Ancient peoples assigned qualities of intelligence and personality to each direction. They believe that each direction had very specific and unique energy traits and in addition, conscious life force. And in many traditions there was a guardian of each direction who protected to divide the world from harm.
Sacred sites and buildings throughout the ancient world were aligned with the four directions.
There is much historical research documenting the significance of the directions to ancient architecture and the layout of cities.
Recognitions of the properties and the powers of the directions may be related to an ability within each of us to sense the currents of the earth's magnetic fields.