From Shaman's Circle, 1996, by Nancy Wood
The Four Sisters of Everlasting Beauty danced on a mountaintop
in order to summon fire from deep within the earth. They
danced until flames poured from within veins in the rock,
cleansing them of selfishness and blame. The First Sister
Was the Dancing Woman of Mirth, whose direction was East. She wore
yellow, the color of awakening moments. She brought laughter,
the first necessity in a world of sadness. The First Sister said:
The spirit of laughter is the same as wind or water. It soothes
The troubled earth and makes hard edges disappear, even in the face of
sorrow. The Second Sister was the Woman of Long Experience,
whose direction was South. She wore blue, the color of memory.
She brought the imprint of fossils, also a collection of bones, the
Second necessity in a world filled with self-importance and envy. The
Second Sister said: The spirit of fossils and bones is the same as
long memory, a connection to the ancestors. It reminds the sick of health
And to the healthy gives warning of their mortality. The Third Sister
was the Woman of Unfulfilled Dreams, whose direction was West.
She wore red, the color of purpose and daring. She brought tears,
the third necessity in times when cleansing is required. The Third Sister
Said: The Spirit of weeping is nothing more than human rain, shed for loss
as well as love, and for children we never had. The unfulfilled
dreams of warriors and women, of birds taken from the nest, and of
animals denied their place in life, justify my gift of tears.
The Fourth Sister was the Retreating Woman of Consciousness, whose
direction was North. She wore white,
the color of beginning anew. She brought awareness, the fourth necessity
in a world of schemes and invention. The Fourth Sister said:
Honor yourself before all else and you will embrace
all life. All direction. All stars. All light.
And the other Three Sisters agreed.