The stages of life in Native American traditions are sometimes represented through the Medicine Wheel, a cross within a circle that indicates the Four Directions:  East, South, West, and North.  The symbolism that is usually described goes as follows:  East – birth, childhood;  South – youth, growing up;  West – aging, mature adulthood;  North – wisdom, death.  However, the Wikipedia indicates that in the Hopi culture, North represents birth and infancy,  East – adolescence; South – young adulthood; and West – elderhood.  What is common to all versions, however, is the idea of the stages of life as a cycle, where, like the seasons, death gives rise to rebirth and a renewal of the life impulse.

  • For more about the stages of life in different cultures, see Thomas Armstrong The Human Odyssey:  Navigating the 12 Stages of Life (to order from Amazon, click here)
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