WHICH WAY TO PARADISE?
THE ALCHEMY OF SACRED SPACE ORIENTATION
IN THE PRACTICES OF ANCIENT TEMPLE BUILDING
VAASTU SHASTRA AND SHAMANISM
TEMPLE MAKING - from 18000 BC
Once upon a time...
Orientation was a key factor in the construction of temples in ancient civilizations, mainly because of the relationship between the earth and the sun. They understood that light was everything: a carrier of wisdom, life and growth. Therefore, our relationship with the sun is the best way to affect the energy of our homes and our path to enlightenment. Since there are 8 cardinal orientations, the 4 main ones (north,south, east, west) and the 4 secondary (north-east, north-west, south-east, south-west) there are 8 ways our beings and our homes can be affected by this relationship.
It's important to note that the explanations below work for temples based in the northern hemisphere. For those the southern hemisphere, you would need to reverse it.
8 WAYS TO PARADISE
NORTH: MANIFESTATION AND MATERIALISATION
NORTH WEST: DEPTH AND DIVING INWARDS
SOUTH WEST: GRATITUDE AND CELEBRATION
NORTH EAST: SPIRITUAL GROWTH
EAST: CLARITY AND UNDERSTANDING
SOUTH EAST: FERTILITY AND CREATIVITY
SOUTH: STRENGTH AND INTUITION
Keep in mind that there isn't any specific orientation which is better than the others as it all depends on what the aims are, what the specific situation is and the benefits one is looking for.
With this in mind, let's explore our options.
In the ancient temple making traditions, we always start with the North-East alignment and go clockwise from there.
Materialisation and manifestation
As a northern entrance faces the cold and hardness of the north pole, the bitter winds make our senses more aware of the physicality of the planet, therefore north is associated with the element of earth, which is associated with materialisation, manifestation.
A north-facing home will tend to have an energy flow which enables action, results, things becoming concrete, for instance relationships might arise, as well as money, job opportunities, etc.
Since magnetism enters the earth through the poles, a north/south orientation also references geomagnetism, which is quite good for land and spatial energy.
Depth and diving inwards
the time of the year when the sun begins to withdraw and the long dark winter nights begin to ascend.
honor is given to the spirit world for the protection of the people. Through the long darkness of winter and their safe passage into the light of spring
To ancient cultures, this was the time where the veil is the thinnest between two worlds the days of sammain, hallow’s eve, Halloween. Such places invoke the feeling of going within
return to the womb, self contemplation as we look into the mysteries of life.
This orientation faces the rising light of the midsummer sun, when the solar disk is at the zenith in the northern hemisphere.
As it represents the fullest exultation of the ascending light, it is associated with ancestral wisdom, with receiving the universal knowledge of the ancient ones.
Studies of ancient temples have shown the most potent and famous ones have a North-East/South-West orientation (with the front facing the North-East). This is the case for the Pyramids of Giza, the Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, Chartres Cathedral and many more and it makes sense as thesewere traditionally used as mystery schools, places for learning the wisdom from other dimensions.
As this is the orientation of the setting sun, it represents the descent into the underworld / the world of spirit. Introspection and "traveling within" are key.
This orientation is known as the one which receives the messages from the world of God, therefore the element is water, associated with communication.
A west facing home is perfect for meditation, a place where we want to dive in deeply and reflect.
Clarity and understanding
As the sun rises in the east, this orientation represents an awakening from darkness, the light of the reborn sun.
Since light carries wisdom, the more it shines on us the more it illuminates everything and enables better understanding.
This would be a great orientation for a school classroom, a room in which people are studying or learning something, or perhaps even a meditation room for someone who is looking for clarity.
Frequency of light is highest at sunrise, making this a very potent orientation, and it also benefits from the purified morning air. Therefore air is the element it represents.
gratitude and celebration
This orientation is based on the time of the year when the light that first emerged out of the winter has fertilised crops to their full potential.
It's the highest achievement of the light of the sun, therefore, it symbolises celebration, gratitude and honoring the bountiful fruit of the earth. This also represents the time of the year when the sun begins to withdraw, as it's the end of summer. It therefore honors the spirit people for the safe passage through winter for protection as they emerge through to the other side to spring.
This is also the time when the veil between the two worlds are the thinnest. It invokes the dive within, the return to the womb, the process of self-contemplation as one goes deep into the mystery of life.
Fertility and creativity
This orientation receives the first rays of the light of the winter solstice which is the time of the year when the light overcomes the dark.
As it represents the "rebirth of the light", it's about fertility, birthing, creativity, teaching of sacred sexuality. This is a great orientation for people who are trying to have a baby, but also for people who are working on creative projects and are looking for inspiration.
