The View Through The Medicine Wheel; Shamanic Maps of How The Universe Works
By Leo Rutherford
O Books $29.95 215p
Facing a mid-life crisis after working in the manufacturing industry for twenty years, Leo Rutherford moved to the San Francisco Bay area in 1977. During the years that followed, he studied the teachings of the Shamanic Medicine Wheel. This helped him to form an inner geography of his life’s pathways, through which he developed a deeper understanding of the origins of life, body, mind and soul. Rutherford has written this book based on both his learnings and his teachings, as a creative and spiritual guide to the ancient wisdom for the contemporary reader.
The medicine wheel is “…a circle of power and knowledge, a way of understanding life…” According to Rutherford it is medicine, as the fundamental life force that heals the fragmented self and restores wholeness within and unity without. The wisdom of the medicine wheel presents not a set of dogmas, but a way of life which enhances understanding and awareness through current experience.
Rutherford’s book is artfully crafted into a number of short but detailed chapters which take the reader on a journey through the cycle of the medicine wheel. In each subsequent section he adds a new layer of understanding and symbolism. The journey begins with the four directions of the medicine wheel in all their earthly, spiritual and mythical aspects. It moves on to the purposeful transition of the Spiritual Warrior we each must become in order to develop our true qualities and live an authentic life.
Section four is a pivotal point in the book which discusses personal power defined as “…anything that cannot be taken away from you,” such as integrity, the ability to love and honor. The subsequent chapters include in depth discussions about the damage that “the seven shadow arrows” can cause, these being dependency, attachment, judgment, expectancy, comparison, self-pity and arrogance. Rutherford astutely points out the extent that we, all to often, allow ourselves to fall victim to these egoic arrows without realizing how they cause us to lose power, self-esteem and self-love. To help overcome these self-punishing tendencies, Rutherford offers the transformational tools of the “Star Maiden’s Circle,” which is a means for exploring and understanding the psyche that takes the reader to a deeper level of self awareness of the self and of its essential interconnectedness with others and the world around us.
This fascinating book can be read as an in depth look at Central American Shamanism or as a guidebook for practicing the shamanistic lifestyle. Either way it provokes a deep level of thought and feeling, and it offers insightful and creative ideas about emotional healing, holistic balance, how to use the mind to find clarity and how to touch the spirit to make decisions.
Review by Corinna Underwood