Monday, November 24, 2008

InnerBliss: Guidance from the Four Directions, Beginning in the East

A tulip poplar on the next block:
I love when the snow outlines
the edges
of the trees.

Listening to: A theme for the week.

Bliss: The sun on the snow yesterday was amazing. I loving walking in this weather. (Thanks to the these on the bottom of my boots, that is.)

By five, even if the sun has been up all day, it is getting dark now. And for the next few weeks, it will get darker still.

Many people are affected by this, as I used to be, but a side benefit of being a spiritual seeker is that sometimes you get to actually figure something out.

And for me, finding a deeper connection to the earth and her seasons has cured me of what I thought was seasonal affective disorder. Now I pay extra close attention during the changes and my new found fascination with the details has made it easier to tolerate the larger picture -- the darkness that can envelope us "too early."

I thought that, as we work our way toward the Winter Solstice (and the return of the light), we could take a closer look at the four directions and the meaning they can bring to our everyday experience of this life.

I will be bringing together thought from a variety of traditions, including Celtic, Native American, and modern pagan.

Starting with the East always makes sense: the start of our day comes from the East and the rising of the sun. And some traditions associate the East with the wind, which brings change in weather and moods:

I come to the East.
I ask the wind to clear away
preconceptions and muddy reasoning.
At this moment of sunrise, the beginning
of a new day, I come to thee
seeking the wisdom I may need.

(From A Priestess's Litany for a New Day by Grey Cat. For the whole thing, go here.)

To help facilitate any work you might want to do with this direction, here are some correspondences, taken from Spiral Dance:

The East's element is air; time is dawn; season is spring; colors are white, bright yellow, crimson; tools are athame, sword, censer; sense is smell; jewel is topaz; incense is frankincense; plants include myrrh, pansy, primrose, vervain, violet, and yarrow; animals are birds, especially the eagle and other hawks; goddesses include Aradia, Arianrhod, Cardea, Nuit, Urania.

According to the Lakota, the East is spirit and salvation; for the Celts, it is air, communication, and new beginnings.

I think of a Kundalini yoga exercise on one of the Ana Brett and Ravi Singh DVD's that goes like this: sit on folded knees and hold your arms out in front of you, palms up; lean back a bit and extend your face upward, so that you are using the back neck muscles to hold your gaze toward the sky. Do the breath of fire. Ravi says something amusing and smart (as usual) about tapping into the universal internet by doing this.

The receiving posture of the hands tells us a lot about working with the base energies of the East, energies that bring about inspiration.

This all makes the start of your day even more important on a literal and metaphorical level. We praise the rising of the sun, externally and internally, so that we might begin again, begin anew in whatever creative endeavors we are currently finding challenging.

Supplicating ourselves to the start of the day and staying in a posture where we are open and ready to receiving is of utmost importance. We want to begin as an open and clear channel so that we inspiration arrives, we notice it and are ready and able to receive it.

Here are some questions to consider:

Do you feel stuck in any part of your life right now? Do you think your stuck-ness anything to do with communication? It usually does. Think about how you communicate with others, with yourself, and with the larger universe. Are you communicating or just getting by?

Are you resisting new types of creativity that are trying to enter your life? Sometimes we have such preconceived notions about what it is that we do that we don't stay open to anything new and different.

Do you start your day in a way that leads to healthy productivity? Are you getting on the computer too soon? Do you always skip what is best for you -- like yoga, prayer, morning pages, a good breakfast?

For this coming week, perhaps think about all the ways the East works in your life.

You could set up an altar using some of the correspondences mentioned. You could write every morning about how you feel at the beginning of the day and then review later in the evening.

Let me know how it goes...


epiphanygirl said...

Good morning!
Ugh, ok, I do not feel that cheerful as I am deeply sunk in profound and spiritual state of cranky this morning. You know those days when your skin fits as badly as your jeans and the entire world is conspiring to trip you and make your bra straps slip? That's me right now.

BUT! I am going to thank you for bringing me back to the four directions and the wheel of the year and all that yummy wisdom that so sustained me for so long and have a good few cups of green tea and realize that this work day won't be so bad after all.

Deep breath taken. Day started anew!

Linda Sama said...

I tagged you at my other blog, Ramblings of an Ageless Hippie Chick. what music is your bliss? play if you want to.

Tess said...

Mmmm, what a lovely beginning to the four directions. Looking forward to the next.

Connie said...

Hi Christine!!

Erie, PA made it on the news out here in AZ last night...I couldn't help but think of you...and actually get a bit know, I don't get "snow days" teaching out in the desert!!!

This post made me think. Every morning I practice Yoga in my studio. I just realized that I practice facing North. Thanks for always making me aware of the nuiances of my surroundings. I can't wait to see what you post about north.

Peace & Love.

terrimcall said...

Your sharing of how you are looking differently at the changing of the seasons resonated so much with me and will help me to sit in the east and come to a new appreciation for the darkness of winter. It is a time to go within and work on myself, tap into my creativity and learn my true purpose. The Lakota believe that honoring the directions will keep us grounded and humble. Both of which I need to be in order to truly connect with Spirit. By putting my connection with Spirit above all else I KNOW I will be guided in the direction that will be best for myself, all my relations and the earth mother. Thanks for putting this ancient practice out there for others to learn about. And thanks also for the reminder of how important it is to start my day with prayer and meditation... Now I must walk away from the computer, get back to basics and embrace the seasons! Right on blisschick!!!