Within the realm of witchcraft and sorcery, the circle represents consecration or the protection of the divine. This symbolism is used in the sign of the pentagram and is also used by itself in the practice of magic, though in a different form. We use a magic circle as a sacred space that segregates the energies we are channeling from the random and chaotic energies of the world, potentially interfering with our spell. It can also act as a barrier against evil influences. Summoning of spirits, deities, angels, or demons is most commonly performed within a magic circle for the protection that the circle provides and the attraction a consecrated space offers.
When it comes to working with unseen forces and entities, it may help to think of them as being like lightning. If you can channel them into appropriate directions and goals, they are sure to be of immense benefit. On the other hand, when left to their own devices or managed irresponsibly, all kinds of chaos can occur. In order to ensure safe, meaningful, and useful outcomes, many practitioners of witchcraft start each session by casting a circle. Whether working alone or in a group, getting into this habit is very important.
What is a Magic Circle?
Essentially, a magic circle is a defined area in space and time that encloses magical practitioners. It can be drawn with a wand or simply by pointing your fingers and turning in a clockwise direction. Depending on your interests and needs, you can visualize a flaming circle, one of pure white light, or even one that forms a complete sphere. Regardless of its shape, a magic circle is meant to create a boundary between yourself and anything you might encounter while engaging in magical workings.
Why Cast a Magic Circle?
Most practitioners of witchcraft, channeling, and other workings cast a magic circle to protect themselves from unknown forces. In particular, you may want to protect yourself from curses and hexes while you are in a vulnerable and expanded spiritual state. Those who want to avoid contact with unclean spirits or harmful entities will also cast a magical circle to prevent unwanted intrusions.
The Value of Closing a Magic Circle
As you close a magic circle, you will actually be creating something of a door that specifies what kind of entities or energies may enter the circle. For example, if you want to contact a specific soul or deity, you would invite them into the circle or allow them to communicate through the doorway. Under no circumstance should you invite any force, energy, or entity into your physical body. While some systems allow for possession while within a magical circle, you will be far better served by using the circle as a barrier until you can obtain the proper training for advanced and more dangerous workings.
Variations of Magic Circles
Different varieties of magic circles exist, each adapted for different tasks. No single circle guarantees results, however. Ultimately only trial and error can determine which colors, symbols, and materials work for your spell. Magic circles may be painted onto the floor or wall or even fabric, drawn with a white powder, or carved into the dirt. They should be large enough to fit all the participants comfortably within the circle.
Instructions on How to Cast the Magic Circle
Casting a circle in preparation for a ritual is a relatively straightforward yet involved process. First, perform a ritual cleansing. This refers to the physical and mental cleansing of yourself and the area where you will set up the circle. Take a bath, then remove all extraneous objects from the area and sweep up as much of the dust as you can. Make sure you have taken all preparations into account. Set up an altar with paired black or white candles, an athame (ritual dagger) or sword, and a pentagram pendant on a chain or cord. It does not need to be a special altar; a table that has been set aside for use as an altar is fine, as long as you mentally separate its use as an altar from its mundane use. Other useful items to put on your altar are a bowl of salt (for purification), a bowl of water (likewise), a bell (to call the magic to the circle), a chalice, or a saucer.
The next part of casting a circle involved the visualization of action, combined with a prayer or chant designed to focus your mind. Light the candles on the altar first, offering a blessing to the deities you are trying to invoke, appease, or request aid from. Using the athame or sword, walk around the circle and trace the circle’s outline on the floor. This symbolizes the division between what lies within the circle and what lies without it. Then stand before the altar and ring the bell thrice. With each ring, imagine yourself drawing the eye of the world to you and calling out the name of your deity in a clear, steady voice. At each of the five corners of the circle, offer prayers to the gods and goddesses in each direction—it is not required to name them individually; simply honor them in the abstract.
Place the bowl of salt on the pentagram and rinse the blade in it. Repeat the process with the bowl of water. Add a pinch of salt to the water, take the now consecrated water, and sprinkle it around the circle to purify it. Pour the water into the chalice, then into a saucer for the deity, before placing the chalice atop the pentagram.
While entering and exiting the circle, honor the deities you favor and give them thanks. Thank them again and give them a proper farewell when you are done with whatever spell you are performing within the circle.
Determining if the Magic Circle is Working Correctly
You may not always feel its energetic presence if you are new to casting magic circles. Some people use pendulums, dowsing rods, or other devices to determine if the circle has been cast and closed correctly. You may also want to ask the pendulum if the circle is strong enough to ward off any entities that are in the area. At the very least, if you get a negative answer, you can suspend activities and then try again at a later time when it is safe to do so.
Even if you are relatively new to spell casting or other magical practices, you are sure to be eager to get started on any given ritual. On the other hand, if you want to stay safe and enjoy the best possible outcomes, securing yourself and your magical area is imperative. While different traditions may use different methods, casting a magic circle tends to be relatively easy and effective. As long as the circle meets your specific needs and has sufficient strength to protect you and others from harm, you should not hesitate to use it. You may even find yourself casting magic circles when you aren’t about to engage in magical work. Why not take advantage of safety from any number of dangers while you are at work, traveling, or even asleep? Doesn’t it make sense to start shielding at the spiritual level if you truly believe that all life situations start at that level?