Celebrating the Directions
Why connect to the Directions?
The cardinal directions - north, south, east, west - act as a reminder of the different qualities
of energy. From cold and harsh to warm and soft and everything
There are many classifications of directions and some use
seven, including above and below. But for the most part we use 5 for
Traditionally they are seen to anchor the energy so that particular qualities may be drawn upon for the ceremony. We also find it a part of centering, focusing intention and energy.
North..... rocks, solidity, cold, meditation, winter
South..... flame, expansion, heat, activity, summer
East...... air, lightness, light, beginnings, spring
West..... water, fluidity, endings, autumnCentre.... ether, space, integration, death, review
I turned to face each direction and bring in the qualities represented by each; inspiration, growth, harvest, rest etc. When I got to calling in the centre I repeated a line that struck me from Summer Solstice.
"I am the source and destination of all directions"
That triggered the thought stream of..... I am north meets south, east meets west, up meets down, inner meets outer, spirit meets matter.
|Ideas - mental realms
|Health - physical realms
|Dreams - emotional realms
|Mystical - spiritual realms
This symbol was created by placing a stylised Brigid’s Cross within a circle. Achieved is the balanced figure of the square within the circle, the two linked together by four lines.
Circle- spiritual - feminine qualities
Square - physical - masculine qualities
|Flying bird - rise high and view from above
|Basking cat - enjoy the heat
|Swimming fish - go in the flow
|Walking animal - stay close to ground
|Breaking free, development
|Independence , mature reasoning
|Give attention to need
|Hold commitment to need
|Receive reward for work well done
|Initiate, start, Insight, resourcefulness, spring
|Experiment, expand, development, summer
|Maturity wisdom experience, autumn
|Deep inner reflection, thinking, ending, withdraw, retreat, regroup winter
Walk sideways around the
outer circle, facing inwards and leading with left foot.
balance the walk (life) and take one of the 4 lines to the square.
you reach the square continue facing inwards but lead with the right
When ready leave the square along the same linking path to the
Now walk around the circle facing the line, walking normally, left foot then right foot. Walk the circle until you feel balance in both feet and sides of body. The line chosen between circle and square subconsciously may provide suggestions to helping achieve balance in life, as each line represents certain qualities.
Garden with the Directions
Maximise the sun by running rows east to west and tallest plants to the north and shortest to the South. Shared by Garden gate magazine
2020 - Goodbye Hello - Donabate Beach.
"No one else joined us, so John and I walked along the cliff path in a northerly direction, looking for a suitable spot, a spot that would be sheltered and also suitable for our ceremony. We looked at a few places on the beach and finally found a lovely little, somewhat sheltered, location where we opened our circle and called in the elements.
We were mindful that Martin was tuning in from the West, and Nora from the East, and with John as North and me as South, it seemed like there was a good flow and connection. I was getting a diamond shape (north, south, east, west) and that felt appropriate."
Extra comments by NJ.
Martin starts his piece, "ten to ten" = 10 2 10... echoes of numerology from the directions above. See also his and Anne's experiences during the Global Spiritual Wheel below.
Direction and colours of the Winds
|From the East, the smiling purple,
from the South, the pure white, wondrous,
from the North, the black blustering moaning wind,
from the West, the babbling dun breeze.
Creation of the winds with their colors from Saltair na Rann - Hull (1913).
A simple connection
Set a candle in the centre – light it saying / thinking- ' Thank you energies of the centre for your wisdom and inspiration'. Other words / attributes for the direction may arise as you do this.
Then repeat placing candles in the east, south, west and north each time lighting them and saying / thinking – 'Thank you energies of the (east/south/west/north) for your wisdom and inspiration'.
- East: Rising Sun, Element of Air, The Mind – Knowledge/Learning/Intellectual curiosity
- South: Element of Fire, Heat, Light & Powerful change.
- West: Element of Water, Emotions – flowing through us like water, sometimes calm, sometimes turbulent, always flowing
- North: Element of Earth, Grounding, Connecting with Physical self.
The Seven Kingdoms © Bernadette Weyde
The following invokes the ancient and on-going energies of the Western Isles
“Have you ever seen seven kingdoms all in one day?”
