Massive Medicine Wheel Ceremony
- Massive Medicine Wheel Ceremony
Set for May 8, 2004
- Peacekeepers Called to the Circle -
© - Copyright March, 2004 by Steven McFadden
While dwelling amid the high mountains along the North American
Continental Divide, Bennie LeBeau of the Eastern Shoshone tribe
experienced a torrent of dreams and visions, especially in 1999. The
visions directed him to set in motion the plans for a massive
Medicine Wheel Ceremony.
Over the last year Bennie has become aware of many sharply
distressing changes in both land and animals at Yellowstone National
Park in Wyoming. These changes are becoming even more ominous right
now, he says, and they have prodded him into direct action to bring
his visions alive.
The huge Medicine Wheel Ceremony that Bennie envisions is intended
to be a mass spiritual event. The ceremony is set to take place at
High Noon on Saturday, May 8, 2004 at more than 20 sacred sites in
the American West, and at many other sacred sites elsewhere around
the world, including Australia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Ireland,
Germany, and the Middle East.
The Grand Teton peaks in Wyoming -- The Four Grandmothers Standing
Tall -- will serve as the center of this Medicine Wheel. The long
spine of the Rocky Mountains runs roughly North and South in the
Wheel; and the circumferance reaches from California deep into
America's heartland. Simultaneous prayer ceremonies at other sacred
sites around world will help to re-attune the web of subtle energy
pathways that envelop planet earth.
"All nations, all peoples are invited to participate," Bennie says,
adding, "all nations, all peoples are needed to work together on
this -- the black, white, yellow, and red nations of Mother Earth."
A Medicine Wheel is an ancient spiritual tool with a history of
widespread use all over Turtle Island (North America). Stones are
set to mark the Four Directions of North, South, East and West, and
also of other major points. In this manner, if done with knowledge
and respect, a sacred space is defined. Within that space, the
people can direct thoughts, feelings and actions toward a unified
idea. The Medicine Wheel also helps people to be grounded
physically, to properly orient to the Four Directions, and thus to
have a clear sense of where they are. That foundation of stability
gives a reliable base for high spiritual work.
"The Earth is drastically out of balance now," Bennie LeBeau
says. "This Medicine Wheel ceremony will strive to re-set the basic
tone -- or vibrational pattern -- of the West, and by extension help
to re-attune the whole of the earth."
Message for Peacekeepers
I met Bennie LeBeau in Placitas, New Mexico on February 9, 2004. He
had driven down from Wyoming to meet with some members of a group
called the Spiritual Elders of Mother Earth, a network of indigenous
people from 21 different tribes in North, Central, and South
The elders began coming together as a group in 1999 in response to
the global crises of environment and culture. Their traditional
teachings have long warned that such crises would arise.
The elders say they understand from their traditions that part of
their original instructions as human beings was to serve as keepers
of the Earth. They were also told that one day they would have to
step forward in a time of extreme crisis and lead -- to educate
people about how to restore balance -- for the survival of life on
earth would depend upon them remembering and acting in a sacred
Bennie LeBeau was born on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming in
1950, and is an enrolled member of the Eastern Shoshone tribe. He
served in the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam in the early 1970s. In the
years after his military service, he supported himself mainly
through outfitting, taking people out fishing and hunting in the
Bennie told me that he began to have visions when he was in his late
20s, while guiding hunters along the Continental Divide. He went to
the local Medicine People to ask for help in understanding, but they
were unable to offer interpretations. So Bennie lived with the
Bennie said he eventually came to understand on his own what his
dreams and visions meant: "The land is out of balance. The bio-
electric energy of the earth is being profoundly scrambled and
disturbed by mines, electric transmission lines, railroads,
highways, damming of the rivers, and also from development of
factories, trucks, cars and so forth. War is adding to this."
"It's time to do something important, to reconnect the energy. So
many sacred sites are not kept, not tended. But this is what is
needed, for things are out of balance, out of harmony. It's extreme
now, and it's time to come together around this, the old ways and
the new ways. Every human being has a stake in this, no matter their
color or their spiritual tradition."
Talking with the Elders
To bring this massive, multi-tradition Medicine Wheel ceremony
about, Bennie was inspired to travel and talk with representatives
of the indigenous Nations near the waters and mountains of his
vision, and also with other cultures. He began his journey in
January, 2004. "I am to ask for assistance in re-activating these
sacred sites," Bennie explained. "We must all do our parts as humans
to bring about harmony."
