Five Directions is an ancient way to begin a ceremony, by calling in the spirits of the East, North, West, South, and Center into a circle of people so that the energy created among us will be whole, complete, sacred. It is also:
A way to situate ourselves fully in the world by paying attention to our Mind, Body, Heart, Will, and Spirit.
A way to map women's life-stages through Maiden, Mother, Queen, Crone, and Spirit.
A way that I have developed to structure things I create and share with the world: some books of poems and some books of prose, letterpress notecards, Poetry Witch jewelry, a groundbreaking anthology--and the Healing Rhythms Workshops.
Unlike many witchly women (to use a great adverbish adjective coined by Pam Grossman), I cast my circles to move counterclockwise, the woman-direction, the earth-direction, the moonwise direction. Each direction corresponds with a human aspect, a human quality, an element, and a color. Here is the way I use the directions:
East: Mind, Clarity, Air, Yellow
North: Body, Strength, Earth, Green
West: Heart, Compassion, Water, Blue
South: Will, Desire, Fire, Red
Center: Spirit, Intuition, Matrix, Purple
How did I develop this system? When I first began to follow the path of earth-centered spirituality, I cast my circles the way I had been taught. The closing ritual in my 2010 book Among the Goddesses calls on four directions in clockwise order.
By the time of my 2012 show Five Directions, everything had changed, Within one week, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and severed from a 30-year university teaching career. Called to build a more authentic life, I dove deep into my spirituality and discovered that four clockwise directions were not adequate.
There is much more to say, but now it's time to hear from you. The story of Five Directions is also your story. What happens when you make space for yourself in mind, body, heart, will, and spirit? What happens when you listen to the voices of all these parts of you through the precise and loving medium of written language? What happens when you create space for all these parts of you within a supportive network of community? What happens when you make space for each of these parts of you through ritual?
Feel free to share in the comments below. I'm looking forward to working with you and hearing your version of the story of Five Directions!