Here is the audio of the extended version of my call to the four directions. (9:55)
You may want to strip it down to the essence and/or build upon this framework, swapping out aspects of it (e.g., using a different set of power animals, adding sacred plants, assigning different symbolism to each direction, etc.), or changing the starting point and/or the direction you move through each point.
Here is the basic skeleton: I follow the direction of the sun (as the earth spins on its axis and also revolves around the sun), so I begin in the East with sunrise/springtime, and move clockwise till I reach north and reach midnight/winter.
In each direction I also add an element. I’ve seen this ordered variously, so I would recommend feeling your way through this. The two most important elements in my life are air and fire, so It seemed right for me to start with air, which happened to pair nicely with Eagle and Condor, whom I also assign to this direction (this is common among many, many traditions). But you might want to start with grounding your circle and assign air to the wintry north instead. It’s entirely up to you, but I gently suggest you proceed with your senses, and not strictly with your intellect.
For my power animals, the North American animals (e.g., bear and wolf) didn’t resonate with me as much as the South American ones, especially since hummingbird is a constant presence in my life. I thus adopted the Q’ero grouping of Serpent, Jaguar, Hummingbird, and Eagle/Condor. Tradition calls for starting with Serpent in the north and then ascending higher and higher to the great birds in the east, but as you see, I like to start my wheel in the east.
Some traditions turn up or go toward the center with the self at this point, but I turn down to Mother Earth because it just felt right for me to continue the grounding that I started in the north direction. Plus, when I practice balancing between heaven and earth, I always start with down, then up, before bringing it all to center. You might notice that I give thanks for a whole lot of things and I also invoke a whole lot of other things at this point, including the devas and the nature spirits. This is because I devote a lot of time cultivating connections to beings in every kingdom—rocks, plants, and animals—and I call upon guardians and nature spirits to help me in this work.
When I turn upward, I tend to change the wording a lot. Sometimes I invoke “Great Spirit,” or “the Creator,” or “Mother/Father God.” When I was working closely with Ganesha, I called upon him. Go with what you’re comfortable with, but also don’t be afraid to experiment. At times I’ve called in mythical beings such as dragons when I was feeling lots of fire or felt the need for more fire and fierceness in my ilfe. (Or maybe these mythical beasts are positioned at one of the cardinal directions?)
Finally, I turn inward and call upon my own wisdom to join the circle. I really love how certain traditions specifically call upon the Self because it is a beautiful acknowledgement of the divinity that lies within each and every one of us. When surrounding ourselves with the wisdom of Spirit we might easily lose sight of the fact that we, too, take our place in as a beloved and respected member of this sacred circle. (More on this to come.)
Note that the audio does not include how I close the circle, but my preference is to start closing from up, then down, and then counterclockwise around the directions beginning in the north and ending in the east. I finish, lastly, with myself. (Closing is much quicker than opening. I simply give thanks at every direction for their blessings/gifts/lessons, etc. and send those energies off in love and light. (If at any point in the circle I wish for something to stay with me for the day, I invite them (e.g., Great Hummingbird) to do so.)
As you practice you may start feeling how the energy shifts from moment to moment in your circle as you call in each aspect. This might be very subtle, like how you might detect and slight change in air pressure before the weather shifts, or you might get it visually in your mind’s eye or through any of your other internal/external senses. But remember that at root, this is a heart-centered practice, so don’t get too caught up in trying to discern everything going on. Just stay in your heart, and your practice will grow and deepen organically.