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~ Casting the Circle ~

Some Basic History First

A Roman ambassador in a foreign country would draw a circle around himself with his staff, to show he should be safe from attack; the Babylonians drew a circle of flour on the floor round the bed of a sick man, to keep demons away; German Jews, in the Middle Ages,would draw a circle round the bed of a woman in labor, to Protect her from evil spirits. The use of a circle to mark the boundary of an area which is sacred, is very ancient (e.g. Stonehenge). But the circle not only keeps the unwanted out, it also keeps the wanted-- the raised power; the magical energy--in.


Circle Dimensions & Details

The dimensions of the circle depend entirely on who is drawing it and for what purpose. In Ceremonial Magic, where the Magician is conjuring entities, the exactness of the circle (and everything within it) is critical. But there is the other end of the scale, as it were. In the old days, when the villagers would get together to give thanks to their gods, they would simply mark a rough circle on the ground, usually very crudely drawn, and use it whether accurate or not. Its purpose was merely to designate a space to be hallowed for the rites; a place "special" for that purpose. Your circle does not have to be as painstakingly accurate as the Ceremonial Magician's (though more on this in Lesson Eleven--Magic), yet it is drawn with a certain amount of care and exactness. The Coven Circle is nine feet in diameter; the Individual's Circle is five feet. The draw- ing of the Circle starts, and finishes, in the East and is always drawn clockwise, or deosil. If you are meeting outdoors, then the Circle is actually marked on the ground with the sword, as the Priest/ess walks around. Indoors the Circle should first be marked on the floor with a length of white cord, with chalk, or--if you have a permanent temple--it can be painted in white paint. But the Priest/ess will still walk around with the sword, starting and finishing in the east, "marking" it and directing power into it through the point of the sword. On the line of the Circle stand four white, unlit candles; one in the north, one in the east, one in the south and one in the west. If you wish, there may be additional candles, already lit, between these four. They should stand around the Circle but outside the line. They would be there purely for extra illumina- tion, if required.


O.K. I Know How To Make A Circle

Now What?

The first ritual performed, always, is what, in Saxon Witchcraft, is called ERECTING THE TEMPLE. Other traditions call it, variously, OPENING THE CIR- CLE, CASTING THE CIRCLE, or similar. In this ritual the Circle and all within it is properly purified and consecrated. For now I will just deal with casting a Cir- cle sufficient for your Self-Dedication/Initiation. Pre- suming that you have not yet even made your athame, this casting is of the most basic. You will need your altar furniture: candle, censer, goblet or drinking- horn, salt and water, libation dish and (if you wish) figures representing the deities. There should be wine in the goblet.


Taken from Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft

With Minor Modifications