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Ritual Quarter Calls


Wiccan Quarter calls are based on a four part directional system. But the four directions are a subset of the seven directions. Judith Pintar in her book "A Voice from the Earth" uses a seven direction system with approximately these associations:
East South West North Below Above Within
Vision Incarnation Transformation Transcendence Gaia All That Is Stillness
Motivation Actions Lessons Potential Internal External Synthesis
intellect will emotion strength support sky spirit
Air Fire Water Earth The Earth Great Spirit Here And Now
yellow red blue green black white purple
The descriptions in bold are her words. Her correspondences associate the Earth with internal events. An attitude that is understandable if the Earth is speaking.

It is also understandable if you think of the individual as the center of their own world. The world and the self become interchangeable.

The Four

The Quarters are sometimes called the Elements. Some people feel they are being rational to point out that there are not just four elements there are over ninety (with more being made every year) and The Four are not among them on the periodic table of elements.

The word element is commonly used to mean a small part of a larger whole as in "Elements of style". When Paracelsus was trying to find the smallest parts that the physical world was made of he observed that everything he encountered was either hard like a rock, fluid like water, gaseous like air or was on fire which is none of the above. He called these the four Elements and he had a point, matter has four states: Solid, Fluid, Gaseous and Energy. Paracelsus did not limit his definition of fire to open flames he extended it to include any heat, from friction to the heat of a warm blooded animal. What he classified as Fire fits well under the modern name of Energy.

Einstein discovered that Energy is the fourth state of matter when he proved that E=mc2. (Energy equals mass times the speed of light squared.) The law of the conservation of matter and energy states that in a closed system matter can become energy and energy can become matter but neither can be destroyed.

But what about the periodic table of elements?

Long after Paracelsus rational people continued to try to divide the world into smaller and smaller parts. At one point the parts they found were atoms. At the time they thought of atoms as little solid balls and they thought that they had found the smallest elements of matter. Atom means indivisible. But the atom is divisible it isn't solid and it is made up of even smaller parts called electrons, protons, and neutrons. And even those tiny parts are made up of even smaller "elements".

But even so, not everything in the universe is made of atoms. The universe is full of subatomic particles and energy. The purpose of all this research was to find out what the universe is made out of. The periodic table of elements is still only a type of answer not the "one true answer" to that question. Now the scientists trying to answer that question are quantum physicists. And the answers they are getting are more metaphysical every day.

So although The Four Elements did not turn out to be the elementary particles of matter they are still a valid way to cut reality into four pieces. Everything is either solid, liquid, gaseous or energy regardless of what it is made of.

Each of the quarters have specific characteristics:
Direction: East South West North
Element: Air Fire Water Earth
Color: Yellow Red Blue Green
Field: Intellect Will Emotion Strength
Manifestation: Knowledge Energy Passion Endurance
Body aspect: Breath Heat Blood Flesh
Use Aspect: Scent Sun Rain Soil
Material State Gaseous Energy Fluid Solid
World Aspect: Wind Earth's Core Ocean Rock
Tool: Wand Athame Chalice Pentacle
Symbol: Incense Candle Bowl of Water Caldron of Salt
Time of Day: Dawn Noon Dusk Midnight
Season: Spring Summer Fall Winter
Sabbat: Eostar Litha Mabon Yule
Time Of Life: Childhood Youth Maturity Old Age
Elemental: Sprite Imp Undine Gnomes
Paracelsusian: Sylphs Salamanders Dryads Elves
Fair folk: Fairies, Pixie Goblins Nereids Brownie, Kobold
Other: Aerial Mermaids, Selkie, nymph, nixie, Kelpie, Naiad, Limniad dwarf, faun, Satyr
Animals: Eagle, dove, wren, raven, owl, cockerel Dogs, Wolf, Coyote, Lion, cats, fox Dolphins, Whales, frog, butterfly, snake, salmon Bear, deer, Elk, Buffalo, turtle, bull, boar
There are many other types of spirits associated with various elements. If you would like to sugest some please write

The Calls

The Quarters can be called as elemental spirits or as aspects of universal nature or as aspects of ourselves.

Quarter calls establish an inner rim within the Circle. When we cast the Circle, we built the temple for our rites. The quarter calls invite our guests. Each quarter call consists of a descriptive evocation of the forces associated with that quarter, a request for assistance, a welcoming, a signal of arrival, and a statement of completion. Quarter calls are Magical acts and require statements of completion.

When the quarters have all been called honor the East once more to complete circle. Honoring the east for completion can be as simple as blowing a kiss in that direction or rapping on the east wall.

These quarter calls are a variation on a set that were written by my Coven sister, Rainbow Darkly. They originally began "Hail, Guardians of the Watchtowers of the East, Powers of Air..." and continued on as I still have them. I changed the beginning because the Greeting "Hail Guardians of the Watchtowers" reflects a Ceremonial and Cabalistic influence that was never a strong part of my practice. If you are doing a ritual during the day substitute "At this Site" for "On this Night".

