Four Directions Models, Traditions, and RitualsMay 3, 2007
I am fascinated by the search strings that people type in that lead them to this blog :) Almost every day someone types in four directions. This makes me really happy! It makes me picture men and women all over the world seeking to create personal rituals from indigenous traditions – what Bill Plotkin in Soulcraft calls Self Designed Ceremony. (I do get a few hits each week on Soulcraft and Bill Plotkin ;) If you want to learn more about that – visit the Animas Valley Institute (AVI).
In a discussion today – I threw together this quick compilation of ways of working with the four directions and being short of time am recycling this writing by posting it here. Sometimes I feel so split between the intimacy with which I write in closed groups and the anonymity that at times limits my writing here. Another both/and inviting me to sit with the irreconcilable!
So here is the post from Divine Feminine Wisdom:
Everybody has their own internally consistent way of working with the four directions. The ways that I use are VERY different from the reclaiming community so if you start to use this in your life and one day run into someone from that community – they may tell you you are doing it “wrong.” When I began this work – I learned that the Celtic wheel differs from the Lakota Medicine Wheel, and those are only two of the ingineous traditions that have been written about.
When I attended my first AVI intensive – the most powerful thing I took away was applying Steve Gallegos’s four ways of knowing with the four directions. Steve took the four ways of knowing from Jung’s typology – but changed intuition to imagination. If you are wanting to become more balanced about how you “know” things about your interior life and the world – that is a powerful wheel to create and work with.
North – Thinking (rational, analytical, scientific)
East – Sensing (what I take in with not only sight (overdeveloped in humans) but also touch, taste, sound, scent)
South – Feeling (including mad, sad, glad, and scared – but more importantly to me connecting memories and experience with emotion and the body)
West – Imagination (the place of the mystery, the unknown, the unconscious of Jung)
Another model that I worked with came from Angeles Arrien. She is an anthroplogist and came up with a cross cultural wheel using archetypes, visionary, teacher, healer, and warrior. Each archetype has a task. Instead of focusing on our woundedness – her model is about developing our potential and character. What I love about her model is that it doesn’t wallow in what isn’t working – instead she has specific work that we do to develop all these aspects of Self and then we go around the wheel to balance ourselves.
You can read an interview with her here:
North – warrior
South – healer
East – visionary
West – teacher
In the interview she talks about the work of each of the directions.
Much of the work I talk about here that has to do with the subpersonalities – Loyal Solider, Nurturing Parent, Indigenous Child, etc. comes from the AVI model. Let me know what you are looking for if it isn’t what I have laid out here.
How do you bring balance into your life? What are the unexpressed and undeveloped archetypes that are waiting in your unconscious to find expression? How might they assist you in living your larger life?