Quarter Calls: Invoking the Archangels

A Ritual Invocation of the Archangels as Guardians of the Four Directions.

This ceremony is designed to be part of a larger ritual, placed where you would normally call the Quarters. This ceremonial is written in a Christian context and you can combine it with daily prayer, a eucharistic celebration, or a holy day or feast day liturgy. I have also written an elemental greeting based on St. Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of the Creatures. Check it out here.


Set up as you normally would. Gather any seasonal decor, tools, and other supplies you may need for your rite. The suggested colors of the candles reflect the usage of the Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA). Of course, you should use whatever you are accustomed to.

Begin the ritual as you normally would. When you are ready to greet the directions or call the quarters, use these words.

Calling the quarters

From the center of the circle, face East and say:

All praise and honor are yours, O God.
Angels and Archangels sing your praise,
And all creation proclaims your glory.
The four corners of the earth honor you
And bring us your radiance and power.

Walk to the East Quarter, light the yellow candle and say:

With the blessing of the Hawk of Dawn soaring in the clear, pure AIR,
We greet and offer welcome to the spirits of the EAST
And we invite the Archangel GABRIEL, holy messenger,
To bring wisdom and inspiration to our rite.

Walk sunwise to the South Quarter, light the red candle and say:

With the blessing of the great Stag in the heat of the chase,
And the inner FIRE of the Sun,
We greet and offer welcome to the spirits of the SOUTH
And we invite the Archangel MICHAEL, holy warrior,
To bring passion and courage to our rite.

Walk sunwise to the West Quarter, light the blue candle and say:

With the blessing of the Salmon of Wisdom 
who dwells in the sacred WATERS of the pool
We greet and offer welcome to the spirits of the WEST,
And we invite the Archangel RAPHAEL, holy angel of healing,
To bring love and compassion to our rite.

Walk sunwise to the North Quarter, light the green candle and say:

With the blessing of the great Bear of the Starry Heavens
And the deep and fruitful EARTH,
We greet and offer welcome to the spirits of the NORTH
And we invite the Archangel URIEL, holy angel of light,
To bring strength and growth to our rite.

Walk sunwise to the East Quarter and then return to the Center. Turn to the East, light the orange candle and say:

We give honor and praise to the Most Holy Theotokos,
The Mother of Light through whom heaven is united to earth.
All creation rejoices in you, O full of grace, and we bless you.

Still facing East, light the purple candle and say:

We give honor and praise to Jesus Christ, our Lord,
the Word made flesh, God with us.
Most Holy Begotten One of God,
Receive our prayer.

Still facing East, light the white candle. Bow, make the Sign of the Cross and say:

All praise and honor to God, Eternal Spirit, Maker of all that is;
To Jesu, the Christ, Bearer of our humanity;
And to the Holy Spirit, Awen and Breath of life.
As it was in the Beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
So may it be.

Continue on with the rest of your ritual. Remember to release the quarters at the end as you normally would.

Bright Blessings!

Header Image: Congregation of Angels by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay (Image cropped from original)

Creating a Sacred Space

OMGs! I’m supposed to have an altar?!?!

One of the positive effects of the COVID pandemic has been an increasing awareness among many religious folks of the need for developing a personal spiritual practice: daily prayer, meditation, spiritual reading, and so forth. One of the first questions many people who engage in a personal devotional or ritual practice ask is how to create a sacred space, more specifically, how to set up an altar. If you go online, you’ll find that there are as many ways to build an altar as there are people who use them for their spiritual practice. Orthodox Christians will often have a corner or cabinet in their homes filled with various icons, while Catholics may have a space dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary or a particular saint. For some Protestant Christians it may be a space set aside for daily Bible reading and prayer. For my mother it was always the living room sofa early in the morning before getting ready for work. Many neo-Pagan practitioners have a variety of altars or shrines dedicated to one deity or another or to their ancestors. While some people have a space dedicated to devotional practice, others will use the same chair they watch TV from. For some that space may be the car, bus, or train on the way to work; I’ve played recordings of morning prayer from various sources during my 30–45-minute drive to work on several occasions. The takeaway from this is that there is no one correct or proper way to do this, so if you’re getting hung up on “the rules” you can breathe easy and concentrate on finding something that works for you.

