Casting the Circle

Before we enter the space that is to hold our circle, the preparations leading up to the actual crossing of the threshhold into what will become sacred space serves to make ready for the shift in energy, dynamics and consciousness that we hope to achieve. The casting of the circle takes that prepared space and transforms it into the appropriate container to hold the energies that will be used. There are many ways in which to cast a circle; but the basic goal is to enclose a working space within a sphere of energy that will be sufficient to hold the energetic patterns of the work to be done.

The actual scribing of the circle is symbol of the continuum of all natural cycles and the seamless construct that connects all time and matter. Toning “Om” while the circle is being scribed adds the component of sound to elevate the vibrations naturally occurring from the movement of tracing the circle by the caster. During the process of the designated person casting the circle energy is directed towards that individual to blend and intertwine as bolster to what the caster is already connecting with and generating. If you think of the circle as a sphere, each strand of energy being sent from those standing along the perimeter of that sphere are like spokes of a wheel which all meet centrally and feed into yet another and smaller circle within the very core.

Igniting the Blue Fire

The energy that is directed towards the individual casting the circle is often described as blue flame. Why a blue flame? Science provides one part of the answer…

Question: Which flame is best for laboratory procedures blue flame or yellow flame?

Answer: In Organic Chemistry Flames have different areas of temperature. Even in an ordinary candle, the temperatures are separated into several different regions. The regions are also separated by color, the blue region (the innermost part of the flame) being the hottest. This shows there is not one precise temperature for a blue flame. A blue flame is typically much hotter than a yellow flame. Sometimes you want to heat something very hot, and sometimes you want to heat something gently… and so you can choose which part of the flame best suits the purpose! It depends what you want to do!

From: The Physics Factbook™.Edited by Glenn Elert

The work of the circle is to form a point in time and space where all may converge towards a place of transformation. It is alchemy in its form and the principles of alchemy are the stuff from which many of the protocols and principles of mundane science are derived. The hottest point of the flame is both the meeting inwards of what feeds that flame and the combustible outpouring of what generates or initiates the flame. So too, the casting of the circle is the initial thrust of energy which then feeds and fuels itself from the central place of Spirit.

From a Qabalistic Perspective we could liken the color and dynamics of the blue fire of the circle to the energies and dynamics of the sphere Chesed:

“Chesed is the last sphere ascending the Tree before crossing the abyss (Da’at) that separates the pure Divine essence of the Supernal (Godhead) Spheres of the Tree. Its energy is that of coalescent, refined and summation of experience afforded the spheres leading up to this point. This sphere is often considered the Hall of the Masters; the point where choice is made to either remain to serve humanity or to ascend beyond the realm of physical expression and be fully reabsorbed into the source of all creation. Descending the Tree, Chesed is the first sphere of actuality. The point where flow and form have merged and the juncture that is the beginning of the work towards actualizing the concept or idea of manifestation may begin in its journey into a place of reality.” (Excerpted from The Inner Chamber-Volume Two: Poetry of the Spheres)

If we take into account the energies and attributes of Chesed these are easily framed within the context of a magickal circle. We are creating a space that carries within it the memory and gnosis of all that was, is and will be. We are connecting with the Universal Mind and storehouse and bringing it into a contained space where it may be used and accessed in accord with the intent of the ritual via the understanding of the magic worker. We have also, hopefully gained enough mastery over our physical being to raise sufficient energy for an effective circle and done the necessary research into who and what we wish to have present for our ritual.

Blue of Healing

Blue is also considered to be a color of healing, the waters that hold the energies of the tides and the beauty of the sky. All of these dynamics are present within the circle of casting. There can be great healing (at all levels of being) that occurs in connecting with Divinity. The ebb and flow of the waters within and comprising a large portion of our body intimately connect us to the ebb and flow of energy that presents itself within the circle and the limitless nature of the sky and what it holds above are the pinnacles towards which we strive as we do ritual, declare sacred space and work our magick.

When you observe someone casting a circle it appears as though they are moving around the perimeter and tracing a single circular line of energy. In reality, the casting of a circle is more like a sphere. The energy of the working is contained on all sides in all directions at once and simultaneously at all ends and all points along the continuous curve. This also the relevance of “as above, so below” and the rising of the vibrations and threads of energy as the working progresses are mirrored back to one another. It is again a mirror like reflection of the microcosm within the macrocosm. A sphere that is moving through the planes of time and space that is “not a specific time, nor a specific place; but a breath that is between the worlds”.

