Making Circles

Pagan Blog Project Week 5 C



The ritual circle is an integral part of many Pagan religions. We create ritual circles. Stand in stone circles. Contain magic within circles. Initiatory Wiccan religions place a great deal of importance not only on the creation of these circles, but on how one should conduct themselves inside the circle, and by what means one can leave and reenter that circle. The ritual knife is used to cut a doorway through the circle, and to seal the hole once you have passed through. This doorwy then needs to be cut again to allow you to re-enter.

Circles may be used to keep out negative influences, or to contain them. Or they might be used to contain a build up of energy for spellcasting until it is ready to be released.

When I worked with a Wiccan coven the circle was seen as being something fluid and moveble, and not fixed in place. There was no need to cut  doorway if you moved away from the center because as you moved, the circle expanded out with you. Experience showed this to be the case.

These days when I am doing formal ritual I do still make a circle as part of that ritual. It is one of the steps I use when moving from ordinary reality into the non-ordinary reality. I don’t create a circle though to keep out nasties, or to contain a pocket of ordinary reality within the Otherworld. The circle for me is more a portal, a doorway between this world and the Otherworld.

Once through this portal, I don’t invoke Elements or Deities. I am in Their realm. You don’t walk into someone’s house and demand they show themselves because you are there. I don’t invoke, instead I invite. Hello, I’m here. May I come in? I’m here to celebrate X, would you like to celebrate with me?

Pentagram Swirl

Pentagram Swirl
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I don’t make a circle when I do spellcasting because I don’t enter the Other realm and with a few exceptions I don’t call upon Deity to do the magic for me. I may invite a Patron Deity to observe or tell them what I am doing, but I don’t ask them to do the work for me. The energy for creating a spell is contained within myself until I am ready to release it into the world. Again, experience has shown me that this can be very effective.

How about you? Do you create a magic/ritual circle? What were you taught about circles? Do you still believe that or have your perceptions and ideas around circles changed over time?


6 thoughts on “Making Circles

  1. I really like the way you think. 🙂 the concept of the circle expanding with the practitioners (as in when they move “outside” the circle) is something new to me and it was interesting to read about it simply because I haven’t perceived the circle as being so fluid until now.

    I also like the fact that you differentiate rituals from magic because the two can have very different goals.
    When I do my rituals, I usually evoke (not invoke). This is basically the same as your inviting so you could say that we work in similar ways. 🙂 I see the circle as flexible in the sense that you can make a circle anywhere. I don’t see it as protecting me per se because I have this attitude that if I don’t allow anything to harm me, then it won’t. It’s a matter of will power, mental strength and sometimes even physical health.
    It seems that you really do learn something new every time! 😀 so thanks for the wonderful and informative post! I’ve been following your blog for a while (came across it in the Pagan Blog Project facebook group) and I have to give you kudos! 🙂

    Take care and have a blessed Imbolc! 😀

  2. I think I really need to play with circle casting a bit more. When I first started, like so many, I went by a by-the-book approach, and it just didn’t mean anything to me. I like the idea of really figuring out what you are wanting to accomplish with the circle and then tailoring it to fit those needs. That makes perfect sense, of course!

    I have used circles in a lot of art magic, which I often use as a mini-model of myself or my environment. Apparently it’s easier for me to visualize by looking at something than being in the middle of it, and the circle then becomes a very literal place to play with energy, usually incorporating colors, herbs, etc. Maybe I can find a happy balance of the two.

    Thanks for this post!

  3. I have rarely cast a circle, and tend to save them for big rituals. I usually do my spell work and devotionals quite simply, asking for my goddess’ blessings and/or aid as needed. Casting a circle definitely feels noticeably different, though, and can enhance the potency of rituals.

  4. Wonderful post and great question..

    When I first started, I read as much as I could about casting circles (and there was not much out there). I also cut the doorway when entering and leaving… to be honest, it didn’t feel right from the get go. After the years passed, I stopped casting circles for “everything and anything” and really only used them for celebrations where the Deity was being asked to participate or there was a specific reason that it felt necessary.

    The circle, for me, is like a flexible bubble that follows me where I am working… it above, below and if I think about it too much? It almost makes me feel claustrophobic in a way.. So I’ve had to revamp my thinking to something a lot lighter and less visual – the idea of a solid bubble doesn’t work for me at all.. its like a soft cloud of a particular colour I’m visualizing that encompasses the area and allows the coming and goings of whatever energy I’m asking to participate..

    It’s interesting though, when I work in larger groups of people, everyone is really open to the idea of various types of casting – no one seems to be dead set that “this” is the way you do this and FFTTT you shall not deviate!!! LOL..

  5. Pingback: A Circle for Catharsis | Cyber Cauldron

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