Medicine Wheels & Old Frog Pond’s Winter Solstice Celebration

Not last night but the night before….I enjoyed a little something new (to me).  I attended a Winter Solstice celebration in the garden of some friends and neighbors.  Over this past summer they built a medicine wheel in their garden and this was one of the first events that they held there.

Besides the striking beauty of the celebration, I was impressed by how great the Medicine Wheel is as a garden feature.  This summer, I hope to be able to share more of the Old Frog Pond Garden in the daylight because it is truly an extraordinary place.  But for now, I will whet your appetite with some pictures that my friend Alexa Pappas took of our evening inside their recently completed sacred space.

medicien wheel at old frog pond harvard ma solstice celebration 2010 by alexa pappas

Aligned with the north star, this medicine wheel is composed of eight great stones that were harvested from a quarry in western Massachusetts.  The stones are each unique in their shape, cut and size, but all stand upright.  At easily 10 ft tall, they tower over people but create a sense of intimacy in the wide open space.  Blase Provitola, one of the artist-owners of Old Frog Pond Farm, created this place earlier this year and I think he did an extraordinary job of choosing materials, and creating a space with the right scale and feel for the site.

medicine wheel old frog pond Blase Provitola by alexa pappas

Prior to the evening, I really had no idea what a medicine wheel is. The Shaman that helped conduct the ceremonies of the evening explained how with a circle, everyone around it is equal, that the attention is focused at the center, but more significantly, it symbolically illustrates how each person at the circle has a different point of view as they come together as a community. (i.e. as they look across the circle each sees a different slice of the circle). It also reminds how when someone is one season of their life, others maybe in a different and that with everyone, no season remains; the wheel always turns.

medicine wheel at old frog pond harvard ma solstice celebration 2010 by alexa pappas

There are many meanings and uses for medicine wheels, but most land-based spiritual paths have something similar. Stonehenge is a version of a medicine wheel as is the Bighorn Medicine wheel in Montana (which I remember visiting as a child).
Whether of Native American, European, or other origin, there is generally an orientation, spiritually, to the “Six Powers” (the four Cardinal Directions, Earth, and Sky).

bighorn medicine wheel montana

Image – Bighorn medicine wheel in Montana found via Go West USA.

What I am excited about is that Blase and Linda have invited our community to use their medicine wheel whenever anyone needs.  They insist that it is a place that for healing, contemplation, meditation, reflection, or whatever.  It certainly is beautiful and I plan to visit, if for no other reason than to enjoy the beauty of their garden and this amazing feature.

Click through to the gallery to see more of Alexa’s beautiful images, (including the fire dancer) as well as another idea for a garden medicine wheel.

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.
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1 Comment

  1. Allison on December 29, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    What an absolutely beautiful space. I love the description of everyone coming together in a circle with a different viewpoint and from a different season in their life – a wonderful place,

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