Jump to content

Calling Quarters

Recommended Posts

I've been a witch (I dislike the word still, my granny wouldn't ever have used the word) all my life, although not always active in the sense of observing festivals (except Yule and Samhain) or doing much with magic. Lots of reasons for that, which I'll probably go into later.


When the whole "new age"thing came around and there was more interest and information available I noticed some important things the rest of the world does different than I learned. Some things are minor and to be expected. I didn't expect the elements to be done differently though. So I am looking to find any other "traditions" or people who do them differently as well.


When I call quarters (which I do a lot less often than other witches it seems) I start East and East is Earth, not air. I finish with North, logically, and North is Air, as Air is the highest up for me. Fire is usually South, but at times I just know it has to be West. My husband has Fire as final element, but he does not even connect the element to any special direction. It just does not work for him. So he usually assigns elements depending on what is going on.


And then there is Spirit, which is in the middle of it all, and Space and Time, which are something different altogether and don't get called in a normal circle. If they get called, it is usually in a heptagram. 


This is something that's vexed me since I found out about everyone else has the standard elements at a fixed position, and in a way which usually doesn't agree with me. The few times I've done stuff with others I have followed the "standard" way of doing things but this never sat so well with me.


I'm also interested in others things people might do different from everyone else.

Link to post
Share on other sites

There is no standard. Some people, like you, will indeed feel that North is linked with Air, etc. It depends of your location, feelings, beliefs. Most books are targeting people in the Western/North Hemisphere, and will links East with Air, South with Fire, West with Water and North with Earth. It is the same with the colors. Usually, we have Earth/North/Green, Air/East/Yellow, Fire/South/Red and Water/West/Blue, but some cultures/tradition prefer to have brown for Earth, Green for Water, Blue for Air...


For the circle, it depends. Some people will start will North, and then go East, South and West. Starting with the North is good for all kinds of Spellworks, as North is the direction of steadiness and balance. Good for Full Moon rituals and any magickal working where you want steady energy. 


My Altar is facing East, to follow the traditional Celtic/Irish tradition, and I also start with East, so: East, South, West, and North. East is the direction of new beginnings, as the sun rises in the East. Good for New Moon rituals and for any magick concerning the start of something new. My Altar is also specifically divided by the directions/elements. Here some pictures of it:








In the end, you can practice however you feel it's best for you. Spirituality is awesome because it doesn't follow a dogma and a rulebook!

Edited by Morsoth
Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow you have a beautiful altar for Her. I don't have a fixed altar, although there is an altar room in the house and 2 more outside in our hut. Lately, Bast seems to prefer a fixed altar so I will have to design one for my living room once it is done (we recently moved and it takes time to renovate this old house). Cats will knock stuff down, but the whole reason Bast guards this house is because of them so that's just their way of paying their respects. 


I always felt a bit out of it because the other pagans I met had rather fixed ideas where things had to be. I start the circle depending on time in moon cycle and what I want to accomplish. My altars have faced west and north, more out of room layout, or in most cases were set on a round table in the middle of the altar room (with my Buddhist altar at any wall). This was my partner's idea, as this way no direction is favored,he said his magic feels fenced in otherwise. I like that approach even if it blocks the room a little. I am pretty sure Bast's altar would need to face south, to look towards Egypt.


Weirdly enough, Egypt Magic associates wind with east, yet Bast is perfectly fine with me doing things the way I feel right and so is everyone else we pay respects to. No doctrines, indeed.


Probably weird question, do you have any order in which you light your candles of God and Goddess? My grandmother always lit the candle for the Goddess first (never had statues back then) while her best friend insisted on lightning the candle for the God first and I remember endless debates about it but was too young to follow. Sometimes I think they just needed to argue over something.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't contribute much to the question de jour as calling quarters isn't "my thing" unless I'm with a group who does. But I wanted to say that that altar is REALLY cool! *respect*

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks! I love seeing others altars and bookshelves. YouTube is great for that! I've built that version in 2013. It is a simple microwave cart, and I added a wooden top with a small shelf for my matron goddess. I did some woodburning/painting and that's it!


Before that, it was a very small shelf, and later the top of a chest. Anything can make an altar.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Arania


I start with the North when I call my quarters.  ...I can't quite remember why - except it was something to do with where I lived as a child - the hills where in the North and it just felt like sense to start there.

I believe it a more Shamanic practice to denote the quarters according to your environment - and I read some books when I was younger.

Now that I've moved to Britain - there's the generally accepted "Northern Hemisphere" pattern of beginning with East, then South, West and North - in the Tradition that I join in with. 

Traditions differ.

I tune in if I'm in a group following this format. 

Otherwise I do my own thing.


My Altars - are were I can suitably put them with the space that I have available.

So - my main Altar faces South on the windowsill.

This is my Dark Altar - named just because there's a lot of black crystal on it 🙂. - pictured below.

It's my main working Altar. 

The second is a pop up Altar.  I construct specific Altars for specific occasions sometimes - then

put then away when the ritual/ceremony is complete. It was an Altar for a Blood Moon working.


I have no candles on the working Altar - my partner would have a fit, afraid that I may burn the house down 🤪. If I do have candles - I may have no particular order that I light them in.

Again - in an open pagan group there might be some sort of accepted order... lets see - in Wicca one invokes the quarters 1st with the creation of the sacred circle - so you'd light the 4 quarter candles 1st, in whatever accepted cardinal order.  Invoke the guides for those cardinal quarters.

Then invoke the God & Goddess or whatever other you are working with. Light the candles for these at this time. 


@ Morsoth - are those a couple of Paul Borda carvings on your Altar?  😍



Altar BLUE BLOOD Moon.png

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.