Many, if not all, native and ancient civilizations oriented their daily lives around the seasons. They honored the cardinal directions of North, South, East and West, and built their lives around them. Here are some examples:
Each of the directions has a symbolic association or characteristic and energy as well. For instance, one direction may represent fire, or one of the elements, while another direction is good to face when praying. These associations are clearly seen in cultures all around the world, and are seen as a way to guide us through the Cycles of Life.
"The Natural Cycle is an Orienter, for its directional arrows tell you both literally and metaphorically where you are, not only in geographic space and in time, but also in terms of cultural identity and life wisdom."
- "Coyote's Guide to Connecting with Nature," p.200
It could be that direction-based cycles affect us more than we realize. How do you feel in the morning? After lunch time? Watching a sunset? These daily times coordinate with the directions as well. Below I will share some meanings behind these directions that I have found useful in noticing and embracing the cycles of my days, months and years. I use these mostly when I reflect on my day, week or month, but also when I plan my nature camps. Whether it's a two hour class, or full day or week of camp, we flow through our time together in the same ways.
"Perhaps once we tune into these natural cycles with our conscious awareness, we will see - just like watching a magic trick with wiser eyes - subtle happenings that we've been subject to all along but never fully appreciated. Perhaps then we can say, 'Hey, let me see that deck of cards...' and perform magic ourselves." - "Coyote's Guide to Connecting with Nature," p.201
Tuning into things we don't normally notice in nature, honing our senses, and opening our eyes to wonders we didn't know existed helps us grow in so many ways. Not only do we connect with ourselves, but to one another, to the environment, and to our ancestors that carried this knowledge for generations. As I move from North to Northwest, and get ready for bed, I'm reflecting on all of the things that nature has taught me over the years, and I'm hoping to bring some of that to the community around me.
This awareness allows us to continually grow and deepen our connections, and through a little Niksen time in nature, I hope you will start to feel this spark of connection as well.