I know there are a lot of traditionalists out there, and I am by no means one of them.
When I first began on this path, there was very little online. Each website said you HAD to be in a Coven, which HAD to be Gardinarian or Alexandrian. As for finding books…I had no idea where to look in my town!
Eventually a friend insisted I read Scott Cunningham, and later I found Shandarramon.
The issue here…it’s all Northern Hemispheric. Which is great, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere.
In due time, I found myself drawn to Ocean Witchcraft, so everything I did was centred around the ocean, and performed at the beach. I miss my beach… and this is where I began to feel…off.
The books were telling me that fire was in the south…but I saw water in the south.
The books were telling me that earth was in the north… but the sun was in my eyes in the north.
The books were telling me that air was in the east…which I became ok with because there was always an easterly breeze.
The books were telling me that water was in the west…but I saw the cliffs in the west.
For my location, for where I was on my path at that moment in time, what the books were telling me didn’t feel right. I mentioned this to friends I had found online (because I didn’t know any Pagans in real life at this stage) and they were telling me that I was wrong! WRONG! That what I was experiencing was so wrong, because the books were saying that it was this way, and everyone agreed that it must be this way.
Well! That was different! But the common denominator – they were all in the Northern Hemisphere, where the equator is in the south, and the afternoon sun sits in south.
I continued to practice my way, what the energies of the land were telling me was right – Fire in the North, Air in the East, Water in the South, Earth in the West. A few months later I did a “Witchcraft Intensive Weekend” with Wendy Rule, at her house in Melbourne with a handful of other people. Guess what? I wasn’t wrong with my thinking! For most people, they keep to the traditional quarters but just flip earth and fire as our equator is in the north. Yay! I wasn’t imagining things!
After I moved from South-Eastern Australia (ie. near Melbourne) to Sydney, the quarters changed again. Fire in the North, the Pacific Ocean in the East, Southerly breeze in the South, and the Great Deserts in the West. It felt right, as the land had told me, and I later found out is referred to here as the “Standard Sydney Directions.”
Even if you are completely used to the “traditional”, try finding the quarters for where you are based, as you might find a shift in how your practice, particularly if you do a lot of your ritual based work out doors. Yes, I have friends who don’t change the quarters, and it’s always made me wonder…why not? I once knew someone via Facebook who lived on the Eastern shores of Canada, but still called Water in the West. When I asked her why…”because that’s what the books told me to do in the beginning and it just stuck.”
Has anyone else changed the Quarters to suit where you are on this beautiful planet?!
3 thoughts on “Finding your Local Quarters”
I have been considering writing this as my next week’s Q post. I have the same problem, and it’s nice to hear someone else struggles with this too. I change them around and can’t seem to settle on one lot of set directions.
I like the traditional Water in the West and Air in the East, because that is where the sun rises and sets.
Yet the traditional North and South don’t work at all.
But sometimes, interestingly, I use the straight traditional Quarters when I am working indoors.
But if my ritual is in the back yard, I swap them all. West is Air, because that way is flat, hot and windy land, where the wind and the weather usually blows in from.
Drive North from here and it gets hotter, so North is Fire. South, it gets cold and snows, yep, that’s Earth. I then put Water in the East, because although I am a long way from the ocean, East is the way to get to the closest one.
But then the East and West don’t fit with the rising and setting of the sun, which I like to work to!
It’s like the Wendy Rule song, Continental Isolation.
Continental Isolation speaks in waves! Absolutely!
I found finding the directions the hardest when I was living in inland regional Victoria as I didn’t know where to call Water from. There was a man-made lake in town, the nearest water was south (but that’s where I called Air from at that time) so I understand how it can get difficult!
I ended up adapting my calling altogether to, like you, suit the travelling sun. It is easier with Sydney directions, but have a look at what I’ve done and see if it might work for you.
It’s changed again for evening and afternoon. “To where the morning sun rises over the waters glistening deep.” Although when I’m at my beach in Victoria it changes again. “To where the sun rises as the morning air brushes my cheek…” so you can mix in the travelling sun with whatever element you choose to put in that direction.