There’s a wonderful story that has been attributed to the Native American Cherokee Indians. The story is about a boy who notices that his grandfather wears a beautiful pendant that is a wolf with two heads. When he asks his grandfather what the two headed wolf pendant means, his grandfather stops what he is doing and sits down with his grandson. He tells his grandson that life has many difficult times. The grandfather tells the boy that when these times occur it is as if there are two wolves battling inside him. One is very angry, aggressive and acts out of fear. This wolf wants to fight, control the situation and be right all the time. The Other is very compassionate, collaborative and acts out of love. This wolf loves life, is respectful of self and other and lives in peace. These two wolves are always in conflict. The little boy asks, “Dear Grandfather, which wolf wins?” And the grandfather replies: “Dearest son of my son, the wolf that wins is the one I feed’.
(published by the Inner Yaga in their newsletter September 2006)
In the personal work arena generally, (and specifically in the Inner Yaga), we have readily accepted the idea of indigenous peoples’ incorporation of the directions as a part of a work template for setting sacred space. We all know how calling in and using the six directions of East, South, West, North, the Above, and the Below help to focus our intention and help to ground the safety of a container. The Inner Yaga introduces the formal additions of the 7th direction of the Within and the 8th direction of the Without into the closing of a sacred circle. Yaga circles are being encouraged to use this directional template in their circles’ structures by honoring each direction at sequential meetings. This provides a cycle of 8 meetings. At the end of the cycle, the circle starts the pattern over again. This cyclic format provides a familiar container which results in a level of safety that has rarely been achieved before in the personal work arena. I suggest that the 8th direction is greatly responsible for this phenomenon.