The four directions — north, east, south, and west — hold special meaning in many native cultures. When you dream about traveling west, for example, you might symbolically be experiencing the completion of something in your life. You could be literally “riding off into the sunset” or closing a particular chapter or ending a relationship. The four seasons are also linked to the four directions, at least in the Northern Hemisphere. Each of the directions holds universal, cultural, and individual associations.
We associate east with dawn, the place of new beginnings. It symbolizes spring. If you are heading east in your dream, you may be about to embark on a new project or a new beginning in some area of life. In many South American shamanic traditions, east is considered the place of the visionary, home to the eagle. It signifies a new point of view or a spiritual vision for yourself and the world. The sun rises in the east so perhaps your “sun” is about to rise. This could mean a promotion or other positive development is on the horizon for you.
Daylight is longest and brightest in the south. It is summer here. South is also a metaphor for declining fortunes. If you are “heading south” in a dream, you might be experiencing a reversal in your plans. In astrology the south represents the past and your origins. If you dream of returning to the south, you may be revisiting your past or past lives. South American shamanic traditions connect the south with shedding the old and the past, so the present can come into being.
In many traditions west is the place of the adult. It is associated with the season of autumn. New life, born in the east, has moved through the ties of the past (south) and come into full expression in the west. In the history of the United States, the west signifies a place of adventure, exploration, and the courage to move into the unknown. In Peruvian shamanic traditions, west is the path of the warrior who has moved beyond fear and stands in harmony, balance, and peace. Because the sun sets in the west, a dream of moving in a westerly direction may indicate something is coming to an end in your life. Or, you may be experiencing a peak in your professional or personal life as west also represents the place of attainment.
North is the place of dormancy, winter, and hibernation. The compass point north also shows direction in life. You follow the North Star. It is the reference point for finding your way in the world, and has been for centuries. If you are searching for “true north” in your dreams, you might be trying to find your own core of integrity. If you are heading north, it might be time to lay fallow, to withdraw and turn inward so you can rest and regenerate. In Native American traditions, north is the place of the elder or ancestor, the direction of wisdom, retreat, and healing.