Maia Toll
I call myself to myself. I call myself home.

For me this is the starting point for any sacred act— whether it’s ritual or writing or teaching or even making a fabulous feast for my friends.

I call myself to myself. I call myself home.

I gather the fragments of consciousness I’ve strewn about as I’ve gone through my days, like the bit of me which lingers at Muir Beach, breathing in the salt air, or the self that’s worrying about a friend who recently had surgery. I call these parts back from their own contemplations to be fully in the present moment so I can bring my full self to the work at hand.

Calling myself home is often as simple as that: I take three deep breaths to center myself or drop my energy deep, letting it anchor in the earth. But sometimes that’s not enough… sometimes I need a stronger sense of wholeness.

When I need a little extra oomph, either because I’m feeling out of sorts or because I’m doing something which needs my utmost attention, I perform a ceremony called Calling the Quarters. This ritual is old as dirt and you can find variations of it in a plethora of traditions.

There’s something in the cadence of the syllables— calling the quarters— that has deep resonance for meMaybe it’s because quarters aren’t simply the 4 pie pieces of a circle, but also a place to dwell and be (as in “living quarters”). When I'm calling the quarters, what I'm really doing is finding myself in space and time, I'm calling myself home. Click To Tweet

Calling is an important bit here as well. Calling uses your voice and activates your throat, engaging it as a golden cord stretching from head to heart, uniting thought and feeling. (Yes, you can call the quarters in your mind, but it doesn’t have the same resonance, the same power, as using your voice).

For me, Calling the Quarters is a vastly private ceremony. It’s about my connection with time and space and self. It’s about me remaking my spirit and re-finding my wholeness.

It’s also not difficult and, as a recovering perfectionist, I can promise you won’t mess it up if you want to give it a try.

Here’s how I do it:

I walk a circle (clockwise) and at each of the cardinal directions I pause. In my heart and mind, I connect to the land I live on, to the element associated with each direction (scroll down to see those!) and also to the parts of myself which metaphorically live in each direction (again scroll down, I’ve got you covered!).

The directional associations are:

Four Elements & Directions

But it goes deeper than that, because our bodies are composed of the elements: earth is your body, air your breath, water your blood, and fire your spirit. So as you turn to the East, first connect with the land to the East of you. Is there a mountain there? A creek? Think about where you are geographically. You can also use this as an opportunity to call to any parts of yourself which you “left” to the East, like if your mom’s nursing home is to the east and part of your attention is there instead of in the present moment.

Next connect with the element of East, with Air. Air is also breath, it’s your voice. Do you feel free to speak your mind? Is some part of you stifled? Call your true voice home.

Continue around the circle in this way, gathering your spirit, piece by piece, while at the same time you ground yourself in the geography of where you are.

Calling the Quarters helps you get your whole self present so you can deeply connect to the world around you, ground and root in, and create safe and sacred space.

This is my way of setting my world to right.

This is the way I call myself to myself.

This is the way I call myself home.

Wanna know more about this? Join Witch Camp (we do a whole thing on calling the quarters)!