Circles, Why Use Them? Casting A Circle Entering & Leaving the Circle
Magick Circle Sea Salt Circle Casting A Circle in the Welsh Tradition

Circles, Why Use Them?
By Mel White

In short, because circles protect you while you are performing magick.

They say that the longest journey begins with a single step. So, too, the
exploration of magickal studies begins with a single step. Though the first
step in a physical journey is often self-evident, the first step on a
magickal journey is often not quite so clear. While formally organized
groups often have a path of lessons to instruct newcomers, the solitary or
isolated student is often left standing in perplexity on this broad plain of
knowledge, wondering just where in the heck to begin. And wondering, too, if
it's "okay" to start just anywhere.

While it's true that studies can begin in any direction that attracts you,
the necessary first step must be learning to make psychic shields. There are
"Things of the Dark" out there. There are any number of explanations for
what these things might be -- ghosts, demons, or simply uncontrolled urges
of the subconscious mind. In truth, it doesn't matter what they are. What
does matter is that their effect is very real and unless they are put under
your control, they will drag you over the borders of sanity into psychosis.
You are most vulnerable to them while you're in an "open" trance or
meditative state. That's why the wise practitioner always begins by taking
steps to define exactly what will be permitted through the portals of their
"psychic shields" -- no matter how simple the ritual. And this, in a
nutshell, is what "protective magic" is about.

There are a number of ways to do this. The most common is to begin by
drawing a circle (around a group or yourself) and invoking the one or more
protective powers. Generally, this is done by candlelight, in front of an
altar that holds certain magical objects. The circle may be further
"secured" and "cleared" by using salt, salt water, rum, incense, or some
other method. You may be wearing a special robe and will have taken a bath
(or performed a cleansing ritual) earlier. The powers that protect you will
be called on and then you will begin your ritual.

Is it psychological? Absolutely! Is there a reason why protection rituals
always take this form? Positively! Let's take a step back and see what
you're actually doing and how the process works -- from a psychological
standpoint -- and how to use this knowledge to help you refine your circles
to enhance your rituals.

Psychologists and psychics alike view the mind's structure as a three-part
entity: The Ego (that which you think of as yourself), the Superego (the
"higher self") and the Id (the child within). The Id is, in a sense, a
computer. Like most computers, it operates on the GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage
Out) principle. There's an old superstition: "As you name something, so will
it become." Tell yourself that you're very unlucky and your Id will
obligingly give you bad days by enhancing any negatives in your environment.
Tell yourself that you are clumsy, and your Id-computer will obligingly
arrange for you to break a leg while stepping off the sidewalk. The bad news
is that the Id can't make a judgement as to whether or not this is a good
idea. It only knows that it's received these "instructions" and must carry
them out. The good news is that you can actually program/reprogram this
portion of your mind.

You begin programming this Internal Servant of yours by first drawing its
attention to what you want done and then explaining what you need done in a
simple and clear manner. Repeating the instructions in a chant help fix the
goals for the Id -- rhymed chants seem to be easier for it to process. Each
time you perform the ritual and repeat the chant, the programming is
strengthened. Never mind that your ego and superego understand that you're
going to program the child-like Id. It works just the same.

To direct the Id's attention to the process, you first have to impress it.
Using special tools and clothing alert it that something unusual is going on
and that it must pay attention. Acquiring hard-to-obtain items, drawing
symbols, performing a symbolic sacrifice (donating money, say, to a good
cause) are all ways of reinforcing the Id's impression that this ceremony is
very special and that the result will be very powerful. Organized,
meaningful symbols, speak to your subconscious mind in ways it understands,
reinforcing the goals you have set.

Drawing the circle itself establishes boundaries within your environment
("The rest of the world can do what it likes Out There. All within this
circle is in my control!"). Purifying the circle and consecrating it
(sprinkling water which has been blessed and salt added) further enforce
your territory, defining the borders where you are "safe". Nothing can enter
this area except what you invite inside. You further tighten these borders
by calling on certain Powers.

You can call on any powers you like. Some use traditional Christian images.
Others call up deities from the religion they are most comfortable with. And
many people use the thought/image of a beam of light that represents either
God/Goddess (whichever one they like) or the power of light and life and
goodness in the Universe.

The number of powers called as guardians varies. You may choose to invoke
one powerful being to protect your circle. Or you might call on the
Universal Being/Light and four guardians (one for each quarter of the
compass). A third approach is to use a guardian for the four quarters of the
compass and no higher being. There is no "absolutely correct" system; the
correct system is the one that you are comfortable with.