"Now let us invite our honored guests from the land of spirit."
Living Spirit of the East,
We call to You
Airy Sylphs
Powers of Intellect
Strength of the whirlwind
and pleasant scents
of the Dawning Spring
come join us on this night
be witness to this Rite
help our minds to think as one
Welcome and Blessed Be

Living Spirit of the South,
We call to you
Fiery Salamanders
Powers of Will
Wild beauty of lightning
and gentle warmth
of the Summer Sun
come join us on this night
be witness to this rite
help our energy to burn as one
Welcome and Blessed Be

Living Spirit of the West
We call to You
Watery Selkies
Powers of Emotion
Majesty of a storm as sea
and cooling patter
of the Autumn Rain
come join us on this night
be witness to this Rite
help our emotions flow a one
Welcome and Blessed Be

Living Spirit of the North
We call to you
Earthy Gnomes
Powers of Incarnation
Fertility of garden soil
and endurance
of cold ground in winter
be witness to this rite
come join us on this night
help our bodies to work as one
Welcome and Blessed Be

And we salute the east to complete the circle."

The following is a set of Quarter Calls I wrote. They are based on a breathing meditation from "Sister Light, Sister Dark" by Jane Yolen.

Spirits of Air,
We call to you.
The Breath of life
the Knowledge of life,
the Wind of life,
it blows from thee to me,
Be with us now;

Spirits of Fire,
We call to you.
The Heat of life,
he Will of life,
the Fire of life,
it burns from thee to me,
Be with us now;

Spirits of Water
We call to you.
The Blood of life,
the Passion of life,
the Water of life,
it flows from thee to me,
Be with us now;

Spirits of Earth,
We call to you.
The Flesh of life,
the Strength of life,
the Earth of life,
it moves from thee to us,
Be with us now

And we salute the east to complete the circle."

This next series is based on a West call I was asked to write for the hand fasting of some friends, Jenny and Kassie, on May 15, 1994 in the waxing crescent.

Because this was a wedding I wrote this call as a spell to bless their union.

I wrote it under the influence of my fathers teachings on Old Norse magical systems. Each call contains three verses two naming verses and one commanding verse. The first verse contains three lines describing attributes, followed by a specific naming line. The second verse consists of three lines describing capabilities, followed by one welcoming line. The third verse consists of three lines requesting action and one closing line.

In old Norse, as in many magical systems, the law of names creates a bond between the caller and the called. Once you have called someone by their true name and reminded them of their obligations then you may ask them to do things.

Weavers of the winds
bringers of breezes
The tossing of tempests.
Living Spirits of the East,
Airy sylphs

Teachers of reason.
Bringers of wisdom.
ever blowing winds of knowledge.
Be welcome to this rite.

Bless this union with your gifts
inspire them with creativity
that they may never stifle.
So mote it be.

Weavers of the fire
bringers of warmth
The heat of the sun.
Living Spirits of the south,
fiery salamanders.

Teachers of discipline.
Bringers of success.
ever burning flames of will.
Be welcome to this rite.

Bless this union with your gifts
light their flames of passion
that they may never be cold.
So mote it be.

Weavers of the mists
bringers of rain
The pull of the tides.
Living Spirits of the west,
watery selkies.

Teachers of joy.
Bringers of laughter.
ever flowing fount of compassion.
Be welcome to this rite.

Bless this union with your gifts
Fill their cup with love
that they may never thirst.
So mote it be.

Weavers of rock
bringers of plenty
The fertility of soil.
Living Spirits of the north,
earthy gnomes.

Teachers of patience.
Bringers of prosperity.
ever strong ground of strength.
Be welcome to this rite.

Bless this union with your gifts
Fill their basket with abundance
that they may never hunger.
So mote it be.

And we salute the east to complete the circle."

Water notes

The water I use for rituals usually comes from the nearest tap. The reason for that is that every well, stream, river, lake, and pond has its own water spirit. Pluming is usually hooked up to the nearest source of fresh water, in the City of Binghamton, where I live, it is the Susquehanna River, houses in the country usually have their own wells. Turning on the tap is the modern equivalent of going to the well. You do not want to offend the local water spirit by calling on a foreign water spirit during your ritual. That is also why I do not see the point of collecting water from "famous" wells. If you need help from a specific well go to it and ask. Water spirits are probably as happy to have foreigners walking off with samples as Pele is to losing her rocks

In a topic the reason Stone Henge is closed to tourists is that people kept taking samples and the site was deteriorating. The tradition at sacred sites is to leave an offering not take one.* well meaning people are destroying famous sacred sites in their enthusiasm. My advice is "stay home". All Gods are local take care of the water spirit who bathes and nourishes you and you do not need any other.

* To this day it is almost impossible to restrain a person of european decent from throwing spare change in fountains.

That said, I do have a recipe for sacred water for special occasions. It is called "Three Light Thunder Water" for reasons that will rapidly become apparent.

Like all powerful spells this spell is also a sutra, a tool for meditation, as you consider the implications of the parts and their interactions you will be led to greater understanding

Three Light Thunder Water

Thunder Water is water collected during a thunder storm, not just rain water but water that has been striven by thunder and lightning. The water should be collected in a wooden bowl, glass might brake and anyone foolish enough to stand outside in a thunder storm holding a metal bowl deserves what they get. I recommend collecting it on a moonless night if possible. Once collected store the water in a dark glass or ceramic stoppered bottle.

Now for the Three Light part. On a day predicted to be clear pour the water out into the bowl and let it sit in the sun from sunrise to sunset. Next on a clear night let it sit in the light of the full moon from moon rise to moon set. Finally on a dark night let it sit in the light of a bonfire for one night (for city dwellers a ring of candles will do).

Store in the stoppered bottle and use for special occasions.

It has been pointed out to me that it is actually four light if you count the lightning.

1998 Sheherazahde, Braided Wheel Tradition this page updated 12/28/01
For more information contact: sheherazahde@yahoo.com
Braided Wheel Tradition

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