Some General Principles

What religion or tradition are you practicing?

This may seem obvious, but it bears thinking about. Are you practicing Gardnerian Wicca, Russian Orthodox Christianity, ADF Druidry? If that’s the case, those traditions may have very specific guidelines for setting up your altar and you should follow those. But what if your path isn’t as clear? What if your practicing eclectic witchcraft or, in my case, Christian Druidry? Following on that, what element is dominant in your religious practice? Are you an eclectic Witch with an emphasis on Alexandrian Wicca? Are you a Christian doing Druid things or a Druid doing Christian things? Taking some time to ponder this question may help clear up any confusion. In my case, I’m a Christian doing Druid things; to complicate things a little more, my Christianity is a mashup of Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, and Celtic. What follows will be from this perspective since that is my experience and I cannot presume to speak for someone with a different experience.

Why do you want or need an altar?

When I first started exploring Wicca, I was tied up in knots when it came to doing rituals or magical workings. I was so scared of setting up my altar the wrong way or using the wrong color of candle or any number of things that I didn’t do anything for a long time. While decorated altars, candles, wands, athames, incense, and the like are great tools for focusing your prayer or ritual workings, you don’t need any of it. Everything you need is already within you. Don’t get so caught up in the external trappings that you don’t actually do anything. I’m a visually oriented and artistic person whose best experiences of church involved lots of color, symbols, as movement, so these things are important to me in my own practice. In fact, creating the physical space for my work is a key part of my practice. Other folks find all my stuff distracting. My partner actually commented that I have “way too much shit.” If you fall into that category and just having a quiet space is enough for you, then that’s all you need and you’re good to go. If you’re like me and find the visual aspect important, that’s great, too. In either case, please read on.

Where will you have your altar?

I have a room that I can set aside as a sacred space, but I’m aware that’s a luxury a lot of people don’t have. Regardless, here are some things to think about.

  • Is there a dedicated space for a permanent altar setup? This can be a table or cabinet in a corner, or a shelf in a bookcase?
  • If you live in a small place where space is at a premium, if you like to go out on a balcony or to a park, or if you travel a lot, you can create a “portable altar” by keeping a small box that is easy to carry around with you, a wooden box with a hinged top or a cigar box work well for this. It’s actually possible to use something as small as a mint tin or a small sewing notions box. If you’re crafty, you can use decoupage, paint, a wood-burning tool, etc. to personalize it. I keep a cloth, some LED candles, a small standing cross, a set of small icons, and a vial of holy water in mine.
  • It would be great if we lived in a society where everyone accepted everyone else unconditionally, but unfortunately that’s not the case. Maybe you live with others who might not understand or approve. I live in a hotbed of red-state fundamentalist evangelicals who are convinced that everyone who is not them is practicing devil worship, even other Christians. What they think of Druidry or witchcraft is pretty evident, so I understand the need to be somewhat careful with how open you can be. In that situation you might want a set up you can hide. This is easy to do by using a cabinet with doors or even a trunk or storage ottoman.

What’s important to you?

Everyone has different emphases for spiritual practice, even those who follow traditions with specific rules. When exploring what items to place on your altar, keep in mind those things most important to you.

  • Is devotion to a deity, saint, local spirit a priority in your practice? If so, you may want to place statues, drawings or paintings of and/or symbols associated with them on your altar. Some people have several altars, each dedicated to a different being or purpose.
  • If your altar has a devotional focus, you may want to think about using objects that help you focus your prayers and/or other offerings. Such objects might include candles, incense, water, journal, prayer book, bell or chimes, or a singing bowl.
  • Are there particular symbols that are symbolic of your faith? For example, Wiccans may want a pentacle, Druids an awen symbol, and Christians might want a cross of some sort.
  • Other items might include some sort of altar cloth and seasonal decorations or symbols. This can be anything and it’s fun to think outside the box. For altar cloths, I’ve used tablecloths, table runners, decorative towels, and placemats. Seasonal elements can include flowers and other plant material, a cornocopia in the fall, gnomes, Tarot cards or saint cards. Again, it’s fun to think outside the box and let your creative impulses run wild.

