Most people I know, when they’ve begun looking into this path, tend to head towards the Wicca for Beginners books because there are so many out there. My first was Scott Cunningham as a friend insisted I read it just to help me along in finding my way.
As most books out there for beginners are written by authors in the United Kingdom, Europe or North America, they all have one thing in common – when calling the quarters, Fire is in the South.
So when I first began, I tried the Cunningham way – north for earth, east for air, fire for south, water for west. It felt so wrong, I was adamant I wasn’t doing something properly. My mind kept telling me, “no that’s wrong. THAT’S WRONG!!!” but for the life of me, I couldn’t understand why. Was I not saying the words right? Were the spirits upset with me for some reason?
Living in the northern hemisphere, fire is in the south for the equator, and where the sun sits in the sky.
I’ve mentioned this workshop before, but I was given an explanation when I attended the Witchcraft Intensive Weekend with Wendy Rule. We in Australia (and the southern hemisphere) do it differently. Because the equator is north for us, and as the sun sits in the northern sky, fire is therefor in the north. So most people simply switch north and south around.
But that STILL didn’t feel right for me.
One summer afternoon I was standing on the shores of Anglesea and began to think about what I was doing. Looking around, I realised why it all felt wrong.
When I face the south, I see the ocean (South – Water). When I face the west, I see the cliffs (West – Earth). When I face the north, I feel the equator (North – Fire). When I face the east, I feel the sea breeze (East – Air).
Everything felt normal from that day.
When I moved to Sydney, I realised how common and just how many people do change the directions for where they live. We have the “Standard Sydney Directions” here where North is Fire for the equator and the sun; East is Water for the Pacific Ocean; South is Air for the Antartic breeze; and the West is Earth for the great expanse of land.
This feels so normal for me now, and it’s become a case of “what’s normal for me is strange and alien for everyone else.” I used to have a friend who lived on Canada’s eastern seaboard, and she would call the quarters by the traditional northern hemispheric way. I questioned her about it as it made sense to me, and her response was “because that’s the way I was taught.”
So my question to you, dear readers, do you change the directions to suit your geographical location, or do you go with what’s traditional for your hemisphere?