Meditations on the Four Directions

from Starhawk, The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Goddess (San Francisco, CA: Harper & Row, 1979), pp. 62-67.

The East

The East corresponds to the element Air, to the mind, dawn, spring, to pale, airy colors, white and violet, to the eagle and high-flying birds, and the power to know. Its tools are the athame and the sword, which are used interchangeably.
The athame is traditionally a double-bladed, black-handled knife, but people use anything from kitchen knives to Swiss Army knives complete with corkscrew, so indispensable for opening ritual wine.
Many Witches do not own a sword; they are dramatic at large, open rituals but awkward in close quarters.

Air Meditation

Face East. Ground and center.
Breathe deep, and be conscious of the air as it flows in and out of your lungs.
Feel it as the breath of the Goddess, and take in the life force, the inspiration, of the universe.
Let your own breath merge with the winds, the clouds, the great currents that sweep over land and ocean with the turning of the earth.
Say,"Hail, Arida, Bright Lady of the Air!"

Athame or Sword Meditation

Ground and center.
Hold your athame or sword in your strongest hand.
Breathe deeply and take in the power of Air, the power of the mind.
The power of this tool is that of discrimination, of drawing lines, setting limits, making choices, and carrying them out.
Remember choices you have made and carried through in spite of difficulties.
Feel the power of your mind to influence others and the strength of your responsibility not to misuse that power.
You have the force to act ethically, in accord with what you believe is right.
Let the power of your intelligence, your knowledge, your moral courage, flow into your tool.

The South

The South corresponds to the element Fire, to energy or spirit, to noon, summer, fiery reds and oranges, to the solar lion and the quality of will.
Its tool is the wand, which may be a slender branch of hazel, a stout oak staff, or a magically shaped piece of driftwood.
The wand is used to channel energy, to direct a cone of power, and to invoke God or Goddess.

Fire Meditation

Face South. Ground and center.
Be conscious of the electric spark within each nerve as pulses jump from synapse to synapse.
Be aware of the combustion within each cell, as food burns to release energy.
Let your own fire become one with candle flame, bonfire, hearth fire, lightning, starlight, and sunlight, one with the bright spirit of the Goddess.
Say, "Hail, Tana, Goddess of Fire!"

Wand Meditation

Ground and center. Hold your wand in your strongest hand.
Breathe deeply, and feel the power of Fire, of energy.
Be aware of yourself as a channel of energy.
You can change spirit into matter, idea to reality, concept into form.
Feel your own power to create, to do, to be an agent of change.
Be in touch with your will--your power to dowhat you must, to set a goal and work toward it.
Let your will flow into your wand.

The West

The West corresponds to the element Water, to emotions, to twilight, autumn, to blues, grays, deep purples, and sea greens, to sea serpents, dolphins, fish, to the power to dare.
From the West comes the courage to face our deepest feelings.
Its tool is the cup or chalice, which holds the salt water or wine.

Water Meditation

Face West. Ground and center. Feel the blood flowing through the rivers of your veins, the liquid tides within each cell of your body.
You are fluid, one drop congealed out of the primal ocean which is the womb of the Great Mother.
Find the calm pools of tranquility within you, the rivers of feeling, the tides of power.
Sink deep into the well of the inner mind, below consciousness.
Say, "Hail, Tiamat, Serpent of the Watery Abyss!"

Cup Meditation

Ground and center.
Hold your cup cradled in both hands.
Breathe deep, and feel the power of Water, of feeling and emotion.
Be in touch with the flow of your own emotions: love, anger, sorrow, joy.
The cup is the symbol of nurturing, the overflowing breast of the Goddess that nourishes all life.
Be aware of how you are nurtured, of how you nurture others.
The power to feel is the power to be human, to be real, to be whole.
Let the strength of your emotions flood the cup.

The North

The North is considered the most powerful direction.
Because the sun never reaches the north, it is the direction of Mystery, of the unseen.
The North Star is the center, around which the skies revolve.
Altars face North in the Craft.
North corresponds to Earth, to the body, to midnight, winter, brown, black and the green of vegetation.
From the North comes the power to keep silent, to listen as well as speak, to keep secrets, to know what not to say.
The Goddess as Dark Maiden, the new moon that is not yet visible, and the God as Sacred Bull, are the totems of the North, and its tool is the pentacle, the prime symbol of the Craft.
A five-pointed star with one point up, set within the circle of the full moon, the pentacle can be engraved on a plate, glazed on a ceramic platter, or molded out of "baker's clay"—bread dough and salt.
It is used for grounding energy or as a platter for serving the sacred cakes.

Earth Meditation

Face North. Ground and center.
Feel your bones, your skeleton, the solidity of your body.
Be aware Of your flesh, of all that can be touched and felt.
Feel the pull of gravity, your own weight, your attraction to the earth that is the body of the Goddess.
You are a natural feature, a moving mountain.
Merge with all that comes from the earth: grass, trees, grains, fruits, flowers, beasts, metals and precious stones.
Return to dust, to compost, to mud.
Say, "Hail, Belili, Mother of Mountains!"

Pentangle Meditation

Ground and center.
Hold your pentacle in both hands.
Breathe deep, and feel the power of earth, of the body.
The pentacle is your own body, four limbs and head.
It is the five senses, both inner and outer.
Be in touch with your own power to see, to hear, to smell, to taste, to touch.
The pentacle is the four elements plus the fifth essence.
And it is the five stages of life, each an aspect of the Goddess....

Again, meditate on the points and the links between them.
Lie in the pentacle position, feel the points as part of yourself, and become aware of your own imbalances.

Center

The center of the circle is the point of transformation.
It corresponds to pure essence, to timelessness, to transparent light, to the power to go, to move, change, transform.
Its magical tool is the cauldron, which may be the traditional three-legged cast iron pot, or a clay or metal bowl.
The cauldron holds fire: a candle, incense, smoldering herbs, or a bonfire.
It may also be a cooking pot, in which fire transforms the food we will eat.

Transformation Meditation

Ground and center.
Whisper softly, over and over, "She changes everything She touches, and everything She touches, changes."
Feel the constant processes of change within yourself, in your body, your ideas and emotions, your work and relationships.
Within every unmoving stone, atoms are in constant flux.
Feel the changes all around you, changes you have made, are about to make.
Even ending the meditation is part of the process of change that is life.
Say, "Hail, Kore, whose name cannot be spoken, the Ever-Changing One!"


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Last modified on April 13, 2005 by Kay Keys (kay@kaykeys.net)