How to Use the Medicine Wheel as a Calendar

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First Day of Season Sunset Position Sunrise Position
Summer C to F D to A
Fall B to E E to B
Winter A to D F to C
Spring B to E E to B
By standing at the lettered cairns (the horseshoe-shaped figures) around the outer circle and looking directly across the center of the Medicine Wheel to the opposite cairn, the horizon locations of the sunrises and sunsets on the first day of each season can be observed (see table above for details). For example, stand in cairn C and look across the Wheel to cairn F. This alignment points to the horizon position of the setting Sun on the first day of Summer. Moving to cair n A and looking across the Wheel to cairn D points to the position on the horizon of the setting Sun on the first day of Winter. At this latitude the Winter and Summer extremes are separated by an angle of 72 degrees. The Spring and Fall alignments are midway between the Winter and Summer positions.

Sunrise and Sunset Time Tables for Valley City, North Dakota will assist visitors desiring to watch a particular sunrise or sunset at the Park. During daylight savings periods, one hour must be added to the times in the Tables.