The Gaels used nine directions: Tuaisceart (North), Faoi (Under, About), Amach (Outwards), Iarthar (West), Air, Oirthear (East), Isteach (Inwards), Deisceart (South), Thrid (Through), and Os Cionn (Above). These nine directions correspond with what is known as Dúile, the Nine Celtic Elements, which includes the classic elements of Air (Sky/Wind), Fire (Sun), Water (Sea) and Earth (Land/Stone). These nine elements of Dúile relate to the cosmos, the three Realms within the cosmos and the three Cauldrons within the human body, with three of these Elements relating to each Cauldron. These nine concepts will be further developed in the chapter of the Elements under the section “The Celtic Dúiles”.
Wiccans are known to use the four main compass direction when Casting the Circle or calling the Quarters. However, Wiccans following a Celtic Tradition will not only focus on the four main compass directions (East, South, West and North), but also add another direction, which is the Center. The reason behind this is that Ireland has historically been divided into four provinces: Leinster, Munster, Connacht, and Ulster. The Irish word for this territorial division, cúige, literally meaning “fifth part”, indicates that there were once five; the fifth province, Meath, was incorporated into Leinster, with parts going to Ulster. Thus, the Gaels reflected the five provinces of Ireland by using a five-fold division: Leinster (East), Munster (South), Connacht (West), Ulster (North), and Meath (Center). Meath was the province encompassing some of the most magickal sacred sites of Ireland: The Hill of Uisneach (the mythological and sacred centre of Ireland) and The Hills of Tara, the ancient seat of power in Ireland where the high king was crowned. In ancient Celtic symbolism and tradition, the cardinal directions were acknowledged in several ceremonies and festivals.
Here is a brief outline of these directional representations:
|Direction||Irish Word||Ireland Province||Gift|
|East||Oirthear||Leinster||Grants prosperity and change|
|South||Deisceart||Munster||Grants poetry and music|
|West||Iarthar||Connacht||Grants wisdom and knowledge|
|North||Tuaisceart||Ulster||Grants battle and resolve|
|Center||Lár||Meath||Grants sovereignty and kingship|