Take time to choose the guardians of your circle carefully. You should
select guardians (gods or animals or some form of life) which have a deeper
meaning to you and whose qualities are in harmony with your goals. For the
new student, it's best to have all your Powers and Guardians from the same
belief system/religion/mythic universe so that the symbols will be
consistent and not confuse the Id.

You can use people -- saints, movie actors, figures from favorite books as
guardians. Do, however, pick someone who's dead or non-existent. The dead
can't argue with your interpretation of them, whereas the living may be
highly offended to be approached as gods/guardians.

As your studies continue, you will find that your totems or guardians
change. This is to be expected; as you explore new realms in your studies,
you may find you need guardians who deal with very specific areas to
strengthen and guide you in these new fields.

But don't make the mistake of assuming that you'll become so powerful that
you will never need the protection of the psychic shielding circle in some
form. And don't assume that you will not need a circle for "positive"
magicks such as healing. Open is open -- and open is vulnerable. And circles
strengthen and protect you by defining what psychological influences will be
allowed to work with you.

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Casting A Circle
By Ann Mouri

Sweep the circle area; lay out your circle (if you use a visible one),
altar items, bathe, and dress in your ritual robes. Light the incense and
altar candles.

Ring a bell three times, and say,
“The circle is about to be cast and I freely stand within to greet my Lady
and my Lord.”

Take the center (white) candle and light the circle candles, beginning
in the North, and moving clockwise to end in the West.

Then say, in the North,
“I call upon light and earth at the north to illuminate and strengthen
this circle.”

In the East,
“I call upon light and air in the east to illuminate and enliven this circle.”

In the South,
“I call upon light and fire at the south to illuminate and warm this circle.”

In the West,
“I call upon light and water at the west to illuminate and cleanse this circle.”

Pick up the athame, raise it upward, and begin, in the north, to walk
clockwise from N to E, to S, to W, and back to N

While saying,
“I draw this circle in the presence of the Goddess and the God where they
may come and bless their child, (your name).”

Lower the athame, when you return to the north, and hold it with the
tip pointing forward. As you make a second walk around the circle,
envision a blue light shooting out of the athame’s point and forming
the circle’s boundary,

And say,
“This is the boundary of the circle. Only love shall enter and leave.”

Then, return to the altar and ring the bell three times. Place
the point of the athame into the bowl of salt,

And say,
“Salt is life and purifying. I bless this salt to be used in this
sacred circle in the names of the God and Goddess, _______.”

Pick up the salt bowl and use the tip of the athame to drop three
portions of salt into the water bowl, then set the salt bowl back into
place. Stir the water three times, with your athame,

And say,
“Let the blessed salt purify this water that it may be blessed to use
in this sacred circle. In the names of the Goddess and God, _______,
I consecrate and cleanse this water.”

Pick up the salted water and sprinkle from the bowl as you move
clockwise around the circle, from north, back to the north,

And say,
“I consecrate this circle in the names of the Goddess and the God,
_______. The circle is conjured a circle of power that is purified
and sealed. So mote it be!”

Return the water to the altar and pick up the incense censer (or
burner); walk it around the circle, again moving clockwise from north
back around to north, to cense it. Return the censer to the altar.
Anoint your forehead with a Solar Cross, using Anointing Oil,

And say,
“I, _______, am consecrated in the names of the God and the Goddess,
­_______, in this circle.”

If you are working with others, open a door in the circle, using
your athame, now, and allow them to enter. Anoint each person with a
Solar Cross on their forehead as they enter, having each of them say a
special greeting such as, “I come in perfect love and perfect trust.”
Then close the door with the athame and seal it with an invoking pentagram.

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Entering & Leavng A Circle

Leaving: Stand in the east, with your athame. Cut across the line on
the left and the right of the space you will be walking through, and then
proceed forward.

Re-entry: Walk through the opening you made upon leaving. Reconnect the
line by moving your athame from left to right, and then, from right to left,
and finally, from left to right again. “Seal” the break by raising your
athame and moving the blade to inscribe a pentagram. Beginning at the top,
draw a line to your bottom left, move to the right, slightly upwards, straight
across to your left, down to your bottom right, and finally, back up to the top
point. Then kiss the blade and return it to its place on your altar.

