Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Big Horn Medicine Wheel may have helped Native tribes follow cosmic cycles, and thereby predict and prepare for solstice celebrations, the Sundance and the approach of winter.

Big Horn Medicine Wheel aligns with Aug. 25 programs

Ancient cultural sites all over planet Earth show evidence of people’s attention to celestial cycles. The Big Horn Medicine Wheel is one of six known large stone wheels in the northern plains of North America whose design is intricate enough to track complex astronomical cycles. 
 
In 1974, John Eddy and later in the 1980s, Jack Robinson proposed the first stellar alignments at the Big Horn Medicine Wheel. They suggested that the alignments of the wheel’s stones to particular stars could predict the time of the year, thus helping people prepare for solstice celebrations, the Sundance, and the approach of winter. 
 
In 2014, 30 years after Eddy and Robinson, Ivy Merriot finished her doctoral study of the wheel. She concluded that its placement within its geographical context reveals extensive symmetry with cosmic cycles including the movements of the galaxy, sun, moon, planets and stars. She found that the Big Horn Medicine Wheel never stopped keeping track of time. By placing the Wheel nearly 10,000 feet above sea level, the builders gained a view of more than half the sky. 
 
Dr. Ivy Merriot will be giving two programs on Friday, Aug. 25, one at the Lovell Bighorn Canyon Visitor Center at 5 p.m. and the other at the Horseshoe Bend amphitheater at 8 p.m. She will share her current research on the astronomical possibilities imbedded in the design of the 28-spoked Wheel on Medicine Mountain. 
 
For more information about this program, contact the Lovell Visitor Center at (307) 548-5406.
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