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  • Circle Casting

    I like to see how people do things differently, and since circle casting is one of those things that seems to have hundreds of ways to do one thing, I wanted to start a thread on it.

    So how do you cast your circle? What actions do you use? What kind of visualization do you use? Is your altar in the middle of your circle, or more towards the side? Do you use any tools? And if so, what? What direction do you start in, and why?

    I'll go first; Due to space, I have to set my altar up on the edge of my bed, which puts the altar at the eastern edge of my circle. I start in the east (representative of the sun's rising). I use my athame, and visualize a blue-white glowing line forming around me. It's tiny, but it gets the job done.
    "All acts of love and pleasure are my rituals." -- Charge of the Goddess.

  • #2
    Aaahaha, mine's even smaller. xD I don't have an athame, so I just use my hands. Usually I'm sitting on my bed or the floor, so I just draw an indent in the covers or carpet. If I'm standing I'll turn clockwise three times, and just... focus on getting into a ritual or meditative state of mind.

    I have my own visualization for my protective circle, the most protective and GOOD and safe thing I can think of, but. I, uh. xD You guys would probably laugh.
    ... And while you're at it, keep the nightlight on inside the birdhouse in your soul. <3

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    • #3
      I was lucky with my last apartment. My room was big enough that I had outline a circle on the floor with blue masking tape. Unfortunately, I never got to use it.
      "All acts of love and pleasure are my rituals." -- Charge of the Goddess.

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      • #4
        The shamanic way I believe is pretty strong and I like it alot better then the normal 4 cornor way.

        I call to the North, South, East and West. I call the Powers of Above and Blow and Center. Then the Powers on my Right and my Left.

        Mostly I place spirits with them like, for Air (east) I place my snake (if you knew him you'd understand) and for Earth (north) my horse. Right and Left would have maybe the God and Goddess.

        I use a wand, but mostly now a wooden athame made of Oak. I don't like using metal blades. My beloved use them, while I go natural.

        I welcome my spirits, and they stand with me.

        A funny fact if I'm doing a circle outside for the big rituals, either inside the circle or around the edges of it my two beloved cats Thomas and Little Boy lay down and watch me, protect me. Even if I'm doing a ritual dance they stand perfectly still not scared at all.

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        • #5
          I would utilise the general ceremonial, and Traditional Wiccan methods. For Thelemic rites, the altar is set up in the East (towards Boleskine). I would usually perform a banishing rite like the Star Ruby, proceeding to cast a circle with the Wand drawing the correct signs and making the appropriate gestures.

          Wiccan wise, the altar is at the Northern-most point, and the circle is cast with the Sword or Athame. The Quarters, being the elementals who hold the circle up between the worlds, are summoned by the appropriate Pentagram and gesture with the Athame, all of which abiding by certain opening, and closing rites.

          The circle visualised as a sphere, above&below, with psychic ons that can instantly be thrown up at anytime.

          I have a nine foot circle marked out in my garage, but indoors it can be formed with cords, and visually spaced with the element candles being focus points for the boundaries.
          Last edited by Micheal; April 3rd, 2011, 02:41 AM.
          Semper Fidelis

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          • #6
            When casting a circle, I prefer the method of..."Earth belongs to the East, Fire to the South, Water to the West, and Air to the North. This places Spirit in the Center at the axis of the other four Elements.
            The reason for this is First, both female Elements (Earth and Water) are placed upon the horizontal axis of the circle. Both masculine Elements (Fire and Air) are placed upon the vertical axis of the circle. The horizontal axis is traditionally ascribed to the feminine, and the vertical to the masculine. At the center, where they are joined together, we find the crossroads of the Spirit.

            Secondly, when starting in the East and going deosil (clockwise) around the circle, you alternate polarities (feminine, masculine, feminine, masculine) thereby creating a smoother and better flow of energy."

            I adopted this when I came across the Unicorn Tradition, and it made since to me and yes I quoted it from their website, because its worded better than what I could have said. I do not however belong to that tradition.

            I begin in the east. I usually call upon the guardians of each respective element.
            I have an athame,wand, and other tools.