“Seven kingdoms?” says
you, “Aw - get away!” “It’s true as I’m breathing, not a
lie do I tell, now let’s take ourselves
up to the top of Snaefell.”
It must be clear like, and no clouds and no rain, when the sun’s gaily dancing o’er mountain and plain; And Manannan’s away riding Enbarr his horse, and the hillsides are clothed in the galloping gorse.
(Now see here, pay attention, and let me show otherwise you’ll never know…)
The Kingdom of Erin lies
there to the west, where the ancient and
Shining Ones, ever are blessed. ‘Tis a land of sweet music, of
bards and of song, air is their gift and in
sound all are one.
And there, to the south and then to the east, are the Red Dragon people – oh that glorious beast! Long are their valleys and deep are their veins, fire is their gift that sets all hearts ablaze.
The Kingdom of Alba lies high north of here, lochs are its guardians, its bens are held dear. Blue were the faces their men craft in wars, water’s their gift and all honour its course.
Now out to the east where the Angles reside, where cliffs are as clean as a white hart’s hide; Where Arthur did reign and yet will reign again, earth is their gift to the family of men.
Look up! Look up! to the wonders on high. Where stars grace the darkness and souls learn to fly. The bringer of seasons, of sun, ice and storm, these are the gifts of the Heavenly Kingdom.
And far down below where
the waves kiss the shore,lays the bringer of
memory, psyche and lore;
And where are we standing? Why on top of the world! so close to the heavens where the clouds dance and twirl! Spirit is our gift and in this all are kin, so bow low to the honour that is Ellan Vannin's.
Before you the Seven! The
Primal! The Old!
Land, sky and sea; forever betrothed. Mystical, magical, bound as a clan, and at the heart of them all is the Kingdom of Man.”
|Fáilte East, element Air:
I re-member the energies associated with the east:
I am; birth and beginnings, the rising of the Sun, Moon and Stars. The swiftness of wind and the breath of life, the startling beauty of the dawn chorus, the energy that sponsors inspiration, thought, creativity and logic.
Spring of the yearly cycle and dawn of every day.
Archangel Raphael the healer is associated with this direction and from our Celtic mythology we recognise Cesair, the first woman to set foot on Ireland's soil. Ogma of the Tuath Dé Danann, the champion of Lugh and inventor of writing, holds this inspirational energy. Saint Brigit had and shared inspiration in abundance.
In this direction we look towards Clougherhead seat of the goddess Áine. Here in the past we have celebrated with labyrinths on the beach.
I bring this energy here and now.
⧫ I Place this feather to remind us of the energy of inspiration and leadership in ourselves.
People often talk about facing the directions.... here is one take on that... This image shows a person standing at the door of his house. The door is facing east. What is astounding is how these words for direction of movement and orientation match in the Irish (Gaelic) language...This language characteristic can only be explained if we assume that this part of the Irish language was developed by the culture which lived in a world which faced east...Where facing east was something everyone did every day...Like if their houses were built in such a way that the house entrances faced east...It turns out that most rectangular [Irish] Neolithic houses had east facing entrances...The same goes for the Irish Bronze Age round houses, which were also predominantly built with their doors facing East or South East... old european culture.blogspot
In the Bible - Matthew 24:27 - the teaching is that at the Second Coming of Christ he will come from the east. This belief affects how Christian churches are built. The entrances face the west so that during services, worshippers face the east, looking at the altar.
In Genesis 2:8 "the Garden of Eden was planted in the east", thus making it the direction of Paradise.
Q. Two men were born at the same time and at the same place and they died at the same place and at the same time. One was fifty years older than the other when he died. How did this happen?
A. One went west and the other went east and one gained two per annum on the other. (If you travel westward, you gain a day, and if you travel eastward, you lose a day.)
Burial and grave orientation
The practice of burying the dead so they would face the rising
sun goes back to ancient Egyptians and Greeks who worshipped the sun
god. According to their beliefs, it was most proper for their dead
to face the sun, to greet each new day.
