In her blog Practical Magic
Lavanah discusses the role of elements in Ritual Circle after being asked:
“Okay, question for you AND for your followers: is east or south Fire for you in your workings, and why?”
Personally I have always worked a Circle in the form; East is Air for the first utterance and morning breath, South is Fire and the form manifested and dynamic, West is Water and the unconsciousness, North is Earth and also the place of the Ancestors and how we as the individual are informed. For me personally this has always held a suitable manner of understanding as it possesses all the fundamental elements of my magical practices and the belief that I as an individual form the Circle.
This is a method from the Irish Tradition(s) which a friend recently directed me to. Since I believe in personal exploration of the magics I shall be engaging these attributes at the nearest possible convience but the correspondences go as follows:
East is Oir, meaning before me. The wind’s colour is corcar (purple).
South is Theas, meaning my right. The wind’s colour is gel (bright).
West is Iar, meaning behind me. The wind’s colour is odar (fresh-water colour).
North is Tuaidh, meaning my left. The wind’s colour is dub (black or invisible).
The colour association seems to originate form the Senchas Mar and may have been influenced by the Old Testament. I can’t help but wonder about the LRP and the arch-angels with “Before me, Raphael”, whose colours are traditionally purple for healing, “Behind me, Gabriel”, which is often seen on a body of water for the unconscious, “To my right, Michael”, which is seen as the flaming champion of Heaven with the sword of Heaven in flames. Then there is, “To my left, Uriel”, which is often said to be visualised in browns and earthy tones. Some of this is taken from modern Lesser Rituals of the Pentagram which is a new ritual not an ancient one. Perhaps the two sources were reading the same passages?
In any event the Irish Tradition(s) format doesn’t seem to be vastly different from my own established practices. The tricky matter I think shall be associations of tools. Generally speaking I try not to get bogged down in the association of tools in ritual (aside from Temple proper work mind but thats do to with sharing of the rituals). Perhaps this is being somewhat evasive for Frater POS who initially posted the query, I’m sorry if I am I just want to be cautious as we may end up discussing initiation in a roundabout sort of way. Like yourself Frater I’m also a ceremonialist, so I can appreciate the two formats that tend to present themselves to magical seekers. You can be a student of a prescribed tradition in which case the association of directions and function therein also factors into group cohesion (autopraxic groups) or a solitary worker who through regular spiritual work establishes their own astral link to the “higher realms”.
I think the real difficulty and danger to seekers tends to be passivity in terms of simply accepting prescribed functions blindly. In each magical tradition whether Initiatory Wiccan or Magical Order work one needs to have a quizzical mind. Respectful but quizzical. Experimentation of matters often reveal our own sense of the world before they teach us the deeper meanings.
Aside from this I guess Lavanah has retired me as her High Acolyte and Poohbah-to-be! Looks like its the dole queue for me come Monday morning… 😉