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Ravenshaw

Working with Compass Points

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I was thinking of the nature of the compass and how it is used in various forms of witchcraft. Decided to post my thoughts here for discussion:

 

When you work with compass points do you regard the "place of power" to be the mere direction itself (so something immediate south of you has the same amount of southern energy as something far away; self-centric perspective) or is it a "shout out" to energies at the extreme of that direction (like egregores of that directions effect on your geography)?

 

I work with the compass points in regard to how they represent transition, as that is the nature of witchcraft for me - change. So for me, distance has power, as does the movement represented by the compass points. I also only consider them down to the relative equator, since the northern hemisphere has always been what I am familiar with. Therefore north is darker, colder, closer to death, south is hotter, sunnier, more vibrant and blasting. East is beginnings and growth to fruition, west is settling or calming down, into dying. East and west represent a more fluid ebb and flow, whereas north and south are more permanent stations, following their cycles as EW days go fasters than NS relative changes such as seasons and daylength. So for a working that I want to grow I might plant the seed using eastern energy then foster it using southern energy. For moving an annoying situation out I would address the west and to keep it dead I would plug northern energy. I generally do not incorporate standard, neopagan elements into my compass philosophy, though natural energies certainly exist within my personal paradigm.

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Therefore north is darker, colder, closer to death, south is hotter, sunnier, more vibrant and blasting. East is beginnings and growth to fruition, west is settling or calming down, into dying.

 

I'm sorry that I don't have much to contribute to the conversation, as I haven't considered working with a compass before. But I find it interesting that you associate north and south that way--having traveled between the northern and southern hemispheres on a regular basis, I have seen in both regions somewhat equal amounts of cold and dark, and heat and sun. I did see the distinction you make to clarify that you consider it down to just the equator, which I can understand. But I have a difficult time reconciling how you handle north and south vs. east and west. For example, the east>west forces are not being split by hemisphere, but the north>south forces are. It doesn't seem uniform, and I'm sure I sound sour fixating on that of all things. I wonder how we would define north>south forces if we were considering it from pole to pole.

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Indeed I don’t consider hemispheres in regards to east and west for my personal paradigm. East and West is more about the coming and going for me, whereas the equator is a more firm boundary in my mind since it presents a physical and measurable difference in the form is sunlight. The north changes more - longer days in summer, longer night in winter, colder the farther you go, and more treacherous to life in general. The South is more constant the closer to the equator you go- stable daylengths, more constant average temperatures. Below the equator the south begins to represent our north, and since I have no connection to the Southern Hemisphere at this time in my life I don’t incorporate it since I don’t know it’s energy for myself.

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Not living near the equator at all. I don't bother with hemisheres, it is either North, South, East or West, nothing changes for me.

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I like using directions, they're constant and always available. Plus I'm almost always aware of where I am in relation to the cardinal points, that's just how my mind and body work, I'm very spatially oriented.

For me the points are about the sun's journey throughout the day, and so my associations are very simple but they can encompass basically anything I can think of. The sun dawns in the East (new beginnings, vigor, revelations), culminates in the South (high points, ardor, visibility), sets in the West (banishings, returns, dissolution) and disappears in the North (secrecy, death). So the power I find in each direction isn't inherent in it, nor is it because specific spirits dwell there. It's an accumulation of this primordial cycle.

 

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