The Four Directions
Initially published with this piece and should be correctly credited to Marg Thomson
My bear met me in the meadow and led me to a cliff overlooking a vast plain. I could see four kingdoms….
A kingdom of towers which reached like slender fingers into the sky, piercing the clouds…
A kingdom of fertile plains, where rivers and lakes were in abundance; fields were green and bore crops of all colours…
A kingdom of the forest in which tall trees crowded together and created dark shadows and even darker pathways. Here wolves ran free.
A Kingdom of mountains, standing rocky and bare, their slopes and peaks bestrewn with rock; route ways where only the sure footed belonged.
It was a new view of an older understanding.
From the ridge I was led to the cave in which were resting two cubs. One dark with a golden chevron on their chest, one gold en with a darker chevron.
This was a new understanding, one which reminded that each year had two halves, complementary and necessary.
The cave was dark with crystals that danced and sparkled with gold and green hues we call it nuummite, the stone of the sorcerer , the magician.
This then was to be the theme of this post – the four cities and the four directions.
The Book of Invasions tells us that the Tuatha de Dannan or the Children of Danu, flew in from the north bringing their four treasures with them; the Sword of Nuada, the Cauldron of the Daghda, the Spear of Lugh and the Lia Fail or Stone of Destiny.
The Sword of Nuada it was said that no one could escape it once it was unsheathed. But a sword was not just a battle implement in ancient times. It was a symbol of wisdom, skill, creativity, honor, truth and discernment. In legends a noble sword uncovered truth and slayed falsehood.
The Cauldron of the Daghda was a magical inexhaustible container of food from which no one left unsatisfied and Druids were said to be able to bring slain warriors back to life by dipping them into magical cauldrons of healing
The Spear of Lugh was said to make its bearer invincible, it belonged to the bright shining God who was “Master of Every Art”. Lugh was a great warrior and also a magician, a goldsmith, a harper, a healer and many other things besides. His bright spear symbolized mastery of talents, the growth of wisdom, intense focus on a skill or an art, profound intelligence, the fire of Otherworldly inspiration, the fires of thought and the fire in the head.
The Stone of Fal or the Lia Fáil was the magical coronation stone that roared when the true king put his feet upon it. A “Lia” is a worked or inscribed stone, not a rough natural stone. With its base in the ground and its top in the air it is a boundary marker between one world and another just as the true king must be a bridge from this world to the divine realms. The color of the stone is grey, symbolic of wisdom and knowledge and a “Fail” is an enclosure or protective ring that surrounds and guards the kingdom. Thus this stone, which was said to reside at Tara and which was later taken to Scotland (and then purloined by the English crown) is an ancient stone that has been inscribed in a sacred and mysterious way so that it guards the kingdom. When the true ruler, one who is a wise and a true protector of the land approaches it will speak out clearly. Until then the stone will stay silent, holding its secrets and guarding their power for the rightful king who is to come.
In the Yellow Book of Lecan we read ….
There were four cities in which the Tuatha Dé Danann learnt wisdom and magic, for wisdom and magic and deviltry were of service to them.
These are the names of the cities: Failias and Findias, Goirias and Murias. From Failias was brought the Lia Fail, which is at Tara, and which used to cry out under each king who assumed the sovereignty of Ireland. From Gorias was brought the sword which belonged to Nuada. From Findias was brought the spear of Lug. And from Murias was brought the caldron of the Dagda.
Four wizards were in these cities. Fessus was in Falias, Esrus was in Gorias, Uscias was in Findias, and Semias was in Murias. From them the Tuatha Dé Danann learnt wisdom and knowledge. No battle was maintained against the spear of Lug or against him who had it in his hand. No-one escaped from the sword of Nuada after he had been wounded by it, and when it was drawn from its warlike scabbard, no-one could resist against him who had it in his hand. Never went an assembly of guests away unsatisfied from the caldron of the Dagda. And the Lia Fail, which is at Tara, never spoke except under a king of Ireland.
From this we derive …
Ruling Deity Lugh
Ruling Element Fire
City of Origin Gorias
The spear of Lugh is not simply about battle and hunting it can be a symbol of single-minded aim. direct action; channeled attention.
Ruling Deity Fal
Ruling Element Earth
City of Origin Falias
Fal’s stone is the grounding agent in the realm Celtic symbols. It seems to know ‘what is in mens hearts’ and recognizes a worthy and wise leader.
Ruling Deity Nuada
Ruling Element Air
City of Origin Findias
Nuada was the king of the Tuatha de Danann, and so, his sword (claideb) among Celtic symbols extremely powerful. It is the sword which can shape will.
Ruling Deity Dagda
Ruling Element Water
City of Origin Murias
Cauldrons are associated with the moon, water, the womb, openings – all female attributes. However, Dagda is a god – and so masculine. The cauldron is his talisman and he is a Good God, a God of fertility and abundance.
Are these are the stations, the points we can use to locate ourselves, the four tools we can acquire and the four qualities to which we can aspire?