            I have no problem doing it the more traditional way though, if I ever get to work with those who do not see it the way I do. Its all about the energy after all.
            Last edited by Kern; April 6th, 2011, 01:00 PM.



            "But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."-Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

            My Beliefs

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            • #7
              I like the way you do yours ^-^

              ....

              First I'll use my broom or sage to cleanse the space.

              I'll ground myself thinking of the earth and I bring myself to be in the moment. I visualize white and gold energy (two significant and personal colors for me) spreading infinitely up and down and through me. Then I take my athame and see the white and golden flames spread through the athame. Then, standing in the center of where I want my circle cast, I'll direct the white gold flames through the athame by slowly turning in a circle three times, pointing my athame where I want the boundaries to be. Once I finish, I'll say, "By the powers of three times three, the circle is cast, so mote it be."

              (sometimes the colors will change depending on what i need in the moment.)

              I'll change the direction I face based on what type of magick I'll be doing.

              )O( Athena )O(

              My Art

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              • #8
                An example of how Traditional&neo-Wicca can be different. You often hear it described as the "Wiccan way" of having Earth represented by the colour green, Air as yellow, Fire as red, and Water as blue. Even though it is called so, this isn't Traditional Wiccan at all, which actually utilises the Tattva method of having Earth at the north represented by the colour yellow(square), Air at the east with blue(oval), Fire red in the south(triangle), and Water green at the west(crescent.)
                Semper Fidelis

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by MicheŁ„l View Post
                  ...this isn't Traditional Wiccan at all, which actually utilises the Tattva method of having Earth at the north represented by the colour yellow(square), Air at the east with blue(oval), Fire red in the south(triangle), and Water green at the west(crescent.)
                  I've never been taught that. What tradition is it?

                  -Jet

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jetpiston View Post
                    I've never been taught that. What tradition is it?

                    -Jet
                    Alexandrian.
                    Semper Fidelis

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                    • #11
                      I'm fairly informal about circle-casting; I don't normally do it for rituals, except when the need is great or if it's a sabbat/esbat. I take a long white cord and draw out the circle around my altar that's facing north, then slowly walk around the inside and 'draw' a glowing white line of energy above the rope with my wand. At each direction I stop for a moment and greet the elements, then when I'm finished I invoke the God and Goddess and proclaim the circle sacred space. Sometimes I mark the directions with candles, sometimes not (depending on where I am at the time).
                      There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.
                      - Douglas Adams

                      "Tell me - is this real, or has it been happening inside my head?" "Of course it is inside your head, Harry, but why should that mean it's not real?" -Dumbledore

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                      • #12
                        I don't cast circles at all. With my mother calling me every five seconds I wouldn't be able to get it done.

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                        • #13
                          Alright, first of all even though this is posted in the Wiccan subforum what I am about to show you is not Wiccan. My altar in goes in the East when im outside ( the fire goes in the center) and the quarterstaves are "tiki torches" instead of candles. When inside the altar goes in the center and the presence candle (which is also my main altar candle) is that central fire. That candle is the first to be lit being the fire called down from heaven and from it the bonfire is lit if I am outside. From that power is the circle cast if it is cast, followed by the consecration of the circle and the calling of the thunderers (watchtowers to you ). If the altar is centered I prefer it to be round, if off-center to the circle I prefer it to be rectangular or square.

                          Speaking of squares, traditionally we work in in squares not circles, however i've adapted the technique of Solomonic circle casting and the later pentagrams, as a method to evoke and be subjected to ones medicine round. This provides a working place for the medicine adapt to enage the processes of the dance of their own soul.

