Introduction to the Sun Wheel


This is an on going research project, stimulated through my personal interest from 1967 in ones early teenager years. The specific question then, concerned the meaning and function behind this symbol. At that particular time I simply knew it as a "Medicine Wheel" from an interest in North American Indian cultures. However after much research it appears to be a common symbol which permeates within various cultures spanning the Northern Hemisphere. On one hand, its linked to the Sun's observed horizon standstill positions. While in the other, asbstractly linked to the Polar or North Star in the night sky.

Observation shows that circumpolar stars with the north pole at its centre, turns and spins the celestial wheel that never sets below the horizon, in northern Latitudes. Alternately it spirals and swings like a pendulum from the north in summer to the south in winter. Regional and cultural societies suggest they have contrbuted, incorporated and projected associated indegnious cultural meaning to this phenomena. Together with constructing their social world around such understanding, adding various cosmologies, assisting with the understanding of the lived in world. Additionally an abstract culture concept which deals with Space, Time and Cosmology. However cosmology is defined as the linking element with religion. Where religion is the communities quest for a worldview that encompasses, and includes cosmologies reflected in cultural ideologies of belief. Furthermore, Joanna Bruck has pointed out that 'cosmologies are not abstract ideological/symbolic systems but enable people to understand the world,' yet it provides 'a logic for action and an explanation of the universe' (Bruck 1999, 326). At present it would appear from the evidence available, the symbol iconography is restricted to the northern hemisphere; yet it's far from being conclusive.



Community members are welcome to contribute further to this sites data base. If you know of this symbol, whether its upright or skewed, portrayed in Rock Art, Material Culture or on Inscribed Stones, anywhere in the world, then please consider an email to the site and contribute your findings. Thank you.

© Astrocelt 2005

Last update September, 2006