In many Native American cultures, the East is associated with the majestic eagle, a symbol of a powerful force residing within us: vision. With its acute eyesight, an eagle can spot a rabbit in a field a mile below. Our minds are capable of “seeing” our place on the Map of life. The Lakota Sioux Indians of North America regard the eagle as a mediator between the physical and the spiritual worlds, and it is a totem animal said to carry our prayers to heaven. South American shamans also speak of a future time when the eagle, representing the North, and the condor, representing the South, will fly as one, symbolizing an age of unity and shared vision among people of all nations.
In the Map, in the Winds of the Spirit™ system, the Eastern quadrant represents different qualities of the mind, such as mental acuity or confusion, ability (or lack of ability) to envision the future and make plans, perception, and discernment. If your Awakening Compass dictates that you are “traveling in the direction of East,” it means the given situation you are doing a reading for involves (or should involve) your mind in some manner.
In today’s hectic world, many of us feel disconnected from the world in which we live. With practice, you’ll be able to use your Awakening Compass to safely navigate your way around the Map and traverse the eastern Slopes of your life, no matter how strong the winds may blow there. You’ll be able to soar high like an eagle, developing and sustaining a clear vision and purpose as you move through life.
The Eastern Landscape
Traditionally, indigenous people are keenly aware of the lands surrounding their community. They understand the growing seasons, location of food sources, and demonstrate great respect for the local flora and fauna. Urban communities are not built upon this model, however urban people habitually go to the same favorite grocery stores, pharmacies, dry cleaners, and so on, which are generally within close proximity to their homes. Winds that blow through the eastern landscape can help you establish positive priorities and become fully awake to your inner landscape in relationship to your outer surroundings. With this awareness comes connection. In every tradition, the territory of the East is associated with the morning star and springtime. Everywhere on the planet the sun rises in the East, and so it is with your life; the East is the source of all beginnings.
The East symbolizes the intellect and the mind. In the industrial world, our mode of thinking has long been based on the linear principles of logic, whereas indigenous shamans believe everything is possible when we change our relationship to time and space.
For many people, the world of the mind is mysterious. Scientists, physicians, psychologists, mathematicians, philosophers, and religious leaders alike have debated its nature and function throughout history. Ask a scientist and a religious leader about the mind and a debate about free will or Creationism vs. the theory of evolution is sure to follow.
Physicians could describe the various ways in which the brain acts as the control center for the entire body; they are taught that the mind is a function of the brain.
In the last century, physicists have hypothesized that the mind is part of a divinely inspired dance of the universe on a quantum level. This last perspective is similar to the shamanic approach, which recognizes that everything, including our minds, is connected through a vast web of nature.
The ability to reason helped ancient mariners navigate the oceans of the world. They knew that the new moon rose in the East around noon and set again around midnight (though moon rise changes a little bit day by day, they knew exactly what those changes were from year to year) and were able to plot their travels accordingly. A new idea is similar to a new moon—it is not fully formed, but contains vast potential and wonderful possibilities. As you explore your eastern territory with the help of the wind gods and goddesses, your reasoning powers will increase dramatically and you’ll learn how to work effectively with your natural inner rhythms.
According to the Vedic tradition of India, a culture that embraces the concept of reincarnation, imprinted memories from our waking lives, our dreams and daydreams, and our past and future lives are stored in the East. The wind cards can help us discover and understand these imprints, leading us to restore harmony and balance in our lives. Being present means leaving the past behind and moving forward.
Signs and Symptoms of Sailing Through the East
Whenever you feel the mighty breath of an eastern wind stinging your face and buffeting the world around you, it signifies that you’re about to embark on a new journey. Accept this opportunity with open arms and a smile upon your face. Just as the sun rises in the East, your life starts anew in the East not only every day, but with every new project, relationship, or stage of life, with a promise of hope, and a sense of purpose and renewal. When a card lands in the East, take time to reflect on the possibilities laying latent in the energy.
Everything in life is cyclical: the four seasons, the planting of crops, business transactions, relationships, and personal growth. In each blessed moment, there is always an opportunity for positive change to be initiated. Surrendering to the energy of the East means examining your beliefs. Be at peace with your thoughts and healing will follow. Fight a thought and the thought prevails. By surrendering to the East, any thought loses momentum and transformation occurs.
Heading east on the Map is a roaring call to adventure. A true adventure demands an upheaval in the natural order of your life. While the East is associated with light, vision, birth, childhood, intuition, and the untamable, it also demands our full attention, so we must be fully prepared for what lies ahead.
Be mindful when your Awakening Compass says you are heading east. Endings followed by new beginnings await you on the horizon. On a small scale, this could mean the arrival of an unexpected visitor, the loss of a job, or a sudden health concern. On a larger scale, it could signify the devastation of communities, nations, and war. From a simple “aha” moment to a major life change, the frontier of the East beckons you to wake up, rise up, and move forward with your senses on alert. Fly high like an eagle and let your indomitable spirit set you free.