How to:
Generally one person is selected to do the casting of the circle and the calling of the quarter energies. Traditionally the circle is scribed with the Athame, but you may also use a wand, staff, crystal, sword (although a bit risky and unwieldy) or your index finger. Sending energy the individual casting. If it is a group working, the remaining participants take hands, sending a stream of energy from one to the other and forming an inner circle. Of if it is a solo working, you would be doing the casting and calling.

Moving Deosil (clockwise/sunwise) around the circle and beginning in the East, the caster draws in breath and energy from his/her central core (remember we did the grounding prior and formed an energetic balance of earth and sky. It is from this blending that the energy is drawn to cast or lend support to the casting of the circle) and begins the tracing of the circle with right arm outstretched holding the Athame. Visualize the blue flame of energy pouring out and through the tip of the blade and filling the space as you walk slowly around the perimeter of the circle. If group work, the person casting should be in the outermost area of the perimeter with those participants held within the center of the circle. Continue around the circle breathing gently into the energy as it streams forth until you arrive once again at the East.

Now you will be calling the quarter energies in to the sphere of art. Some traditions will fold the calling of the quarters and the casting of the circle into one singular pass around the circle. In this form; beginning in the East, you would invite the energies of the quarters into the circle; open the Gates of that quarter and then draw that energy around the circle as you stop at each quarter in turn. Again, you would end in the East. Personally, I prefer to establish the boundaries of the space and then invite the energies of the Elements or Deities into the prepared and readied space.

A final note for consideration: As with all magickal work, casting a circle takes practice. Because there are multiple levels of understanding and expertise that formulate the final product- a Circle of Art, as it is sometimes called- the more information you have about first and foremost – YOURSELF – the more effective any magickal working will be.
If you are a novice, take each piece of casting the circle a part and spend some time reflecting on how each of those pieces relate to you and your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual natures. For example: What does the image of the blue flame mean to you. Are you able to easily visualize this color and also hold the sensation of what that specific energy may feel like? Change the color to yellow or red- does it feel the same, is there any sound that is emanating from this color and form?

As you walk what you have established as the perimeter of the circle, what thoughts move through you as you take each step? What other sensations are you experiencing. The first steps towards learning how to direct energy are taken in learning as much as you can about its natural generator, container and conduit- YOU!

Back to: The Components of Ritual

About themagickalpen

Robin Fennelly is an Elder within The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel Tradition and also serves as High Priestess of Coven of the Mystic Path. She teaches and facilitates classes for the Pagan Experience Study Group that serves as foundation for membership within Coven of the Mystic Path. Her spiritual journey is strongly rooted in both Eastern philosophy and theWestern Magickal systems from which she has formed a core foundation that is diverse in knowledge and rich in spiritual practice. A life-long learner, her practice has evolved from the classical and philosophical teachings of books, practical experience and enrichment of this knowledge base by attending workshops of various spiritual traditions presented by master teachers. Robin formally came to the Wiccan path in 1994. Following practice as a solitary for 2 years, she dedicated to Oak and Willow Coven of The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel Tradition in November of 1996. She received her 1st, 2nd and finally 3rd degrees within the Assembly Tradition. As a teacher of esoteric and magickal studies she has used Energetic Anatomy, Tarot, Astrology, Hermetic Qabala, Eastern Philosophy, and Numerology as the foundations of her diverse selection of workshops and writings for more than 25 years. Exploration of varied energetic protocol has been the focus of her work for some time now and the information gained through direct experience informs all of her magickal and spiritual work. Robin’s writings have been featured online, and in print Internationally. She has authored several books incorporating her unique style of writing making use of poetry, prose and pathworking to enhance the concepts presented. She has taught extensively throughout the Pagan community, including Sacred Space Conference, Spring Magick, Between the Worlds Interfaith Conference and Free Spirit Gathering Festival this Summer. Her most recent project is hosting an online blogging community entitled The Pagan Experience. Robin is the owner of Holistic Embrace providing services for mind, body and spirit such as Tarot readings, Astrology reports, Spiritual Guidance and other related offerings. She lives in Eastern Pennsylvania and her life is blessed by a 43-year marriage, five children and the opportunity to work in the field of public education. Robin's esoteric writings can be found on her blogs.
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2 Responses to Casting the Circle

  1. Pingback: The Components of Ritual | A Witch's Sacred Journey

  2. Pingback: Foundations of Practice: Lesson Seven | A Witch's Sacred Journey

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