In the West, we hold with the physical body with intimacy. Now, this does not mean to hold as in hold on tight. It is holding in the sense of transforming energy through stabilization and for utilization. Think of it as an electrical cord. The body is the structure through which electrical energy moves like a conduit, and provides the transformed energy to turn a fan, or work a toaster, or move the body parts.
The crawlers are those whose bellies are closest to Grandmother Earth and who often move through her. They are the receiver-holders who sit in the West of the Animal World wheel. The snake is the closest to the Earth, receiving her energy from the Earth, then giving back to us knowledge of the perfect alchemy of the Earth
Check out the Song of the Deer by Thunder Strikes with Jan Orsi if you would like to learn more.
Each of the worlds have a wheel of their own. Each of the directions dance with the Animal World in different ways.
In our tradition, animals are known as “Sweet Medicine.” Each animal through its habits and ways carries within its being-ness a “medicine.” It is a gift of healing they bring to us if we align with them. Mostly they teach us to be who we are. You don’t see a dog wanting to act like a frog. It is content in its dog-ness. These animals are great teachers and allies.
In the South are the swimmers of all sizes and shapes. They are receiver-givers. The fluidity of water has to do with our emotions. Look at the dolphin: it is a receiver by nature, but if a human is in trouble, it will give help to the human.
In the West are the crawlers, those who creep with their belly on the earth. The earthworms, lizards, and snakes are receiver-holders. They know the earth intimately, so from them we can learn how to be in a more harmonious relationship with her. The earth worm eats compost and changes it into soil, therefore helping the soil to hold its integrity.
In the North are the four-leggeds, the receiver-receivers, those who run with the wind and teach us balance. Some of these animals have been willing to “receive” humans onto their backs and make our transportation easier.
In the East are the winged ones, the receiver-determiners. These beings relate to our spirit (fire). The eagle is known as the “Messenger of the Great Spirit,” carrying our prayers to spirit and bringing messages back to us.
In the Center are the mythical animals, the receiver-transformers and catalyzers. Mythical animals have a way of stretching our imagination and teaching us in the dreamtime. They carry truth through the myth and legends of all cultures. Also here are the two-leggeds who are not yet sacred humans. The Sweet Medicine SunDance Way speaks of unbalanced humans as “two leggeds.” They are human in form but lack the consciousness and right behaviors of what it is to be truly human. When humans become balanced, they move to their own place on the Human Wheel.