The tradition in which I came up, Stone Circle Wicca, and the tradition I am forming, Cascadia Arbor, pay special attention to the Four Directions and Elements. Cascadia Arbor adds to the original Four, but those Four are where my heart is most at home.
For those of you who are not familiar with a Wiccan Circle, the Circle is the liturgical space in which ceremony takes place. One of the most important ritual actions in casting or “setting” the Circle, if you will is to “call the Directions.”
Calling the Directions
What we are doing when we turn to each Direction and speak our invitations is two-fold.
One, by turning to the East, South, West, and North, and back to East again, we remind ourselves of our Where. Where are we? How does our place in the world at that moment affect us? Are we someplace that has been made sacred to us by years of liturgical movement? Are we someplace new to us, someplace we do not know yet, but is no less sacred despite our ignorance? Everywhere we are, we are on Holy Ground, and attending to the Directions reminds us of this holiness. We remind ourselves of this holiness and of its home to us, no matter how unfamiliar it may be to us.
Calling the Elements
My friend Jonathan once wrote, “To call in an Element in is like pouring a glass of water at the bottom of the ocean.” And that is the truth. By calling to the Elements, we are calling to ourselves and our own attention. We are not calling anything that is not already there.
We do not call anything into the Circle that isn’t already there.
Air is blowing gently (or not so gently, as the case may be) and we breathe together. Sun warms Earth and the heat of our bodies radiates out. Water flows through our arteries in our blood, the trees and plants take it up in their complex vascular systems. And Earth, always Earth, we stand upon and make our home.
And so we stand upon fertile, gravity-loving Earth and we create a home, a place where Where we are and Who/What we are can be equally important. And we walk around the Circle pointing with a blade that lays bare our illusions of non-sacredness. We walk with the blade to reveal what is so often hidden: The Land and People are sacred. Both can be desecrated, but there is still sacredness no matter the terrible violence that can be done to us. No matter the explosion. No matter the brainwashing. No matter the evil, still, there is an underlying holiness in all the People, all the Land, all the Elements.
The Elemental Wisdom of Fire
And one of the Elements I love best, though I love them all, each differently, is Fire, the Element of the South. The faces of Fire are both destructive and life-giving. We carry our own heat within us, Sun nurtures Earth, wildfires destroy forests and homes…There are many ways of experiencing fire.
On Thursday September 15, at 8:15 PM Eastern time and 5:15 Pacific, I will share a free call with you on the faces of fire, especially the seemingly humble candle flame. This call is at no cost to you, and has no obligation attached. It is a gift of time and attention we will share together. I invite you to bring a candle and something to light it with–anything from a tealight to a three-wick enormous candle, your choice.
Again, the call will be at 8:15 Eastern time and 5:15 Pacific, on Thursday, the 15th. Sign up here, and get more information! Thank you, and many blessings!