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.