The girls of the Meena wing have been working on designing a medicine wheel with Angela, LICDC II, SWA, Tiffany CPST, and Steve, LSW and assistance from Ruthe, visual art CPST. You can find examples of medicine wheel construction done in stone, used both directionally (E, S, W, N) and sacramentally on expanses of land, aligned with sun, moon, and stars. At specific times of day or night, the stone portals on ancient earthworks align with the planets to mark celestial events- like a solstice. A circle shape might be constructed like a wagon wheel with spokes dividing the circle into four dimensions according to the natural elements, based upon seasons, the human life-cycle, different traits of life, spirit animals, or healing plants. ‘The medicine wheel concept was adapted into symbolic art form and used by Native American tribal leaders to inspire healing. Feathers, shells, stones, plants, or beads can all be a part of a woven textile creation.’
The NIH website explains the meanings of the four directions:
“Different tribes interpret the Medicine Wheel differently. Each of the Four Directions (East, South, West, and North) is typically represented by a distinctive color, such as black, red, yellow, and white, which for some stands for the human races. The Directions can also represent: a) Stages of life: birth, youth, adult (or elder), death; b) Seasons of the year: spring, summer, winter, fall; c) Aspects of life: spiritual, emotional, intellectual, physical; d) Elements of nature: fire (or sun), air, water, and earth; e) Animals: Eagle, Bear, Wolf, Buffalo and many others; f) Ceremonial plants: tobacco, sweet grass, sage, cedar.”
For substance abuse educator Angie, painting is a different coping skill, a way of dealing with cravings, triggers that go with working on mental health and addiction issues. “The large medicine wheel painting is a daily reminder to look at ones-self holistically, to go beyond depression and see the yin and yang (positive side to a negative outlook)”, she said. “It is a reminder that there is a bigger picture to life than adolescence: birth and infancy, youth-where they are, adulthood, and the elders- that all things and phases play a part, and bring their own point of view to create/enhance the fullness (circle) of life. There is a lot of discussion, Q&A that goes with all the elements of the wheel- such as the spiritual component, emotional, intellectual and physical dimensions,” she explained. Each of the girls developed her own 8 ½ x 11” medicine wheel drawing with colors and personal symbols-each with healing importance.
For therapist Steve, the medicine wheel explores a dimension of “Seeing each of the very different youth work together on the project – various staff, various departments from within the building, and even Angela coming from her home agency (Maryhaven) to work with our Pomegranate girls. It all reinforces the importance of interdependence, connection and cooperation in healing. It’s a bonus that each of our youth appreciate in leaving something behind as they progress home. The medicine wheel provides a spiritual reference for future youth who pass through our building on their own journey.”
Nan Hoff, Administrator Female Placements & Programs DYS; Judy Dean, LISW-S Clinical Supervisor; Steve Polovick, LSW celebrating our NAMI-FC Walk banner contest winners at a cook-out in the courtyard, and appreciation for Steve as he transitions to Westwood/Lumin Academy. Welcome to therapist Clay Sherrord who joins the Meena care team.