Saturday, April 13, 2024

Native American Meaning of Cardinal Directions

Understanding The Meaning of Cardinal Directions in The Eyes of Native Americans

The Four Cardinal directions that guide the world are North, South, East, and West. A sense of direction is important in our lives so that we can know where we are always headed. These directions are important to our spirit animals. Understanding these directions will enable you to know and understand your spirit animal and its role in your life.


The Native American understanding of Cardinal Directions is rooted in rituals and traditions. All the Native American traditions are in a way connected with nature and its beauty. The understanding of the Cardinal Directions comes from gaining insight that emanates from the four winds of nature.

The Native way of thinking brings a lot of light into your life and insight into the things that happen around you. Every native tribe has a symbolic meaning tied to the cardinal directions and how they influence our daily lives.


In Native American culture, the meaning of Cardinal Directions makes up aspects of healing, life, and spiritual growth and enlightenment. Each culture has its meaning of what the directions represent. In this article, we will focus on what meaning the Cardinal Directions hold to the Native Americans.

Colors Associated with Cardinal Directions in Native American Culture

Black Color about West

In the evening, the sun sets to the West. The setting of the sun signifies the end of the day. In this sense, West is symbolic of the End of Life, just like the color Black. In Native American culture, when someone dies, it is said that the sun has set on their life.


The Native American Great Thunderbird lives in the West. From its direction, it sends thunder and rain to the inhabitants of the world. Therefore, the West is the source of all bodies, rivers, lakes, streams, oceans, and seas. Water is important to all living creatures; therefore, the West is an important direction in our lives.


Red Color about North

North brings harsh winds of the Winter season, thus making the world cold. These winds hold cleansing properties that clear your life and surroundings of negative energies. This direction allows the leaves and fruits of trees to fall and the earth to rest under a blanket of snow.

If someone can stand these winds, they have the endurance and patience needed to make it through in life. North is a sign of hard times and challenges. However, you should not let challenges in life get the better of you. Always be strong enough to overcome them.

North is a sign of the challenges and trials that people must undergo in life. After overcoming the challenges and trials, a period of cleansing will follow.

Yellow Color about East

Every morning, the sun rises from the East. It brings light to the world and a promise of a better tomorrow. Its Yellow rays cut through the world, bringing hope to all its inhabitants. Light dawning on the earth signifies a new day filled with new things and new experiences.

The light that comes from the sun gives us a sense of understanding. With light in our lives, we can see things as they are before we can start working on them.

East direction signifies the wisdom that people need to go on with life. It urges us to live good lives that will enable us to become better and make the world a better place.

Many people wake up in the morning and pray to God facing the East so that they can be filled with wisdom and understanding that comes from above.

White Color about South

The Southern sky is when the sun is at its highest. This characteristic makes the South a symbol of growth, progress, and warmth. The sun’s rays are powerful as they draw life from the earth. These rays make everything on earth possible.

It is believed that life comes from the South. All living things came from the South, and that is the case to date. Warm and pleasant winds also come from the South. This direction signifies the meaning of life and the things we ought to do to live our best life.

Native Americans believe that when someone dies, they travel the Milky Way towards the South, going back to where they originated from.

The Symbolic Meaning of Cardinal Directions

Cardinal Directions hold great meaning in our lives. They make us better and guide us in the direction that we should take in life. They enable us to get in tune with our spiritual life and our higher selves. With an understanding of what directions mean, we will be able to live a happy and fulfilled life.

East Direction

This direction is a sign of new beginnings, spiritual wisdom, vision, and hope. It is a sign that you should not worry much about your past. Leave the past behind and start a new life that will bring you happiness.

Focus on the things that matter most and trust the process. Have a vision of what you want your life to look like. Pursue the things that bring joy into your life. The East quadrant is spiritually motivated; therefore, you need to work on your spiritual life.

West Direction

West signifies physical wisdom, positive changes, stability, growth, endings, and strong foundations. To live a happy and fulfilled life, you need to create strong foundations for your future. Accept that things need to come to an end for great things to come. Do not feel sad when a chapter of your life closes because another will soon open up.

Always work hard to achieve success in your life. Get inspiration from the earth and live your best life. Even when the sun sets, the earth continues to thrive and bring forth life. Be like the earth and always work towards becoming the best.

cardinal directions

North Direction

North is a representation of illumination, mental wisdom, understanding, adventures, and discovery. Embrace intellectual illumination and work towards making the world a better place. Focus on the things you can do to better your life and the lives of the people around you.

North is a mentally focused quadrant that enables you to comprehend everything that is happening around you.

South Direction

South signifies trust, care, love, faith, and emotional wisdom. It is good to be emotional and caring but do not allow people to take advantage of you. Always be there for the people who need you and connect with them at a higher level.

Have faith in your abilities as well and use them to make your life better. Always focus on building yourself up other than depending on other people for your success.

Cardinal Directions: Conclusion

Every form of ancient wisdom and religious connotation acknowledges directions in life as Sacred. In each directional quadrant, there is a meaning and energies that enable us to go on with our daily lives. Each of the four directions has its energies and influences in people’s lives. This way, you can know which direction best suits you.

Knowing the meaning of the four directions will enable you to keep spiritually fit and always do what will enable you to achieve spiritual enlightenment. Knowing what directions mean will enable us to relate to things that happen around us.

Native Americans value their culture, and they are among the many tribes in the world that have stuck to what they believe in. They continue to appreciate their beliefs in this ever-changing world. Always use Cardinal Directions to understand messages from the natural world better.

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