Different cultures have assigned different meanings of cardinal directions. Here are a few brief samples of directional energies and what they represent to various cultures:
In Chinese Feng Shui, each direction correlates to the Chinese zodiac animals:
North = Rat: Adaptability, charm, creativity, sociability, wit.
East = Rabbit: Trust, sincerity, love, compassion.
South = Horse: Physical strength, health, adventure, loyalty.
West = Rooster: Confidence, business, energy, persistence.
In ancient Celtic symbolism and tradition, the cardinal directions were acknowledged in several ceremonies and festivals. Handfasting ceremonies and other earth-based belief systems (pagan) still honor the directions today. Here is a brief outline of these directional representations:
East = air, communication, new beginnings, new growth
South = fire, energy, passion, creativity
West = water, emotion, psyche, movement
North = earth, home, security, fertility
In certain divinatory practices the directions represent time phases:
North = Infinite Possibility (no-time)
South = Present – Now
West = Past
East = Future
Native Americans have their own meanings of cardinal directions. The Lakota, for example hold to the following guideline:
North = wisdom/thought
East = salvation/spirit
South = beginnings/purity
West = conclusions/fullness
The astrological zodiac provides yet another aspect of the four directions and their symbolism:
East = Earth corresponding with Taurus
South = Fire corresponding with Leo
West = Water corresponding with Scorpio
North = Air corresponding with Aquarius