For Christians the practice of east-facing tombstones can also be traced to the Matthew 24:27 again. The feet of the person are placed to the east, the head to the west, with a memorial at the head.
However, clergy may face west, ie. facing their congregation. Thus when Christ - the Light of the World - returns and the dead rise they are in the right position to lead them again.
For a Muslim burial, the grave should be perpendicular to the holy city of Mecca, with the deceased's body positioned so their right side faces Mecca.
In Fenshui (the way of wind and water) a burial should be placed on the south facing side of a hill. It is also advantageous to have a river flowing below the grave. A tomb is a Yin building.
Hindu practices involve an after death practice of placing the body - until cremation - with head to the north. The belief is that the soul leaves the body and travels north leaving the earthly life.
Fáilte South, element Fire:
I re-member the energies associated with the south;
Everything that is born in the east grows and develops with the warmth of fire and the heat of passion.
I am; expansion and ripening, radiant warmth and kindness, compassion and love, strength and courage the zenith of the noon day and the summer of the yearly cycle. In this direction the sun reaches its highest point in the sky on its yearly journey.
Archangel Michael the liberator with his flaming sword is associated with this direction and from our Celtic mythology we welcome Anú, earth mother and goddess of abundance. She is the maiden persona of the triple goddess and mother of the Tuath Dé Danann. In Celtic Christianity St. Brigit of Kildare with her eternal fire holds this warm nurturing energy. This is the direction of Brigid's fire temple in the beautiful Curragh and of Gobnait's well where we celebrated in Cork.
I bring this energy here and now.
⧫ I place this lantern to remind us of the energy of radiance and friendly warmth in ourselves.
|Noon - the height of the sun during the year
|Rolling along the horizon the sun marks the annual cycle
At mid-day the Sun is always due south in the northern hemisphere and due north in the southern hemisphere.
At it's zenith, high in the sky, it signifies a turning point, strong and powerful. Everything is abundant, bursting with energy and vitality. And yet, following all that activity, as the afternoon progresses a quietness arrives that often calls for a siesta - an afternoon nap.
Go out at noon, tune into the south and imagine drawing down and integrating that nourishing energy.
As William Blake says: Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night.
Tracking the rising sun through the year, looking at the eastern horizon, we notice that each day the sun rises in a different place, slowly moving up and down from the extremes of the solstices. After the summer solstice the sun moves further south, and each day the sun is lower in the sky. We feel it's heat and strength withdrawing as winter sets in.
Traditionally, “North was rarely put at the top for the simple fact that North is where darkness comes from. West is also very unlikely to be put at the top because West is where the sun disappears,” says Jerry Brotton, a map historian from Queen Mary University, London in his book A History of the World in Twelve Maps.
Very early Egyptian maps show South on top. This could be because of the northwards flow of the Nile and since rivers were believed to be flowing “downwards”, they thought that “up” was South. However, Egyptian
astronomer Ptolemy (90-168 AD) is known to have used a North-up approach.
This alternative view of earth is from work by jimht at shaw dot ca, modified by Rodrigocd.
Fáilte West, element Water:
I re-member the energies associated with the west.
Everything that is born, grows and develops must mature and ripen. I am the healing water of every well. I am that which gives us deepening, that which ripens and provides harvest. I am that energy of wisdom borne from experience that gives maturity of thought. I am the evening of every day and the Autumn of the yearly cycle.
In Celtic mythology, Brigit blessed many wells which are still used for drinking and healing.
You are the doorway to the wisdom of life, death and the underworld.
Archangel Gabriel of mercy is also associated with this direction.
In this direction lies the mysterious Rathcroughan, home of queen Meabh and Inishcrone in Sligo, where we blessed and celebrated water.
I bring this energy here and now.
⧫ I place this water to remind us of intuitive wisdom in ourselves.
|"A warm wind is the west wind it puts fleece on the sheep."
Martin in Galway Spring Equinox 2020 - I headed west through the fields while I realised Susan on Donabate
beach would be walking easterly. Nora would be further east and others
would be tuning in too. Susan at the centre.
|West, west, west.
I am the gateway to memory.
I am water.
I am the wisdom that comes with engaging with life.