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Magick Circle

1. Remove all animals, small children and any unwanted furniture from the
area that will be the inside of the circle

2. Set up your altar at the center point.

3. Using a compass, locate magnetic north, and hold your circle casting
tool out from your body. Go into alpha and see the tool’s aura extending out
from its tip.

4. Visualize the tip of your tool creating a circle of light and energy,
like a laser, as you walk deosil around the area, three times. The circumference
drawn by the tool’s tip is the edge of your circle. Project white light out from
the wand to create the circle of energy. In your mind’s eye, see the circle as
geometrically perfect and say that it is so.

5. Walk the circle a second time and say, “I cast this circle to protect me
from all negative and positive energies and forces, on every level, that may come
to do me/us harm. I draw into this circle only those energies and forces that are
right for me/us and the most correct for my/our work.”

6. Walk the circle a third time and say, “I create sacred space, so mote it be.”

7. Invoke the four directions, and the energies of the elements, angels and
powers that reside in them, by using the tool to draw an invoking pentagram as
you are facing each direction. Use a ritual spell of invocation or one of your own.

8. To open the circle, hold the wand over the circle’s circumference, and
beginning at magnetic north, walk once around the circle, widdershins, as you
say, “I send this circle into the cosmos to do my/our bidding. The circle is
undone but not broken.”

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Sea Salt Circle

To charge your ritual wand or athame for the purpose of casting magick circles.
It can also be used as your usual circle, if you like, and for charging any
objects that you so choose.

1. Before casting the circle, set up your altar, along with the tool you
will be charging and any others that you will need, in the center of the area
where you intend to create the circle, because you can’t leave once it has been
cast. Be sure the circle is large enough to accommodate the work you are
about to perform.

2. To cast a traditional nine-foot circle, take a cord that is 41/2 feet
long and secure one end of it at the center point of the area where you will
be doing the casting. Using a compass, locate magnetic north, and begin dropping
sea salt as you walk clockwise holding the unattached end of the string. After
completing the first circle, make another circle about one-foot inside of it.
Then, make a third circle one-foot inside of the second.

3. When you have finished casting the circle, hold the tool you will
be charging in your hand. Count down to alpha, with your eyes closed, and
cast the tool onto your mind’s screen. Physically examine the tool for any
incorrect energy. Look at the tool’s aura to determine the energies that need
to be removed. Let the aura appear on your mind’s screen.

4. With your eyes still closed, hold the wand in both of your hands and,
with alternating motions, use your hands to push any unwanted energies out of
the wand, while saying,

“I neutralize any incorrect energy in this wand.” with each push. When the
aura is completely cleansed, put a small dab of
Protection Potion on the wand.
Hold the wand in both hands again, close your eyes, and visualize your own aura.
See it swirling around and flowing into the wand, infusing it with your essence.
See the two auras mingling. Notice how they both become brighter and stronger,
extending outward into and around you. Then say,

“I charge this wand to catalyze my every thought and deed by my will. I ask that
this will be correct and for the good of all.”

This procedure is basically the same for charging any other tool that will be
used for casting a circle. If the object is small enough, just hold it in your left
hand and push the negative energies out with your right. You could also just dab it
with Protection Potion before charging it.

5. To open the circle, sweep away the sea salt and say,

“I send this circle into the cosmos to do my bidding. This circle is undone
but not unbroken.”

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Casting A Circle in the Welsh Tradition

Whether you are working constructive magick (and will be walking clockwise,
or deosil) or destructive magick, like bindings and banishings (and will be
casting a widdershins, or counter-clockwise circle), you will want to always
begin in the east. This is where the sun rises and where all things in
magick begin.

Now, beginning in the east, mediate on the casting of the circle, light
your elemental candles. You can use all white candles, or different colors
to represent each element. Some traditions use yellow for air in the east,
red for fire in the south, blue for water in the west, and brown for earth
in the north. Next, light your altar candle. You should be in a peaceful
and meditative state, and ready to accept the energy you’ll need for the casting.

We are now ready to begin construction of our protective space.

In the Welsh tradition, they use what is called the three-fold circle,
or the thrice cast circle. Water and salt, fire and air. Here is how we
cast the first two circles:

(The following chants are published, used extensively, and, therefore, very powerful.)

Pick up your athame and scoop 3 measures of charged salt and add them, one
by one, to the charged water in your chalice. While doing so, send white
light into the water, and chant,

“Water and salt, where thou art cast, no spell or adverse purpose last, not
in complete accord with me, and as my word, so mote it be.”

