Saturday, October 22, 2016


The four directions belong to everyone and there are in fact six directions if one includes above and below. In Native American tradition the directions are key to spirituality and also are honored when the initiate goes into the wilderness for a vision quest and returns to the elders and tell his or her story. The tradition has been adopted by the West which has raised concern amongst indigenous Americans but the directions were also described by Isaiah after his vision. The Zohar says that a river arose out of Eden forming four rivers and four winds and the details of all six directions and how they link to the Tree of Life is a big part of Kabbalistic understanding. 
Native American tribes vary in their descriptions of the Four Directions in relation to color, season and the power animal in that direction as well as other polarities. We can all make the directions  our own to connect with the elements and Nature's polarities. 
The one below is adapted from Foster and Little who run Vision Quests from the School of Lost Borders in Bishop. I have included the Archangels as described in Kabbalah for each in the figure below. The colors and animals differ in Kabbalah. We can call on the Archangels for help and guidance according to their inherent nature.
Each direction has a color, an element, a season, a chakra, a power animal and an archetype. When used in the Southern hemisphere the seasons, colors and power animals also will change. Choose the animal that speaks the most to you for that direction and that phase of your life. 
Kabbalah adds; four rivers, four winds, four archangels and the four beings - 
Still, Growing, Wild and Talking. 

We travel the wheel clockwise from;
Summer in the South the place of the child. The element is earth - in Yoga the first, survival chakra (but fire and the Talking Beings in Kabbalah.) The angel is Rafael who represents healing and cleansing.
The archetype of this direction (Angeles Arrien) is the Healer since it is often the Wounded Child of the South who becomes a healer.
Fall is in the West whose color is black. It is the dark night of the soul of adolescence when hormones are raging and there is much confusion. This is the second or sexual chakra and the element of water. (In Kabbalah the element is earth and the place of the Still Beings.) 
The most fitting animal is the bear that hibernates since this is the adolescent period of gestation and of "becoming" who he or she is meant to be.
The archetype is the teacher probably because this phase is critical for the adolescent in terms of having a roll model, elder, teacher to guide them to the North and eventually to the East.
The angel is Gabriel who represents strength and courage.
The North represents winter and the Warrior or leader archetype since it is the Warrior who must lead the tribe. The element is fire and the third chakra. (In Isaiah's vision it is water and the growing Beings.) White is not only the color of Winter but also the color of a spirit warrior since the true leader of the tribe must also be a person of spirit (in some Native American traditions represented by the white spirit buffalo.  The angel is Uriel - light, mystery, illumination.
The East is the place of the Visionary or Elder which can take many forms; shaman, musician, dancer, artist, guru, healer etc. The color is gold the color of Spring and the rising sun (as opposed to the West - the setting sun.) These are the upper chakras.The element is air  and higher up ether.  The angel is Michael who is loving kindness and "shining" and the Beings are Wild.
In African tradition this is also the grandfather or grandmother who is the spirit teacher to his or her grandson or daughter. When the elder dies he or she may also become a spirit guide to that child. Sometime later the deceased spirit reincarnates as a child to begin the circle again.

Meditate on the songs if you like whose links are below and formulate your own understandings of what the directions and all their polarities may mean to you. This is best done in nature and will evolve over time. Look at that particular phase of life and chakra where there may be blocks and issues that need to be addressed and released.

There are three songs to meditate on that apply to the directions. They came in dreams during my numerous stays at Tshisimane the healing center we once had in the far north of South Africa in the pristine bush of the Soutpansberg mountains. Highlight the link then click on it to listen and see where the sounds take you.



No comments:

Post a Comment