The Medicine Wheel is represented by the four directions, symbolizing the cycle of life and providing guidance for living. While each culture has its own variation, it’s used universally to honor the core belief that all things on earth are living and all things are connected, encompassing harmony, balance and connection.
One of the cornerstones of doing magick is honoring your ancestors. The relationship you have with those who’ve come before you is vitally important and gives way to very powerful magick. According to Hoodoo Sen Moise,
“Your ancestors carry with them a tremendous amount of wisdom and have the ability to give direction in your work.”
Just imagine all the blood, sweat and tears your ancestors had to experience in order for you to be where you are today. Another cornerstone of magick is honoring the roots. Whether you’re an herbalist and green witch like me, a root worker or a conjure woman, you understand that each flower, root and herb has a spirit. And you understand that the Universe has placed every plant here on Earth with a purpose, that can be used to our benefit, so long as we promise to give back.
In Working Conjure, Hoodoo Sen Moise makes a distinction between the directions and the crossroads, the most potent place to do spiritual works.
“The crossroads is the meeting place of the physical and the spiritual. It is where both worlds come together and intersect, allowing both sides not only to meet, but also to commune with one another.”
Your altar should be in a space that is undisturbed by guests or the public. If you have a designated area in your home where you can set in prayer and connect with the Divine Creator, it is recommended you place your altar there as well. This space is going to be where you receive spiritual, mental and emotional comfort and to be uplifted. If you don’t have such a space, then find a quiet corner in your home.
It’s important to note, that every person should be careful and intentional about what it is they call into their space. Below is a breakdown of altar basics, but I behoove you to continue your own research!
how to set up your altar
items to represent the elements
Candles are one of the most important elements to an altar. They honor the element of Fire. Place your candle(s) on its respective directional points on your altar. Depending on the ritual, I may use tea lights or gravitate towards seven-day candles. If you decide to use seven-day candles, place them in little bowls of water. Snuff the flame if you must step away from your altar, but DO NOT blow your candle out, unless you want to blow your intentions away. And pleaseee practice fire safety.
If you can, include the other elements. This helps add more alchemy to your altar and/or ritual. Feathers represent air and the East direction. They also represent the maintaining of your balance throughout your journey no matter how fierce the winds are. A glass or bowl of water represents the West direction and absorbs any negative energy within your environment. Pour out the bowl of water after each ceremony and refill it with fresh water and the beginning of your next session of altar work.
pictures + symbolic representation
Add framed pictures or symbolic representations of your spiritual Guardians, Ancestors, Elders and Ascended Masters who support you in your journey. If you have any sacred sculptures you want to add (holy statues, crucifixes or ankhs) place those items in the center of your altar.
crystals, herbs + flowers
Crystals are a great addition to your altar. Place healing crystals and stones on your altar to harness the energy of the healing intention you are calling in. For example, if you are trying to invoke the energy of Divine Love, Rose Quartz, Rubelitte and Pink Tourmaline would be sacred stones you would add at this time. Fresh flowers and Plants are also another great way to establish the energy of the Divine Creator living Earth on your altar. Research different plants and their metaphysical abilities and open your altar up to a whole new vibe.
how to call in the directions
As we grow, we change like the seasons, passing through the sections of the
wheel, learning from each. The center of the Medicine Wheel is Spirit, the pure heart, the truth, God.
Because the sun rises in the East and this direction represents new beginnings, we always want to start our ritual facing East, presenting your candle to the first direction.
Light your candle and hold it up to the east direction. I’ve been blessed with a lovely script that I use when calling in the Directions. I find this script to be great for connecting with Spirit, my ancestors and Divine’s creation around me. I’m grateful to my indigenous friends for sharing this with us.
You can either follow the script down below or if you’re feeling up to it, use the chart below as a guide to creating your very own petitions to the directions. Regardless, if you decide to use the script below or create your own, how you feel when you say the words is the most important part of this ritual practice.
I call to the energy of the East, of the morning sun and the New Day. Here lies the energy of Spring and new beginnings. I call to the light the illuminates all. I invite Eagle, Hawk and Morning Dove and winged ones who fly close to the heavens. I welcome your insight and sharp vision. I invite the energy of dandelions and skunk cabbage and welcome all of my ancestors and loved ones who dwell in this direction and ask that they join me and bless this space (or circle/ritual/ceremony) with the energies and spirits of the East. Ase
I call to the energy of the South, inviting in the noonday sun! I call to the direction of love, creativity and energy and welcome the spirit of action and growth. I invite Coyote, Mountain Lion and Deer and all four legged creatures. I invite the spirit of hibiscus, holy basil, and bee balm. I welcome all of my ancestors and loved ones who dwell in this direction and ask that you join me and bless this space with the energy and spirits of the South. Ase.
I call to the energy of the West, to the healing waters and to the place where the veil is at its thinnest. To the evening and twilight energies. I call to the medicine direction and the birthplace of emotion. To the gifts of healing. I invite Owl, Otter, Salmon and all creatures of the sea, lakes and streams. I welcome flexibility, grace and flow. I invite the energy of black cohosh, angelica and lotus. I welcome all of my ancestors and loved ones who dwell in this direction and ask that you join me and bless this space with the energy and spirits of the West. Ase.
I call to the energy of the North, the earth that sustains us, the home of night, wisdom and of the dark hour. To the spirit of winter and the energy of rest and renewal. I welcome the wisdom and invite Bear, Buffalo and Mouse and welcome their gifts of generosity, the spirit of giving and the gift of story. I invite the energy of Mariposa Lily, Witch Hazel and Pine. I welcome all of my ancestors and loved ones who dwell in this direction and ask that you join me and bless this space with the energy and spirits of the North. Ase.
Only beings of love and light are welcome here, thank you for joining this safe space.
I call to and welcome the energy and spirits of all that is Above. Father Sky, Star people, Cloud people, Planetary beings and the entire cosmos. I welcome the divine masculine energy of the grandfathers, fathers, brothers, uncles and sons. I welcome the energies and spirits of Father Sky and Grandmother Moon. I call to the Angels, elementals, devas, plant spirits, ether and Spider Woman who weaves us all into connection with one another. I welcome all of my ancestors and loved ones who dwell in this direction and ask that you join me and bless this space with the energies and spirits of the Above. Ase
below (touching the earth beneath you)
I call to and welcome the energy of Mother Earth, the plant people, the stone and crystal people, the mycelium that holds us together and to the spirits of all that is below. I welcome the divine feminine energy and the spirit of our grandmothers, our mothers, sisters, aunts and daughters. I welcome the energies and spirits of Mother Earth, our guides and ancestors. I honor and respect the reflection of all that is and give thanks for our shadow. I welcome all of our ancestors and loved ones who dwell in this direction and ask that you join me and bless this space with the energies and spirits of Below. Ase.
within (hands at heart center)
I call to and welcome the energy of all our relations and to the place within. I give thanks for each living being on this planet and for the ancient heartbeat that connects us. I invite in the universal soul energy and the spirit of the One Heart. I welcome the gifts of love, unity and compassion for all. I welcome all of our ancestors and loved ones who dwell in this direction and ask that you join me and bless this space with the energies and spirits of within. Ase.
Only beings of love and light are welcome here. This circle is a safe space.