While chanting this, stir the water 3 times in a deosil direction. Carry the
chalice around, beginning in the east (be sure to walk in the same direction each
time around, according to the type of magick being performed) and sprinkle the
cleansed water as you go, and chat the words softly to yourself, a total of three
times. You will begin to feel a definite change in the atmosphere.

Now, whether you use charcoal or cones, you will need to prepare your incense for the
second circle. Use something protective like sandalwood, or frankincense and myrrh, or
sage. As you add the herbs to the already burning charcoal, or as you are lighting
the cone, chant:

“Creature of fire, this charge I lay, no phantom in my presence stay. Here my will
addressed to thee, and as my word, so mote it be!”

The burning charcoal is your fire element, and the smoke is representative of the air
element. Carry this around in the same manner and direction as you did with the water
and salt, and softly repeat the chant to yourself, three times.

Now comes the most important part: the drawing of the circle.

Carefully draw your circle, using your staff, athame, or wand, and draw it directly on
to the floor. Make it as perfect as possible (some people eve use string or tape as a
guide). Use silver light streaming into your being (representing moonlight) and send
electric blue, bright purple, or white light out through your chosen tool as you are walking
around the circle. Always begin and end in the east.

Make sure that you keep the elemental candles on the outside so that you can find your
way back into the world.

Once you have come back to the east elemental point, pound your tool on the floor three
times and say something like:

“The magickal circle is now cast. May it protect me in my work.”

Now your circle is cast, but you are not done. You are about to do a powerful spell, and,
therefore, you need to be guarded against things that might want to take your energy for
their own purposes. To insure against this you must call the elemental guardians of
the four directions.

The calling of the elemental guardians:

Who, or what are the elemental guardians and why do you need them to work magick? Every
time you perform a spell you are sending out strong vibrations to the entire universe. You
are calling upon the powers that be to assist you and carry out your will. No matter how
good your intentions are, or how positive your magick is, you are at risk every time you work
a spell. For this reason, we, as Witches, need to be able to call upon those we love, they who
make up nature, for protection. The essences of the four elements, earth, air, fire, and water,
are used every time you work a spell: fire and air in candle magick, earth in herbal magick, etc.
It is the essences of the elements that make up all things, and help us in our magick.

Begin in the east. Be strong and don’t falter. You are essentially requesting the spirit of
the air elemental to watch over you while you are working your magick. Stand tall, raise your
strong arm, athame in hand, and say words similar to:

“Guardians of the Watchtowers of the East, Element of Air, I ______ summon thee. Breath of life,
cleansing breeze, seed mover, be here now.”

Stand there until you feel the presence of the essence of air.

You can seal the element by drawing an invoking pentagram in the air, visualizing it as bright
blue or white light, or the color you associate with the element. Do the same with the other
elements/directions, and, then, ask your spirit guide, if you have one, to be with you and to
watch over you while you are working your magick. This is usually a very personal moment, and
the request or invocation should be in your own words. Also you can ask your spirit guide to
watch over your loved ones in case any negative energies are attracted to your work area.

Next, ask your Goddess and/or God, in whichever aspect you prefer, to be present and guide you in your work.

You have successfully cast a magickal circle. You can now raise energy and work your spell.

Opening of the Magickal Circle:

To open the circle, one you are done casting your spell, first, thank the Goddess and/or God for
their attendance. Next, release your spirit guide, and don’t forget to thank it, as well. Then,
beginning in the east and working deosil or widdershins, thank the guardians of the four directions
for their protection, and dismiss them in words similar to:

“Guardians of the Watchtowers of the east, element of air, I thank thee for your attendance and
protection. Blessed be.”

When this is done, go to the northeastern arc of your circle, where all things in magick come to
an end, and, with your athame or staff, cut the circle and bring the energy back into yourself. It
may take a little while.

Now, go get something to eat! Magick always makes me hungry and you will probably need to restore
your energy. Some witches eat or “ground” the energy while still in circle. I’m usually too beat
and want to use the rest of the energy to properly open the circle, and then eat. Either way,
just make sure that before the circle is open you have somehow collected all of the residual energies
and channeled them in a constructive manner. The reason for this is that the magick you work, your own
personal vibrations, are like a fingerprint. And, again, you don’t want someone tapping off of your energy.

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