                          Now like Wicca, what I am about to show you takes into account the elemental associations used in Ceremonial magic[k]. We do not work with the western elements but with the four asgina, though I have provided correspondences here. This is the Cherokee round, the traditional round very much aligning to the astrological sequence and so from that can be derived an equivalent for the airts and kabbalistic sequences which is what I have done. most of you are are familiar with the airts which is why many of you call air to the east, fire to the south etc. i usually work astrological and I'll tell you why in a second but first let me give you a visual:

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                          Firstly, let me explain the colors:
                          Red - Fire - Victory
                          White - Earth - Innocence
                          Black - Air - Sorrow
                          Blue - Water - Defeat

                          Now, more important than the elemental associations are the correspondences to path-working,
                          Each is a different path, a different kind of character.. for example a warrior is a red character, a pacifist would be a white character.
                          This isn't racial, these colors are older than first contact with white settlers.
                          the colors themselves are entities so you would call on the red, or the black etc.
                          These are the forces of creation, the medicine is existential and worlds are created by story telling.
                          Grandmother spider weaves all of existence and the words for spider and story in the language have the same root.

                          I use the traditional attribution of colors to the directions the most because that is how most of the medicine is set up and how it is set up to visit the four mountains. (traveling the watchtowers if you will.)
                          The traditional set up is for traveling the inner planes/heavens/underworlds and planetary/zodiacal workings

                          The airts and the kabbalistic sequence are for bringing things here, to this plane.
                          They different slightly though.
                          The kabbalistic sequence is better for outright mediation but it is under the power of your fire (green fire/spirit) and the fire of the space.
                          It is best for balancing the self. it puts red- victory across from blue-defeat and white-innocence across from black-sorrow.
                          The airts is better for calling something up from the underworld or talking to shades (dead, demons etc.)
                          It puts the circle under the operation of what is called in some forms of western ceremonial magic[k], ones daemon/egregore.
                          it also ties into the fetch-spouse of traditional witchcraft or your other half operating on the other side - your anima or animus.
                          your daemon/egregore is also all those things of the self to discover and bring to light, and it, along with the fetch-spouse reside particularly in the world axis/tree which is represented in ritual by the stang in traditional witchcraft.
                          It then is also residence for the shades - memories thoughts etc of the practitioner. such an object is not uncommon in native medicine and i have adopted the stang of traditional witchcraft for mine as it serves that same function. in trad witchcraft an object that serves this function is often called a Kuthin/Kuthen.
                          So, with the airts the stang is governing and protecting the space and with the kabbalistic sequence the central fire takes the active role.

                          The fire is the intersection of the vertical 'stang' and the four directions. The fire and the stang (mountain/world tree) are the central gate to realms above and below which have their own colors- yellow for above and brown for below. The fire, which is the center is green.

                          So the round is thus:

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                          Now, Ratha makes a good point that I would have forgot to mention, and for me this applies especially to the astrological sequence:
                          The division of the circle. For Wiccans the new year is on Samhain. Well Cherokee ceremonies are on the new moon but interesting enough our new year is at the same time of year. So the new moon in October or September is our new year. Now in Wicca, or when I was involved with Wicca Samhain was the time of the God beginning his descent into the underworld and thus the dark half of the year. For some this is when Persephone goes to live with Hades. Thats the dark time for Demeter. So divining the year on the Samhain-Beltaine (which is the axis of Qayn in some traditional Qayninite forms of witchcraft) you get two halves which apply in miniature to your circle space. these are the black and white halves. My division is a little different as it is by the moon and may be closer to the equinox but most people do their wheel on the solar current and so that's how I explain it to them usually. you can also divide along the equinoxes and this is the blue axis. blue is being lamed or between realms. both divisions are in-between but the equinoxes are of equal light and dark, dusk and dawn and therefore liminal. The red and blue divisions divide into white and black halves there are two more divisions you can divide the wheel into red and blue... they are the white and black divisions. the white line or division would be imbolc and Lughnassadh which have to do with light and preparations, for coming life and coming death. Youth-red and old age-blue. Finally, the black line between yule and Litha which i don't usually depict because for the WoY i like six spokes and this one doesn't become relevant very often and that is the sun climbing to its peak at Litha- Red-victory and descending from Litha to Yule - blue -defeat. it actually is important because it is the waxing and waning of the solar cycle but few are going to work on a whole operation or working for a year.