On Feb. 10, 2004 -- the day after I met with him -- Bennie journeyed
west from Placitas to the Turquoise Mountain (Mount Taylor near
Grants, New Mexico). This is one of the sacred mountains that mark
the Four Corners area of Turtle Island (North America). Turquoise
Mountain is a massive dormant volcano, towering more than a mile
above a vast desert plateau.
Turquoise Mountain (Mount Taylor, Grants, NM) from the South.
With Leon Secatero of the Canoncito Navajo, a Grand Elder for the
Spiritual Elders of Mother Earth, and Red Eagle of the Cherokee
Nation, Bennie visited with the traditional keepers of Turquoise
Mountain: Navajo Grandfather Martin Martinez and his wife,
Bennie told them of his dreams and visions, and also of his plan.
Grandfather Martin, who is in his 90s, was pleased to hear it. He
told Bennie that his visions were in harmony with the Navajo
teachings and prophecies that he keeps. He also mentioned that with
his wife, Janíce, he had a vision of a multi-tradition ceremony to
be held near a holy spring on Turquoise Mountain. They wanted to
realize their vision.
As it happens, in the context of the 600-mile radius of the Medicine
Wheel of Bennie LeBeau's vision, the Turquoise Mountain of New
Mexico is in the South position -- the South Mountain.
In the Medicine Wheel teachings of Turtle Island the South is a
direction sometimes represented by Mouse. Mouse is so small and
defenseless against the rest of the world that he must rely on trust
and instinct to live. Much larger forces of Spirit are at work in
the world, and Mouse understands how humble a creature he is in
relation to all this. But good and surprising things can happen when
trust leads Mouse to make a bold move for survival, guided by Spirit.
"This was prophesied a long time ago," Grandfather Martinez told
Bennie and the other elders. "I am glad you have come and taken
responsibility to be a messenger."
"The mountain is the pillar, our helper," Grandfather Martinez
said. "It listens to us when we are in harmony with the stones,
trees, clouds, waters, and stars. This is the wholeness that keeps
life together. We will communicate with the mountain."
Grandfather Martin gave Bennie his blessings to go forward and make
his Medicine Wheel Ceremony a reality. He said it was a good mission
and that now is the time.
All the elders traveled up onto the flank of Turquoise Mountain
after their meeting. There by a sacred spring they made ceremony
together to prepare for May 8. Grandfather Martinez also initiated
the drum that Bennie had made for himself, a drum laced with symbols
representing the Medicine Wheel ceremony.
Grandfather Martinez shared with his guests some Navajo lore about
Turquoise Mountain -- the South Mountain of the four sacred
mountains of the Navajo, known to them as Tsoodzil, the Blue Bead
Mountain. (Turquoise Mountain is sacred to several other native
groups as well; all have been invited to the May 8 ceremony).
Grandfather Martinez said there were giants on the mountains in the
old days, and they were the guardians. Some were good, and some were
not. The giants have gone, but their energies are still around, and
a lot of it is negative energy. The negative energies and entities
are coming back strong now, and it is affecting the people.
In the context of Grandfather's words, the ravaged land all around
Turquoise Mountain bespeaks an ugly story. Over many years large-
scale mining has dug up and released uranium for the sake of
eternally toxic nuclear energy.
"We need to do ceremonies continually to strengthen and cleanse and
empower," Grandfather Martinez said. "It is very important to do
this now. The ceremonies help to keep the negative forces at bay."
Grandmother Janíce told the circle of elders that the ceremony would
put in place another set of vibrations. "The ceremony will happen at
a time in the spring when all the plants are surging with new life,"
she said. "If we come together in respect with the plants, she said,
we can use this energy to help bring about the intention of the
Grandfather Martinez spoke of the Medicine Wheel ceremony as a
universal wake up call. The mountain ranges have sovereignty over
lines of energy that radiate around the entire earth. Thus, he said,
the ceremonies we do encircling the Rocky Mountains will radiate out
to other points.
Grandfather noted that many people and groups do things
individually, their rituals or ceremonies. "That's okay," he
said, "but right now Mother Earth and all the living things upon her
have need of something more -- something where all the people are
together and of one heart, one mind."
