Native American tradition of the medicine wheel describes 4 sacred directions. These are the directions of East, South, West and North. Each of these sacred directions is connected to a Sacred Element; that of Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. The sacred directions and associated elements are believed to provide the shaman and those who follow this belief system with lessons and powers while they journey upon the path associated with the sacred directions.
(source: Sacred Directions and Elements By Pamela Nine, Ph.D)
Other spiritual beliefs include the directions of Above, Below and Within; making a total of 7 sacred directions. As with the Ojibwe and Cherokee Indians. They represent the 7 Sacred Directions using colours. They are:
- North: White
- South: Red
- East: Yellow
- West: Black
- Above: Blue
- Here / now / centre of self: Purple
- Below: Green
To locate these directions is quite simple. All you need is a compass, a patch of ground and some peace and quiet. To attune yourself to these directions, follow the steps outlined below.
Locations of the 7 Sacred Directions
Facing east you will need to allow yourself to feel the energies of this direction. It is the direction of the sunrise and brings light. Stand or sit quietly, become a vessel that is receptive to the energies you are sensing. By simply existing within the moment and connecting with the energies, you may see or feel colours and images, sense feelings other than your own, hear vibrations or music and feel sensations within your body. In time you may receive a form of inner knowledge. Importantly you must remember that there is nothing right or wrong to seek in this experience; just be present in the moment while facing east. After a time and when you are ready turn to face the south ensuring that you have maintained your connection to the east.
Turning south, again allow yourself to feel the energies of this direction. Depending on your hemisphere (north, south, east or west) this direction could be linked to the natural environment and the weather elements. Feel the energies represented by the south by standing or sitting in silence opening to the experience. Again, you may feel or experience things that you are not used to such as a surge of emotion. Simply allow this to flow into you and through you and when you are ready turn to the west. Maintain your connection with the preceding directions.
Turning west, again allow yourself to feel the energies of this direction. Sense the energies of the night and endings. Do not have any expectations and as for the two directions above, simply be involved with the experience. When you feel you are ready turn and face the north and again, continue to maintain the connection you have established with the east, south and west.
Finally, turn to face north. Allow the experience to wash over you by maintaining your receptive vessel status and feel the energies that flow to you. Depending on your hemisphere (north, south, east or west) this direction could be linked to the natural environment or the elements of the weather. When you are ready, reacquaint yourself with the three preceding directions. Then place your consciousness at the centre of these directions and experience your connection to the planet as it ranges out in all directions around you.
Once you have done this, lift your face and look skyward. Experience the new sensations that come to you and accept them as energy from the sky and beyond. Extend your senses to space beyond and connect with the universal energies found there; energy from the sun, moon and stars and the vibrations or ‘music of the spheres’. Feel these experiences flow into and through you passing on to the earth.
At this point, if you are standing you can sit or lie so that you feel yourself resting solidly on the earth or Gaia. Feel the solid nature and physical reality of the earth beneath you; feel the energy rising up into you and through you passing on to the sky above and the universe beyond. Seek the vibrations within the earth that represent for you the beating heart of Gaia and understand that the earth sustains you.
Finally, turn your mind inward and allow your feelings to well up within you. Try to maintain an awareness of the preceding 6 sacred directions and place yourself at the centre. Look for and locate the intersection of these 6 directions within your being. This is the 7th and final Sacred Direction. When you have connected with this place you may feel you are connected to all things and in doing so understand your place in the higher order of the universe. (source: Honoring 7 Sacred Directions by Ananaia O’Leary)
Now how do we tie these 7 directions to the 7 Chakras? I’m saving my hypothesis on this for part 3.