What Is an AXIS OF HOPE™ Prayer Wheel??

Turning a traditional
prayer wheel in Nepal

A prayer wheel is an ancient concept. Many people are familiar with the traditional Buddhist form found in the mountain villages of Tibet and Nepal. Made of metal, leather, or wood and ranging in size from a soup can to a 500-gallon drum – each prayer wheel is inscribed and packed with written prayers. With a push of one's hand the prayer wheel cylinder whirls. Each revolution counts as uttered prayer.

While the prayer wheels I create are not necessarily Buddhist, the concept and intent are similar. A prayer wheel offers a tactile and visual meditation, a way of cultivating mindfulness of the ideals one wishes to live by. Two years after I inadvertently created my first ceramic prayer wheel, my wife, daughter and I were trekking in Nepal's mountains. There I experienced a magical moment with a traditional prayer wheel.

Watching a giant traditional prayer wheel turn, I again felt charged by the storytelling capabilities of a cylinder carved with moving and meaningful images. Filled with prayers, this simple but exquisite vessel turned people to their core beliefs, reminded them of what they hold most important. It underscored for me this was my real work.

"Salish Sea Healing" prayer wheel

Considering the troubling state of our planet and humanity's ongoing search for hope – the prayer wheel provides an axis that radiates optimism, healing, peace, wholeness, love, compassion and harmony among all things. It is an AXIS OF HOPE™ spinning counter to so many negative things! And so my business took on a new name.

My modern-day prayer wheels explore the theme of hope. Each wheel tells a story through images inscribed or carved into the clay. As the wheel turns on its pedestal, the images flow, the story unfolds...

Some stories are simple – such as leaves falling or a bird in flight. Others celebrate natural cycles of life, death and rebirth – a moon waxing and waning over a skyline of mountains... a stream burgeoning with salmon, bears, eagles.... Some tell human stories such as the civil rights struggle. Others display a musical score or poetic text. Other stories are more personal.

And, like traditional prayers wheels, Axis of Hope™ vessels can be filled with your written prayers, dreams and hopes.

Traditional Prayer Wheels

Prayer wheel wall in Nepali village

Traditional prayer wheel wall
in Nepali village

Buddhist prayer wheels in Nepal

Traditional prayer wheels in Nepal

Ingenuity: Coffee-can wheel filled
with spool of prayers

Chris and Jenny
Annapurna Loop

Irrigation water
turns a wheel
with "paddle blades"

A chorten,
a Buddhist shrine,
fenced with prayer wheels

His Holiness Panchen OHue Rinpoche
blessed this wheel for Jean & Bill Carroll

FULL CIRCLE: Chris and Jenny plan
a gift wheel for the
Rinpoche's "Jampa Ling"
center in Ireland