When discussing the relation of the cardinal directions to the
elements in regards to magickal workings, it is important first to
discuss the elements themselves and their relative properties.
The following elemental properties are generally accepted as being
correct in the Wiccan community with likely personal variations,
additions, or omissions.
Earth is thought to represent that which is stable, dependable
physical and solid. It relates to abundance, wealth, and prosperity.
If one is wanting to bring financial gain their way, they may use the
element of Earth to help bring this about. Earth is also considered
The Great Mother.
Fire rules passion, will, change, sexuality, energy, healing, sexual
aspects and purification. Fire is also used in magick to banish
negative habits. Fire is Masculine.
Water is the element of the subconscious mind. It is used in
Purification, and also in healing, (as is Fire) but in addition , water
Deals with love and the emotions, wisdom and clarity. Water is
often used in magick for fertility, dreaming, love friendship and
psychic ability. Water is feminine.
Air is the element of intellect, thoughts, communication, the
sciences and is the first step to creation. Air is used in such
magickal workings as changing certain thought patterns, improving
communications at work or creating change. If it was not for Air, we
would not exist. Air is masculine.
Now to relate this to the Wheel of the Year and the directions.
Below is a Wheel of the Year with some correspondences. This
Wheel of the year was made in order to show how the time of the
day can be used in establishing the relative ‘feel’ of the Sabbat.
Take note that where the Solstices and Equinoxes are positioned,
they lie directly above the merging of the Male/Female elements ,
whereas the Sabbats that sit at the Cardinal points are governed by
one main aspect, either male or female.
Year. It is the beginning of the Dark Half of the year. For this
reason, it is placed in the North. Samhain represents one of the two
times of the year that the veils between the realms of man and the
spirit realm are at their thinnest. If it were to be represented on a
clock, it would be 9:00pm. A time of the day when all has recently
darkened. The light of the descended sun offers little warmth and
encourages no growth. Sabbats themselves start at dusk, the night
before, and so does the year start at Samhain.. a relative 9:00pm.
The most evident element at this time of the year is Air. That which
Moves and creates change. The air at this time holds a definite
charge of energy. There is a spiral inward, but not in a physical
sense (as in the myths that tell of the descent into the underworld),
rather it is a spiritual journey.
As we envision the Lord of Misrule in the underworld, and no life
growing above, we can feel the masculinity of this Sabbat. Unlike
the common notion in many books such as The Witches Bible by
Janet and Stewart Farrar , or Earth Power by Scott Cunningham
(just to name a few), North does not seem to represent Earth when
put in this context with the Sabbats.
This becomes more apparent as we pass Yule (at Midnight) and
move into the East. At 3:00am. Imbolc. For although all is dark,
there is an unmistakable vibrational hum under the earth. And it
feels as it would at 3:00am. The earth is dark, but we know that the
light is just beyond the horizon of the earth. In that frame of
thought, it seems only proper that this should be the home of Earth.
After all, it is in the direction of East, and Imbolc, that the earth is
once again awakening in preparation for the new growth. In many
parts, crocuses pop up at this time, and ice begins to give way to
muddy banks, and the smell of the slowly reviving earth is
abundant. This is a time of the Goddess. It is a feminine direction,
and Earth governs not only Imbolc, but Ostara as well.
Ostara represents 6am. The light, although slight, and gentle, is
upon us. Day is beginning. The Spring Equinox feels very feminine
as well, much like Imbolc. And so it seems right to have both those
sabbats ruled by the feminine aspect of earth.
Continuing to the South, we arrive at Beltaine. Beltaine Fires, the
traditional beginning of Summer, and the marker of the beginning of
the Light Half of the year. This feels most definitely a time of the
God. A masculine time. On a clock it would represent 9:00 am.
It is directly opposite of the 9:00 pm that Samhain represents.
The height of the morning sun, the full promise of the day to come.
(or the light half of the year to come). Once again, the veils between
the realms are thin at this time. As at Samhain, Air has no physical
substance, neither does Fire in the South, at Beltaine. A time of
change, Dark passes into Light.
