The Environment & the Air.
A wind is the movement of air, and the Indian likened Air to mind, because mind, like air, cannot be seen. Only its presence can be felt and its power experienced. For instance, the power of Air can be observed by the way the wind sways mighty trees and bends massive trunks and shakes the fruit or seeds from the branches. It has the strength to uproot bushes with a tug and to push huge boulders from their mountain anchorage’s. Its breath across vast oceans can blow the surface of the sea into foaming, mountainous waves. Anyone who has been outdoors during a severe storm, or at sea in a gale, has experienced the tremendous and awesome power of Air.
The Ozone Layer
According to ancient teachings, the Earth is protected by wind shields which envelope and encompass the planet. These are ascending and descending spirals of movement which are affected by solar and lunar currents. The planet, too is contained within a cocoon of vibrating electromagnetic energies like the auric egg that surrounds a human being.
The hole in the ozone layer in the Earth's atmosphere which is now the active concern of the governments of many nations is, in fact, a sickness in the Earth's aura which weakens the Earth and is getting worse. As a consequence, there are not merely climatic changes and upsets in the natural seasons and weather patterns, but inhabitants of the Earth are exposed to dangerous ultra-violet rays which the ozone layer screens out. This weakness in the Earth's auric envelope also allows chaotic and random forces to enter, just as would be the case with a human being. These have a disruptive and destructive influence at all levels of existence - particularly mental. This, coupled with mankind's wanton destruction of the environment and wildlife, puts the Earth and humanity in grave peril.
The ancient wisdom informs us that the Four Winds are mighty powers that are inherent in the Four Cardinal Directions through which we can be attuned with them. They are mighty spiritual powers that affect all living creatures on Earth and especially humans, as well as the atmosphere and the environment. The Sun and Moon regulate the ebb and flow of these energies into the Earth's aura. So when we relate to a direction we are aligning ourselves with the spin and movement of those mighty forces and their energy expressions.
We cannot see these great powers but we can come to comprehend them through their physical counterparts, and we can experience their influence, for they affect our temperament.
Each of the Four Winds and the Four Cardinal Directions has a special relationship with one of the four principle forms, or 'kingdoms' they are the human, animal, plant and mineral kingdoms.
Let us examine how the East Winds affects the direction of our temperament.
The special relationship of the East is with the human kingdom. The East Winds emphasise spiritual considerations and principles, so the 'Spirit' of the East will help us to comprehend more of the spiritual nature of the human being rather than the physical, mental or emotional nature.
As the East winds of spring tempt us out into the open after much time spent indoors during the winter months, so the east is associated with frankness and open-mindedness.
The South winds of summer invite us to spend more time outdoors enjoying the hot summer sun when everything in the natural world is blossoming and bursting with fragrance. So the south is related rapid growth and to blossoming and development.
The cool West winds in the autumn come at a time when growing things have reached their maturity, and harvest time is when we reap the benefit of past labours. So the West is associated with ingathering and introspection.
The cold North winds of winter purify and cleanse the Earth and force people to keep warm and to refresh and renew themselves.
Each direction is also linked with a time of day - East with dawn and the rising Sun of a fresh new day, South with noon and the Sun at its peak, West with dusk and the setting Sun at the end of the day and the time for reflection and refreshment, and North with midnight and rest and renewal.
So each of the Four Winds and the Four Seasons and the Four Times of Day are related to qualities which have a strong influence on the way we live and even condition, to some extent, the way we feel and the activities we undertake. And according to the Indian cosmology, the special qualities of the influencing wind or power that predominated and carried us into birth rubs off on us. We carry something of its imprint. It is encoded in our mind. Absorbed into our brain cells.
The Powers, and Forces and Essences we are discussing regarding the Directions, and their qualities and characteristics, are in a moralistic sense, neutral. By that I mean that we cannot label them 'good' or 'bad', because they just are.
It is the human being who determines the use to which they are put. It is man who determines how the forces and energies shall be directed and used.
Each of us, in our own lives, determines whether we apply our energies in a positive or negative aspect - whether they shall be used constructively or destructively. It is man who determines by the intent of their use whether they shall be good or bad. Motive is everything. The principle function of the East is the power of determining - the power of making choices. It is the power of deciding the way we make use of the energies at our disposal.
With the East concerned with spirit and the human being, the Indian concluded that man was in harmony and balance with himself when he determined with the spirit. That was the way the human being's energy system was structured. Disharmony and imbalance would result if, to use a modern cliché, he 'got his wires crossed' and determined with another part of his being - with the mind, for instance, which is associated with the North, or with emotions, which are associated with the South. This harmonious and synchronous functioning of the entire human being was absolutely vital to well-being. Indeed, health, happiness, abundance and security depended upon it. Finding the right balance between the inner and outer aspects of one's being, between the conscious and subconscious aspects of the mind, and being in tune with the natural and cosmic forces, was to find contentment and fulfilment, for with that state of equilibrium anything and everything became possible.
Of course, this raises the question: What is spirit?. There are some very confusing ideas about what constitutes spirit. Some define it as a disembodied soul, or a ghost, others a force. The Indian's understanding of it was less obscure. Spirit was individuated consciousness expressing itself in differently organised ways. Spirit was directed by intelligence, and intelligence is conveyed by mind. So spirit has mind power and mind consciousness.
The Indian saw every entity - including the individual human being - as an individualised spirit expressing its conscious awareness. The human soul was the dwelling place-place of the individualised spirit and provided the link between spirit and matter.
The Indian regarded the soul as the storehouse of experience and the seat of the permanent personality that survived all incarnations.
The Indian concluded that as divine mortals, we should determine our actions with the spirit because the spirit was the vehicle of intelligence and had to do with intentions. Intentions were related to principles, to ethics and morality, all of which were activities of the spirit. So, even if our 'hearts' are right and we have 'good' intentions, we may still obtain a 'bad' result because we have determined with the mind or with the emotions and not with the spirit.
Let me give an example. Laws are framed by an activity of the mind and should be designed to establish and safeguard principles (which, as we have seen, are activities of the spirit). It is possible to determine the application of those laws with the mind by keeping strictly to the letter of the law and following its literalism, but be contrary to its spirit and intent. Clever people may find what they call a 'loophole' in the wording of a law that enables them to disregard the intention of the law yet still keep within the letter of the law. The guilty can sometimes 'get away with murder', therefore, on a technicality of law.
Much truth contained in religions whose authority rests on scriptural texts has been sadly perverted and misunderstood in this legalistic way. We each travel through life at our own pace, making our own choices, and determining, creating our own circumstances as we go. We are not mere robots of Fate.
How do we know when we are determining with the spirit? We determine with the spirit when we follow what the heart wants us to do because the true heart is the voice of the spirit.
Giving is an attribute of the East. 'We give with the heart in order to determine with the spirit'. That was 'the Way of the Heart' or 'the beautiful way' because it was the way of Love that sought not to exploit or disadvantage others in order to further self-interest, but rather sought to embrace others in an advantage that could be shared. In that way the Indian considered that one touched oneself and others and even the Earth itself with beauty.
From Earth Medicine - Revealing the hidden teachings of the Native American Indian People. By Kenneth Meadows, Published by Element. ISBN 1 85 230 668 8