there's a term for it but can't think of it at the moment). Anyway, not only was I introduced to Richie Havens, but smoked a joint with him just before he went on stage. Too cool!

I'm sure you wear your medicine wheel shawl, proudly, Mr. Happy.

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Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on November 21, 2019:

Greetings Mr. Wesman,

You know, I didn't even know what an "acoustic guitar" meant so I did a web search and I ofund part of the answer: "Originally just called a guitar" - LOL

And about that special blanket, I feel ya! I have certain things like that which I see as so important that I barely touch them, haha!! Like You said though, we should use things, otherwise what's the point?

Thank You for passing by - cheers!

Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on November 21, 2019:

Sorry for the delayed answer Mr. Xavier. Thank You for the visit and your comment. All the very best!

Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on November 18, 2019:

Greetings Mrs. Poulsen,

You are more than welcome to attend any Pow-wows, be they competition Pow-wows, or traditional ones. Non-indigenous people are welcome to come and learn about the culture, traditions, ceremonies, as well as to try the food being offered and see all the amazing hand-crafted items. You will have a great time so, I do encourage You to check-out the closest Native Reserve to You and see when their annual Pow-wow takes place.

May Wakan Tanka guide your path.

Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on November 18, 2019:

Thank You for passing-by Mr. Bill. This shawl is indeed stunning and since I am not the type of person who wishes to stand out, I only wear it at Pow-wows (for now anyway).

You have yourself a great week ahead!

Wesman Todd Shaw from Kaufman, Texas on November 18, 2019:

Handcrafted stuff seems to have some spirit to it. I guess the only possible source would be the person who crafted it.

It's one of the reasons I think acoustic guitars are so special.

This reminds me I've a fantastic quilt blanket my grandmother made for me. I guess I think it is too special to use, but It should be used, or otherwise, what's the point?

Xavier Nathan from Isle of Man on November 18, 2019:

What a beautiful garment. I love native American moccasins and clothing and have always been drawn to the art and culture of this great people.Thank you for sharing.

Kari Poulsen from Ohio on November 18, 2019:

The shawl is so beautiful! I did not know that white people could attend traditional pow wows without invitation. I will have to google it in my area. Thanks!!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 18, 2019:

A stunning piece of artistry and craftsmanship. Thank you for sharing such a personal gift...the interconnectedness of us all....right on, my friend.

Blessings always


Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on November 18, 2019:

Thank You for stopping by, Monsieur Eric! : )

Will keep that in mind: "We must all strive to be brothers of the great mother." Cheers and have a great week ahead!

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 18, 2019:

I do not do well with my Din'e and Hopi roots by sharing them. I am glad you can do well with such matters. We must all strive to be brothers of the great mother.

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