The four directions as a compass for your path of life.
The wheel of the four directions – also known as the Medicine Wheel – is a model from shamanic cultures. The wheel teaches you that there are always four perspectives from which you can look at things. The four views are derived from the four directions: North, East, South, West.
Each direction has its own specific qualities, and each direction supports the other three through its characteristics. The four directions belong together; they form a whole. They work together in a complementary way.
The wheel of four directions can thus bring order. It is a helping map that can bring insight at different levels – the mental, emotional and soul level. It shows you in which direction your qualities lie, where you are deficits, where you can gain strength, where you can find balance.
The wheel of the four directions forms the basic ground plan within which a Systemic Ritual takes place.
The direction of the East
The East encompasses the qualities of renewal, contemplation, perception, oversight, orientation on the world around us. Suddenly having clear insights is an eastern force. The East is uninhibited (like a child). Another quality of the East is the ability to regenerate – the East power provides recovery, renewal, “rejuvenation”. Because the East has the quality of being able to perceive sharply – perceiving both the detail and the whole – it also has the power to add structure.
The energy of the East is most present in the spring, in the morning, at the waxing moon.
In our personal life, it is the period of childhood. In the Northeast, the baby is born, and in the Southeast, the adolescent enters the adult world. The East knows the curiosity and the lust discovery drive of the child and the teenager.
The “East person”
People with a highly developed East qualities can be people who have many ideas and/or can oversee structures well, can create conditions, can explain things well to others, can change things quickly and easily. When you have highly developed East qualities, you are clear, you have an overview, and you are good at planning.
The East has few emotions. “East persons” can therefore appear a bit cool. An “East person” is not the type who gives or wishes to receive a long and firm hug.
An East person is future-oriented. This is the opposite of the “West person” who is nostalgic.
Unbalanced East qualities
When the East qualities “overshoot” or when the qualities of the other directions insufficiently balance the East, problems arise.
When there is too much focus on structure, this can be at the expense of the other qualities of the East: open-mindedness, creativity and the ability to improvise. Obsessive and compulsive behaviour shows the pathology of the East. Structures take on a life of their own.
Unbalanced East energy can also cause someone to “drown” in ideas. One idea to another arises, but the vision, planning and structure are missing. And nothing is ever done with all those ideas. Or worse, something new is always started up, but never brought to full implementation (the South). In severe form, this can be harmful to someone and his environment and lead to debts, among other things. Such kind of person can start to lie to others to keep himself unguilty not my fault, everyone and everything worked against me, but next week I will have … or I promise you that the next week …… ). In the case of lying the qualities of being creative and being able to see and think of new possibilities are used in a destructive way. Someone with such an unbalanced East energy is incapable of taking real responsibility for his actions and does not get access to the qualities of the South.
The direction of the South
The South encompasses the quality of maturity. The energy of the South is most present in the summer, in the afternoon, at the full moon.
In our personal life, it is the period of adulthood. That is the period in which we take on our responsibilities as adults. These include: starting a family, making a career, earning money, providing a roof over your head, belonging to a group (colleagues, sports club, a circle of friends, etc.) |
The qualities of the South are: take action, carry out, persist, persevere, communicate. The South is concerned with the physical manifestation. The South has also the quality of communication. It’s about interacting with the people around you. This is expressed in friendliness and cooperation, but also in friction and conflicts. The South has extroverted energy.
The “South person”.
When you have highly developed South qualities, you like to be physically active. You always want to be busy, and that includes chilling out with the people around you, good food and a drink. Sensory experience is vital to a “South person”, as is contact with others.
Hobbies that suit the “South person” are hobbies where there is a lot of contact with others – this can be collaborative or competitive – and where physical activities are central. Think of team sports, but also conducting political debates, for example.
Unbalanced South Qualities
When the South is too active for a long time or insufficiently compensated by the qualities of the other directions, problems arise. For example, someone becomes hyperactive, cannot stop his activities, takes on too many responsibilities and eventually burns out.
