Magick | Modern Druidry | Theory

Considering The Stations

June 20, 2012

I was reading the beginning of a book called “A Grimoire For Modern Cunningfolk” by Peter Paddon. I hadn’t got through too many chapters before I stopped getting useful information out of it, but I had got to the point where he was suggesting some associations between cardinal positions and elemental imagery. Paddon suggests more flexibility in thinking about traditional aspects of The Path when it comes to adopting elements of ritual and association. I liked this way of presenting this part of the material, and it caused me to stop and think a while about my own associations relating to theĀ elements and their cardinal positions.

One of the things I did early on in my Hedge Druid work was to discover that I felt more comfortable with elements being associated with cardinal directions that are different to other pagans. For me AIR is North, EARTH is South, FIRE is East, and WATER is West – in line with the Aristotelian method, I later found. Other traditional pagan systems have FIRE to the South and EARTH to the East.

The Aristotelian elemental positioning

Does this matter? Well, only in the sense that this means something to you. I came to my way of linking these elements to their cardinal positions because I had been thinking about the land in which I live. In my island the mountains are to the North where the cold winds blow. The sea is closest to my western shore. The majority of the land mass is to the south of me, and the Sun rises to the East of me – this being my fire element.

Paddon’s book prompts the reader to re-consider their associations because he uses totally different terminology than we are often used to. Instead of the elements he uses Sky, Land, Sun and Sea. Boom! My head shook! Of course! That was how I had originally pictured the elements when I came up with my associations. Why was I using Air, Water, Fire and Earth?

I thought back to the many rituals and energy workings that I had done when I had tried to meditate using the elemental associations. I realised that in every one of those thought processes I had been doing a double translation – from cardinal position (North), through my picture of the mountains, to arrive at the element of Air. Why not simply say “Sky” instead of “Air”. And “Land” instead of “Earth”, “Sea” instead of “Water”, “Sun” instead of Fire? These were the initial images. No translation required!

And thus my work has changed. Now my spiritual life is easier. All because someone pointed out the bleedin’ obvious!


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  1. I’m glad you came to such a meaningful realization. For me, the Water element has never held much love with me. I do, however, feel love for the sea or rivers. Landmarks or natural formations and the like hold more sway for me. I do like the elements, but “trading” them for natural formations would be an easy transition.

    How are you liking Peter Paddon’s book? I’ve been thinking about getting it but I’m not entirely sure just yet.

    1. Hello Kaye,

      As you may have gathered from my introduction to the post I didn’t get very far with Paddon’s book. It started out really well, then seemed to veer off into areas that didn’t interest me much (such as describing a selection of Celtic-style and Occult archetypes). These were then translated into a series of rituals. I understood why he did this, but for me it didn’t have much value.

      So, I can’t recommend the book, but I don’t dismiss its value for anyone else. I would say, go have a look at the content list on Amazon, read the reviews. I didn’t get very far with it, bu that might be because I’ve read so many book like it. If you haven’t, then it might be a good starting point.


      1. I don’t think I have, so I think I’ll give it a go. I will follow your advice, however, and take a look at the Amazon listing!

        Sorry for not getting to this sooner – I was at Pagan Spirit Gathering last week and this week I have been in Virginia searching for apartments with The Boyfriend. I have quite a few of your and Kal’s blog posts to catch up with (not including the archives) so I will hopefully be posting more soon.

        1. Always glad to hear your comments. Hope you’ll be adding to your own blog too. Occasionally get over to catch uo with that (not as often as I should).

          Pagan Spirit Gathering? Did you all call down powers from on high to have a party? Sounds scary! I can’t imagine such wierdness “Gathering” – yikes! šŸ˜‰


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