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WEST is one of the four cardinal directions or points of the compass . It is the opposite direction from east .

CONTENTS

* 1 Etymology * 2 Navigation
Navigation
* 3 Cultural * 4 Symbolic meanings * 5 References * 6 External links

ETYMOLOGY

The word "West" is a Germanic word passed into some Romance languages (ouest in French, oest in Catalan, ovest in Italian, oeste in Spanish and Portuguese). As is apparent in the Gothic term vasi ( Visigoths
Visigoths
), it stems from the same Indo-European root that gave the Sanskrit vas-ati (night) and vesper (evening) in Latin.

NAVIGATION

To go west using a compass for navigation , one needs to set a bearing or azimuth of 270°.

West
West
is the direction opposite that of the Earth
Earth
's rotation on its axis, and is therefore the general direction towards which the Sun appears to constantly progress and eventually set.

Moving continuously west is following a circle of latitude .

CULTURAL

The phrase "the West" is often spoken in reference to the Western world , which includes the European Union
European Union
(also the EFTA countries), the Americas, Israel, Australia, New Zealand and (in part) South Africa.

The concept of the Western part of the earth has its roots in the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
and the Western Christianity
Western Christianity
. During the Cold War "the West" was often used to refer to the NATO
NATO
camp as opposed to the Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
and non-aligned nations . The expression survives, with an increasingly ambiguous meaning.

SYMBOLIC MEANINGS

In Chinese Buddhism
Buddhism
, the West
West
represents movement toward the Buddha or enlightenment (see Journey to the West ). The ancient Aztecs believed that the West
West
was the realm of the great goddess of water , mist, and maize . In Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
, the West
West
was considered to be the portal to the netherworld , and is the cardinal direction regarded in connection with death , though not always with a negative connotation. Ancient Egyptians also believed that the Goddess
Goddess
Amunet was a personification of the West. The Celts believed that beyond the western sea off the edges of all maps lay the Otherworld , or Afterlife.

In Judaism
Judaism
, west is seen to be toward the Shekinah (presence) of God, as in Jewish history the Tabernacle
Tabernacle
and subsequent Jerusalem Temple faced east, with God's Presence in the Holy of Holies up the steps to the west. According to the Bible
Bible
, the Israelites
Israelites
crossed the Jordan River
Jordan River
westward into the Promised Land
Promised Land
. In Islam
Islam
, while in India, people pray facing towards the west as in respect to India