I am the wisdom of the ancestors and the record keeper.
The fossil remains on my wrinkled skin show you this.
Place me to the west of the egg.
16th July 2022 - Anne is in Galway celebrating Macdara’s Day - Féile Mhic Dara
Old lrish folklore suggested St. Mac Dara would subject storms on those who didn’t acknowledge him through the old tradition of dipping your sails three times when passing by the island.
One account, written by the Irish historian, Roderic O’Flaherty (1629–1718), stated that in 1672
‘a certain captain of the garrison at Galway, neglected to dip his sails and ended up being killed in a shipwreck.'
Thanks in large part to stories like this, the old tradition is as widely respected now by Connemara boaters as it ever has been.
The Celtic day was seen as beginning at sunset, not midnight as our modern Roman calendar dictates. Life was a dance between apparently opposite and conflicting energies of darkness and light. Sunset is the end of the day but the beginning of night. A time of transition.
Anne-Marie Moroney has been observing winter sunsets since 1997. From the beginning of October to the end of February the Sun sends it's rays from the south west into the chamber. As the sun appears progressively lower in the sky towards the winter solstice, the beam travels first over the sill stone then enters the chamber and finally shines directly onto the stone at the back of the Chamber. I've seen this for myself and it sure is magical. Magic of the Land - Dowth
|Dowth (Dubthach or dark house) is the place of death,
the setting Winter Solstice sun shining into the chamber of Dowth South every year.
Release to the transformative fire energy of the sun....
Stand facing the west,
the setting sun. Imagine all intentions and blocks which are in
your life and let them flow from your heart into the sun, as the sun
It carries with it your cares and concerns to be transformed by
it's purifying energy.
Or you may prefer to write them on a piece of paper and burn it in a fire along with the symbol if drawn on paper.
At sunrise, the sun's rays increase kapha - earthy - qualities of nature until about mid-morning.
Then, as the sun rises to midday, solar heat increases pitta - fire - energy.
As the sun sinks into the west, sunlight that supports vata - wind - energy becomes more abundant. Ultra-violet light is filtered by the atmosphere, calming vata. With less ultra-violet at sunset, infrared and red light provide deep tissue repair and calm the nervous system.
Watch the sunset
At twilight a radiance still spreads over the land, even though the sun has disappeared. This also happens before sunrise. Earth's atmosphere scatters the sun's rays to create the colours of twilight. The air molecules scatter the blues and purples - shorter wavelengths - of the day. Longer wavelengths, such as orange and red, can pass more freely to the ground, giving us the glorious sunset and sunrise colors.
Sunset is said to be the gateway to heaven or a path to connect with the Divine.
Watching the sunset gives you a better sense of peace and contentment of the natural beauty of the Universe. In the coming time of peace and rest you rid yourself of any distractions and feel higher levels of satisfaction and gratitude.
Fáilte North, element Earth:
I re-member the energies associated with the north.
Everything that is born, matures and ripens must die and be reborn. I am the direction of coolness, darkness and rest. Home of the brilliant starry skies and the spectral aurora. Energy of foundation and stability, meditation, sleep and peace. I am the soothing dark night of the daily cycle and the winter of every year.
North is associated with Archangel Uriel the just.
In Irish mythology Brigit took the land in Kildare from the high King by placing her cloak on the ground and prayed as it grew and covered enough land to build her monastery on.
Silent supporting earth, our sacred land, home of the Ancestors, place of the subconscious, introspection and deep Peace.
In this direction lies Loughanlae where we celebrated lughnasadh and Sliabh Gullion, the rocky remains of an ancient volcano, home of the Cailleach .
I bring this energy here and now.
⧫ I place this stone to remind us of the energy of strength and stability in ourselves.
Finding a symbol
So Speaking out loud to myself I remembered why I was here and took a
moment to centre myself and link in to everyone who was tuning in
across space and time for equinox.
As the thought arrived “ mark north “ I went looking amongst pebbles to see who might be calling to me. It was an instant thing, I didn’t analyse, I just flowed in the moment.
North, north, north. A speckled pebble nodded from under a large rock.
the midnight sky of speckled stars.
