Tapestry of Faith: Love Surrounds Us: A Program on the UU Principles and Beloved Community for Grades K-1

Alternate Activity 1: Calling the Directions

Activity time: 5 minutes

Preparation for Activity

  • Read the Description of Activity so you are comfortable using it to lead this activity.
  • Identify an indoor or outdoor space for this activity. Find out which direction is east.

Description of Activity

This activity demonstrates a way that people who believe the Earth is sacred conduct worship. It recalls our connection to the whole universe.

Explain that you are going to worship the elements of life symbolically by calling the directions. Say:

There are four elements in the world: air, fire, water, and earth. Each one has a direction associated with it. Air is east, fire is south, water is west, and earth is north.

Have everyone stand and face east. Lead a chant of your own or have all participants say "I am air, of the east" several times. Ask participants what things in the world symbolize air to them and invite them to call out those symbols; they may say words such as birds, wind, or leaves.

Next, have everyone make a quarter-turn to the right (south) and repeat the chant using "fire" and "south" several times. Ask participants to call out symbols of fire (sun, flames, candles).

Next, have everyone turn to the west and repeat the chant using "water" and "west" several times. Ask them to call out symbols of water (fish, swimming, oceans).

Next, have everyone turn to the north and repeat the chant using "earth" and "north" several times. Ask them to call out symbols of earth (plants, dirt, mountains).

End by leading the children to repeat, "Air, fire, water, and earth, I am," three times, while walking together in a circle.

Afterward, ask:

  • What is our connection to the directions?
  • Are they important to us?
  • Why might some people worship these elements? What do they symbolize?

Including All Participants

Participants who have mobility limitations can remain seated in the circle and turn themselves or be turned by a partner or co-leader to each direction.