I am awaiting my beginner materials to arrive, and in the meantime have been reading The Path of Druidry. I do enjoy it, it is simple and thoughtful - however I have arrived at a section regarding the elements and their corresponding directions. It is stated that the method given: East/Air, South/Fire, West/Water North/Earth should be the method a Druid learns to integrate within their practice.
Now, for myself, and my current group, we have Earth in the West and Water in the North. This is because our circle is laid out as the Wheel of the Year, Cycle of the Day and Passages of Life
East - Spring,Dawn,First Breath - Air
South- Summer, Noon, Adulthood - Fire
West - Autumn, Sunset, Last Breaths- Earth
North- Winter, Midnight, Limbo/Prebirth- Water
To our group, Autumn and West takes the place of Earth because it is the Harvest, the Seed being received into the Earth from the food that has fallen from the Tree. It is across the wheel from First Breath.
And likewise Winter and North takes the place of Water because it is when the rains and snow fall, and refill the earth scorched from the Light half of the year. The Water as a 'Limbo' or womb before the first breath of Spring, and a reflection of the cycle that has passed.
Now, this is not to say that many other ways don't work. But I guess it is tiring to see the usual Golden Dawn/Ceremonial attribution of east/air, south/fire, west/water, north/earth as 'THE' way, when there are so many other methods. Even within the GD, which went on in turn to heavily influence Wicca, there are the mentioned methods of having it arranged according to Astrology, as well as having Fire in the East. I have multiple links but don't want to bombard this post with it - Aaron Leitch and Alex Sumner have written about the many origins of the various elemental associations most commonly used today at their sites, and is easily googleable
Further, upon reading through the OBOD site, There is an article which actually offers another view:
http://www.druidry.org/druid-way/other- ... ns-pillarsThe North was the direction of battle and fire; its emblem was the sword and its creature the eagle. It was the direction of warriors and of Gods. Winds from the north presaged strife and conflict.
The East was the direction of abundance and prosperity. Its emblems were wealth of all kinds; good earth, fine clothing, bees and honey, its creature the salmon.
The South was the Goddess direction, associated with water and creative arts such as music and poetry. Its creature was the sow, an animal that roots deep into the dark earth for inspiration and sustenance, bringing hidden treasures to light.
The West was the place of history keeping, story telling, of illumination, of inner fire, and of learning and of passing on the mysteries. It was the airy direction of the intellect. Its creature was the stag.
So, question being.. as Druids, how important is the placement of the actual elements, and how necessary is it to follow the most commonly known Occult methods. Is it not just as important (or more so?) to understand why the elements are where they are so that the practitioner may best connect with those elements? And the understanding that this method may not be the same for each person/group?
Once my materials come in and I start reading more, perhaps these questions will be answered, but I thought I would ask the group here first -- your feelings on the requirement of the commonly placed usage of the Elements and their Directional positions.