Strength and power
As this orientation faces the equator, the hottest part of the earth, the element evoked is fire, symbolically associated with strength and power.
This is a perfect orientation for people who are seeking to get over a difficult time, to find their center and own their inner power.
THE TEMPLAR METHOD OF
USING ORIENTATION PRINCIPLES IN SACRED SPACE
1- Selecting a space for a new build
First and foremost, if you are shopping for a new place, it's a good idea to reflect on what type of changes you would like to see happen in your life and decide which orientation might work best to support these. Again, intuition is key! So if you find a house that resonates but that doesn't have the right orientation, don't throw it away! This may be the universe's way of telling you that what you really want is different from what you think you want. Listen to these cues.
As an assignment, tell me how you would deal with the following request from your client Harry.
Harry is a property developer from the UK. Every since he was a kid, he always wanted to be a film maker and music producer.
But he chose the safe route, and went into property development. He is now 47 years old and has made a very good living for himself in the property world.
He has decided to move down to Spain and finally build the house of his dreams.
The objective of this house is to be a relaxing haven for friends and family, but also be a creative space for himself to explore parts of himself he hadn’t been able to develop in the past.
Below you will find the floorplans which relate to this Case study. Click on the images to download the higher res version.
Harry is in a unique position that because his plot of land spans the entire block, he can put the entrance on any side. Can you tell him which way would be the ideal for his entrance to face? North, South, East, West? Knowing that North represents the element of Earth, south represents the element of Fire, East represents the element of Air and West represents the element of water.
2- Understanding the current orientation
If your space has already been selected, we can examine ways to use your current orientation in your favor.
Get your compass out, figure out which way you are facing and have a look at the info above to see what you could be getting out of this orientation. Simply by being aware of this orientation, we begin to gain access to all the benefits we could be receiving from it.
So if you note that your home is north facing, sit facing that energy flow and meditate on how some areas of your life can benefit from manifestation and materialisation (for instance). Write it down to amplify this intent, and do your best to sit in gratitude for the sun and the earth and all the elements which are constantly conspiring in your favor.
Orientation and your business intention
Another key use of the orientation in your design process is to work closely with its related element as the guiding force the design concept of the space.
For instance, if your home is facing East, which is related to the AIR element, it would be a good idea to base the design concept on principles which relate to things which are light, clear and bright.
Using bright colours, flowing shapes, materials which aren’t too heavy, etc..
By now, it would be a good idea to have created a moodboard of the design of your project.
This can be done with a pinterest board or by using a design software such as adobe illustrator, or power point for those who prefer to do presentations.
A mood board is important because it will act as a bridge between that which resonates with your soul at a deeply intelligent level, and what you want to put out in the world in the shape of objectives, benefits or impact for people who will come into contact with your space.
Whilst it is important for this moodboard to be a bridge between both, it is most important for it to represent something which resonates deeply for you. As mentioned in Module one, the temple will truly shine when its owner is in resonance with it.
We must then trust that it will resonate for the people who are meant to be drawn to it, and that they will be impacted accordingly, objectives will be achieves.
Your client has just purchased a North facing home and she is asking for your help with decoration advice. If she wants to make the most out of this orientation, which colours would you suggest that she use in the space? Which shapes or materials? Which tradition are you using to make this decision?
3- Building the layout based on orientation principles:
If a client were to present you with a floorplan for an empty appartment as per the below orientation, how would you suggest that they lay out the space? Which room would you ideally use for what if the client is very open-minded and doesnt have any rigid requirements?
Some short case studies:
A couple of interesting examples have demonstrated that this indeed does work.
In the case of my own home, I checked the orientation after starting this work and found that it's north-east facing, like most temples and old mystery schools, which is interesting considering that I began to access the ancient wisdom that I am now using in this work just as I moved into it. Coincidence? Maybe not...
I also have a close friend who has been spending the last few years pulling himself out of a difficult and shaky money situation. Moving into his new home, everything had finally stabilised for him, he manifested the conditions to buy the place from his landlord and even received an unexpected raise to support him. On closer analysis, we see that this home is north-facing, the orientation of manifestation and materializationthe one that enables things to happen.
In another interesting case, a client of mine who had been trying for years to have a baby with his partner without success fell pregnant within only 8 weeks of moving into their new home. The home had a large entrance facing south-east, the orientation for fertility and creativity.
When I was recently temple-hopping in the Yucatan, I visited a cave which served for fertility rituals for thousands of years and still does today. Descendants of the Maya continue to hold ceremonies to keep its energy alive and woman who have fertility issues will spend 10 weeks in this cave after which they will generally find themselves able to fall pregnant. The cave is indeed south-east facing and interestingly, has some strangely phallic-shaped natural rock formations inside it..