                          Now of course my solar round looks a lot different because my tradition is in no way Northern European. I've tried to explain it thusly though:

                          Click image for larger version

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                          and since we are talking about it even though it is off-topic now I associate my moons as follows:
                          new - black
                          waxing - red - victory
                          full - white
                          waning - blue -defeat

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                          here is a picture showing how the color attributions for the inner (astrological) and outer (airts) words line up.
                          Notice red pairs with white and black and so does blue. Red and blue pairs with white and black but black does not pair with white nor red with blue.
                          The airts and astrological sequence reflect eachother, both worlds mirroring the other.

                          Originally posted by Micheal View Post
                          An example of how Traditional&neo-Wicca can be different. You often hear it described as the "Wiccan way" of having Earth represented by the colour green, Air as yellow, Fire as red, and Water as blue. Even though it is called so, this isn't Traditional Wiccan at all, which actually utilises the Tattva method of having Earth at the north represented by the colour yellow(square), Air at the east with blue(oval), Fire red in the south(triangle), and Water green at the west(crescent.)
                          Alexandrians do like their ceremonial magick more-so than even Gardnerians. There's "extra stuff" in the Alexandrian tradition on top of what was taken from Gardner. Does it surprise me you were taught that way? Not really, there's pictures of Sanders in a circle with Hebrew Godnames. your experience though i think you'll find isn't typical of others working in the Alexandrian tradition. The Tattvas aren't employed by default. Every once in awhile, why not... and the Coven you knew may have dedcided to hell with it they liked it that way. Does that mean they aren't Alexandrian. i'll let the Alexandrians hash that out among themselves.. not my chair, but this really isn't typical.
                          Last edited by Humming Bird; May 8th, 2019, 02:06 AM.
                          Tsalagi Nvwoti Didahnvwesgi Ale Didahnesesgi
                          (Cherokee medicine practitioner of left and right hand paths)
                          anikutani.stfu-kthx.net - The Anikutani Tradition

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                          • #14
                            T Thorn Coyle has a nice circle casting ritual in Evolutionary Witchcraft that I use.
                            My Online Journal

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                            • #15
                              In Wicca the Altar usually is placed in the north, while in the older ceremonial and even older solomonic traditions the circle comes from one would always face east or by default. I suppose this difference is best reflected in the aims of these paths. Ceremonial magic focuses on teurgy and divine communion. while these things are most certainly a part of Wicca, the emphasis is on the natural and carnal mysteries. what I mean by that, is the mysteries of fertility, sex and the power of divinity within the throbbing creation

                              Both Wicca and older ceremonial employ clockwise by default. Most native traditions go counter-clockwise.
                              I use clockwise for the airts and qabbalistic sequences and for the astrological/traditional sequence i go counter-clockwise if I have passed through the fire to get there, or clockwise if I am bringing the state of that circle to here in the frame/circle rite.

                              Click image for larger version

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                              Originally posted by Micheal View Post
                              An example of how Traditional&neo-Wicca can be different. You often hear it described as the "Wiccan way" of having Earth represented by the colour green, Air as yellow, Fire as red, and Water as blue. Even though it is called so, this isn't Traditional Wiccan at all, which actually utilises the Tattva method of having Earth at the north represented by the colour yellow(square), Air at the east with blue(oval), Fire red in the south(triangle), and Water green at the west(crescent.)
                              Except that for most Trad Wiccans this is traditional. it absolutely is, following the color scheme normally employed by the Golden Dawn.
                              The Golden Dawn also has a tattwa formula which is what you inherited while most Trad Wiccans inherited what most people are used to.
                              As for the correspondence of the elements themselves to the directions both of these follow the formula of the four winds 'airts' which is particularly effective for bringing things here, as they do wheather.

                              Alexandrian
                              see, that explains it. Alexandrian wicca incorporates a lot of extra ceremonial material to work with one of your teachers upline must of preferred the tattwa materials and taught that.
                              Though Gardnerians would consider this outside of core Wicca.
                              Last edited by Humming Bird; May 8th, 2019, 02:21 AM.
                              Tsalagi Nvwoti Didahnvwesgi Ale Didahnesesgi
                              (Cherokee medicine practitioner of left and right hand paths)
                              anikutani.stfu-kthx.net - The Anikutani Tradition

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