Casting Circles

I wanted to share my thoughts on circle casting. Such a unique part of the craft, it is one of my favorite parts of ritual and I even find myself casting a circle for simple tarot readings at times! The power of the elements surrounding you, the charge of the shield you create, and knowing that you have transcended to the world between worlds is a pretty cool feeling! 

So, I started practicing as a solitary witch when I was around 14 years old…doing my self initiation 10 years ago, when I was 17, on Beltane. I remember compiling information on the craft throughout high school (awful of course lol)…with limited internet access and no friends I could open up to, leaving me to fend for myself over pseudo-science books and various metaphysical shops. Eventually I found a couple of mentors, a best friend who practices, and legit witchcraft authors. But that’s another story!

I have come across several people lately who are looking to dive further into wicca, and need resources. I felt a desire to share some of my knowledge about the craft. Plus the wolf is my totem and she is forever stirring the natural teacher in me 😉

So, I hope this helps anyone who is starting out in witchcraft or is just hoping to get fresh ideas!

One of the oldest magical activities is circle casting! If you are new to witchcraft, this is one of the first skills you should practice, it is the basis for all magical rituals (usually. However some wiccans practice without circles -you can essentially perform magick anywhere, but circle casting is generally done at the beginning of any magical ceremony)….

The idea of a magick circle is one that dates back to druidic times and probably further than that. You can read about the theology behind circles in the books “Witchcrafting” by Phyllis Currott and “the Spiral Dance” by Starhawk….but essentially circles are used as a sort of bubble shield around a magickal space. Most witches cast circles before any ritual (sabbats, esbats, solitary practice etc)…It is believed that the circle is between worlds, a place to commune with the divine, where you are protected from outside energy forces be they friend or foe…Circle casting is electrifying, you bring energy to the circle so make sure you are prepared (all magick takes energy), however the buzz you will feel sitting inside your circle is a one of a kind pleasure 😀

* The Elements of Nature 

The four elements: air, earth, water, and fire -correspond with the 4 cardinal directions, four colors, and four energies

Air = east, yellow, intuition

Earth = north, green, grounding

Water = west, blue, emotion

Fire = South, orange/red, passion

Acquire candles of each corresponding color, as fancy or as simple as you would like. Typically a large pillar candle about 6 inches tall will be sturdy and last a while. They don’t need to be bought from a special store, mine are from target. You should always cleanse any new magick tool or ritual item before using it. (See info on ritual cleansing)

Set these candles up in a circle around your space, aligning them with their actual cardinal directions.

* Sage Burning 

Next, ignite a sage stick and fan it around your space. Wave the sage outward and visualize yourself sweeping the negativity and clouded energy from the space. If you don’t have sage you can sweep the area with a broom or somehow try to fan the energy out of the circle. But, you should really get some sage -its very useful! 😉

* Call the Quarters

Ok this is the fun part!

Calm your mind and find your center. Starting with the East (yellow candle, air) we are going to call each quarter. Essentially you can start in any direction, I learned to start with East because that is the direction the sun rises.

After east, I walk widdershins (counter clockwise) around the circle calling down each quarter. You can walk either direction but choose one and be consistent so that you can develop your ritual routine. I know it will seem awkward to say these words when you first begin, so repetition is important that way eventually you can lose yourself in the feeling and not worry about saying the words right. Most importantly, Don’t Stress! There is no wrong way to be a witch!

As you move to each of the 4 directions, you can raise the corresponding candle, say the incantation, and visualize what that element means to you, what it feels like as it’s energy meets yours, and what symbols it presents in your mind’s eye. Then light the candle and welcome that spirit.

The incantation I use is as follows:

“hail to the guardians of the watchtowers of the East -Spirits of Air and Inspiration, join me in my circle, Welcome!” (*now light the candle*)

“hail to the guardians of the watchtowers of the North, Spirits of Earth and grounding, join me in my circle, Welcome!”

“hail to the guardians of the watchtowers of the West, Spirits of Water and emotion, join me in my circle, Welcome!”

“hail to the guardians of the watchtowers of the South,Spirits of Fire and passion, join me in my circle, Welcome!”

*Wecome the Goddess! 

-Or the God, or both, or something else entirely. Be as specific or vague as you’d like. Speak from the heart. (or,  come back and check out my next blog about invoking the Goddess 🙂 )

* Draw the circle’s border with the Athame

If you don’t have an athame, you can use your hand or a wand (twigs can make great wands) .

Starting in the East again, stand with the dagger in your right hand and hold your arm straight out in front of you. Prepare to direct energy through your heart chakra, down your arm and out through the athame. As you walk around the circle’s circumference envision the shield you are drawing.

Say something like :

“The circle is cast, naught but good shall enter in, As I will it, so mote it be!”

And there you have it! You are now within your very own magick circle. Embrace this opportunity to commune with the divine, reach inside yourself and reflect on your spiritual journey. I typically do everything from tarot cards, to longer sabbat rituals with crystal charging and spell working while I am inside a circle. Just follow your intuition and explore your practice!  

You can cut a door in your circle to go in and out of, if you need to walk away for whatever reason. Just remember to close it behind you -never leave it open!

*To close your circle, start again with east, and reflect on what it meant for you to have this time to connect with the elements of nature. Express your gratitude to each quarter and blow out the candle while saying something like this:

“Hail to the guardians of the watchtowers of the east, thank you for your presence here, hail and farewell!” 

Pay your respects to any other deities present, and gather your final thoughts before closing your circle. When you are ready, retrace the borders of the circle with your athame, and say:

“the circle is open, yet unbroken, merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again, so mote it be!”

You might feel the shift as your circle leaves this plane, you might need to do some grounding from all the energy gathered during ritual.You might want to journal about it. Or you might want to go run a marathon or take a hot shower! Whatever feels right for you!

….So, that’s how I cast circles! I hope this helps on your journey ❤  Feel free to comment with any further thoughts or questions!

Thank you so much for reading ❤

*Blessed Be

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3 thoughts on “Casting Circles

  1. Pingback: New Moon Rituals | sacredmoongrove

  2. Pingback: Sagittarius New Moon -Are you ready for an adventure? | modernmagick

  3. Pingback: Libra New Moon – sacredmoongrove

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