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Tip o' the Week # 56

The Four Directions

Dear [firstname]

Recently I have been talking with Norma Dove who lives in Canyonville, Oregon. She is proposing to build a Chartres type labyrinth in her area (with the expert help of Robert Ferre). Today Norma called me to clarify her understanding about the Four Directions, and, by coincidence, this is what I have been planning to write this week's Tip about!

It seems that almost every culture in the world tie their sacred spaces into these primal directions of East, South, West and North.  And equally universally, it seems that every culture has different meanings for each of these directions!  (We all see the Spiritual differently.)

My understanding of them is a combination of what Native American Seneca Wolf Clan Grandmother Twylah Nitsch taught me, how some pagan traditions over here in the UK see them, and ultimately how I sense them myself.  This last one is what you will need to do should you want to get in to these Directions.  It is what they mean to you that is important!

In honour of the Four Directions, my MAG Logo exemplifies my interest in them:

MAG Logo
MAG Logo
Check out the Animation of this Logo
to see the heart of the Four Directions

Having said that, here is an abbreviated list of how I see them.  You will soon see that they are full of contradictions and in one case, I have the same meaning for opposite directions! (I contradict myself, so I contradict myself.):


     Black - EARTH
  Spiritual - Invisible
       Cold, Dark

    Death, Goals
       The Past
 Celtic Cross
      Yellow - AIR
   Birth, Beginnings
   Intuition (Ah-ha!)
       The Future
        Red - FIRE
   Physical - Visible
    The Present/Now


As it was for our prehistoric ancestors, it is helpful for me to think about these Directions in terms of naked eye astronomy.

EAST - is where the day begins, where the Sun rises. Hermes, (Mercury)  Rules Gemini (an Air sign), is the Messenger of the Gods, and brings the flashes of intuition. There are only two days a year, given a level horizon, when the Sun rises due EAST - on the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes.

SOUTH - is where the Sun is at its highest in its daily cycle - in that sense, it represents the middle of a project.  With naked eye astronomy, you can tell where South is any day of the year as the Sun is at its highest in the heavens.  But you'll soon go blind. (Read: therefore difficult to see/determine.)

WEST - is the goal of the Sun's journey each day.   In Jungian psychology,
Mercury (Mercury), the as Psychopomp, is a mediator between the conscious and unconscious realms, between life and death.  Again, there are only two days a year, given a level horizon, when the Sun sets due WEST - on the Equinoxes.

NORTH - is the only direction where on any day of the year, given a clear sky and your ability to find the pointer stars of the big dipper (Ursa Major), you can find Polaris/ the North star.  If you point at it and drop your arm to the Earth, you are pointing North.  If you know where you are going, that's called Wisdom.

This is only a brief beginning of a discussion of the Four Directions which are used in so many different aspects of geomancy from Daysigns, through meditation on problem solving, to orientating sacred places.

But please remember that ultimately, like each geomantic dowser "seeing" the Earth Energies differently (Sig's Hypothesis Number One - "Even if they were trained by the same teacher, no two dowsers will ever find exactly that same thing when dowsing for intangible targets in Sacred Space"), each geomancer needs to come to their own meanings for these directions.

Indago Felix
To the Fruitful Search!

Sig's sig
Sig Lonegren, Geomancer
9 Bove Town
Glastonbury, Somerset BA6 8JE