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Author Topic: Calling the Quarters?  (Read 19760 times)
Mithril
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« Topic Start: January 01, 2008, 10:07:27 pm »

Correct me if I'm wrong, but calling the quarters seems to me to be standard for most Wiccan and non-Wiccan rituals. I've tried to understand the reason behind this, but I'm stumped. Why would calling on earth, fire, and water make any difference? Are they considered to be sentient spirits of these elements, or the elements themselves? Is it to provide balance? Or have I forgotten something incredibly basic? Am I just completely confused ? (Probably that last one, lol.)
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« Reply #1: January 01, 2008, 10:30:30 pm »

Correct me if I'm wrong, but calling the quarters seems to me to be standard for most Wiccan and non-Wiccan rituals.

It's fairly standard for Wicca and Pagan religions derived from Wicca (or with similiar origins in the Western Magical Tradition), but many Pagan religions do not have anything like it.
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« Reply #2: January 01, 2008, 10:32:00 pm »

It's fairly standard for Wicca and Pagan religions derived from Wicca (or with similiar origins in the Western Magical Tradition), but many Pagan religions do not have anything like it.

Ok, good, so it would be perfectly find for me to leave it out and not have people think I was a total idiot that didn't know what she was doing?
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« Reply #3: January 01, 2008, 10:53:41 pm »

but many Pagan religions do not have anything like it.

:waves: We'd be one of those. Wink
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« Reply #4: January 01, 2008, 11:41:14 pm »

Ok, good, so it would be perfectly find for me to leave it out and not have people think I was a total idiot that didn't know what she was doing?

This depends on the setting. If everyone else is calling quarters in the circle, then you should probably join in.

However, I feel that you are talking about doing it in a solitary setting. If so, then no you don't have to, unless your tradition requires it.
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« Reply #5: January 01, 2008, 11:43:40 pm »

Correct me if I'm wrong, but calling the quarters seems to me to be standard for most Wiccan and non-Wiccan rituals. I've tried to understand the reason behind this, but I'm stumped. Why would calling on earth, fire, and water make any difference? Are they considered to be sentient spirits of these elements, or the elements themselves? Is it to provide balance? Or have I forgotten something incredibly basic? Am I just completely confused ? (Probably that last one, lol.)

I call the quarters in order to balance myself within the natural and supernatural world when I am doing magick, and to draw on those energies in my workings. I don't do it all the time, only when I am casting a circle or doing a ritual that requires it. Sometimes I only work with one element. I have specific elementals that come and help me out when I call them. If you do an attunement to the elements individually and really taken the time to understand how the energies work, together and seperately and how you work within them and can use them, it might make more sense and be of value to you. Or not.
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« Reply #6: January 02, 2008, 12:18:14 am »

Correct me if I'm wrong, but calling the quarters seems to me to be standard for most Wiccan and non-Wiccan rituals. I've tried to understand the reason behind this, but I'm stumped. Why would calling on earth, fire, and water make any difference? Are they considered to be sentient spirits of these elements, or the elements themselves? Is it to provide balance? Or have I forgotten something incredibly basic? Am I just completely confused ? (Probably that last one, lol.)

The closest I do to this is I acknowledge the Spirits of the elements. I think the thinking behind this with the paths that do call to the quarters is to have them help you. Air, fire, water, and earth make up everything. Of course they could lend a hand in magickal workings and the like. I give my respect to the Spirits of nature and my thanks to them. But I don't specifically call them to my "circle" they're already there. And if it's something you don't understand or don't feel comfortable doing, by all means, don't do it.
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« Reply #7: January 02, 2008, 01:03:59 am »

Why would calling on earth, fire, and water make any difference? Are they considered to be sentient spirits of these elements, or the elements themselves?

I call the quarters when doing a ritual as part of focusing and balancing all the energies for the rite. Earth, water fire and air are used as symbols for a whole lot more. I do it more than anything to get myself into a state of balance. I end each little chant for the elements with the statement "My mind is fully open to this rite", replacing 'mind' with soul or heart or body depending on the direction. This brings to me a sense of profoundness and importance to the working, I am deeply opening myself up to each of the types of energy I am asking to be present in a different way than they normally are, a sort of acknowledgment that I am willing to fully channel and use whatever they bring to the ritual.

I certainly would not call the Elements if I had no reason to and it made no sense to me. But even as a teenager living in my first hippy commune up in the mountains up behind Boulder, I instinctively used to greet the day by stopping and facing each direction and just thanking them for being there. This was years before I ever heard of witches or anything close. So when I discovered a path where a whole lot of people found the directions/quarters/elements important it felt right to me from the beginning. I spent a lot of study and research time trying to figure out why it rang true for me, learning a great deal along the way about how other people felt about it, what various cultures have thought over the centuries etc. I doubt I would have ever bothered to if I had not a heart felt feeling that, for me, the quarters meant something. Perhaps you are just discovering that rituals that honor the cardinal points simply aren't for you.

