Understanding Directions for Better Meditation and Spellwork: Meaning of Widdershins

Native American Meaning of Cardinal Directions

Last Updated on September 20, 2023 by Avia

Understanding Native American Meaning of Cardinal Directions

Native American meaning of cardinal directions is based on wisdom rooted in tradition and ritual. All of these traditions are connected somehow with nature. In matters of Native cardinal direction meanings, these insights come from the four winds of Nature.

About Cardinal Directions

On my journey through living a symbolic life, the Native ways have shown me incredible insights. One of the most fundamentally helpful pieces of wisdom I’ve learned is the Native American meaning of cardinal directions.

By cardinal directions, I mean: North, South, East, West.  Every Native tribe has specific symbolic meanings tied to cardinal directions. These meanings and directions are incorporated into ritual, healing, life, and spiritual growth.

Each culture has their own stance on the inherent meanings of the cardinal directions.  However, almost every form of ancient wisdom (and worship) acknowledges directions are sacred.  Further, every spiritually inclined culture agrees there are specific energies residing and resonating in each directional quadrant.

We could say there are different energetic personalities expressed in each of the four directions.

Knowing these directional personalities, and the symbolism pertaining to each of the four quadrants of the compass can hone our spiritual focus in magnificent ways.

Moreover, we can retrieve oracular meaning from the directional personalities.  For example, if we see a deer cross our path from east to west, we can look back to directional symbolism for enhanced meaning about this animal encounter.  By doing so, we can derive poignant messages from the natural world.

“Great Spirit,
help me always
to speak the truth quietly,
to listen with an open mind
when others speak,
and to remember the peace
that may be found in silence. ”

~Cherokee Devotional
native american meaning of cardinal directions
Native American meaning of cardinal directions

Basics of Native American Meaning of Cardinal Directions

The following symbolic attributes for the meaning of cardinal directions come from direct conveyance from Native wisdom:


  • Honoring the East: Beginnings, Awakening, Ascension, Vision, Spiritual wisdom
    This is where the new beginnings of creation stir at the cusp of dawn. With the rising sun, a dawning of a greater spiritual awareness envelopes us.  As the new warmth presses upon us, our own divine spark ignites and we are aware of far more potential in life than ever before. In this spiritually-focused quadrant, the intangible self lives vibrantly and scintillates creative wisdom.


  • Honoring the West: Conclusions, Stability, Goals, Foundations, Physical wisdom
     When we trace the path of the setting sun, our eyes are left looking upon the earth’s body.  With this earthy, grounded vision we contemplate the material, and the bounty borne from the mouth of matter.  In this physically-focused quadrant, the roots of our own bodies mingle with mass – with earth.  We understand totality and completion.  We also understand the cycles of corporeal return.
native american meaning of cardinal directions
Basics about Native American meaning of cardinal directions


  • Honoring the North: Illumination, Discovery, Logic, Understanding, Mental wisdom
    Science and knowledge accumulated through our life cycles is purified and trickles from the tips of ice-capped mountains of wisdom.  As these streams of knowing move to our awareness, we prepare for  Intellectual illumination.  In this mentally-focused quadrant, the greatest reaches of our comprehension roll back into us, causing avalanches of deductive reason.  Intellectual knowing is processed and crystallized.


  • Honoring the South: Empathy, Trust, Faith, Inclusion, Love, Emotional wisdom
    A dive into ethereal bloodlines reveals the music of undulating emotions. We submerge into renewing waters where we lean into the cosmic aortic pulse.  Each beat of our collective heart mixes our life waters, and we experience whole  In this emotionally-focused quadrant, we softly feel our way into a greater current.   We understand unity.  We swim easily within the community, following downstream paths of love and least resistance.


I trust this installation of Native wisdom about the symbolic meaning of cardinal directions will offer you guidance on your path to seeking deeper, symbolic meanings from your environment.

As always, thank you for reading, and I hope this article on Native American meaning of cardinal directions can be useful to you.

Mighty brightly,

© Copyrighted. All Rights Reserved.

Avia’s Amazon Picks for You

Want More? Check Out These Amazon Selections About Native American Symbols

Native American symbols

More Native American Symbols and Meanings

Native American symbols offer us a complete and reverent language of life, nature, and spirit. This language is unmatched in its depth and power. Get more about Native American symbol meanings here.

Native American Wheel and Life Phases

Native American Meaning of Medicine Wheel

This article explores the Native meaning of the medicine wheel. It identifies cardinal direction attributes as well as animal associations and more. Get the article on Native American Meaning of the Medicine Wheel here.

Kokopelli Meaning and Kokopelli Symbol

Native American Meaning of Kokopelli

Widely recognized as a symbol of fertility the Kokopelli has a lot more meaning than this. This is a symbol connected to a Southwestern American Native god with many legends. Get more about Native American meaning of Kokopelli here.

Native American Animal Symbols

Native American Animal Astrology

Native American animal symbols can encompass just about all the animals, and their symbolic representation to the many tribes of the Americas. To narrow down the focus a bit, this page is devoted to birth animals – or zodiac animals. Get your Native American zodiac sign here.

dream catcher meaning

Native American Dreamcatcher Meaning

The Native American meaning of dream catcher is all about energy…capturing energy, transferring it, and/or releasing it. It is also a powerful symbol of protection. Get more about Native American dreamcatcher meanings here.

Whats-Your-Sign.com (WYS) is a trusted Etsy affiliate & Amazon Associate. We also promote certain products we've tested and approved. As such, the website features sponsored products for Amazon or Etsy or other afiliates. Should you make a purchase from a link on this website, WYS may receive a small commission. This website also hosts advertisements. Please see our policy page for further information. Thank you for your purchases, as it contributes to keeping this website online and running.