The magic circle is a symbolic form, which was used for magical purposes around the world in ancient times. It has many different meanings and functions, which can be used in Wiccan practice, be it alone, with a group of people or with a coven. The boundaries of the circle are meant to separate what is inside of the circle and what is outside of it. The circle itself has no beginning or an end, which represents eternity. The space inside the circle is considered to have different physical and spiritual properties, different space and time. Time works differently inside the circle, and does not correspond to the “normal” understanding of time which we know.
The circle is commonly used to protect the caster against unwanted influences and energies while performing a ritual or casting a spell.
[message_box]Note: This article talks about a common Wiccan variation of circle casting. This variation uses instruments and other symbolic objects in order to cast a circle. Read this article to see how to cast a circle without all of the instruments.[/message_box]
- An altar
- Altar pentacle
- 4 candles
- Chalice with water
- Cup with salt
- Wand or wooden stick
How to Begin
Clean the needed area and draw a circle on the ground. The circle can be 3 meters in diameter, although other sizes will do as well. Mark the circle with something you can remove or erase later on, such as: flour, salt, chalk, flowers or branches. Place and arrange your altar at the north and place a candle in each of the four directional points of the circle: north, east, south, west. The candles should be inside the circle space.
Take a broom and sweep the inside of the circle, from the middle to the end clockwise. While doing so, you can sing the following:
All troubles of the day,
Banish the shadows, banish the evil,
Make the circle safe and strong.”
Put the broom away and go inside the circle. Stay inside the circle for a few seconds in silence, feel the sacred energies surround you. Now go to the altar in order to consecrate the water and salt.
Water and Salt Consecration
Place the chalice with water on your altar pentacle. Take your athame and slowly touch the surface of the water with it. Visualize an electric blue light passing from the athame to the water and say the following:
Place a cup of salt on your altar pentacle. Take your athame and shove it inside of the salt, while visualizing a blue light that enters the salt. Say the following:
Pour a bit of salt into the water and leave some for later.
Drawing the Circle
Take your athame and stand with your face to the north, near your altar. Put your hand out (the one with the athame) and visualize a blue light coming from it. Now turn clockwise and draw a barrier wall or a sphere with your athame. Make sure that the altar and all other necessary tools are inside this protective circle. While drawing the circle, say the following:
Sacred space, created between time and space, not belonging to people or Gods, protect me in my magic and guide the force inside the circle.
In the name of the Goddess and god, I purify and sanctify you.”
Summoning the Elements
The elements represent the forces of nature that make up the material world. The elementals are the creation of elements, which can cause harm of left unattended. Elementals are controlled by higher spiritual beings called the Guardians or the Observers. Their names may vary depending on the tradition.
After purifying the circle, you need to awaken the elements and the elementals. Some Wiccans summon Guardians to control the elementals.
To start, take a bell from your altar and ring it three times, then pause slightly, and ring two times again. This is done in order to call the Goddess (corresponding number 3) and the God (corresponding number 2).
Starting at the north point, say the following:
“I summon the element of earth to bless this circle, let it protect me with earthly power”
Turn clockwise to the east, and say the following:
“I summon the element of air to bless this circle, let it carry my prayers to the Goddess and God”
Turn to the south, saying the following:
“I summon the element of fire to bless this circle, let it bring inspiration and passion”
Turn to the west, saying the following:
“I summon the element of water to bless this circle, let it bring inner vision”
Summoning the Guardians
It is your own decision to summon the Guardians. They are summoned by drawing a pentagram in the air using your athame or wand. The Guardian of north is summoned first and is closed last.
Guardian of the North
While standing in the northern quarter, draw a pentagram (clockwise) in the air with your athame (or wand) and say the following:
“Boreas, the ruler and observer of the North, I call upon you and your source of strength. Be my protector and guide me through the northern portals”
Guardian of the East
While standing in the eastern quarter, draw a pentagram (clockwise) in the air with your athame (or wand) and say the following:
“Eurus, the ruler and observer of the East, I call upon you and your source of strength. Be my protector and guide me through the eastern portals”
Guardian of the South
While standing in the southern quarter, draw a pentagram (clockwise) in the air with your athame (or wand) and say the following:
“Notus, the ruler and observer of the South, I call upon you and your source of strength. Be my protector and guide me through the southern portals”
Guardian of the West
While standing in the western quarter, draw a pentagram (clockwise) in the air with your athame (or wand) and say the following:
“Zefirus, the ruler and observer of the West, I call upon you and your source of strength. Be my protector and guide me through the western portals”
Blessing Items and Food
Any items, objects or food that will be used by you for magical work should be blessed at this stage. For example, if you want to create a talisman or a charm bag – its ingredients must be blessed. Cakes and wine, which are present in many Wiccan rituals, should also be blessed.
