Craft of the Wise

Ancient knowledge for today's times



How I cast a Circle depends on WHY I am circling.   But that’s not real helpful
advice to someone new to magic…so I’ll try ramble a bit about the subject.

First questions are usually about ‘stuff and tools’.  I LOVE all my witchy
*Thangs*, but never confuse them with the Source of Magic. Wands don’t make

If I am outside because it is a full or new moon, or a Solar HolyDay, I tend to
bring lots of stuff with me.  I don’t necessarily bring everything you might see
in a group ritual, just what I feel like having according to the moment and the
occasion.  I’ve been known to spend the entire day taking things outside to set
up a circle in preparation for a ritual just for myself.  The preparation,
the tools and objects, the creation of an alter, all appeal to the artist in me. 
It is something I find great pleasure in.

If the reason I am circling is more than celebretory, if I have a specific
personal goal in mind, I tend to take less stuff with me, choosing only things I
feel most appropriate, and those sparingly.  I guess I see a division between
‘celebratory’ and ‘working’ ritual.  I see  ‘tools’ of ritual as more important
in Celebratory Circles and to the working of magic in a group ritual rather
than a Solitary one. They help to create the boundaries of sacred space, they
add a sense of mystery and help to bring a group into the focus that is needed
for working together.  Tools have less to offer me in Solitary ritual, I just
don’t need them as much as in group work.

In any ritual, regardless of the purpose or number of people, I start by
grounding and centering.  These two are similar, but I see them as distinct from
one another.  Grounding is more of establishing a connection.  I see magic, the
use of power and energy as a gift, a loan, the source being the Earth and the
Goddess, Grounding is establishing the connection.  I can offer you a
visualization that I used to use if you want, (it is one of a tree, sending
roots deep into the earth) but I recommend you see this as another ‘tool’ and
use it only as an aid to finding your own source/feeling of power.

I don’t use a visualization, and I’m not really sure how I can accurately
describe what I do….other than to tell you I look within, find inside myself
the source of connectedness and power and then let it resonate.  This resonance
is what I call centering.

The feelings of calling and focusing the Energy of the Earth are powerful ones,
centering is becoming adjusted to that feeling, finding your own silence in the
midst of a tornado of Power.

I ground and center sitting on the earth, hands touching the ground, eyes
closed.  The alter and anything I need will already be set up, there may already
be a candle burning, sometimes I will open my eyes and stare into the candle
before I go any further to cast a circle. I think of this time as waiting to see
the circle that wishes to be cast.  I don’t usually plan ahead what I’m going to
say or whom I will invoke, I wait until these moments and follow my instincts.

I usually  use smudge, but rarely do a cleansing or banishing in solitary space
(and even in group ritual if I remember to add salt to the water its with my
Goddess given fingers not some ceremonial knife).

To cast the circle I stand in each of the directions E,S,W,N, and call in the
spirits of that direction.  My roots are Dianic, I invoke only the Feminine as I
call the quarters.  I do not in Solitary ritual separately invoke the Goddess,
instead I invoke Her in each of her aspects as I come to each direction.  At
times my words, my intent is to call more upon an essence of a particular
direction, other times I directly invoke a particular Goddess that represents to
me what I am doing and which direction I am facing.

I know this is sketchy…Here’s an example of what I mean: In the East, I
usually invoke the essence of the direction, that of beginnings of birth and
rebirth.  This is the direction in which I see my Friend and Guide the Owl and 
the direction of my birth, therefore I usually do not invoke a particular
Goddess here.  In the South, I will usually invoke a particular Goddess, one who
represents either emotion or the emotions that I am feeling in regard to the
work I am doing.  In the West I will include both the essence of the direction
as well as a Goddess Aspect, this direction is an introspective, reflective one
and comes easily to me.  The North is the direction of the greatest Mystery, I
linger the longest and speak the least here, usually invoking using an Ancient
Goddess name or names. 

To call each of the directions I face them from the edge of the circle and raise
my arms in what I call the Goddess sign, others call a yonic symbol.  I will
draw an invoking Pentagram in the air when in group ritual, but in Solitary I
draw Pentagrams on my body instead. I draw one over left breast for E, vulva for
S, right breast for W and forehead for N, womb for Center.  This symbolizes my
belief that magic comes from within, and that every woman’s body is as the
body of the Goddess.

I continue around the circle twice more, pausing in each direction, it is a bit
of a trance inducer for me and the belief again that we create magic with our
actions – casting the circle as I walk it’s path three times.

Yes, my circle casting does blur the lines between *casting the circle* and
*invoking*.  I’m sure there are many traditionalists who would look down their
pointy lil noses at this.  But after a decade of walking this spiral path… I
am inclined to smirk at comments from RigidWitches.  If you take any advice from
these pages, let it be to follow your OWN sense of Magic and Mystery.

       Spirits of the Mystery Realms, both known and those un-met
                  I call as Priestess of the Mother,
       daughter of Diana, daughter of Astarte, daughter of Artemis,
                            Mother of All.
                     As my Grandmothers before me
                        From time out of mind
                   In this place that is not a place
                      I dance between the Worlds
                          The Circle is Cast


October 17, 2010 - Posted by | Circle Casting

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