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The 4 Directions


Native cultures of both the Americas were living in harmony with life; in tune with the cycles of nature and its basic rhythms. They understood the four directions (East, North, West and South) as our anchors - the four gates of our material world. Not only in the geographical sense, but equally psychological. All life on our planet is regulated by the course of our Sun. Day and night - spring, summer, autumn and winter are making it possible for us to count time. These cycles give us basic rhythms and roots. Not only all of the vegetation cycles are tuned and surrendered to the celestial rhythms but also our physical, mental and emotional bodies. We are part of this world, in an intimate relationship with it - in fact, we are it.


The four directions, East, North, West and South represent the four different formats of energy. Their constant (r)evolution generates life energy (Chi), spiraling the universe higher and higher. A dance - celebrating the eternal Now.

The four fundamental forces of nature are another expression of the four directions. Recognizing their inherent qualities reveals a deep interconnectedness. Beyond all complexities we can perceive cosmic oneness and synchronicity.

The I Ching's perspective opens yet another door to taste the four fundamentally different expressions of life energy.



East                 Represented by the color RED


If we are in accord with the laws of heaven our action is innocent


On an Eastern day the main energy is initiative, pulsating, forceful and innocent . Red, the color of fire, symbolizes constant renewal, rebirth and new beginnings . The sunrise and the spring remind us that everything begins in the East .

You are preoccupied with yourself - be it struggling with personal problems or about the establishment of self. The power of vision is the gift of the eagle , the totem animal of the East.

Numbers expressing the energy of the East: 1 - 5 - 9 - 13 - 17


The electromagnetic force determines how electrically charged particles interact with each other, also determining their behavior within magnetic fields . The electromagnetic force governs the emission and absorption of light and other forms of electromagnetic radiation .

The electromagnetic force is a long-range force .


In the I CHING East is depicted by the hexagram 25, "Innocence - The Unexpected" .

The arousing Thunder below and the creative Heaven above.

"If we are in accord with the laws of heaven our action is innocent."

The electromagnetic presence of spirit (an invisible but extremely structured and still fluid energy-field) naturally beams us - provided that we might allow letting go of patterns and habits. This brings us in contact with the new - the unintentional, forevernew and unexpected.



North              Represented by the color WHITE


Noble hearted keeping still


On a Northern day the main energy is internalized . North resonates with winter and mid-night . Inward refinement implies wandering into the labyrinths of one's mind. North implies a strong intellect and critical evaluation . North's color is white, which in fact isn't a color at all. North means aloofness , defensiveness and distance to emotions . The totem animal of North is the buffalo , its gift is purity . This is the shaman's realm , recalling our connection to the spirit world .

Numbers expressing the energy of the North: 2 - 6 - 10 - 14 - 18


Gravitation is always attractive, never repulsive. It pulls matter together , causes to give weight . It is the weakest of the four forces. Gravitation governs the motion of massive bodies, such as planets, stars and galaxies. Gravitation is a Long-range force


In the I CHING North is embodied by the hexagram 52, "Keeping still - The Mountain"


Mountain below and mountain above.

"There is rest because the movement has come to its natural end."

Describing the process of becoming silent, approaching inner emptiness. Mind and heart becoming a mirror without any ripples. Different stages of detachment from our physical and individual form are illustrated in the commentaries of the six lines. Relaxing the toes, the legs, the hips and sacrum, the trunk and the jaws lead to the sixth line, marking the end of the journey.

"Noblehearted keeping still. Good fortune."

This statement marks the consummation of the effort to attain tranquility. Not only at rest within oneself but in total surrender to the whole. The ego has resignated, the drop has disappeared into the ocean - has become the ocean.



West               Represented by the color BLUE

Modesty, and adaptability to obstacles are the laws of evolution


On a Western day the main energy is about merging with the world as a greater whole. We are concerned with our relations with others. West is the place where we loose our egos , where inspiration is born , where constantly new worlds are created . West is all about cooperation and compromise . The color of West is blue, stating royalty , reflecting oneness , the huge sky and the vast ocean. West is connected to the times of sunset and autumn , when we earn the merits of the day or the season. The totem animal is the bear , symbolizing strength and nobility . West appears as self-assured and strong , not afraid of surrendering unto existence , ready to let go, to move with the wave of life, inviting, open, prepared to disappear as an ego. West is the most mysterious of the four directions - transformation is an ongoing as a highly surprising and creative play of interaction.

Numbers expressing the energy of the West: 3 - 7 - 11 - 15 - 19


The weak nuclear force causes the radioactive decay . It transforms atoms of a certain kind into a variety of different new elements. Each atomic decay sets free a proton, an electron and an anti-neutrino. The weak nuclear force is responsible for synthesizing different chemical elements . Although the radioactive decay is a seemingly chaotic process, each single type of atom (isotope) has its defined period of half-life, its wave. The weak nuclear mainly occurs in stars and in supernova explosions. The weak nuclear force is a short-range force .


In the I CHING West is manifested by the hexagram 46, "Pushing Upward - Determination"


The gentle wind (wood) below and the receptive Earth above.

Life's inherent power of growth supersedes gravity. Flowing with the sap of life one is in harmony with the divine will. Following the spirit's call one levitates towards one's fulfillment. It is a vertical ascent. Most important is meeting powerful and authoritative individuals. Through them you meet your future. You are pulled to reach your destiny, to accomplish your potentials. Divine discontent is seducing you - despite any wavering - to transmute, to move on. Centripetal forces are propelling you, dispersing you constantly.

"Modesty, and adaptability to obstacles are the laws of evolution"

Confidence and sincerity are the resources for growing upwards. Perseverance, evolving step by step and mindfulness about the whole process are the prerequisites promising great success.



South              Represented by the color YELLOW


Inner merit constitutes the basis of external order


On a Southern day the main energy is fiery and expressive . South is the last of an evolutionary pulse, bringing the intentions of East, North and West to full blossoming . South is highly idealistic, very outspoken, directly reactive and emotional . South is yellow, midday and summer season, there is tropical heat and abundant vegetation . This abundance is challenging our rational side . Either one gets afraid of or attached to this overwhelming release of life energy . South can express in disillusion when the manifested visions do not take physical form immediately. The totem animal of the South is the Coyote , offering us intuitiveness and wisdom to find one's path to mature and recognize one's destiny .

Numbers expressing the energy of the South: 4 - 8 - 12 - 16 - 20


The Strong nuclear attraction holds together protons and neutrons within the atomic nucleus, preventing the mutual repulsion between the positively charged protons . Being the strongest of the four forces , this energy is set free in huge amounts in nuclear fission as well as in nuclear fusion. The power of strong nuclear attraction is the source of vast quantities of energy, which fuels the stars, providing the means for life to evolve on Earth-like planets orbiting the stars.

Strong nuclear attraction is a short-range force .



In the I CHING South is represented by the hexagram 10, "Treading - Conduct"


The joyous lake below and the creative heaven above.


Knowing the inherent differences between high and low is the basic condition for successful interaction despite circumstances. Intelligence treads upon power, revealing the appropriate code of behavior which facilitates fulfillment.

"Inner merit constitutes the basis of external order."

Modesty, freedom of entanglement and surrender to the inner call are the qualities to develop courage. Challenging great powers one needs caution, resolute conduct and perseverance. The awareness of dangers grants ultimate success. Then one becomes a role model of victorious action.



© 2004-2014    -     Khoji J. Vihara