This is the nineteenth entry in a series on a set of Pagan guidelines known as the Ordains. The Ordains, as we know them today, can be found in the works of Gerald Gardener. Maiden’s Circle uses a simplified version that has been edited and altered to reflect our core beliefs.
“A Witch uses the magickal circle as a physical and non-physical representation of a temple on the earth plane.”
This isn’t really something one might have a lot of opinions on. It’s pretty straightforward in meaning and, I believe, most witches would be hard-pressed to disagree. Our Circle is sacred, and we all acknowledge that simple fact, no matter how a Circle is constructed.
I’d be overstepping it if I said that every witch in the world casts the magickal circle, but all of the witches I’ve met have done so at some point in their lives. It’s safe to say this is a common practice. If you’re reading this, then you probably already know what the magickal circle is. For those of you who don’t, I’ll gladly explain.
First, to keep things clear, I use “magickal circle” and “Circle” interchangeably, with “Circle” capitalized to denote its spiritual importance to me. We witches use the Circle to create a sacred space where we can safely practice magick and worship the Divine.
To create a magickal circle, one needs little more than intent.
That said, most of us do prefer to use certain tools that allow us to physically mark the space as sacred alongside our spiritual efforts. This serves in not only giving our minds a type of anchor, so that we’re grounded and focused on the task at hand, but it brings together our earthly world and the spiritual one.
Witches use a variety of methods to create their Circle; some even use different methods for different occasions! Here at Maiden’s Circle, we have a basic Circle-building structure that we feel is useful in all occasions. The full method is taught in our upcoming Covenpath course, but I’ll go over the basics here.
Generally, all of our Circles start with an activity to help participants ground themselves and focus on the upcoming ritual. This could be anything from a few deep breaths to a full on meditation to singing and dancing—anything that gets us grounded in the space and within our bodies.
Once we’re grounded and our intentions are focused on our purpose—whatever reason we’ve chosen to create the Circle—then we’re ready to erect our Circle. This usually means calling to the four cardinal corners of the earth (North, East, South, and West) and asking their spiritual guardians to protect us while we work. In our practice, these guardians are represented by four major elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water.
We would then hold an object that represents each element in its corresponding direction and call upon those guardians to join our Circle and protect it. Many witches also call upon a deity or two, often a feminine and masculine pair.
Lastly, we would visualize an orb of light growing around us, covering our space and solidifying it as sacred.
This is our temple. This is our church. It exists where we choose to create it.
Of course, once we’ve completed our Circle, it’s important to respect the space we’ve built. A good rule of thumb is: if you wouldn’t do it in a public church, you shouldn’t do it in your own Circle. Naturally, there are many exceptions, since public churches tend to have a very different idea of what’s appropriate.
But, what I mean is if it would be disrespectful to a spiritual space, you might want to avoid it. For example, you wouldn’t want someone coming into your Circle and starting fights. You wouldn’t want someone to enter your Circle with cheesy or greasy fingers and then proceed to touch all of your ritual tools. So, don’t do it to yourself or to anyone else’s Circle. In general, when you’re in another person’s sacred space, you’ll follow their lead for how the space should be treated.
Over time, we all figure out what works best for us in Circle. Even people in covens have their individual methods in addition to the coven’s style. Like most things in witchcraft and Wicca, we have the benefit of being able to cast a magickal circle in whichever way suits us.
However we create our Circle, I believe it’s a useful practice for every witch. The Circle allows us to have a sacred space anywhere we choose, it protects us from any ephemeral beings that are up to no good, connects our mundane lives with the Divine, and enhances the magickal energy of all of our workings. We are truly safe within the sacred Circle.
Do you cast a magickal circle? Do you cast it for every work or only during certain rituals? Is it an important part of your practice? Share your responses in the comments!
With many blessings,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA
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