Some Wiccans prefer to bless the foods at this stage, and some do so after closing the circle.
Take the tool which you need to bless and pass it over a candle’s flame on your altar, saying:
In the name of the Goddess and God, let all evil burn,
So it will become the tool of my intention”
At the same time visualize the energy of fire surrounding the tool with its power. Repeat the above words while inserting the name of the air element when moving the tool above the smoke of incense. Do the same thing with the element of water, carrying the tool above the surface of the cup of salt. Same must be done with the element of earth, when carrying the tool above the altar pentacle.
Most Wiccans choose red wine because it represents the color of blood, the sacred substance of life. Although sometimes Wiccans drink cider, beer or mead instead of wine. You can also drink milk or apple/grape juice.
Pour the wine into a chalice and place it on the altar pentacle. Dip your athame into the chalice and say the following:
Festive cakes and pies are eaten at all festivals and holidays, and they symbolize the fertility of the earth and the body of the Goddess. Those who eat these cakes share the gifts of the earth.
Place your cake on the altar pentacle, and draw a pentagram in the air with a wand above the altar. Say the following:
I ask that anyone who eats this cake will be filled with health and happiness, wisdom, love, prosperity and blessings.
So be it”
When you finish drawing the pentagram, touch the cake with the tip of your wand as a sign of blessing. It is recommended to eat the cakes after the ritual.
Prayers and Songs
Now that the magic circle is built, you need to invite the Goddess and God, and sing the Rune of Power song in order to increase the energy inside the circle.
Prayer to the Goddess
I come to you with my heart, lit by love,
Burning with your wisdom,
Oh, the one called Isis, Ceridwen,
Ishtar, Brigit, Hathor, Demeter, Dana,
I invite you into my circle today,
Hear me in the moonlight,
Show me your face in dreams and visions,
Listen to my request,
Mighty mother of us all, living and dead,
Come down to me, I pray thee,
Welcome to me circle,
Oh, my venerable Goddess!”
Prayer to the God
Cernunnos, the king of wild places,
Hear my prayer
And come, circling in a dance,
As angered grass,
Through a cemented desert,
And bring your great spirit of joy,
In my celebrations and rituals,
My God has many faces, the God of all that is good,
I ask you to bring wisdom to my needs and deeds.”
Rune of Power
Runes of Power are not ancient artifacts, but chants and songs aimed at increasing the energy during a ritual. The awakened energy is known as the cone of power, because it resembles a cone shaped witch hat. Witches in covens usually join hands and lead singer dances clockwise. Solitary witches need to dance in a clockwise direction while singing.
The Circle Rune
We call on the powers of earth,
A cord that connects us all,
All flights, swims and walks,
Power of the earth and sea,
The moon and the sun,
Of life and light,
With the force of stone and wood,
And the old law,
Cone of power,
Fire and water,
Air and earth,
What we want
The song is concluded, the dance is over
What we wish, so be it,
What we wish, so be it.”
After singing the song, you can now go celebrate or start your magical work. You can choose to eat the moon cakes and wine now or wait after closing the circle.
Closing the Circle
After performing a ceremony or anything else related to your magical work, you will have to thank the Gods and Spirits, let them go and close the circle. This is considered as a good magical “hygiene”, because if the magic power remains and not cleared – strange things could happen.
Stand on the east while holding an athame in your hand, draw a pentagram in the air in order to bid farewell to the Guardian of the east. Begin drawing from the top left corner towards the top right corner, and say the following:
Repeat the same for the south and west, using the appropriate names and directions (see above). For the north, draw a pentagram in the air with your athame from the lower left corner towards the top corner, saying the following:
Ring the bell ten times, blow the candles, close the circle (by going clockwise and visualize how the protective wall returns to the blade of your athame), return the instruments to their place.
The rituals and visualization can leave you exhausted and with a lot of unspent magical energy. Going on in such a state is dangerous, so in order to fully complete the closing of a circle, you must release this energy. Sit on the floor and touch the ground with your feet and hands. Feel the energy of earth – it’s strong, slow and smooth. Push this energy in your contact point and feel as it passes through your body. In the end, this energy goes back to the ground, picking up any excess energy or fatigue within you. When you feel you’re done, give thanks to the ground and eat the cakes and wine (should you have some left. This can also contribute to the release of energy).