I am North. I am that which is
hidden until bidden.
Place me in the pool to the north of the egg.
Then I stood over the middle and brought all the elements into a unified hub, blended energies of the north, south, east west, the up and the down, heaven and earth. It occurred to me this was a heart and a heart has 4 chambers, a central core and an up and a down. 2020 - Goodbye Hello - Donabate
Northern Lights - Auroras - love Equinoxes
At this time of year, cracks form in Earth's magnetic field. Even a weak stream of solar wind can penetrate to spark a good display. Researchers call it the Russell-McPherron effect. This photo was end of February 2023 flying home to Ireland.Revelation and wisdom
Carl Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology. He had an interest in alchemy and says that the “heart” of Mercurius, aka Hermes, god of revelation, is at the North Pole and that he is like a fire (northern lights). Mercurius appears in Carl Jung's writings as “a world creating spirit”, integrating light and dark, good and bad, the beginning and the end of the alchemist's quest.
In 'Alchemical Studies' Jung suggests that Mercurius comes disguised as the lumen naturae (light of nature). The source of mystical knowledge second only to the holy revelation of the Bible. This light appears only to those who are mindful and vigilantly strive towards it, while for many the same light “turns into a perilous ignis fatuus [foolish fire, an illusion], and this guide of souls into a diabolical seducer.” He is, after all, the son of Maya, a great goddess of Illusion. Read more about Jung and alchemy here.Connecting
Stand outdoors facing North inhale the darkness. Sink into your own depth. In the stillness, ancient wisdom emerges. Just like the sun is still at this time it too will rise again like a rebirth. And as we are all connected you too shall rise in love and light and much healing. 2022 - Answering the Call - Connect
Church Service and Design
With the English Reformation, the Church of England directed that the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist be celebrated at a communion table placed lengthwise in the chancel or in the body of the church, with the priest standing on the north side of the holy table, facing south.
Up to the present day north is viewed as a place of cold and darkness. Additionally, in the first few centuries of the Church the barbarian armies lived to the north of Christian cities and were viewed as hostile people. The prophet Jeremiah even mentions how, “Out of the north evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land” (Jeremiah 1:14). For these reasons the Gospel during Mass was said facing north in hopesof co nverting the barbarians to Christ. Geographic symbolism affects every aspect of Christian culture.
Many medieval churches have a north door into the nave. This is often called ‘the Devil’s door’. Legend says it must be left open during a baptism so that the Devil, when he left the crying child, could escape from the church. There's no real foundation for this attribution but it makes a good story. The Northern Door would often be the main entrance into the church, eg. Durham Cathedral.
However, the idea of the north being unpleasant and possibly harmful does hold sway. The northern side of the graveyard was generally avoided for burials, usually being reserved for suicides, unbaptized or stillborn babies, etc.
The Lady Chapel and anchoresses’ cells were usually placed on the north side of the eastern arm of the cruciform church. It was the woman's area and to this day the ‘bride’s side’ of a church is the north, with the groom’s family using the south side.
‘An image of Our Lady with reddis Riffey, set in a Tabernacle well gilt, upon Wood, with twelve great Images, and four and thirty small Images of the same work, about the Chappel.' From an excellent guide to Peterborough Cathedral
We look up to the sun, moon and stars and endless blue.
I am the home of those that fly, those that glide and soar, all beings of the air. I am the space of the floating clouds.
I am the direction of the Cosmos. I am the direction of the unknown, where the Universe is born, transforms and is reborn in an eternal cycle of life.
The mystery and complexity of creation inspires us. The Divine source, legendary gods, goddesses, angels and cherubs reside here.
This is the direction where we learn we are all connected. This is the direction of wisdom.
People can forecast the weather by observing the sky, sun, moon, stars, clouds, rainbow.
If the sun shines very brightly early in the morning, in broken weather, it is the sign of rain in the near future and, if it goes down weakly, it is also a sign that rain is near at hand.
A circle round the moon, a number of stars in the sky coming and disappearing suddenly, are the sign of rain also if these stars are plentiful in the sky it is the sign of rain in the near future.