What’s the purpose?

Altars can be permanent with changes made according to season or they can be temporary, like a memorial altar to honor ancestors at Samhain or All Souls. They can be dedicated for a specific intention and dismantled when that intention is satisfied. If you’re setting up a space dedicated to praying and/or making offerings for a special intention, you might want to do a little research into colors, crystals, incenses, and so forth associated with that purpose.

What does this look like?

What follows are some photos of my space as it currently exists. These photos are from shortly before the Fall Equinox (Alban Elfed or Mabon).

My primary altar

This is my main indoor devotional altar, constructed on the top of a shelving unit with drawers that I use to store supplies. On the wall in the top center is an awen symbol I made using a grapevine wreath from a craft store and three feathers. Under the awen symbol is a Celtic cross. The four pictures are saints that are important to me. On the top left is Hildegard of Bingen, Holy Wisdom is on the top right. The lower left is occupied by an icon of my personal patron, St. Francis of Assisi. And on the lower right is a print of Brigid.

The centerpiece of the altar is a diptych of the Theotokos and Christ Pantokrator. An icon of the Holy Trinity sits to the right. That icon changes according to the season or occasion. My communion cup and plate are beside that. At the very front I have a vessel of holy water and a smaller bowl with salt, both symbols of purity. Other than a lot of candles (I may have a problem), there are seasonal decorations, in this case a cornucopia and a fall floral arrangement. I’m using a red tablecloth as an altar cloth. Not in the picture is a stand holding my prayer book and a Bible.

Directional Altars

The elements of Air, Fire, Water, and Earth are an important part of my spirituality and figure prominently in my devotions and rituals. Each element is associated with a direction – Air/East, Fire/South, Water/West, Earth/North. A quick search will reveal many concepts and objects that correspond to each element. My directional altars are small shelves I’ve hung on the walls in the four corners of my room and have at their center an icon of an Archangel surrounded by various symbols and objects I associate with that direction. [Disclaimer: I have the Archangels in different places than the “traditional” directions; basically, I swapped Raphael and Gabriel because their traditional placement doesn’t make sense to me.]


Starting in the East, this altar represents Air. Among other things, Air is the realm of communication. It also represents wisdom and intellect. At the center is an icon of the Archangel Gabriel, who most often shows up in the Bible delivering messages. I have a feather and several musical items: egg shakers, a tuning fork that belonged to an aunt, and various music-themed prints hanging on the wall around the shelf (including an image of St. Cecilia, patron of musicians).

I have a small owl figurine as a representation of the sacred hawk of dawn (because I found a hawk yet), the animal associated with the East in Revival Druidry. There is also a yellow-ish dragon, yellow being the color corresponding with Air and because I have a thing for dragons. I have a large singing bowl on a shelf in an adjacent bookcase.


Moving clockwise around the room, we come to the South, the realm of Fire. The Archangel Michael centers this altar. I have a representation of the Sun hanging above, an incense burner, two stones – citrine and sunstone, and a playful little lizard who never made it out to the garden this year. A red dragon and a stag, the Druid animal association, round out this altar.


Continuing on, we enter the realm of Water, the West. The Archangel Raphael, the healer, is here. In the West, Revival Druidry calls upon the Salmon of Wisdom who swims in the sacred pool. A glass fish and a fish windchime made by one of my aunts represent her. I have a couple of seashells, a piece of rose quartz, and a blue dragon. The moon lamp was not originally part of my plan for this space, but after thinking about it, it makes sense because the Moon is associated with inner working and intuition, both qualities of Water.


The North is the realm of Earth, watched over by the Archangel Uriel. Druid symbols include a couple of oak leaves, an antler, and a black bear figurine. There are also a couple of small stones and buckeyes, along with a green dragon. Hanging above the shelf is a pyrographic print of the Celtic Tree of Life. On a table underneath (not pictured) I have a small statue of Cernunnos and a print of the Green Man.

