We’ve all seen The Craft, but you know that scene where they’re all like “Hail to the Guardians of the Watchtowers…hear us” on the beach? It’s based on something called “Calling the Directions, Quarters, Watchtowers or Elements” and it’s a way of greeting the day and honoring the cardinal directions. Not just greeting the day, but calling in for ritual, spell work or even protection.
There are many versions, but this one is just a way of welcoming the new beginning of each day. Maybe the day before just sucked, but it’s over. It’s in the past. Sunrise always brings the freshness of a brand new one. I like to get up and go out into my yard really early in the morning and do this.
The closer to sunrise, the better.
In these early morning moments, I unite with spirit and get ready to be love that day. To center and ground and just start all over.
Quarters are the cardinal directions of North, South, East and West. In the Golden Dawn tradition, the Watchtowers or guardians are just the spirits of the directions. In the movie, they say “Hail to the guardians of the Watchtowers…” but who are those guardians?
Hermetic philosopher Paracelsus wrote that the elemental essences are populated by a host of beings he called elementals, who are pure energy, pure consciousness in the essence of the element. They embody it and regulate its function in the physical world. The elementals are envisioned in folklore from many ancient cultures.
- Earth: Gnomes, also described as pygmies, brownies, dwarves, sprites, goblins, dryads, hemadryads.
- Air: Sylphs, sylestres, fairies are envisioned like winged pixie-like creatures, or moth-like.
- Water: Undines, envisioned in folk-lore as Mer-people, also described as Nymphae
- Fire: Salamanders, pictured like tiny red lizards, that exist in the heart of every flame. Also called firedrakes, some dragons, vulcani, lares, penates.
“Although folklore tends to personify elementals as though they are part human, according to Paracelsus, this is not accurate; elementals are spirits of pure energetic forces. Nature spirits, faeries, or Fey Folk, and devas should not be lumped in with them, as they are different beings and embody more than one element.
Elementals function at a vibrational rate higher than their earthly substance. They cannot exist or survive in our dimension without the gross form of their element present, which is why the Wiccan altar requires a lit candle, bowl of water, salt and burning incense if you plan to “call the quarters” to support your magickal work. Much like humans must have atmosphere, and fish must have water to survive, elementalsmust have their element to be present in your circle.
In the Western Esoteric Traditions which go back to Golden Dawn, through Enochian Magick, and from there to Alchemy, there are Archangels associated as the Guardians of the Watchtowers over the four quarters of Creation. Gabriel ruled the East. Michael guarded the South. Raphael guarded the West, and Uriel guarded the North. The archangels, however, are an entirely different strata of Divine Being than anything rooted in this middle world, as are the elementals. Archangels are of the Upperworld, encompassing far more than the single elemental power which falls in their domain. The confusion here is in the term “Watchtowers,” which is a ceremonial magick term, and doesn’t necessarily correlate to elemental realms, beings, sovereigns OR even witchcraft, and may have been a term borrowed inappropriately by the founders.
Whatever spirit you call, work with or use for this is all you. This is your craft. I only shared the above info to demonstrate the differences in belief, but whatever you believe in, spirits, elements or even energy can be called upon using this ritual to welcome the golden light of the new day.
There are many rituals, but I am sharing one from Najah Lightfoot because I just love it’s simplicity.
The Ritual of Calling the Directions
In its simplest form, this is a way of greeting the day and honoring the cardinal directions of east, south, west and north. There are elaborate ways to perform this, and there are simple ways.
Sometimes keeping things simple and direct are the most powerful ways to connect with our Higher Power. This ritual focuses on seven directions: East, South, West, North, Above, Below and Within.
East: Element of air and new beginning. Power of the rising sun, the new day and is the power of our breath and directions of our thoughts.
South: Element of fire. Power of passion, flames, desire and growth. The heat from the flames of spirit rise and warm our souls.
West: Element of water. Adventure, mountains, lakes, streams and oceans. Fall, getting things accomplished and going into one’s inner self for reflection.
North: Element of earth. Season of winter and all those who have gone before us.
Above: The sky. Covers our days and blesses our nights. Filled with the sun, moon and stars. The great beyond.
Below: We stand firmly on Mother Earth. The gifts of life and nourishment.
Within: Embrace the Divine within yourself. Strength and power rises from the soul of your being.
Performing the Ritual
Begin the East, turning clockwise as you face each direction.
• Face East with arms spread wide and say:
Bless ye, Goddess! Bless ye Goddess! Bless ye Goddess!
Hail to the golden sun and this brand-new day of living, which has surely begun, Hail to the moon and stars so bright. Thank you Goddess, for your love. light presence, and protection in my life. Hail and welcomes powers of air, powers of east!
(You can also replace Goddess for the name of your deity.)
• Face South and with arms spread wide say:
Hail and welcome powers of fire, powers of south!
• Facing West, with arms wide say:
Hail and welcome powers of water, powers of west!
• Facing North, with arms wide say:
Hail and welcome powers of earth, powers of north. Blessed be all those who have gone before us.
• Facing East, with arms wide say:
Hail to the Queen of Heaven (or your deity) that I love, the moon, stars, and planets above.
• Bend your knees and slowly, lowering your hands to the ground and then raising them above your head. Visualize a tree growing upwards as you say:
Blessed be our sacred Mother Earth, without whom we would not be.
• Cross your hands over your heart and say:
Blessed be the Divine Spirit, that I am, that is me, that are we.
• Stand with your arms spread wide and face the East. At this time, call out the names of the people, places, things and loved ones you would like to bless for the day.
End the ritual with the sign of the pentagram:
• Touch 2 fingers to your forehead
• Touch 2 fingers to your right breast
• Touch 2 fingers to your left shoulder
• Touch 2 fingers to your right shoulder
• Touch 2 fingers to your left breast
• Touch 2 fingers to your forehead
And you’re done. I will do this in my yard, then sit and go into meditation, feeling blessed, powerful and just like I’ve really got my shit together.