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The Five Norths of the Left-Hand Path
(As published in the Sept. 2015 issue of Fiddler’s Green.)

by Craig Conley

When one feels pulled by a force (a love interest, a job opportunity, a future prospect), it’s best to orient oneself so as to follow a direct path and not swerve.  Use the fingers of one hand to determine exactly which of the five norths aligns one’s compass.  Indeed, there are five norths, and their subtle distinctions can make all the difference in navigating toward a goal.  They are:

1.  True North
2.  Magnetic North
3.  Celestial or Astronomical North
4.  Grid North
5.  Terrestrial North

Stretch out your left arm, hold your hand palm up, and relax your fingers.  We use the left hand for two reasons: this mystical technique belongs to the so-called left-hand path of wyrd-ness, and the left hand is associated with holistic, intuitive right-brain functions.  Your hand will serve as a dowsing rod of sorts, as you will be attentive to which finger registers a “pull” like a compass needle.

The thumb will register a pull from True North.  As a mnemonic, recall the “thumbs up” gesture which indicates your personal approval.  True North has to do with the calling of your deepest, truest self — the axis or center-line of your existence.  So a pull from True North means that it is not an outside force but rather one’s own spirit pulling oneself forward.

The pointer finger will be register Magnetic North.  As a mnemonic, recall that we point at what we want, as if to attract it magnetically.  The important subtlety here is that a magnetic force attracts its opposite pole.  So be mindful that the conflicts you might feel about this magnetic force are not irreconcilable but rather vital to the power of the attraction.  Note that Magnetic North varies over time with the earth’s wobble, just as your desires may vary over time.

The middle finger will register a pull from Celestial or Astronomical North.  As a mnemonic, the middle finger is likely your longest finger and therefore reaches farther into space and toward the pole star.  Polaris is aligned with the earth’s rotation, and it appears fixed in space as the other stars rotate through the night sky.  So this sort of pull relates to an unwavering, guiding, celestial force that is the gate of one’s heaven, even when everything else seems to be going in circles.

The ring finger will register a pull from Grid North.  As a mnemonic, relate the fourth finger to the four sides of a square in a grid.  This is the north of a map projection, and both of those words are useful to contemplate: something has been mapped out, but every cartographic projection inevitably includes some sort of distortion.  So the key is to become aware of what aspects are literally blown out of proportion.

The pinkie finger will register a pull from Terrestrial North (the fixed Geographic North Pole as opposed to the wobbly North Magnetic Pole).  As a mnemonic, think of the little finger as a microcosm of the earth.  This sort of pull is mundane and earthbound as opposed to celestial (reaching for the stars).  So the question relates to how grounded you are, how set in your ways.  (Note: there are those who equate Terrestrial North with True North, but as the sage said, too far east is west.)

We left off with your left hand relaxed and facing palm up.  Allow your entire attention to rest in your fingers.  Simultaneously feel each finger as it floats in space.  Feel the air surrounding each finger, even as you feel the pulse of your lifeblood within.  Remain in this state of focused awareness.  Either look at your fingers or close your eyes, as you prefer.  Wait contentedly for a twitch, or a tingle, or any other feeling or phenomenon in one of your fingers.  Like a dowsing rod’s activation, that feeling will be your sign as to which of the five norths is guiding your way.  Once you have your answer, relax your arm and contemplate the nature of that north according to the mnemonic.  If it turns out that the particular north in question doesn’t feel like the proper direction for your life path, don’t allow yourself to be led astray but rather adjust your course accordingly.  We don’t wish to stumble disoriented as in a game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey.  The truer our alignment, the more efficient our arrival.  Why not give yourself a hand along the way?

Craig Conley, author of Magic Words: A Dictionary (Weiser Books), One-Letter Words: A Dictionary (HarperCollins), A Field Guide to Identifying Unicorns By Sound, How to Believe in Your Elf, The Care and Feeding of a Spirit Board, and dozens of other titles.

About the Author

Craig Conley is a magic enthusiast and scholar.  Recognized by Encarta as “America’s most creative and diligent scholar of letters, words and punctuation,” his intensive and eccentric research has led him to compile a true masterwork entitled Magic Words: A Dictionary.  He has also authored One-Letter Words: A Dictionary, among other strange and unusual lexicons, and is a regular columnist for Pentacle magazine.  Conley’s ideas are often decades ahead of their time.  He invented the concept of the “virtual pet” in 1980, fifteen years before the debut of the popular “Tamagotchi” in Japan.  His virtual pet, actually a rare flower, still thrives and has reached an incomprehensible size.

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