The Medicine Wheel

medicine_wheel

The Native American Medicine Wheel is a symbol system that associates several fourfolds together, such as the Four Seasons, the Four Cardinal Directions, the Four Elements, etc. Another fourfold that does this is the Four Temperaments.

There should be a good word for this amalgamation of fourfolds into one hyper- or mega- or uber- fourfold. What about quadriphilia? No, that’s just love of fours, but it is in the Urban Dictionary. Quadrasyncretism? I like the neologism tetrasyncretism, from tetra meaning four, and syncretism, meaning combining different (or many) beliefs into one.

The aspect of the Medicine Wheel illustrated above is similar to the Four Temperaments.

RWBYThe colors Red, White, Black, and Yellow are important for the Medicine Wheel. The colors often occur in a certain order within quadrants of the circle of the wheel. The colors also correspond to the Four Seasons: Black for Autumn, White for Winter, Yellow for Spring, and Red for Summer, although there can be other mappings.

These same four colors are also important in alchemy and represent stages of the Magnus Opus or Great Work, where Red is Rubedo or Iosis, White is Albedo or Leukosis, Black is Nigredo or Melanosis, and Yellow is Citrinitas or Xanthosis. The order is usually Black, White, Yellow, and then Red, through beginning to ending stages of the work.

In addition, the current anime RWBY has characters with these main costume colors. Apparently it is a story with some magic and much fighting with large weapons by four young women.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medicine_wheel

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnum_opus_%28alchemy%29

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardinal_direction

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RWBY

Angeles Arrien / The Four-Fold Way: Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Teacher, Healer, and Visionary

Google search for images of the Medicine Wheel.

Google search for images of the Four Cardinal Directions.

[*7.194, *8.12]

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One Response to “The Medicine Wheel”

  1. Magnum Opus | Equivalent eXchange Says:

    […] Great Work is often broken into four stages, identified by different colors also seen in the Medicine Wheel of Native Americans. Red is Rubedo or Iosis, White is Albedo or Leukosis, Black is Nigredo or […]

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