The May 8 ceremony that the elders have envisioned for the South
Mountain, Turquoise Mountain, is to be a Blessing Way. That is how
it will happen. Drums and singers from many nations will pass the
song from sunrise on May 8 until sunset, and some may choose to sing
in the night. "We will also be calling all our ancestors to be with
us in this ceremony," Leon Secatero said, "that we may all reconnect
with our ancestors."
There will be a particular emphasis when High Noon comes to the Four
Grandmothers Standing Tall (Grand Tetons in Wyoming). That is when
ceremonies in the entire Medicine Wheel will also be putting a focus
on being of one mind and heart, expressing their gratitude for
Creation by raising the vibration to its highest level.
For the elders of Turquoise Mountain in the South, the ceremony will
also mark the starting time of an effort to establish a permanent
public park on part of thier ancestral lands, so that people can go
there to pray and make ceremony when they feel called. They also
envision a healing center.
While Bennie initially saw the massive Medicine Wheel ceremony-
taking place over a 600-mile radius, reaching out from the center
point of the Four Grandmothers, Grandfather Martinez saw it more
globally. They came to agree that everyone who chooses to
participate, at whatever holy sites are accessible to them anywhere
in the world, would be invited and welcomed.
One Heart, One Mind, One Circle
The call for people of all nations, races, and traditions to
participate in this massive Medicine Wheel ceremony comes at a time
of widespread military conflict, and of profound environmental
damage to the earth, the wind, the fire and the water. It is also a
time of intense culture war.
The same kinds of passionate forces that bitterly pit religion
against religion, race against race, and political party against
political party, are also at work in Indian Country. There are many
Not everyone endorses the idea of White, Red, Black, Brown, Yellow
and Rainbow peoples coming to participate together in ceremony.
But the intention of the Medicine Wheel Ceremony on May 8, 2004 is
for something all people can hold in common without dispute: the
realization that a healthy earth is necessary to our survival, and
to the survival of our children and grandchildren.
In responding to his visions and by calling for this ceremony,
Bennie LeBeau is forcing the issue. Will Native peoples open their
ceremonies and share their teachings? There are lots of strong
viewpoints on whether this is a good thing.
Bennie says the indigenous tribes will have to open up and teach. He
is well aware that not all tribal groups will welcome this.
"Some tribes will open, some will not," he told me. "Each will make
their own decision. This is going out to the world. There is no set
ceremony. People may follow their own hearts and traditions. They
know their holy places and their Medicines. But we must all do it
together. There is no one person who is in charge. It is up to the
"The old traditions alone will not work to meet this current
challenge," Bennie said. "Things have changed. We need to take the
best of the old and add it to what is emerging. This is the medicine
that we -- and our Mother Earth -- need now."
Bennie says that the big mess the world is in now is the very reason
why the ceremonies were preserved for so many generations, against
such overwhelming persecution. "This is why the ancestors suffered
and sacrificed, to save the songs and dances that set a tone of
harmony in the relationship between the human beings and the earth,
for the universe which provides our essential sustenance of food,
water, and shelter."
The May 8 Medicine Wheel ceremony is intended to bring the people
together through a unified vision on one day and to be guided by
Native American neighbors and relatives, who have a millennia-old
tradition of ceremonies to respect and maintain the balance of life
About this diversity of viewpoints, Grandfather Martinez said, "Our
gratitude will answer all the questions. We will be energized by
this ceremony, making connections with all our relatives, all our
cultures. All cultures must be valued and welcomed, not one left
The Massive Scope of the Medicine Wheel
The boundaries of the May 8, 2004 Medicine Wheel Ceremony that
Bennie LeBeau has envisioned reach in a huge circle, touching on
major sacred mountain peaks and bodies of water. He has interpreted
his vision as "The Magnificent 19 + 1 = 20."
The planned Medicine Wheel ceremony covers an area with a radius of
some 600 miles. The Grand Tetons in Wyoming -- The Four Grandmothers
Standing Tall -- are at the center of the wheel, and 19 major
mountains and waterways mark the perimeter of the wheel. The idea is
to have ceremonies happen simultaneously around the whole wheel
while centered on the Four Grandmothers Standing Tall, and
stabilized in space and upon the Earth by the traditional Four
Center of the Wheel: The Four Grandmothers Standing Tall (Grand
Tetons near Jackson, WY).