A bright moon with a lot of stars is almost always followed by a fine day; but if the moon is dull and the stars are covered with mist rain is not far off.
If the clouds gather in one place it is the sign of rainy weather.
An old proverb says "A rainbow in the morning is a sailor's warning, a rainbow at night is a sailor's delight".
Duchas Schools Collection
|Boats sail on the rivers,
and ships sail on the seas,
But clouds that sail across the sky,
are prettier far than these.
|Why are clouds like coachmen?
Because they both hold the reins (rains).
We look down to the earth, stable, flowering, nourishing all beings. We put our roots deep into the ground.
I am the home of those on two legs, four legs, those that creep close to the earth and those that burrow into the earth.
I am stone, rock, crystal, lava, moving over millions of years across the surface of this world. I am the deepest depths, the centre of this planet. I am a reminder and memory of the ancestors.
This is the direction where we experience the energies of support and share gratitude for the abundance of all that is.
There is a cave situated in Kiltobranks about two miles from Ballaghaderreen. In former days pilgrims used to travel barefooted from many parts of Ireland to do penance there, and kneel in prayer on the bare stones.
There is an entrance into the cave where there are three Holy Wells. The pilgrims used to walk in those wells, and leave a lighted candle at the last well. Holy pictures and beads were left by the people in the cave.
Each pilgrim who came had to bring seven pebbles from the road, and do so many decades on those, and when they were going they left the pebbles on the heap of stones near the cave.It is said that many people were cured there in olden times. Duchas Schools Collection - Pilgrims and 7 pebbles
Long ago there were two men, and they heard that there was a big cave near Galway, and at the end of the cave there was a pot of Gold. They went as far as the cave and they waited till it got dark. When it got dark the men saw light in the cave, a little man came up with a lantern in his hand, and said. Beware of this cave.
One man was very greedy and he said he would get the pot of gold. Down he went and the other man waited. It was not long till he heard shouting and crying like a person in pain. He hid behind a bush and after a while he saw several Leperacans come up with the man. They had his hands and feet bound. They threw him on the ground and they all went back down the cave again.
The other man came out from behind the bush and asked him what happened and he told him it was because he was so selfish. Duchas Schools Collection - a Pot of Gold and a Greedy ManCave art
Lost in time is the reason why our ancestors went underground to create works of art. These cave drawings and paintings often comprise hand outlines, zigzags, straight and circular lines, and a series of animals such as bison, horses, and star shapes.
At Lascaux, France, famous for it's cave paintings, dating from 15,000 to 17,000 years ago, this appears to be the Pleiades with dots representing the cluster.
Oracle at Delphi
In Greek society, an oracle was a person (usually a woman) who was represented as a spiritual counsel or prophet who assumed the role of the Pythia. She resided in an underground chamber (located under the sanctuary) in which she sat on a tripod seat that was exposed to the earth. Literary evidence suggests that she was consulted before all major undertakings, including: wars, the founding of colonies, etc.
Scientific evidence has also suggested that the Pythia’s prophecies were generated from vapours produced from volcanic faults of the area. This type of exposure to narcotic gases could have possibly induced a trance-like state or a disembodied euphoria. It has been theorized that the physical affects were exhausting.
|Fáilte Centre, element Ether
I re-member the energies of all that has been said,
as these are the energies of the centre, whose element is the infinite Ether.
Everything that was born, grew, matured and died passes to and from spirit. Everything that exists contains and is permeated by the ethers of the centre.
I am the omni-present, the centre of; me, this circle, Loughcrew and the universe. I am the meeting space of, the inner and the outer, the above and below. I am the place where my soul resides in the heart of the creator.
I am the source and destination of all directions. The place where I am deeply centred and at peace, part of all that is.
In Celtic mythology, Brigit, the good goddess of the Tuath Dé Danann holds this space, as does Brigit the druidess and Brigit the saint. In Celtic Christianity we have An Spiorad Naoimh who animates all life.
In this direction we have heaven on earth and I bring that energy here and now.
⧫ I place this incense to remind us of the ubiquity of spirit and the energy of Ether in ourselves.