No reason they should be, as others have mentioned there are many Pagans who do nothing of the sort. The questions you are asking sound just like me when I began to realize the religion I had been raised in meant nothing to me. This was a good thing. There are so many excellent Pagan options, I have never understood why the bookshelves at stores are always crammed with Wicca type stuff and very little else. Must be that allure of all that broom riding.
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« Reply #8: January 02, 2008, 03:36:53 am »

Correct me if I'm wrong, but calling the quarters seems to me to be standard for most Wiccan and non-Wiccan rituals. I've tried to understand the reason behind this, but I'm stumped. Why would calling on earth, fire, and water make any difference? Are they considered to be sentient spirits of these elements, or the elements themselves? Is it to provide balance? Or have I forgotten something incredibly basic? Am I just completely confused ? (Probably that last one, lol.)

Well if you're calling the quarters in a Wiccan setting, leaving them out would be pretty.. weird. I believe Deborah Lipp's Elements of Ritual establishes the reason and the meaning for the quarters from a Wiccan standpoint. From what I remember of her book, it explained it pretty well. But as its 2:30 am, I can't remember much of anything at the moment. Smiley Sorry?
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« Reply #9: January 02, 2008, 08:28:25 am »

Ok, good, so it would be perfectly find for me to leave it out and not have people think I was a total idiot that didn't know what she was doing?

Whether it is okay to leave it out would depend on the religion on is practicing. For example, if you are doing a Wiccan ritual, it would raise eyebrows to leave it out. On the other hand, if you are doing a recon-based Hellenic Pagan ritual, it would be weird to call the grounds at all.
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« Reply #10: January 02, 2008, 11:23:53 am »

Whether it is okay to leave it out would depend on the religion on is practicing. For example, if you are doing a Wiccan ritual, it would raise eyebrows to leave it out. On the other hand, if you are doing a recon-based Hellenic Pagan ritual, it would be weird to call the grounds at all.

Sorry, I probably should have specified what tradition I'm talking about. I'm a solitary and am not really part of any specific tradition, but some of what I do is kitchen witch type magic, and some of what I do is general Wiccan-ish (like wheel of the year, f'ex), minus the deities and quarters.
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« Reply #11: January 02, 2008, 11:26:57 am »

There are so many excellent Pagan options, I have never understood why the bookshelves at stores are always crammed with Wicca type stuff and very little else. Must be that allure of all that broom riding.

*sigh* exactly. I had one of my rare chances to buy a book yesterday at Barnes and Noble, but they had absolutely NOTHING in their two floor to ceiling shelves that had been recommended to me. (And I'm so paranoid about pagan books I won't buy anything that hasn't been recommended by at least two people.) All they had was SRW, devil worship, various books on love spells, and goth type books on ghosts, the fae, and vampires...
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« Reply #12: January 02, 2008, 11:35:17 am »

Sorry, I probably should have specified what tradition I'm talking about. I'm a solitary and am not really part of any specific tradition, but some of what I do is kitchen witch type magic, and some of what I do is general Wiccan-ish (like wheel of the year, f'ex), minus the deities and quarters.
Well, given that you're not working with deities, I'd think that would strike Wiccans as far odder than not calling quarters.  But since you're building you're own thing, you get to say what's included and what's not.

Back when I was doing Wiccish type stuff, calling quarters was part of the casting of the circle and I never did that for magic.  (Well, I'd occassionally do magic in circle, but if the magic was all I needed, I'd prefer something more hedge witchy.)  For ritual, as others have said, calling quarters was more about bringing myself in tune with the elements than calling them to my circle - they were obviously there already.  Though there was also the element (forgive the pun) of acknowledging the presence of elemental spirits and asking for their blessing or assistance.  Same way one invites the gods to the circle.
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« Reply #13: January 02, 2008, 11:37:21 am »

*sigh* exactly. I had one of my rare chances to buy a book yesterday at Barnes and Noble, but they had absolutely NOTHING in their two floor to ceiling shelves that had been recommended to me. (And I'm so paranoid about pagan books I won't buy anything that hasn't been recommended by at least two people.) All they had was SRW, devil worship, various books on love spells, and goth type books on ghosts, the fae, and vampires...
A lot of what gets recommended here you're more likely to find in the mythology/folklore section.  Our Borders has a really good one, which was quite a pleasant surpirse!
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« Reply #14: January 02, 2008, 12:46:17 pm »

Correct me if I'm wrong, but calling the quarters seems to me to be standard for most Wiccan and non-Wiccan rituals. I've tried to understand the reason behind this, but I'm stumped. Why would calling on earth, fire, and water make any difference? Are they considered to be sentient spirits of these elements, or the elements themselves? Is it to provide balance? Or have I forgotten something incredibly basic? Am I just completely confused ? (Probably that last one, lol.)

For Wiccan and Wiccan-inspired faiths, yes. But for others paganisms like Hellenismos, Asatru or CR, they don't invoke or use the Platonic element system in ritual.

In CR, the closest thing to an "elements" system would probably the Three Realms-- Land, Sky and Sea but even that's a stretch. Then there are the elements of the dúil which further divide the Three Realms into elements but not everyone uses that system. These have more to do with cosmology, however.

The Three Realms are eternal and ever present so we feel no need to invoke them in ritual; we do give them honorable mention when we recreate the cosmos in the ritual space and center ourselves, though.
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