The focus on the other can also get unbalanced and become an obsession. Then you will cling too much to someone else, and if you do not accept the boundary that the other indicates, you could well be called a stalker. Your desire for connection is entirely out of proportions, and the result is the opposite.
Also, too much attachment to sensory experience can lead to dependence or addiction. And that can happen in all kinds of areas: alcohol, drugs, nicotine, sex, gambling, shopping… .
Unbalanced South energy can also lead to dominating others and even abuse of others. Or even the opposite – wanting to be dominated.
The direction of the West
The West includes the qualities of completion, evaluation, contemplation, letting go, cleansing, discharging, being in touch with the inner world of emotions, needs, desires, values, desires. In the West we get rid of ballast, of the superfluous, so that the essence becomes visible.
The energy of the West is most present in the fall, in the evening, with the waning moon.
In our personal life, it is the period of ageing. Children are about to leave the nest. (Grand) parents die. Questions like “is this all”, “is this what I want” come up. The West is the inner world – what are my wants, needs, values. It involves coming to an acceptance of how things have gone, an acceptance of how you did it and how others contributed to it, and thus an acceptance of others and the world as it is. The West eventually brings us to old age, and eventually, we die in the North West.
The “West person”
When you have highly developed West qualities, you will intensely experience the world, accompanied by intense and deep emotions.
Things are released in the West, which means that there is a lack of structure and more chaos and confusing situations can arise. This can sometimes manifest itself in being unable or unwilling to adhere to generally accepted norms and values, rules, agreements, plans.
The “West person” “thinks in images and his inner world and feelings are central. The West person has more contact with the past.
Hobbies that suit the “West person” are hobbies where he/she can come into contact with his inner world: painting, poetry, writing, reading, meditation….
Unbalanced West energy
When the West energy is too active or is insufficiently balanced by the qualities of the other directions, problems arise.
The West is where things are released, where you sometimes can’t control your emotions and lose control. That can sometimes happen. If all goes well, we manage not to let it go too far and cause too much damage, and we manage to stop ourselves. If all goes well ……. If not, then this aspect of the West is disturbed.
An imbalance of the West can also make a person make things worse than they are – continually complaining, whining, being annoyed, and drawing everything to themselves. There is no longer an eye for new and stimulating insights. The West aspect of the breakdown has become the only reality for anyone.
Not being able to let go can lead to feelings of resentment and hatred – two emotions that are destructive to oneself and the outside world.
The West is also the place where psychosis arises, disintegration, degeneration. No distinction is then made between images from the unconscious, fears and physical reality. The sense of reality has disappeared.
The direction of the North
In the North, peace, doing nothing is paramount. Just BEing it, pure consciousness. It is the place where all experience, yours and all other souls who have dared to tread the wheel of earthly existence, is collected. Where all experiences crystallize and combine in great wisdom. The personality that you had/were in earthly existence has been dissolved.It is the place of the departed souls, of our ancestors. We were born out of the North, and we’re going back there.
The “North Person”
People with highly developed north qualities prefer to keep their distance and tend not to get fully involved with the things that are happening around them. They prefer to view from a distance in order to gain wisdom.”North people” will enjoy meditating. Meditation feeds the north energy.
Unbalanced North qualities
When the north strength “overshoots” and/or is insufficiently balanced by the qualities of the other directions, problems arise.It is entirely normal and healthy to withdraw from others every now and then. When contact is continuously avoided, it is no longer healthy, and there is unbalanced north energy. The demand for peace and stillness has then gone too far. There can also be a loss of contact with the world because someone is only busy with spiritual matters. There is no longer any good conversation possible with others.Another form of unbalanced north energy is dissociation. The outside world is no longer felt and participated in; it is no longer really consciously perceived or experienced. The world can also be experienced as unreal.
Daan van Kampenhout – The four directions