Thursday, December 3, 2015

Facing the Four Directions: Thursday's Reflection

A Mandala of the Four Directions
I went to the Mall of America yesterday to buy requested items for the homeless project our church helps sponsor. The stores I needed were spread out on all three floors, and each errand required walking quite a distance. I needed to consult a kiosk with a directory and map frequently to make sure I was going in the right direction. Inside the mall I had no idea if I was facing north, south, east, or west, and I felt slightly disoriented. What direction was I walking? 

At the beginning of worship Sunday morning the congregation stood and faced each direction.

We turn to the North, winter wind settling around us, to look for God's mercy.

We turn to the West, horizon of the setting sun, to hope for God's compassion.

We turn to the South, fields covered in snow, resting in winter cold, to seek God's peace.

We turn finally to the East, the place of the rising sun, the resurrection of Christ, to ask for new life. 

As we turned and turned and turned and then turned one more time, I thought about how often I am unaware of the presence of God no matter where I am, no matter which direction I face. How often I feel disoriented, even lost, when all I need to do is stop and open to healing love and wisdom, which is present and available north, south, east, and west. 

Meditation of the Four Directions
As my Advent offering to you, whether Advent is a season you observe or not, I invite you to stand, take a couple deep cleansing breaths and spend a moment or two opening to the gifts of each direction. 

Face the East, the direction of the morning, spring, fire, and infancy. East is the direction of eagle representing spirit. As you face east, ask for clarity and discrimination, especially if you are confused about a particular issue. May you experience a clear mind, clarity of vision, purity of heart, and wise discernment.

Turn to the South, the direction of midday, summer, earth, youth, and growth. The south is the direction of deer, representing gentleness, mouse for attention to detail, turtle for Mother Earth, and porcupine for innocence. Ask for the ability to open your heart in true loving kindness, especially when you do not feel very loving, and to accept the love of the Divine, the Sacred.

Turn to the West, the direction of evening, fall, winter, the adult and maturity. The west is the direction of bear representing introspection and frog for cleansing. Ask for strength and the ability to overcome fear, especially specific fears and needs. With the love of the Divine, the Sacred, you are strong enough to meet the challenges in your life.

Turn to the North, the direction of the night, winter, air, and the elder. Meet moose, symbolizing self-esteem; wolf, who is the teacher; elk for stamina; and buffalo for prayer and abundance. Open to healing. Lift up any concerns you have for yourself or for others. May you be a conduit for the healing power of the Divine, the Sacred, soothing the hearts, the feelings, and the physical pains of all you encounter. 

Return to the East. Teachers come to us in many forms. There are many paths to truth and light and life. May we each find our own way, and may we respect and honor the sacred paths of others. May each direction lead you to your true essence.  

An Invitation
Which direction speaks to you right now? I would love to know. 


  1. What a beautiful meditation. There are so many paths to peace and spirituality. At one time in my life, I took an extensive course entitled "Herbal Healing Journey". I dedicated two years to this study, and came away with deep appreciation of our ability to find our own way to our inner spirit. It was the beginning of a new way of looking at the meaning of our lives on this planet.

  2. I'm so glad this meditation resonated with you. What a profound and transformative experience you had as a result of the course you took. Thanks for sharing.


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