Recently there have been a few threads dealing with Hedge Riding or Shamanic practices. Since it touches upon how I view the seven sacred directions and the four (five) base elements I though i'd share this. Not saying it is the only way or the correct way its just how I happen to view things and though it might make for an interesting discussion thread.


The Seven Sacred Directions and the Four (five?) Base Elements

I hear many people speak about how various charts or personal gnosis suggests they are missing an element from their lives. If not missing said element it is of such influence as to create a difficulty within their lives in equating or working with conditions typically equated to a given element. For purpose of discussion I shall use the common elements of Earth, Air, Water and Fire as the four common elements. I will also forewarn that I do not intend to discuss what effects / affects each element may have upon a given person but will use physical boundaries to describe intersection points.

When most people speak of the four elements it tends to be based upon a representation where one element is in direct opposition to another while the others border it. So for example the element of Fire is often portrayed as being directly oppose of the element of Water. The elemental positions of Air and Earth located on either side of the two opposing elements of Fire and Water. Yet to my perspective this typical layout and correspondence is problematic.

For me a logical layout would be formed best by the visual imagery of a perfect triangle. Yet it must be seen in a 3D presentation to be fully functional. Placing it in such a perspective you then have four equal sized triangles which touch upon all four plates. Thus you would have a base triangle with three equal sized triangles rising above the base and coming to a point. A total of four equal triangles are created, each representing an element and the union or potential union between each.

In utilization one would have a center point where the element would be “Pure” in that it would be un-influenced by the surrounding elements. Upon moving away from the central point one would begin to experience the influence of the surrounding element upon the triangle. So for instance if one is using water as their frontal triangle upon moving towards earth they would advance through semi-solids, mud, etc. where the two meet. Upon moving towards fire the presence of steam, fog, mist, etc. would be created as the two interact.

Yet to have a true balanced point one would think you could simply place three letters “L” back to back to see where they would meet in balance. Yet again to me this would be an incorrect representation for to find a point where all four meet in complete equality of strength and presence one has to locate a center point within each triangle. Such a locating operation would create three center points pushing in from the side with a center point pushing upward from the supporting foundation triangle. A point created in 3D space where all needles meet, producing a true point of equality and balance. A point I believe is referred to when some include the notion of “Spirit”, “Soul” or “Heart” as an active element of influence.

This establishing a method or means of locating an object upon a flat plain. It is at this point where I believe the shamanic notion of Sacred Directions also comes into play or operation as a practice. From a shamanic perspective of locating the positions of Centered upon me, what lies before me, what lies behind me, what lies to either side of me. Creating four equal sized grids that are jointly labeled as North (Air), South (Fire), East (Water), West (Earth) or some equal vent depending upon local geographical perspectives. What attributes assigned to each grid may vary from practice to practice or region to region. With the additional creation of the directions of that which is above me and that which is below me which suggests movement upward and downward while retaining a sense of location upon a given plain.

Within this grid one must have a means of keeping track of movement and influence. Such a condition is created when one considers that at the junction point where all four points meet to create the 5th element location can be determined by establishing a sense of force acting upon the self. BY having a stable yet unaffected point, i.e. the missing element, one can determine when they have centered by moving to a point where pressure is again equal.

Consider for myself I equate my greatest influence to the element of water. So if I utilize the missing element as the point from which all movement takes place I can utilize increases and decreased in surrounding influences to move myself. So I can change the balance of the element of water and air to move and retain my sense of center by keeping one aspect constant. Thus my missing element is not truly missing but is nearly always my point of reference and ensures my point of origin remains stable. BY remaining stable and constant I can move in any direction and retain a sense of where I am at in reference to my center point.

Identifying how each grid acts upon me or capabilities I possess can further aid me in understanding how I am moving and which elements are acting upon me. In understanding the influences I can estimate where I stand in-relationship to both my center point and the degree or depth of influence acting upon me. Such awareness of influences, degrees of influence allowing me to hypothetically move not only horizontally but also diagonally or vertically between worlds or generically between Celestial and Chthonic worlds. What one might suggest or equate to as the world tree or similar dimensional plains.

In many ways the basic elements providing the mathematical formula needed to move through space and dimensions. Creating the seven pints needed to move from a point of origin and arrive at a given destination in physical space. The identification of influences and the point of “Center” or stability providing a constant point of reference that are unchanged.

So the element that so many seem to find missing from their charts or perspective I find frequently to be so constant and present that it is a given in establishing which element is their location and balance point. So it’s not missing at all for it is the assumed point of stability which is used to determine location and degree of influence.

Granted others may disagree with my conclusions. Other elemental layouts are known to employ more than the typical four base elements of Air, Fire, Earth and Water but I do believe each can be over laid upon the sacred directions.