Some concluding thoughts

Sacred spaces are very personal, and there are myriad ways to construct one. The important thing is that your space, whether permanent, temporary, camouflaged or otherwise, works for you. There is no right or wrong way. What I’ve shared here is fairly elaborate, but I’ve only recently been able to do this. I used multi-function, camouflaged spaces and kept my supplies in a box in the closet or in a drawer for a long time. Experiment and play around. You’ll soon find out what works.

One final pic – my Nerd Shrine, just for fun. My collection of Star Wars, LOTR, and Harry Potter knick-knacks with Marvin the Martian front and center.

Bright blessings and may peace be with you!

An Element-ary Way to Start the Day

Find a quiet place and take a few moments to center yourself. I find music helpful in this. You might try playing something like Song of Awen by Damh the Bard:

Turning or moving to each quarter, light a candle, and say the following:

May there be peace in the North.

May there be peace in the South.

May there be peace in the West.

May there be peace in the East.

May there be peace throughout the world.

Druid Prayer for Peace

Move or turn to the center and say the Druid’s Prayer.

Grant, O God (Goddess/Great Spirit, Holy Ones, thy protection

And in protection, strength

And in strength, understanding

And in understanding, knowledge

And in knowledge, the knowledge of justice

And in the knowledge of justice, the love of it

And in the love of justice, the love of all existences

And in that love, the love of God (Goddess, Great Spirit, Holy Ones, the Earth our Mother, and all Goodness

attributed to Iolo Morganwg

Chant the word “AWEN” slowly, drawing the word out into three syllables: AH-OH-EN.

Facing East –

Hail to you, Spirits of Air, Spirits of the East!

Be with me, guide, bless, and protect me this day.

I ask for you gifts of clarity, insight, and vision.

Help me to walk in wisdom.

Pause briefly, feeling the breeze moving around and through you. Welcome the power of air.

Facing South –

Hail to you, Spirits of Fire, Spirits of the South!

Be with me, guide, bless, and protect me this day.

Fuel my passion, ignite my creativity.

Help me to walk in courage.

Pause briefly, feeling the heat of the fire as it burns. Welcome the power of fire.

Facing West –

Hail to you, Spirits of Water, Spirits of the West!

Be with me, guide, bless, and protect me this day.

Wash over me with healing, let compassion flow through me.

Help me to walk in love.

Pause briefly, feeling the cool water wash over, around, and through you. Welcome the power of water.

Facing North –

Hail to you, Spirits of Earth, Spirits of the Earth!

Be with me, guide, bless, and protect me this day.

Grow in me health, prosperity, stability, and firmness of purpose.

Help me to walk in strength.

Pause briefly, feeling the solidity, vitality, and strength of the earth beneath you. Welcome the power of Earth.

The following two prayers are addressed to Cernunnos and Brighid. Please feel free to use other prayers here, or none.

Facing East, or towards an image of Cernunnos.

Hail to you, Cernunnos, Lord, sitter in the doorway,

god of equilibrium, terrible, merciful,

you who hold the opposites apart,

you in whom all opposites unite,

my prayer goes to you to open the passage,

to clear the threshold,

to make the way clear.

Ceisiwr Serith, A Book of Pagan Prayer

Pause briefly, listening for anything the deity wishes to communicate to you. Welcome their presence.

Facing an image of Brighid

Hail to you, Brighid, Goddess of Fire,

three-fold queen who inspires poets, artists, and healers,

may your fire be the flame on my hearth,

may your fire be the flame in my heart.

adapted from prayers in A Book of Pagan Prayer by Ceisiwr Serith

Pause briefly, listening for anything the deity wishes to communicate to you. Welcome their presence.

So may it be

If you like, take some time to read, meditate, take an omen, etc.

When ready, conclude with the Druid Vow and some AWENS.

We swear by peace and love to stand

Heart to heart, and hand in hand;

Mark! O Spirit, and hear us now,

Confirming this, our sacred vow.

Chant the word “AWEN” slowly, drawing the word out into three syllables: AH-OH-EN.

Take your leave by thanking the powers you have invoked for their gifts and their presence, and extinguish any candles (or fires) you have lit. As you extinguish the candles say:

As I extinguish these lights, may their flame burn brightly within me, and may I carry what I have gained with me through the day.

So may it be!

Ring a bell or chime, pause briefly, then exit the space.