We then arrive at Litha, at Noon. Opposite Yule at Midnight. Much
akin to mid-day, the Sun is at its peak. Mid-summer it is called, so it
seems appropriate that it would be equal to mid-day. Although the
day light hours are at their longest at this sabbat, the sun is not
necessarily at its hottest. Much like a summer day. The sun,
although at its peak at noon, is not as scalding as it is at 3:00pm.
And we arrive into Lughnasahd at 3:00pm. West. Although the
daylight hours are slowly growing shorter, the sun can be relentless
at this time. It is however, a time of the Goddess, because we are
journeying inward. The sun rose over the earth in the East and is
now beginning to set into the water in the West. The first harvest is
upon us, and the blessings of the fruitful union of Lord and Lady are
abundant. Introspection is beginning. Even though the sun is still
hot, the days are shorter and soon the rains will fall.
When Fire met up with Water at Lughnasahd, the natural
consequence of Steam is produced. Hot and moist. It carries us
into 6:00pm, and Mabon, or the Autumnal Equinox.
The Autumnal Equinox, our second harvest, is a time of darkening
days. It is 6:00pm. The Spiral Inward is increasing . We reflect on
the year past. Did we do all we needed to? Did we accomplish all
that we intended?
The steamy vapour of the meeting between Fire and Water is
evaporating and rising up and turning once again to Air. At 9:00pm,
Samhain, the point at where it all started.
Now, based on the Wheel of the Year, and the positioning of the
Sabbats, it is easier to see how the elements can be worked with in
a complimentary way.
For example, Earth Magic at Imbolc or Ostara. Drawing up energy
from the earth and using that energy to focus and send our intent
nto seeds which we plant into pots of soil.
If one is to recognize that the female aspect of Earth is the
governing element at this time, it can have powerful effects.
One may even use Earth Magic at this time of the year in different
Esbats as well, to further utilize the full spectrum of the feminine
Earth energy during the period from Imbolc to Ostara.
Generally the Sabbats are seen as celebratory, while the Esbats
are seen as correct for magickal workings. But the Esbats during
the certain elemental period can reflect upon the ruling element.
Earth magick at the Esbats from Imbolc-Ostara, and Fire magick at
the Esbats from Beltaine to Litha. Water Magick from Lughnasahd
to Mabon and Air Magick from Samhain to Yule.
Of course, it may be that during the period of the element of Fire,
one may feel the need to do magickal workings for money or
prospertity. This of course is thought of as being more appropriate
for Earth Magick. Green candles, etc. Well, this can still be done,
but also try to use the Fire energy, maybe banish negative luck that
is interfering with prosperity. Destroy negative thinking patterns
that are causing us to send out negative energy into the universe
and therefore possibly causing us to receive it back. Focus on
bringing about change to financial situations. Still burn a green
candle, but perhaps burn a red one as well. Pay attention to and
honour the time of year we are at.
During the elemental season of Water, if you were wanting to
increase your prosperity, rather than using Earth Magick, one can
use Water Magick to increase your psychic abilities to help make
you more aware of ways to increase your financial potential. One
could use Water Magick in a purification ritual to cleanse
themselves or rid themselves of financial burden. One could
meditate on a bowl of water, with herbs in it that are appropriate for
financial gain and invision themselves in image, in that bowl of
water, being successful, or finding money.
During the elemental season of Air, one could use Air Magick to
gain prosperity by using smoke from incense and invisioning
change of financial situation or improving our thought process so
that we may find a way out of our situation.
We can tie in our magickal workings this way to not only draw on
the energy of the element we most commonly associate with what it
is we need, but by also factoring in the sabbatical time of year.
What element is the season in? What additional correspondences
can one draw from to make this magick work?
That is where it is important to make sure that our elements work
for us with our directions. And because our directions fit in with our
Wheel of the Year and the Sabbats, it makes sense to use the
combined magickal energy of all three of these things. Wheel of the
Year, Elements and the directions.
With keeping these things in mind, our magickal workings are
bound to be even stronger. Infused with our conscious thought of
incorporating all our correspondences of Elements, Directions, and
Wheel of the Year into our Magickal workings at Esbats, our
magickal potency can soar to new