Craft of the Wise

Ancient knowledge for today's times

Circle Purification – No Incense

Circle Purification - No Incense

A Circle Purification that doesn't use Incense: for asthmatics, those with 
allergies, and those with other pulmonary disorders by Matrika.

This ritual was inspired when someone in our circle back in Central 
Massachusetts started dating a young woman who was a great herbalist, 
knowledgeable about crystal healing, a competent tarot-reader and a beginning 
astrologer.  She had read "Spiral Dance" by Starhawk on the Craft of the Wise 
(Wicca) and wore a pentagram around her neck, but couldn't try circle work 
because she was allergic to smoke and had a serious asthma problem.

So, here's the rite.  You prepare your altar as usual, with the exception of the 
incense and incense burner.  5 non-electric pot-pouri burners filled with water 
and an appropriately scented pot-pouri should be on or near the altar with 5 
candles.  Be sure that you use the correct type of candles for your pot-pouri 
burners, as other types can destroy the burners.  Put these on the altar, which 
should be at the center of the circle and facing North or East according to your 
custom.  If they do not fit without obstructing the work, place them in a semi-
circle at the foot of the altar.  Have matches there to light the candles under 
them at the proper time.

The rite 
(Leader 1 should be a male, if possible.  Leader 2 should be a female, if 

Leader 1 - blessing the water and herbal mixture in each pot-pouri burner with 
the wand. A long-stem rose with the thorns removed can be used for a wand if you 
do not yet have one.  Of course, this must be replaced each time you do a ritual 
"By Fire and By Air
 By Water and by Earth
 by the Lady and the Lord
 I conjure thee to purify our circle this night"

all- " So mote it be"

He takes one of the burners and the matches to the North where he lights it.  
Leader 2 accompanies him with her wand, after he lights it she raises her wand 
and says
"By fire and air
 By water and by earth
 Let us purify the
 Northern Quarter of our circle"

There is a pause during which everyone visualizes (vividly imagining in every 
detail from a relaxed, meditative state) an arc of rainbow light forming that 
quarter of the circle then, when she lowers the wand, everyone responds.  all - 
"So Mote It Be"

Leader 1 returns to the central altar and gets the next burner, placing it in 
the East and lighting it.  Leader 2 continues in the same way as above.  This 
procedure is then repeated in the South and then in the West.  Each time the 
invocation is changed to reflect the direction they are in.  Each time the group 
visualizes the rainbow arc of light.  And after each direction, Leader 1 returns 
to the center to get the burner for the next direction ready.  By constantly 
returning to the center each time, the emphasis is placed there.  After the 
Western quarter is lit, Leader 1 places the final burner on the altar, between 
the candles, where the incense burner would be if there was one and lights it.  
Leader 2 stands before the altar, raises her wand and says

"By Fire and by air 
 By water and by earth 
 Let us purify the sacred center of our circle
 where Heaven and Earth Unite
 and Where the Lord and Lady are joined in love."

While her wand is raised, everyone visualizes the rainbow light from the outer 
circles flooding in to the center and filling the circle with harmonious 
vibrations and energies.  After a few moments, she lowers her wand and everyone 
all- "SO mote it be"

The circle casting is continued as usual with the invocations of the elements at 
the 4 corners, according to your tradition.  Then the actual circle-casting is 
done as usual.  After this do whatever rite and/or magick you would usually do 
and close in the usual manner.  Be sure to snuff the candles and not to blow 
them out.  Use a silver teaspoon to do this, if you don't have a snuffer.  This 
ceremony ONLY replaces the part of the rite where you sprinkle with salt-water 
and then cense the circle to purify it in PREPARATION for the actual circle 
casting.  It is NOT the full casting of the circle.  (Some traditions purify 
with all 4 elements separately, sprinkling salt on the floor for earth, water on 
the floor for itself, censing the circle for air, and carrying a candle around 
for fire.  Either way this rite replaces the elemental purification, as the 
burners embody all 4 elements - the water for itself, the candle for fire, the 
herbs for earth, and the scent the steam gives off for air.)

OF course the pot-pouri burners used for this should only be used in your 
psychic work and should have been consecrated or smudged (by someone who can 
deal with the smoke) in preparation for this ritual.

To prepare appropriate pot-pouri scents for the purpose of your rites, use the 
directions for making the various home-made herbal incenses traditional in 
Witchcraft and in Magick; however, don't grind them with a mortar and pestle as 
you would in making incense.  If you do not know the recipes for these, any of 
the Scott Cuningham books on making incenses would provide them for you.  They 
are available from Llewelyn Publishing, box 64383 St.  Paul Minnesota. (They 
will send you a free catalogue on request)

Despite the initial cost involved in obtaining the 5 burners, it is highly 
suggested you do it that way for two reasons:

1. In anything but a very small and enclosed space, you will not get enough 
scent to represent the air element sufficiently for magickal and ritual working. 

2. To represent all 4 elements in EACH of the quarters and in the center of the 
circle is very important in establishing the traditional boundaries between the 
worlds the ordinary and non-ordinary or shamanic realities) that is the purpose 
of casting the circle and creating sacred space.

CERTAINLY BURN YOUR FINGERS BADLY.  (It is not appropriate to bring a pot holder 
into circle to carry it either! PLEASE!)

I hope this is helpful to those who have breathing problems and wish to perform 

October 19, 2010 Posted by | Circle Casting | Leave a comment



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 | Leave a comment